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Posts with tag dark_alex

M33 custom firmware catches up to latest 3.90 release

It didn't take too long for the talented M33 team to release a custom version of Sony's latest Skype-enabled firmware. With the new Network Update feature of these custom releases, homebrew users can simply update directly from their systems. However, those that aren't fortunate enough to be near a wi-fi point can simply download the necessary files here. (But, considering Skype is the main benefit of 3.90, we think only those with reliable access to wireless internet will really download this update.)

Custom firmware 3.80 released by Dark_Alex

Homebrew users will rejoice at the release of the newest version of M33. The newest release promises to have most functionality of Sony's latest firmware release, but also gives users the ability to launch homebrew applications and mods. A big new feature in this release is the ability to use a Network Update-styled interface to automatically upgrade to later versions of this CFW. To download the update, and get instructions on how to use the program, visit Dark_Alex's website now.

You will need to download firmware 3.80 from Sony's official website in order to use this installer. Please note that use of any hacks to your system will void its warranty. Do not attempt installing custom firmware without carefully reading all instructions. This update will not work on PSPs with official firmware.

Dark_Alex and M33: one in the same?

Remember when Dark_Alex said he was going to quit the homebrew scene forever? And then immediately afterwards, Russian hacking group M33 appeared mysteriously out of the blue? Well, could it be that the two are actually one in the same? Could this post also have something other than a question as a sentence? Hmm ...

With the release of 3.71 M33, the team continues to provide homebrew users with all the features of Sony's recently released official firmwares. According to the Dark_Alex website, though, the main coder for the project is none other than the supposedly "retired" hacker.

Regardless of the drama surrounding the team, it appears that they've been consistently able to provide releases that match Sony's quite rapid schedule.

[Thanks to everyone that sent this in!]

Koller talks PSP to MTV: reveals US GPS plans, downloadable PSP games, and the fate of Dark_Alex

Sorry, Colin! The headline simply can't reveal how many small details were revealed in Stephen Totilo's incredibly extensive interview John Koller for MTV News. In the interview Koller revealed that all upcoming PSP games developed by Sony will take advantage of the system's full 333MHz speed, with no negative impact to battery life. Other accessories for the US include the upcoming GPS peripheral, which is currently being "tweaked" with an expected release in the next 10-12 months. The PSP camera "may get a spec change" before coming to America -- but the TV tuner will never make its way to the US.

Bringing downloadable games to PSP is one of the next things to tackle for Sony. echochrome was originally meant to be a downloadable PSN game for PSP, but it became much larger than anticipated. "It was initially going to be a download-service-only game," Koller said. "We changed it to a UMD because it's a very rich game. That's where their mind is. They're developing that kind of game." Thankfully, other downloadable PSP games are in the works. When can we expect them? In the next six to eight months.

In regard to the homebrew scene, Koller says that there were no talks between Sony and Dark_Alex, saying that "I think he's taking a hiatus." For even more, please visit MTV News for more.

Dark_Alex quits the homebrew scene

The homebrew scene has suffered quite possibly its greatest loss ever: Dark_Alex is quitting development of his popular "open edition" firmware. While others may continue his work, it appears that the famed developer is moving on to other things. On his website, he notes various reasons for his departure: "One of them is the time it consumes, which i'm losing from other things. The other is related to my security. I didn't like Sony menaces to PS3 hackers. I think it is better to leave now rather than end paying the consequences."

Certainly, this is an unexpected twist in PSP development. How will the homebrew scene be affected by this loss?

[Thanks, Sergio and everyone else that sent this in!]

Exams delay development of 3.50 OE

Much to the chagrin of Sony, Dark_Alex has been constantly creating open edition revisions of Sony's official firmware, which allows capable PSPs to run homebrew while playing the latest games and taking advantage of any benefits found in the official releases. Surely, this whiz programmer must do nothing but stay alone in his basement, programming furiously for the benefit of the homebrew community?

