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  • Xbox Forensics – criminal activity on gaming consoles

    Posted on April 30th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    For you hacker types, Information Security types, or just geeky gamer types (I fall into all three categories), check out this repost from http://www.eurekalert.org on forensics work for Xbox. One thing to note, this was originally developed for the origianl Xbox. The thing I don’t have answer too yet, is “Is this updated for the Xbox 360?”

    Report from http://www.eurekalert.org:

    Toolkit reveals criminal activity on gaming consoles

    A forensics toolkit for the Xbox gaming console is described by US researchers in the latest issue of the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics. The toolkit could allow law enforcement agencies to scour the inbuilt hard disk of such devices and find illicit hidden materials easily.

    Computer scientist David Collins has probably spent more time messing around with the Microsoft XBox, other gaming consoles, and PDAs in the name of forensic science than anyone else. He is a digital forensics expert at Sam Houston State University, and is working hard to replicate “mods” – both hardware and software for the Xbox and other devices.

    Criminals often hide illicit data on the XBox in the hope that a gaming console will not be seen as a likely evidence target especially when conventional personal computers are present in the same premises, for instance. The toolkit developed by Collins will allow police and other investigators the chance to lay bare the contents of XBox hard disks.

    Cell phones, smart phones, PDAs, game consoles and other devices provide a convenient means to store data of all kinds, including images, video, audio and text files. But they also provide a simple way for criminals to possess and hide illegal material too.

    Collins’ XFT utility can mount an image of the FATX file system used by the XBox, allowing the user to explore in detail the directory structure. Collins points out that unlike the standard FAT32, NTFS, and similar systems used by the hard disks in personal computers, there is little documentation on the proprietary FATX system. However, it is possible nevertheless to acquire an image of a FATX hard disk and to mount it on another device.

    “Once the Xbox file system is mounted, the analyst can use shell commands to browse the directory tree, open files, view files in hex editor mode, list the contents of the current directory in short or long mode and expand the current directory to list all associated subdirectories and files,” explains Collins.

    Importantly, from the legal perspective, XFT can also record such investigative sessions for playback in a court of law, which protects the defendant from falsified as well as providing more solid evidence for the prosecution.

    Collins explains how future work on XFT will involve making the toolkit into a fully functional forensic operating system (OS). This OS will be packaged as both a bootable operating system from a hard disk and a “live” bootable compact disk. “This implementation will be open source, verbosely commented and designed from the ground up as a forensic OS,” says Collins, “This will remove any and all proprietary operating system dependencies, making the forensic process as transparent as possible.”

  • Slash on American Idol Rock Week

    Posted on April 30th, 2009 Shawn 2 comments

    Repost from http://multiplythemeslayouts.com:
    [UPDATE: Link to source added.]

    Slash, [former] guitarist of rock band Guns n Roses will be rockin for American Idol on May 5 2009. The theme for 5/5/09 show of American Idol is Rock and Roll. Yup! Slash of Guns n Roses has been asked to mentor the Idol contestants during Rock Week.

    So guys, mark it as early as now so you won’t miss Slash of Guns n Roses next week on American Idol season 8. Now I wonder who among the top 4 finalist will sing Sweet Child O’Mine? This going to be one exciting rock and roll night hehe.

  • Time to Bury the MyGGGo Forums?

    Posted on April 30th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    I started the idea of forums on our little site, a couple months back, in order to allow the community to have voice. It has not got past the “beta” stage, due to my lack of time. I want to spend more time building out the forums and integrating to the blogs, but not sure there is demand. Other than my own posts and some spam posts, there’s been no activity over there.

    I have over 160 users subscribed to the forums, but let’s be honest…I think all accounts (except mine) are spam accounts.

    So, unless there is any compelling reason from our readers, we will bury the forums for now (and maybe resurrect them at a later date). Don’t worry, the blog, news, music, and store will still be as alive and active as ever.

    Speak now if you care about the forums, or say your final words before I bury ’em.

  • Guitar Hero Free Chimaira Download, May 7

    Posted on April 27th, 2009 Shawn No comments


    I just stumbled on this from Twitter. Free DLC sounds good to me. This will be my first piece of DLC for GH:WT.

  • Guitar Hero: Van Halen is a Reality

    Posted on April 24th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Give me a break! Another freakin’ single artist music game, likely built on the same crappy engine as Guitar Hero: World Tour.

    Based on the image below (up on GameStop for a while, then pulled), we will be getting the Van Halen installment in August.

    From what I have experienced with GHWT and GH: Metallica:
    * No song importing, so you have to swap discs to play music from other installments.
    * A single list of songs and no DLC planned (GHWT excluded).
    * Poor drum charting and rapid failures.

    I’ll tell you now, before even seeing the charts, or pricing….PASS!

    Oh, and I’m a HUGE Van Halen fan. Diver Down, Women and Children First, VH I and II, are all amazing classics.  David Lee is my singer of choice (although it’s embarrassing to watch the video above), but also liked the Sammy stuff.

