Category Archives: misc

howto hack your kindle to run Zork! (and change screensavers)

I recently bought a shiny new amazon Kindle 3. Whilst originally wary of e-readers (“it’s a poor man’s ipad!” scoffed several friends) I have become a complete convert to the truly wonderful e-ink display. PDF support so far has been great, and I am mostly using it for reading technical books whilst at work, and on the toilet – I have all the oracle university books I need, as well as a load of IBM redbooks related to stuff I’m working on like Websphere and AIX.

Anyway, the device has a major flaw in my opinion, and that is some truly ugly “screensaver” images. They are of classic authors, which is fair enough if you like that sort of thing, but I don’t. I’m a geek. I’ve read a couple of orwell books and one dickens. I have no interest in Jane Austin or Virginia Woolf. none…

So when I couldnt find out how to customize the screensaver by fiddling with the device, i turned to Google (as you do) and this is where I learned that to be able to change these images, you had to jailbreak the device!

This is a really simple process, just a matter of copying a few files to the device, updating the firmware, and rebooting a couple of times. As a geek, I’m still frustrated by the way manufacturers try and lock you into only being able to do what THEY want with their kit… beit the iphone (or any apple idevice for that matter) the PS3, and now the kindle. argh! not everyone who wants to hack their devices wants to specifically load it full of illegal or questionable content. some of us just want to be able to do MORE with the device (I recently also bought an appletv2 in the hope that a well-built, tiny, economic media device will be able to do more than advertised – thanks to greenpo1son and limera1n, it is looking like that is possible. but more on that in another post once something useful happens)

I found out today that jailbreaking the device also lets you add some really cool stuff, like the ZORK text adventure! seriously… build this functionality into the devices, and you will open it up to a world of geeks like me who just buy things to be able to do cool stuff on it, you’ll sell more devices, and everyone ends up happy.

ok, so to jailbreak the device and be able to change the screensaver, check out the guide at

(takes 5 minutes, and as long as you are comfortable copying a file to the usb storage on the kindle, anyone can do it)

and to install zork and a plethora of other infocom games, follow this guide – – again, it is just a matter of copying a few files to the device, doing a “firmware update” and rebooting. once completed, you have a new “book” on your device, that then lets you load zork or any of the other games.

brilliant. more of this please. and hopefully soon, i’ll be making another post on how to fully unlock the potential of the new appletv so you can run movies off your NAS device without being tied to the atrocity that is itunes (as a linux desktop user, i dont even have the option of running itunes FFS!)

#bringbackAIRHEAD – SPIKE Peel session tracks

After the demise of the mighty AIRHEAD back in the early 90’s, Michael and Sam (vocals and drums respectively) went off and formed a band called SPIKE. they did a Peel Session in 1994 for the much-missed Johm Peel on radio 1. But it wasnt until a couple of years ago that Marc Riley played three of the four tracks on his BBC 6music show (I was the one who requested them!)

Anyway, here they are in all their glory. all three tracks were recorded directly to PC via a Psion Wavefinder USB DAB receiver. they were originally saved in mp2 format, but i have cut the tracks down to just the intro talk and the songs and converted to mp3.

Please don’t directly link to the mp3 files, link to this post instead. That way, if they end up moving somewhere, the links will be up to date. Also, it will help other people find the songs when searching google for them if places link back to here. If you are a member of the band, or own the copyright to these long lost songs, and you dont want them up here (or want credit/etc), please get in touch via the comments section

Spike (ex. AIRHEAD) – Peel Session

Track 1 – Obsession
Track 3 – Play Away
Track 4 – Like You Do

(links updated feb 2018)

03/10/1994 – Spike

  • TX – 05/11/1994
  • Producer – Mike Robinson
  • Engineer – Lisa Softley
  • Studio – Maida Vale 4
  • Obsession
  • Love & War
  • Play Away
  • Like You Do
  • Michael Wallis (Lead vocals, Guitar)
  • Doug Hollands (Lead guitar)
  • Jason Hobart (Bass)
  • Sam Kesteven (Drums)

make sure you check AIRHEAD ONLINE for more info on the band, and the campaign to get them to re-release BOING!
There is also a twitter campaign to get the band to reform for a gig or two. Iain Lee is behind us, let’s see if we get anywhere. the hashtag you want to be looking for is #bringbackairhead

HOWTO get your Psion Wavefinder USB DAB radio working on your ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) linux PC

HOWTO get your Psion Wavefinder USB DAB radio working on your ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) linux PC

sick of keeping a win2k pc just so you can use your trusty old Psion Wavefinder USB DAB radio? (or simply stopped using it, as it wouldnt work with XPsp2+)
get it up and running on a linux box…. as I am running ubuntu on both my home pc and my work pc, it just made sense instead of having an old pc stuck under my desk getting in the way. the software is still in its very early stages, but it is working quite nicely from a command prompt. heres how I did it….

