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Topics - Zera

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I was looking into possibilities with my current mobile phone, and I'm wondering if there are any third-party systems or firmwares that could be flashed to the device. It's a Casio g'zOne Boulder. The phone's default software is very restrictive, and quite limited with multimedia support. The data protocol that allows files to be freely exchanged from the phone to a computer has been purposefully obstructed for whatever reason, so I had to get creative about how I put files on the device. (ended up placing the files on a MicroSD card, which now acts as a middle-man between my computer and the phone) It would be nice to have some operating system that doesn't throw a wall up anytime I try to install software or add multimedia. Actually, I can't install any software at all, since the phone's OS only supports BREW apps. (which have to be signed, and aren't free)

If anyone has experience with this sort of hacking, I would appreciate any insight about what sort of options might be available for my device.

If there's nothing available, I may just get a smart phone in the future.

Miscellaneous / Digressions
« on: July 22, 2010, 07:03:21 am »
I'm not sure if many people would be interested in this, but I thought it might be a curious idea to start a topic about any proverbs, sayings, quotes, etc. you've come up with during the course of your life. These can be related to anything - philosophical, religious, technical, et al. Basically, any sayings you've created for whatever situation or purpose. You can even post excerpts from a journal or diary.

I'll start with some personal philosophy.

Am I sorrowed? Then I am a slave to sorrow. Am I angered? Then I am a slave to anger. If I am either, then my emotions are tethered to the things that elicit these feelings. Peace of mind results from separating the internal self from external occurrences and influences.

I am what I am by nature - nothing more, nothing less. Should I be wrong, then so should nature, itself, be wrong; so should all products of nature be wrong. How, then, can a person accuse another of wrong? He, too - a product of nature - suffers from some intrinsic imperfection.

Truth has no inherent value. To presuppose that a possibility or an outcome is veracious based only on merit of its desirability is to shield oneself from the nature of truth.

Every person is a standard of perfection.

Justice is a sin against the sinner. Agression cannot be surmounted with more agression. Agressive values enslave us, and - as we meditate on those values - drive us toward internal destruction. Reprisal in defense of immediate danger - independent of meditated agression - is the only justifiable use of violence.

To cast aspersions against others of responsibility, (fault) imperfection and wrong is to be a slave to jaundice - jealousy, bitterness, and adversarial values. By nature, no occurrence is any of these things. It is our own value-judgments that influence our observations of these occurrences, and cause us to feel emotional and psychological disturbances. When these value-judgments are abandoned, so then are internal disturbances.

Most of my views on these subjects are based in very apathic interpretations of Stoicism, and the premise that the universe is entirely deterministic. If we lack any agency of free-will and none of our choices are truly our own, then the outcome of our lives has already been determined by some antecedent that set everything into motion. If a person has knowledge that their actions are beyond their direct control, then for them to find this life disturbing, to experience guilt or responsibility for their own actions, or to engage in adversary, is entirely futile.

The logical consequence of awareness of predestination is removal from traditional interpretations of action and consequence. The traditional belief is that consequences are logical to personal choices made as a result of some agency of free-will. This places an unrealistic burden of responsibility upon every person subscribing to this belief. If, by nature, I am inclined to engage in some behavior that is socially unacceptable, then I will be made to suffer some internal conflict as a consequence of that behavior. This is senseless, because my nature cannot be altered.

Throughout my life, I have watched so many suffer internal conflicts over values they were indoctrinated with as children, and mutually exclusive qualities they possessed as a result of their very nature. Some people are able to modify these values in order to continue living their lives, simultaneously remaining true to their own nature; some people become so enslaved by these values that they attempt to modify their nature instead, and inexorably fail. These people are slaves to externals. If only they could realize their own nature, and be true only to themselves, they would find peace in this life. This is a piece of insight I wish I could give to every person.

Other Calculators / Regarding NSpire cracking
« on: July 21, 2010, 11:24:20 pm »
Forgive me if I'm mistaken about the details here, as I don't understand the subject too well; but are people attempting to decrypt keys used by NSpire to circumvent some type of memory protection? If so, I wonder if a cold-boot attack against the system is possible. (or something like it) That is, if the calculator is used in a manner where the system processes this key and stores it in memory, (e.g., a signed application is executed, and provides the appropriate verification key to the system) then perhaps the key can be extracted from memory as it's loaded. This type of attack works against encrypted computer systems, where decryption keys are stored in RAM for some time after the system powers down. This information can be carefully extracted from RAM before it is erased.

Humour and Jokes / Come on, Toshi (NSFW?)
« on: July 20, 2010, 06:49:04 pm »

Gaming Discussion / Funny game glitches, or bizarre effects
« on: July 19, 2010, 04:01:51 pm »

I died laughing at "Door Spasms."

Background info: This is one of the bosses (two, actually) that appear in the game. Originally, it was called the more generic "Twin-Serpent." (to reflect that the boss appears in mirrored instances) Later, I decided to revision some of the item, enemy, spell and ability names used. I thought "Archeowyrm" might sound a bit better, and more archaic. This respectively translates to "Ancient Dragon."

