4AM is a prolific computer historian whose practice involves cracking the copy protection on neglected Apple ][+ floppy disks, producing not just games, but voluminous logs that reveal the secret history of the cat-and-mouse between crackers and publishers.
4AM's logfile for their crack of the 1982 crack of Burger Time (which I played until my fingers bled, but on a Colecovision, I think) reveals some incredible, subtle trickery that played out within the extremely confined headroom of a 5.25" floppy's limited sectors.
In Which We Start From Scratch
We're starting from bare metal on this
one. My automated tools, they do nothing
for us. Strap in.
[S6,D2=crack-in-progress (the partial
copy I made with Locksmith Fast Disk
[S5,D1=my work disk]
; copy boot sector (T00,S00) to the
; graphics page so it survives a reboot
96F8- A0 00 LDY #$00
96FA- B9 00 08 LDA $0800,Y
96FD- 99 00 20 STA $2000,Y
9700- C8 INY
9701- D0 F7 BNE $96FA
; turn off slot 6 drive motor
9703- AD E8 C0 LDA $C0E8
; reboot to my work disk in slot 5
9706- 4C 00 C5 JMP $C500
BurgerTime: A 4am crack, 2015-12-31 [4AM/archive.org]
Apple II Library: The 4am Collection [archive.org]
We’ve followed Annalee Newitz’s career here for more than a decade, from her science writing fellowship to her work as an EFF staffer to her founding of IO9 and her move to Ars Technica and the 2013 publication of her first book, nonfiction guidance on surviving the end of the world and rebooting civilization: now, I’m pleased to present an exclusive excerpt from Autonomous, her debut novel, which Tor will publish in September 2017, along with the first look at her cover, designed by the incomparable Will Staehle. As her editor, Liz Gorinsky, notes, “Autonomous takes an action-packed chase narrative and adds Annalee’s well-honed insight into issues of AI autonomy, pharmaceutical piracy, and maker culture to make a book that’s accessible, entertaining, and ridiculously smart.” I’m three quarters of the way through an early copy, and I heartily agree.
Nintendo’s nostalgic instant sellout NES Classic (still available from scalpers) only comes with 30 games and no way to add more: but it only took two months from the announcement date for intrepid hackers to jailbreak the device and come up with a way to load your favorite ROMs, using a USB cable and a PC.
The $38 Millennium Falcon wall clock is handmade to order from plywood, birch and MDF by Hamstercheeks in Nottingham, UK, who uses a laser-cutter to turn orders around in 2-5 business days (the clock itself is an AA-powered quartz sweep movement). (via Geekymerch)
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There’s nothing quite like the rush of playing against a real human opponent. But from a developer standpoint, creating fun multiplayer experiences is incredibly complex. Fortunately, the Unity3D game engine has made all aspects of game creation, including multiplayer functionality, as accessible as ever.This Unity Course Bundle introduces all of the necessary elements of creating […]
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