(if you dont already have them)

install GCC (compiler)
sudo apt-get install gcc

install linux-kernel-headers
sudo apt-get install linux-kernel-headers

download and install FFTW
go to:  – i used 3.1.2 –
extract the files somewhere, then using a terminal window (cd to the extracted files folder) and type “./configure
this will configure FFTW. once done type “make” which will compile the code. Then finally, “make install” to install FFTW on your system.

next up, grab mpg123.
sudo apt-get install mpg123

Now you need to get the opendab code and compile it.
go to: (at some point, this project will be available to download form sourceforge)-
and join the group. once joined, you will have access to the files area –
download and extract the files to a folder somewhere.

cd into the extracted files folder and compile the executable

cd ~/Desktop/OpenDAB
make clean

cd to the “driver” directory, and type “sudo /sbin/insmod wavefinder.ko

sudo cp wavefinder.ko /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/misc <–2.6.24-19 changes depending on what kernel you are on
sudo cp driver/60-wavefinder.rules /etc/udev/wavefinder.rules
sudo ln -s /etc/udev/wavefinder.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/60-wavefinder.rules
sudo depmod

Copy “rsDSPa.bin” and “rsDSPb.bin” from the windows software for the WaveFinder (c:program filespsionwavefinder) to the src directory

./wf | mpg123 -q –

this should list the channels found. if you just get one option “0” from it, you will probably need to recompile using the following:

pico Makefile
edit the following line from
CFLAGS= -ansi -g -Wall -O3
CFLAGS= -ansi -g -Wall -O
(ie remove the 3 from the end)

save and “make” again
./wf | mpg123 -q –

It should now list the channels. select one, and a couple of seconds later you should have a fully functioning wavefinder!

As I said, it is still in early stages, but the hard work is done… it WORKS! now it just needs features adding and a shiny GUI

the telephone voting pubic are IDIOTS!

just watched the “eurovision: your decision” (ie “you vote, so its your fault if we lose again”) show with el tel. there were some great songs this year, but the televizzle-watching public voted in their hundreds for the malteserhead (who admittedly had a very good song, just not very eurovisiontastic!) instead of the WONDERFUL michelle gayle.

wtf were they thinking? yet again theyve gone for the bland, middle of the road song instead of thinking a little bit about it and going for the one that EVERYONE, NO MATTER WHAT NATIONALITY could sing along to.

Eurovision isnt about meaningful lyrics and “local lad done good” singers, its about mentalists with annoyingly catchy songs. why the hell would estonia want to give big points to some roachford type guy singing hot chocolate/edwin starr songs with loads of words in.

words. i guess thats what it all boils down to. eurovision needs less words.

me? i think i’ll be voting for the fucking turkey at this rate. at least its original.

in other news, it’s popnight NEXT SATURDAY (8th march. 10pm-3am) – come join us, its gonna be big!

mmmha! setlist – feb 2008

well, last night was a weird one. the laptop crashed twice. the first time was near the start and there were only a few people in, but the second time was halfway through the night. after spending the last 4 hours doing some digging and learning how to use the MS windows debugging tool to look at the minidumps (which also shows that the last time the laptop bluescreened on me was over two years ago when i was messing with a usb stick (my own fault))

turns out is was w70n51.sys that caused the laptop to randomly blue-screen on me twice. it’s the intel wireless driver which was from 2003! (i guess some recent XP update caused my trusty dell inspiron 8600 to go boom!) – i’ve now updated the driver (to one from 2005) in the hope this fixes it. but for the next few gigs i shall be taking an emergency CD player or mp3 player or something as backup. i guess thats what happens when you get complacent and trust technology! ho hum.

anyway, heres what got played. i hope everyone had a great night, and i’m sorr about the crash. blame microsoft!

9th february 2008

4 hero – les fleur
eels – your lucky day in hell
siouxsie sioux – here comes that day (feelance hellraiser mix)
basement jaxx – make me sweat
utah saints – something good (2008 van she tech mix)
robyn – konichiwa bitches
sonny J – cant stop movin
junior senior – move your feet
the jackson 5 – ABC
frankie valli and the four seasons – beggin (pilooski edit)
braund reynolds – rocket
electric 6 – danger! high voltage
hot chip – ready for the floor
gnarls barkley – run
gorillaz – feel good inc
basement jaxx – red alert
groove armada – if everybody looked the same
fatoy slim – its a wonderful night
the chemical brothers – the salmon dance
groove armada ft mutya – out of control (song 4 mutya)
ll cool j ft j-lo – control myself
kelis – millionaire
beyonce ft slim thug – ch ch check on it
kelly rowland – work (freemasons radio edit)
black eyed peas – pump it
spank rock – top billin from far left
grandmaster flash – apache
outkast – hey ya
kanye west – gold digger
jurassic 5- concrete schoolyard
eve- tamborine
rihanna- dont stop the muisc
Britney spears – piece of me
Amerie – 1 thing
justin timberlake- sexyback
nelly furtado – maneater


rogue traders – voodoo child
amy winehouse – rehab
dolly parton – 9 to 5
take that – shine
ELO – mr blue sky
backstreet boys – everybody
5ive – keep on movin
shampoo – trouble
beastie boys – you gotta fight for your right (to party)
spice girls – stop
s club 7 – bring it on back
rachel stevens – i said never again but here we
ace of base – always have always will
girls aloud – biology
sugababes – about you now
lindsay lohan – i want you to want me
rhymefest ft ODB – build me up
the cartoons – witch doctor
vengaboys – boom boom boom boom
aqua – dr jones
alice deejay – better off alone
db boulevard – point of view
KLF – justified and ancient
lil chris – checkin it out
andrew wk – party hard
rage against the machine – killing in the name (sebastian late night laptop edit)
soulwax/skeelo/breeders – i wish/cannonbal/wyw of the tiger
eminem – just lose it
kriss kross – jump
house of pain – jump
prodigy/pendulum – voodoo people
arctic monkeys – sungoesdown (fakeid mix)
pendulum – granite
missy elliott – get ur freak on
wu tang clan – gravel pit
dead prez – hip hop
MOP – ante up
adam F – smash sumthin
N.E.R.D- Lapdance(NIN remix)
NWA – express youself (remix)
onyx – slam
pendulum – slam
dizzee rascal – fix up look sharp
lethal bizzle – police on my back
britney spears – do something
jay z – 99 problems
shatner – common people
alan hawkshaw – grange hill