Just for the sake of settling a semantic debate I had with someone else over the issue, what are your thoughts? Does "Archeowyrm" seem at all awkward?

I take a pretty serious interest in things related to data-security, simply because I find the whole subject interesting. I'm always looking into new ways to hide, securely destroy or encrypt data. I was recently playing around with a few new ideas. I'm now satisfied that this method will annihilate data beyond any doubt, with no remote possibility of having it recovered by any means - current or future.

You will need:

 - A data-recovery tool. This guide will reference Piriform's "Recuva."

 - A volume-encryption tool. This guide will reference "TrueCrypt."

 - General knowledge of how to reformat devices.

1.) First, you may either normally delete all the files contained on the device, or securely erase them if you have such a tool at your disposal. Your preference here doesn't matter at this stage of the process. Be sure all hidden files, and other hard-to-find data, are deleted.

2.) Open Recuva. What we're going to do is configure Recuva to securely overwrite data, and then proceed to do this to the entire device. Under Options > Advance, you may specify the behavior of secure overwriting. 1 pass is fine at the moment. Under the Actions tab, be sure that "Deep Scan" is checked. Once you're satisfied with the configuration, select the device and scan it for deleted files. Check all files, right-click any one of them and select "Secure Overwrite Checked." Now that one overwriting pass has been made, it's time to encrypt the device...

Background info: When data is deleted, the system merely places a flag on that data letting the system know that it can be recycled for other files. Data is not, by any means, actually removed from the device. Some techniques can be applied to recover data that has been deleted. Secure overwriting allows you to replace that data with random garbage so that it cannot be recovered. There is still some concern as to how effective this measure is by itself.

This holds true for other types of devices, as well: FlashDrives, memory cards, et al. All recycle data the same way.

3.) Open TrueCrypt. What we're going to do is encrypt the device. I will give a bit of basic info about what this process is, and why it's beneficial, in the paragraph following these instructions. Click Volume > Create New Volume. If the device you want to encrypt is not a system drive, (i.e., it is not the very HD you are using at this very moment) then select "Encrypt a non-system partition / drive." Next > Standard TrueCrypt volume, and select the device from the drop-down list. (or click the "Select Device..." button) Select the entire device, as opposed to a specific partition that might be on the device. Specify any encryption parameters you wish. It generally does not matter for the sake of this exercise. (though, a cascading encryption is recommended) Be sure to specifiy a ridiculous password, having many characters of mixed letters, casings, numbers and punctuation. This is not a password you need to remember, because you will not be decrypting the device. Now, encrypt the device.

Background info: Encryption is a process in which data is converted into what appears to be garbage. This "garbage" can only be understood through the use of a specified password, or key, that instructs the system as to how to translate the data. Without this password, the data can only be seen as garbage. As an analogy, let's imagine that you decided to invent your own language. Every word in this language indeed has a meaning, but because you invented new ways to represent these meanings, only you can understand it. If you began to spout all of your thoughts to other people using this invented language, none of them would be able to understand you. In a way, your HD is speaking its own language. Without knowledge of how this language is decoded, it's just utter nonsense.

4.) Now that we've encrypted the device, it's time to reformat it. To scramble any possible remnant of data on the device, you may feel free to reformat, encrypt again using a new password, reformat, encrypt again, rinse and repeat. If you scan the device for deleted files, it will appear that no files have ever been placed on the device to begin with.

Warnings: Encrypting a device, and then reformatting it without decrypting it, can potentially cause permanent damage. Some hardware / software may see the device and think that it has never been initialized, and thus make an attempt to initialize it. I can't be held responsible for any such damage incurred by the use of this guide. (although, you can take assurance in the fact that I have applied this method to some of my own devices without any damage)

Why is this effective? Not only have you securely overwritten your data to begin with, but you also converted it - and the entire volume - into an encrypted mass of tangled garbage. Regardless of how stringently forensic techniques are applied to your device, it would be like trying to interrogate an aphasic mime for all his secrets. The poor bastard couldn't put together a coherent sentence if he wanted to. :P

Art / 8x16 item icon requests (Zelda)
« on: July 12, 2010, 10:54:47 pm »
Per this discussion.

Need 8x16 icons to represent items in the inventory screen. These are 4-level grayscale, and must be drawn in a manner that the items can be placed side-by-side without bordering pixels.

Would mainly like to have icons for a harp and a tunic.

Humour and Jokes / Everybody... Tecktonik!
« on: July 09, 2010, 01:09:40 am »

Miscellaneous / Need suggestions for preventing traffic-monitoring
« on: July 09, 2010, 12:10:39 am »
Let's assume two scenarios:

1.) My ISP is actively monitoring my connection.

2.) Someone is eavesdropping on my network and running a traffic analysis of everything I do.

VPN-tunneling and proxies are out of the question. (unless there are free, fast, trustworthy and sensible options) Is there anything I could do to actively encrypt all data passing through my connection, or otherwise make it look like garbage to anyone who might be intercepting it?

