NSA@home (DIY shared FPGA cracker)

[Skylark] converted a pair of defective HDTV processing boards into his very own FPGA SHA-1 hash cracker. After two months of evening work, he ended up with 15 Virtex-II Pro FPGAs and 5 Spartan-II FPGAs to do his bidding. (FPGA’s aren’t cheap, so this rocks) Eventually he’s going to give it a web interface to allow cracking submissions on request. Great find on the boards and fantastic work [Skylark].

UClinux based embedded asterix PBX

In my quest for a new VOIP setup (I’m hunting for a new sip provider – got suggestions?) I ran across an excellent project that’s been put together by [David]. It’s a four port open source asterix PBX that runs under UClinux. He derived the design from a BlackfinOne (A dedicated UClinux board). He covers building the IPO4 in four parts series that starts here. It’s probably one of the more intense open source hardware derived projects I’ve run across.

ATLAS powered rope ascender gen 3

This last weekend we got a chance to check out ATLAS Devices‘ latest version of their powered rope ascender. You probably saw their first generation device in the news earlier in the year. It was originally built for a design competition, but they’re now on generation 3. The earliest version used a capstan style winder, but newer versions have a far more simple/elegant design. The original had a ton of thrust and needle bearings that were hard to keep in adjustment. The new design is lighter, less abrasive to the rope, and easier to use.

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Free your iPhone

I wasn’t going to post this – it’s a freakin phone after all. But I’ve gotten quite a few tips on it, and I’d like them to end. [George] made a concerted effort to hack the iPhone – and it paid off. After his crazy ebay auction that topped out at 99,999,999.99 last time I checked, he ended up trading his first phone for a Nissan 350z and a few more iPhones.
He documented his process, step by step – if you’ve got the skills, you can probably do it yourself. The soldering work is damn fine work – probably the hardest thing there is. The write up is a little hard to follow, so plan on taking some time to comprehend everything. (Blogging software isn’t the best way to organize how-tos, trust me on this.) My hats off to [George], he did some great work. – So, why didn’t I want to post it? All this work yielded one thing: carrier choice for the iPhone.

New XBox 360 Downgrade hack

[Paul] let me know about a new way to get a hacked kernel on a XBox 360. A new timing attack will soon allow you to install an older kernel with without having the CPU key which was the catch 22 situation before. The proof of concept ressurected a bricked XBox by doing some interesting things to one of the NAND (memory) blocks on the machine.
Great news for the homebrew/hacking scene!