  • Rock Band is getting Jane’s Addiction

    Posted on April 24th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Rock Band DLC UpdateWe’ve mostly known that Jane’s Addiction’s full album “Nothing’s Shocking” (minus Mountain Song on disc for Rock Band 2) would be out for DLC sometime this year.  Well folks, it will be ready for us next week.  Are you stoked, just like HMXSean is?

    For me, I’ve always appreciated Jane’s but never really got into them. So, thank goodness, I will save 1280 MS Points next week by passing on this one.

    Hey, Wii owners, good news.  You get it too!

    Here’s the post from the Rock Band forums:

    Default DLC Week of 4/28 – Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking

    Hey everybody!

    I am very pleased to announce that next week’s DLC offering is the Jane’s Addiction album Nothing’s Shocking for all three consoles.

    Next week’s Rock Band Music Store lineup will feature ten tracks from Nothing’s Shocking with “Mountain Song” from Nothing’s Shocking already featured on the Rock Band 2 soundtrack. The DLC album includes the following tracks:

    Tracks:

    “Up the Beach”
    “Ocean Size”
    “Had a Dad”
    “Ted, Just Admit It…”
    “Standing in the Shower… Thinking”
    “Summertime Rolls”
    “Idiots Rule”
    “Jane Says”
    “Thank You Boys”
    “Pig’s in Zen”

    (All tracks are original master recordings)

    The tracks will be available for purchase as an album or as individual tracks for Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 system. The tracks will be available for purchase as individual tracks only for Wii.

    Release Date:
    Tuesday, April 28, 2009
    (Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360® and in-game Rock Band 2 Music Store for Wii)
    Thursday, April 30, 2009
    (PlayStation®Store)

    Price:
    $1.99 or 160 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360 per track
    $2.00 or 200 Wii Points for Wii per track
    $15.99 (1280Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) for Nothing’s Shocking album

    Locations:
    Xbox LIVE Marketplace for the Xbox 360
    PlayStation®Network
    In-game Rock Band 2 Music Store for Wii

  • Initial Thoughts of AT&T versus Verizon Wireless

    Posted on April 23rd, 2009 Shawn 3 comments

    Welcome to part two of a multi-part romance novel (not exactly) of a man, and quest for the ultimate device and network.

    Part 1 – Last Days on Verizon Wireless
    Part 2 – First Days on AT&T
    Part 3 – BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    I’ve been rockin’ the BlackBerry Bold 9000 on AT&T for a few weeks, so it’s time to publish part two of this series. If you need to catch up, read part one.

    I’m going to focus solely on the network here.  I won’t be comparing Bold versus Storm (that will be in an upcoming post). I will not be talking BlackBerry versus Treo (that will also be in an upcoming post).  For this, we talk Verizon Wireless versus AT&T.

    This is not my first dance with AT&T, but it has been about 6 years since I was on their network.  Plus back then, they were called Cingular and Cellular One before that. 3G didn’t exist back then. Hell, 2G didn’t exist (as far as I know). Smartphones were only for mobile technology uber-geeks, which I wasn’t one at the time. I had the most plain Jane Nokia phone. Monochrome screen, no texting, analog and digital capabilities, no vibrate mode (but I did buy a 3rd party battery that had a vibrate feature, and it made the phone sound like a quacking duck when it rang).

    I left Cingular because they screwed me on a billing issue, which went to a collection agency.  At the time, I was in the process of getting qualified for a home mortgage and Cingular’s collection agency (a 3rd party company) threatened if I did not pay a late fee that it would effect my credit rating. So, I negotiated a payment and promptly cut all ties with Cingular.

    Still in 2003, after researching the other available networks in my area, Sprint didn’t make the cut, and Verizon Wireless won my business. Up until May 2009, Verizon has been my carrier.  So, why the switch?
    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    A couple reasons made my decision. (1) Choice of devices. (2) Voice/data coverage in primary locations. (3) WiFi.

    Choice of Devices
    As a work mandate, if I want work email on the device, I have to use BlackBerry devices. My employer has determined the most recent available BlackBerry device on Verizon (BlackBerry Storm 9530) is not a viable option. That leaves us with older BlackBerry devices that have older operating systems (BBOS 4.5) and lower screen resolutions. For AT&T, they have one of the three available “next generation” BlackBerry’s, the Bold 9000. It has a newer operating system (BBOS 4.6), higher screen resolution, and other features. AT&T wins on the “newness” factor for devices, since the Storm was ruled out by my employer.

    Voice/data coverage in primary locations
    We all know the commercials for Verizon Wireless, about “the network”.  Well, sorry to say, I get little to no coverage at home with Verizon Wireless. The coverage is so bad that I never take a call on my mobile at home, knowing that it will end in a dropped call. Other primary business areas near me (Waltham, MA) have very poor coverage also. I switched to AT&T blindly, without knowing what coverage I would get. Boy, oh boy, I was pleasantly surprised. Voice/data quality at home is excellent. I commonly get 3G signal strengths, and have not dropped a single call in the three weeks I’ve been on AT&T. AT&T wins in my area. NOTE: The network all depends on where you are at.  Verizon has a great network, just not enough coverage where I need them.