Not really. As reported by MaxConsole, the psuedo-celebrity programmer is currently taking exams, delaying progress on 3.50 OE. Supposedly, Sony has also made the latest firmware a bit more difficult to work with "because SCE changed the prx format those are now elfs marked as 0 sections. This means that current tools cannot disassemble those and thus it will be harder to reverse." Hmm ... sure.

Gamers that rely on Dark_Alex's open edition releases will have to be patient for the next release. However, considering the latest update focuses mostly on PS3 connectivity, will these release matter much for the homebrew community?

[Via PSP-Vault]

Ask PSP Fanboy: Volume 19

Every Saturday, PSP Fanboy will answer your burning questions. If you have a question for the team, send an e-mail to andrew @ www.pspfanboy.com with the subject "Ask PSP Fanboy." NOTE: We do NOT answer questions related to downloading illegal copies of games. Stop asking.

Q: Does Andrew hand-select his emails for Ask PSP Fanboy?
A: Yes. Some questions simply can't be answered, while others aren't worth answering at all.

Q: How many people have installed custom firmware on their PSP systems?
A: This is probably an impossible question to answer. There's no way of tracking all the PSP systems out there, nor is there a fair way of evaluating it. If we polled the PSP Fanboy community, it will be more likely that we'll have users of custom firmware -- but will a casual player even know about homebrew? Most likely not. The one thing we can say, however, is that custom firmware is becoming increasingly popular. A look at dark-alex.org's alexa stats reveals the incredible growing demand for custom firmware.

Continue reading Ask PSP Fanboy: Volume 19

3.40OE-A custom firmware released

So soon? Less than two days since the arrival of Sony's latest firmware upgrade, Dark_Alex has released a new custom firmware for homebrew users. 3.40OE-A brings the functionality of Sony's official release and opens it to the world of homebrew. Users must already have a homebrew-ready system to install 3.40OE-A. (PSP systems with new firmware, such as 3.00, will not be able to switch.)

Some improvements include a crucial patch that resolves a memory writing bug that has been plaguing recent releases of Dark_Alex's custom firmware. The potential for bricking has also been reduced. Download the latest update from Dark_Alex's website.

[Via DCEmu]

Custom firmware 3.30 OE-A now available

Homebrew users are celebrating today: custom firmware 3.30 OE-A is now available to the masses. As predicted, there are no major upgrades to be found in the latest revision of Dark_Alex's custom firmware. Those with homebrew-capable PSP systems will be able to install 3.30 OE-A, which enables both homebrew and legal PSP games to play on one machine.

Interested individuals can go to PSP Gen to download the upgrade file.

3.30 OE won't have new functionality; reprogramming necessary

Dark_Alex was debating whether or not to release an OE firmware with or without additional functionality. It looks like he chose the latter. Previous versions of Dark_Alex's homebrew-enabling firmware allowed users to watch full-resolution movies, remove region-encoding, and overclock their systems. The upcoming OE version of 3.30 will not feature any additional upgrades, because it appears that a major reprogramming is necessary for the increasingly unstable code. PSP Spot translates a forum post by the coder:

"3.30 OE at first will not have any innovation except the fact of being 3.30. It will take time due to problems with the hardware. Right now the priority for the future is to radically change the core of OE, to eliminate the instability of the programming (that is especially evident in 3.10) and to gain some more space for the ram. But this probably will take several versions before it is finishing, due to the complexness of the process."

While homebrew users wait for the "next big thing," will Sony be able to provide a truly worthwhile feature in their upcoming official releases? Free wi-fi was just one step in this continuous battle between Sony and the homebrew community.

[Via PSP-Vault]

[Update: DCEmu reports that Dark_Alex may have broken his PSP. Whoops--he's purchased a new one and is going to continue working soon.]

