08/27/11

PlayBook – Increasing the Sleep Mode past 5 mins and other fine mods.

Hi Everyone,

Ever want to change your sleep time past 5 mins?  Or access settings you normally can’t?  Well, I can show you how to change them!  But do so at your own discretion.  Keep your original backup files!  And play carefully!  You can change your sleep length and other factors beyond the OS limits.

How?

I used to do some strange things to my BlackBerry 8900.  Primarily, I would back it up and use a HexEditor to change settings (maximum password retries for example) to use settings not available to other people (setting it to 255 tries).

This weekend I decided to see what could be done with the PlayBook.  If you want to really access settings you normally cannot access this tutorial may be for you.  With the exploration, came some information new to me.

Accessing your Advanced Data

First, Backup your Playbook (unencrypted) using Desktop Manager 6.

Install WinRAR or another advanced .ZIP utility.

You should have a <filename>.BBB file as your backup.  Rename it to .ZIP (lots of companies seem to do this).

Unzip the file.

You should now see the following files:

Archive/settings.tar

Manifest.xml

PkgInfo

unzip the settings.tar too!

Now you have tons of files.  All of these files are in plain text XML format.  Don’t use Windows Notepad to edit them, use something like EditPad Lite.

When you are done, packup your settings.tar again from the settings subfolder.

Tip:  You need to actually be in the settings folder and zipping from in there

Now, repackage the entire package and rename it to a different .BBB than you used originally.  The original is now your ‘safety’ backup, this one is your ‘hacked’ one.

Using the Changes

Reload the backup onto your PlayBook.

Risks:

BlackBerry occasionally catches on to these things and resets your values or hard-limits them.  So if you set your sleep mode to 99 years, its probably going to default back to 300 seconds.

Cool Files to Edit

Archive/settings/var/etc/netsecure

This folder contains all your wifi, vpn and tethering information including certificates.

Archive/settings/pps/services/power

This contains your sleep mode settings.

What do we know of the file structure now?

/var/etc/*

(Looks like some options and settings)

/var/certmgr/*

/var/keymgr/*

/accounts/1000/sys/*

(Looks like application data)

/pps/sevices/*

(Looks like some options and settings)

/pps/settings/*

Here you will find your book marks etc.

Folders per the XML files

In short, think of them as a Unix style file system with the username effectively being 1000.

Security Risks

I can see why encrypting these backups is important.  I can pull a users username, email address, VPN information, wifi connection information, VPN certificates, etc all from using the methods above

I hope this helps you find fund things to do to your PlayBook!  I suspect this may hep with loading information into your PlayBook into areas you might normally not be able to access.

 

~Lloyd (506)

08/21/11

HP Touchpad Fire Sale nearing its End…

As the HP fire sale comes to a close, it is interesting to see the results.  HP announced a sale running from August 20 to 22nd, selling the HP Touchpad for 99$ (16gb) and 150$ (16gb) respectively.

One heck of a deal.  As a side effect, stores everywhere sold out in a matter of minutes.  eBay and Kijiji were flooded with people looking to sell the tablets back to the public for 200-300$.

From an outside perspective, this could be a brilliant marketing ploy for the public.  And although HP has announced webOS as discontinued for tablets its possible this could be a way to revamp it.  Afterall, the discontuation was recent and can easily be changed.

However, as BestBuy, Staples and other stores have announced a surplus of 400,000 tablets – you might wonder how they can sell out in minutes?  Well, easy!  They aren’t selling the tablets to the public, they are returning them to HP.

Interestingly HP is offering to buy-back the tablets at full value.  Reducing the profit margin for large business by allowing them to sell the tablets so cheap.  And the companies are cashing in!

There are still some problems to mention!  Namely, HP’s website for Canada shows the 99$ and 149$ prices on their banner.  However, following the links through still lead to the full price of the product.  It would be nice to notify HP, if they bothered to listen to the public on the weekend.  Some people are banking on this and buying the tablets at full price, hoping to negotiate for a refund on Monday.  However this is a risky gamble.

So, what are some ways you can get one?

- Buy online, in a small town you have no access to for pick up.  When the fire sale ends, have your purchase transfered to a local location.

- Seek small mom & pop businesses that are selling the Tablets.

- Expand your range.

- Purchase direct from HP and negotiate the price later.

Some other rumours abound from BestBuy and FutureShop staff that contrary to HP’s messaging the 99$ discount will be permanent.  However this is far from verified.  Purchase at your own risk, but if you can cash in on the deal — do it! If nothing else, it is a great deal for a 16GB MP3 player with video and full web browsing capabilities.

Did you buy a 99$ unit and need an idea of what to do with it?  Mount it in your kitchen and use it for recipes and youtube while cooking!  Or use it to replace a document reader.  Either way, even if you buy in at the eBay price of 200$, the 16GB multi use device is certainly worth the deal.  Especially considering the web browsing itself is phenomenal.

It is still debatable what the long term impact will be of this decsion.  However it is rumoured that HP spent 100,000,000$ on the discount for the units.  This is a lot of money, but could be small potatoes if you consider the impact.  If they decide to revive the WebOS tablet and development community, it may have a surprising turn of events!  After all, the online electronic community just bought up all excess tablets and demand went through the roof!  Thats the same group that develops applications for other platforms.  By getting them tablets, you get their buy-in to your product.

Could the HP Touchpad become the next Dreamcast?  Only time will tell for sure!  But I wouldn’t count them out yet.  They are certainly thinking outside the box, and its nice to see a company rewarding the public for once.  That is, unless you bought a tablet at the 599$ price point.

~Lloyd (4920)

08/16/11

Minecraft Pocket Edition Released for Mobile Phones

Minecraft Pocket Edition Released for Mobile Phones

Thats right!  Minecraft has finally been released for mobile phones.  Specifically:  The Xperia PLAY.  The application is available in the Android store for ~7$ CAN, and the Xperia Play Android phones are running about 400$ CAN (eBay pricing).

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.mojang.minecraftpe

The good news, is that Mojang is moving it to all Android devices in one months time with an iOS build in the works.  That takes care of the Android tablets and iPad.  The pressure is now on RIM for the Playbook to add their Android emulator soon if their users want access to Minecraft.  This only raises the question of HP tablet owners and tablet owners from other manufacturers.

The only down side I can foresee to Minecraft Portable is the removal of enemies.  The intention is for a more portable game play style.

An alternative for full Minecraft support on a Tablet is to purchase an Acer Inspire tablet (~399$) which runs Windows 7 32bit with 16GB of disk space.  It has a 5 hour battery life.

Well, regardless, way to go Mojang, this app has great selling potential on any platform.

~Lloyd (547)