iPhone Hacked; No Longer Bound to AT&T

George Hotz, along with a team of hackers have come up with a method to break the chains binding the iPhone to AT&T, allowing it to be used with any carrier. The complete method can be found here on George’s blog. It does take some soldering skills and a bit of familiarity with UNIX and modem commands it should be pretty easily accomplished by most techies who have some tinkering under their belts.

Even though I still feel the iPhone is too expensive, and that it is lacking in some basic features, this might just be the thing that gets me to buy one. After all, I love hacking hardware!

I heard an interview with Hots on the way home from work Friday. When asked to respond to internet rumors that former phreaker Steve Jobs was mad at him, he said “I want Steve to call me up. Let’s he and I have a man to man about it.” It was wonderful! If Steve Jobs can’t remember his days hacking the phone system and respect Hots and the team for their accomplishments, he truly has lost touch with what hacking is all about.

Wonderful job guys! Congratulations.

The iPhone is Still Not Quite There

I’m begrudged to admit it, but Vasken is right in his claim that his Blackberry is better than the iPhone… For now at least. Having had the chance to play a little with Casey’s iPhone, I must say that the interface is wonderful. It is slick, intuitive and easy to use, but the device itself is lacking in some of the functionality that I would consider basic in a $600 phone.

Apple proudly boasts that the phone can play You Tube videos, but unfortunately you have to use a special player to do so. You can’t simply use your web browser to play them, which is a shame because it would be much more usable if you could. In fact, the Safari browser that comes with the iPhone does not support Flash media of any kind which certainly limits the user’s browsing experience.

The largest problem for me, however, is the lack of user enabled GPS. The phone has a GPS in it, but it is totally unavailable to applications running on the device. Again, Apple talks a lot about how wonderfully integrated the iPhone is with Google Maps, but its usefulness is greatly diminished because the device can’t tell Google Maps where it is. For me, the biggest advantage to having an enabled GPS would be for GeoBlogging, but just imagine how well it could work as a navigation tool if GPS was properly integrated. It would totally replace need for TomTom and other in-car navigational aids.

I think the iPhone is a good product, and I do believe that it will become the best phone / PDA / iPod / GPS on the market, but it is just not quite there yet. The product feels slightly immature to me, so I may wait for a few revisions before I pony up the $600 to buy one.

Microsoft Redesigns the Apple iPod

The music is annoyingly reminiscent of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, but this video about what might happen should Microsoft re-design the iPod box is pretty funny. Apple, more than any other company I can think of has mastered the “out of the box experience”, which makes unpacking its products a truly wonderful and unique experience. If this has been a major factor in the company’s recent success is hard to say, but other tech companies like Dell and Microsoft have totally failed to match Apple’s design aesthetics.

Using My New Mac Mini

My new Mac Mini came in yesterday and I just got it all up and running. I had some misgivings about allowing the system to transfer over all my applications and information from the old system, but I went ahead and did it anyhow simply because I seriously doubted I could find all the CD’s for my software. For the most part, the process went smoothly, although I had to do a little cleanup afterwards because a few applications did not work after the migration.

I was also a bit concerned about what kind of performance I would get out of the new Intel processor because many of my applications are older and were compiled on the old PPC chips. This has turned out to be a total non-issue! I got the new Mini fully loaded with a 1.83Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, 2 Gigs of RAM, and a 160 Gig SATA drive, so even the older applications that require the carbon libraries scream right along.

While I would have obviously liked to get the Mac Pro, I am very much enjoying using my new Mini, and feel that I can recommend it fully.

Macintosh Finder Copy to Samba Share Problem

With the last Samba upgrade, we started having problems copying files to our Samba share from the Mac OSX finder.When attempting the copy we received an error reading: “The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items.”

There were no permissions issues, which was substantiated by our unhindered ability to do UNIX copies to the same share, and the smb.conf file had not changed. After searching the groups and finding nothing of use, I set up a test environment with all the same versions and settings, and replicated the error.

Because the Samba share is mounted over NFS on the server, and because the Mac Finder creates that annoying place holder file before actually copying the real file, I suspected that the problem had something to do with file locking. With this in mind, I systematically turned off all Samba locks one by one until I found the ones that worked.

Finder Copy Error

Finder Copy Error

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Samba share point in this environment is mounted over NFS on the server. The error did not occur when the Samba share point was on a filesystem local to the server.

Here is what our share looked like before making the changes:

read only = no
preserve case = yes
short preserve case = yes
csc policy = disable
share modes = no
level2 oplocks = no

Adding either of the two following directives resolved the problem:

locking = no
posix locking = no

Either one would have worked, but we ultimately decided to turn off posix locking because we wanted Samba to continue locking files for Windows connections, but stop locking them over NFS. Below is our share after making the change:

read only = no
preserve case = yes
short preserve case = yes
csc policy = disable
share modes = no
posix locking = no
level2 oplocks = no

The smb.conf man page has the following to say about posix locking:

posix locking
The smbd daemon maintains an database of file locks obtained by SMB clients. The default behavior is to map this internal database to POSIX locks. This means that file locks obtained by SMB clients are consistent with those seen by POSIX compliant applications accessing the files via a non-SMB method (e.g. NFS or local file access). You should never need to disable this parameter.

Default: posix locking = yes

The smb.conf man page has the following to say about locking:

This controls whether or not locking will be performed by the server in response to lock requests from the client.

If locking = no, all lock and unlock requests will appear to succeed and all lock queries will report that the file in question is available for locking.

If locking = yes, real locking will be performed by the server.

This option may be useful for read-only filesystems which may not need locking (such as CDROM drives), although setting this parameter of no is not really recommended even in this case.
Be careful about disabling locking either globally or in a specific service, as lack of locking may result in data corruption. You should never need to set this parameter.

No default

Hopefully this is helpful. If anyone has anything to add, please post a comment.