To release 3.30 OE or not to release 3.30 OE

Ever since firmware 3.30 was decrypted, many fans have been wondering: when will a new version of Dark_Alex's custom OE firmware come out? OE firmware typically contains all of the functionality of Sony's official firmware, but with a few additional perks. Obviously, the ability to run homebrew is a must. However, previous renditions of the OE firmware have included the ability to play full-resolution video and play ISO files (regardless of legality).
3.30 OE may not be as fully-featured as previous editions of the custom firmware. It appears that if Dark_Alex's team prepares the OE within the next 72 hours, it will be void of any extra functionality. Working on a more fully featured release will take a longer time--but the team notes that they are running the risk of running out of internal flash memory if the firmware becomes too large.

So, the homebrew coders are asking: to release 3.30 OE or not to release 3.30 OE? Some may want it now, but others may want a better version in time. We believe that, because 3.30 isn't supported by any retail games yet, that the team take their time to make a stronger, more feature-loaded firmware.

[Via DCEmu]

Dark_Alex working on 3.30 OE [Update 1]

DCEmu is reporting that Dark_Alex already has a custom firmware version of 3.30 in the works. He's only just begun to decrypt the newest Sony firmware, but seems to think that it will be an easy nut to crack. Dark_Alex seems to think we won't have to wait long for a new custom firmware. This is good news for me and other PSP owners who currently run custom firmware. Let's just hope it comes out before the next big title that requires 3.30 firmware.

[Update 1: Fixed firmware list errors]

BBC talks to famed homebrewers Fanjita and Dark_Alex

The BBC has a truly fascinating read on the world of PSP homebrew. They managed to find Fanjita and Dark_Alex to get them to comment on homebrew, and how it relates to piracy. "My aim is to enable as many people as possible to run homebrew programs," said Fanjita, aka David Court. The 34 year old professional programmer believes that homebrew isn't illegal: "Everyone has the right to do what they want with their own hardware. Piracy does upset me, and because what we are doing opens the way to piracy it's harder to justify it morally. But our stance on piracy is clear, and we hope to be role models. Sony have never been in touch with me, so I am confident that what we are doing is legal."

Dark_Alex, a student from Spain, shares a similar sentiment. "I think it is up to users to make the correct decisions about how to use my software," he said. "I believe in the presumption of innocence, unlike the media companies."

Read more about these two famed hackers in the complete BBC report.

[Via DCEmu]

Play Ratchet on custom firmware

Like many PSP owners, I like the added functionality of Dark_Alex's custom firmware. What I didn't like though was how Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters didn't work on my PSP because of it. Luckily, the fine folks at DCEmu have come up with a solution. Let me run you through it step by step, so you too can get Ratchet swinging his wrench on your custom firmware.

  • First, totally turn off your PSP (not sleep mode)
  • Now, hold down the right trigger and turn it back on
  • This will bring you to recovery menu where you can change several options
  • Configuration: Game folder homebrew (currently:3.XX Kernal), Use NO-UMD (currently:disabled), Fake region (currently: America), Free UMD region (currently:enabled)
  • Advanced configuration: Plain modules in UMD/ISO (currently:enabled)
  • CPU Speed: Speed in UMD/ISO (currently:266)
  • Plugins: All disabled

And that should do it. Now you can play the greatness that is Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters. Thanks again for the great fix DCEmu community!

Use Network Update to upgrade your homebrew

This is quite a novel idea. Dark_Alex has been following Sony every step of the way, releasing a new version of his Open Edition firmware almost immediately after Sony releases their official update. Now, homebrew users have a pretty ingenious way of finding out if there's a new version of Dark_Alex's homebrew-enabled firmware: use Network Update! Long considered vile by homebrew users, Xandu and Team 280 have created a plugin that allows you to use PSP's firmware checker to download Dark_Alex's latest. Ironic, no?

Check out installation details at DCEmu. Of course, be warned: tampering with the BIOS of your system can lead to a brick. Also, the general success rate of this app hasn't been too high: only about 2/3 of users seem to be able to successfully connect to the Updater.

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