MavEtJu's Distorted View of the World - 2010-06

The FreeBSD Project app
Jailbreak, yes or no?

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The FreeBSD Project app

Posted on 2010-06-09 18:00:00
Tags: iPhone, FreeBSD

When exploring the features of the iPhone SDK, one of the things which you can't go around is the "How do I access the Map feature?". Not that I have much to map, I know where I live and that my parents and my/their family lives on the other side of this planet. But there is a different community I still am a member from: That one of the FreeBSD Project!

One of the things that a new committer on the FreeBSD Project does do is to add his name to the astro/xearth port, with the right coordinates so other people know more or less where you live. I feel a map coming up!

But the FreeBSD community is larger than just a map of the committers. There is a Newsflash on the website so you can see what is happening inside the project, there is a list of events related to (Free)BSD on the website, there is of course Planet FreeBSD, an aggregator of the various blogs of people related to the FreeBSD Project and there are videos of conferences on YouTube.

Put all together in a small app which collects all that data and presents it to the person holding the iPhone et voila, the FreeBSD Project app is here.

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Jailbreak, yes or no?

Posted on 2010-06-01 08:00:00
Tags: Apple, iPhone, jailbreak

One of the issues people have with the iPhone is that is a black box fully controlled by Apple. For developers they control access to the API, for end users they control access to the software. If they don't like the software you submit to them (for various reasons, from "It doesn't follow our user interface guidelines" to "It uses an undocumented call in our private API" to "It duplicates features in software we provide"), they will reject the submission and you are stuck with software..

The same people say that Apple should open their iPod/iPhone/iPad like they did in the past with the Apple ][ and although I agree with them, it is not the same Apple. Just like SCO was a respected Unix implementation before it was bought by Caldera who renamed itself into SCO afterwards, Apple today is a harsh business company instead of a hackers group. Same name, different attitude.

So, what can you do about it, if the creator of the hardware wants to bake the cake, cut it and then eat it too? Leave it over to people who are much smarter than me :-)

Jailbreaking is a term based on the way third-party software on the iPhone runs: It runs in a jailed environment, where it can't access anything else except the data it has provided or downloaded itself. That keeps an iPhone safe, because if you can't access something, you can't do any damage there. By breaking the jail, you will be able to access the place where the iPhone installs software and thus install more software. Software which didn't go through the rigorious screening of Apple, software which does do things that Apple doesn't like. Google for "apple iphone jailbreak", it is not that difficult to find and works quiet well.

So, once you have jailbroken your iPhone, what do you get. Access to a different version of the App Store app called Cydia sto start with. Just like the App Store app is the way to install Apple sanctioned software, Cydia is the way to install the free software.

For the rest I have installed so far:

  • Backgrounder: This was the most important reason for me to jailbreak my iPhone. It will give you the opportunity to put a program in the background so that the music you are streaming keeps streaming, the IRC sessions stay active and your IM friend don't see you logging out. Apples has a reason for not enabling it, it will indeed reduce the charge of the battery, but it increase in functionality is worth it!
  • Infiniboard: By default you can have 16 icons, 4 by 4, on a single page. With this app you will be able to add more to them, just scroll down.
  • WiFiFoFum and yFy Network Finder: Network Stumblers. See what is happening in the air around you. Was a blip on the radar ten years ago something to be excited about, these days you only see blips, hundreds between my home and the station.

The iPhone can offer more than Apple is willing to show. Thanks to the hard work of a few individuals, it can be made available.

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