Art / Archaic font / 8x8 px monochrome
« on: July 06, 2010, 01:48:36 pm »
A pretty extensive font I did based on a more archaic / Gothic / medieval style. This one is 8x8, so it's not quite suitable for TI platforms. (then again, maybe there are some people who work with such large fonts)

There are quite a few icons and other special characters included. This is also very suitable for ROM-hacking / translation.

Feel free to use, modify or redistribute as you see fit.

Art / Final Fantasy font and border style / 4x8 px 4-level grayscale
« on: July 06, 2010, 01:37:10 pm »
Dissatisfied with the usual font styles available, I thought I would try to create something more suitable for grayscale RPGs. I tried to be as close to the detail found in classic Final Fantasy games as possible. Menu borders and a finger-pointer are also included.

In order, the characters are:


wxyz . {il} {li} {ll} {multiplier} , " {."} ' ! ? % {..} -{-} / ( ) ;


In the fourth row, there are quite a few special characters. There are a few lower-case letter combinations so you can make sections of dialog reserve less character space, and appear more variable-width. There's also a period-quotation combo, for shorter punctuation at the end of sentences contained in quotations. Finally, there are characters to make ellipses and em-dashes short.

Feel free to use, modify or redistribute as you see fit.

If I want to complete both of these games 100%, (all rings, all items, all heart containers, etc.) just how many times do I need to replay them? From what I understand, I have to do this:

 - Clear both games, and then replay both of them using the Hero's Secret / get Triforce icon on each file screen, and have the Victory Ring
 - Replay both again after clearing the Hero's Secret; start two linked games / transfer items from either game using secrets

So, that's a total of four playthroughs. ;_;

Am I mistaken? I'm not sure I fully understand the secret system. If I start a linked game, what is the purpose of doing so? Can I transfer items from one game to the other? What does the Hero's Secret really do to a game, besides giving you a Triforce icon on your file?

Before "whom" becomes all but forgotten, I thought I would take the time to detail this rather complicated usage rule in hopes of simplifying the process for others. Frankly, it's a usage rule that probably shouldn't exist in English anymore, as it really serves no practical purpose. The fact that one must sometimes make a conscious effort to distinguish subject and object in order to understand when "whom" is called for also complicates matters further. Professional writers have sometimes encouraged people to either never worry about this rule, or reword themselves to avoid necessitating its appearance altogether. On the other hand, the usage of "whom" can aid one in having a more formal speaking manner.

First, it's important to understand why "whom" is used in the first place. Usage of "whom" indicates the object of a clause to your listener(s). On the other hand, the rule is rather irrelevant, as a listener can distinguish subject from object on their own. This really just leaves a superfluous burden on you to make this distinction for others. In sentences where a subject is only implied, I suppose it makes more sense to indicate that someone else is an object; but it's still understood.

Secondly, it's important to understand the functions of a subject and an object in a sentence. Obviously, the subject is the subject - the very thing being discussed. If I say, "I'm going to the market," I am the subject - the person going to the market. The market is the object. It gets more confusing when you include other people in a sentence, or have a sentence that includes many different objects. Just remember that anytime you're speaking about yourself, you're the subject. If you don't appear in the sentence, anyone else you speak about is likely the subject. It just depends on who or what (subject) is doing what to whom or what (object) ... If that makes any sense.

One easier way to look at this is to consider whether or not a preposition is appearing in your sentence. (of, for, to, from, over, toward, between, etc.) These show some relation to an object. If I say, "I spoke with him today," "to" is the preposition that indicates my relation (the subject) to "him." (the object) Now, if the sentence were something like this, "With whom where you speaking today?" we notice that "whom" is used, because it describes the object. (the thing modified by a preposition) "You" is the subject, in this case. It's tricky at first, but you get the hang of it. This is probably the easiest way to remember whether or not to use "whom," as opposed to consciously distinguishing between subject and object. As long as you understand good and well what a preposition is, you're pretty much set.

On a final note, I wanted to elaborate on relative pronouns, as well. These are less direct usages of who, that, which, etc. It's important to use the right pronouns, as some are reserved for sentient beings only. If you mix and match them, it can sound like you're implying a person is a physical object rather than a person. Example:

"The person who went to the store." Proper. "Who" indicates the person is a human being.

"The person that went to the store." Improper. "That" implies the person is a physical object. The only time you use "that" is in a sentence like, "The book that fell from the shelf." The book is a physical object, so you wouldn't refer to it any other way.

In some way, using "who" as a relative pronoun is almost like a mandatory honorific. If you imply that a person is anything other than a person, it can be misconstrued. (sort of like referring to a person as "it," instead of using a gender pronoun) This might be a rare occurrence, but still...

Since this is before they had a label, Amy Lee and Ben Moody stated in an interview that fans should simply download and redistribute these materials. There's no way to actually purchase them.

EvanescenceReference has graciously hosted these materials. Some are even available in FLAC lossless.

I'm not necessarily a fan of Evanescence, but I really enjoyed a lot of their pre-label material. I just can't get into anything beyond that. I figured I would share this, in case anyone has a similar interest in their demos and pre-label works.

For clarification, this is not piracy, nor the encouragement thereof. As stated, the band gave explicit permission to download and redistribute this material. It is not covered by a label.

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