    UPDATE: I completely forgot about the capability difference between the two different networks. Without going into the technical details, Verizon Wireless’ network is setup to allow voice or data. There is no simultaneous capability on Verizon to let you talk on a call and use data (internet) at the same time.  For AT&T’s 3G network, you have simultaneous voice and data capabilities. This was not a must have feature for me, but the cool thing is the ability to be on a call, while the integrated GPS is running Garmin software and updating maps over the AT&T data plan. In another scenario, I can be on a call trying to make plans for dinner, and use the web browser to locate directions to a restaurant.  This can’t be done on Verizon’s network.

    WiFi
    This area AT&T wins without any discussion. AT&T has been very open to devices with built-in WiFi for several years. Whereas Verizon has been slow to adopt WiFi. Verizon has only a few devices with WiFi, and none are BlackBerry. No WiFi on the Storm, and none on the next BlackBerry coming to Verizon sometime in the next couple months. The BlackBerry Bold for AT&T has WiFi built in. AT&T wins on the WiFi front.

    Wrap Up
    To sum up this part, I’m very happy with the AT&T network thus far. I previously had been lulled into beleiving Verizon was the only company with great network coverage, and that AT&T had poor coverage. Please keep in mind, your mileage may vary where you are located. My AT&T coverage is so impressive, that my wife will be dropping her Verizon plan when her contract is up in a few months and will sign up with AT&T.

    As far as customer service goes, I loved Verizon’s web site. I would use it regularly to keep track of my acocunt and pay bills. I very rarely call customer service for help, but Verizon’s customer service was hit or miss. They took care of me a few years ago when I had an accidental $700 monthly bill, but they were unable to help me with technical questions on the BlackBerry Storm. They also put up a brick wall, when I tried to transfer my Storm to my wife’s account (without a data plan). As for AT&T’s customer service, I do not plan on using it at all, since my employer will now handle all my BlackBerry/AT&T customer service needs.

    That’s it for now. Check back next time where I will focus on the comparison of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus BlackBerry Storm 9530.

  • Maybe Too Soon

    Posted on April 22nd, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    Comic from Penny Arcade:

    I have no comment, but since I stumbled on this, figured I’d share.

  • Buy Digital Xbox LIVE Points and Get Credit Towards a Future Xbox LIVE Purchase

    Posted on April 22nd, 2009 Shawn No comments


    Buy a digital 4000 Xbox LIVE points card before May 1, 2009 and you’ll receive a $10 promotional credit to use in the Xbox LIVE Store. You can never have too many points, but if this one time 4000 points are too many, then pick up a digital 1600 points card and you’ll receive a $5 promotional credit to use in the Xbox LIVE Store.

    Limit one credit per household. Offer valid from 12:00 AM Pacific Time on 04/22/09 to 11:59 PM Pacific Time on 05/02/09. This offer may not be combined with other offers or promotional certificates. Purchase one of the qualifying digital products from the list below and within two business days you will receive an e-mail letting you know that a discount has been applied to your account, and you can return and use your credit in the Xbox LIVE Store.

  • Does Rock Band Jump the Shark with Lego Rock Band?

    Posted on April 21st, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    We all know that Fonzie jumping a shark on his motorcycle water skis was the show Happy Days attempting to keep an audience, but had no more ink left in their writers pens.

    Today, the official announcement came that Harmonix is teaming up with TT Games to add Rock Band to the Lego game franchise. Yes, Lego characters playing real rock music.

    So, basically I guess it’s a dumbed down graphic version of Rock Band. Hmm, so that’s like Rock Band 3 with sh!tty graphics?  I picture it like characters from Wii Sports playing Rock Band. The official Harmonix announcement is here: http://bit.ly/kVEGh

    I’ve said it before about Rock Band and Guitar Hero. DLC, DLC, DLC. We want more DLC. As far as adding to the engine that runs the Rock Band games, I can think of a couple great improvements, but Lego graphics…not so much. I want multiple vocals, like with the game Lips. Multiple vocals are rumored to be part of The Beatles: Rock Band . Another great feature would be adding in/dropping players mid-set without having to back out to the main menu. There’s not much else needed to perfect Rock Band. What do you think?

    Now, as far as kids are concerned, I’m excited for my 2 year old and 4 year old kids. They will be able to play Rock Band without the provocative characters on screen…which I have realized my kids watch and try to emulate.

    Harmonix could find worse ways to jump the shark. I’m sure I will buy this game, assuming it’s an all new set list. It best be able to import the songs into Rock Band 2.

    Here’s an early list of songs in the Lego game:
    Blur: “Song 2”
    Carl Douglas: “Kung Fu Fighting”
    Europe: “The Final Countdown”
    Good Charlotte: “Boys and Girls”
    Pink: “So What”

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