Homebrew on MY Wii

Regarding the post Homebrew on the Wii, I managed to install the Homebrew Channel on my Wii successfully. I’m living very happily with it on my Wii for about a week.

For me, it’s an event that can be quite compared to the installation of Rockbox on my iPod in the way that I just “unlocked” another device into the world of open source. In all the other ways though, things are quite different: unlike Rockbox, lots of people are using homebrew for piracy and other less licit things; also the homebrew applications that exist are much, but much more unstable and unmaintained than Rockbox.

For those that are already a bit offended by these comparisons, I promise I won’t compare homebrew to Rockbox again 🙂

In fact they are different things, and sometimes it seems the seriousness of the developers is also very different. You hardly know any of the real names of the homebrew developers, for example 🙂 Not that does make them less honest nor anything.

The categories of free web hosting – revised edition

Inspired by a post of mine on freevps.us forum and the various posts that followed it. This blog post can be seen as an improvement over the previous post, and I hope it is less controversial than the first one! (more details on this soon)

Seriously, all the free shared and reseller hosting sucks. After careful thought about this subject of free web hosting, and after careful evaluation of my uncountable experiences with free web hosts in the past, I think we (yes, “we”, because this revised edition can be seen as a collaborative work) have got to the best free web hosting definition categories list ever made by us.

Almost all, if not all, free web hosts that are either more than three months old, or have already closed, can be classified into one of the following categories.

A – The host is good, gives you lots of things you wouldn’t get on many paid hosts: good CPanel, good support, fast speeds, support for lots of technologies (PHP, Perl, Ruby on Rails, etc. etc.), automated installers and all the state-of-the-art things. Now you’re thinking, it seems th best free hosting in the world? The answer is no, and here’s why: you start creating a website on that host and you’re successful with it, you get lots of visits, and you’re happy. But… some day, the host reduces the free plans, goes slow like hell, or worse, all the plans become paid and you must pay, or even worse, the host goes offline forever along with your site – and nobody explains you why!

B – The webhosting sucks completely from the first look: often their website makes it look like it’s a scam, and in fact it is. Slow speeds, overloaded servers, stupid FTP that doesn’t let you upload more than 1 file at once nor files bigger than few MBs, old PHP version with safe_mode on (that is, if you’re lucky enough to have PHP)… do I need to say anything else about this type of web hosts? The incredible is, that these hosts get lots and lots of new users every day, and most of them don’t seem to complain – either because they have never tried a real web hosting before, or because they think that they can’t get best for free.

C – The host offers you a limited plan (like 500MB HD space, 10GB bandwidth) usually as a complement to paid hosting plans and sometimes requires a linkback or some kind of advert on the site that must be put manually by you (under threat of loosing the hosting). These hosts tend to last a while because there are very few user sign ups and the amount of resources used is very little. There is still the chance that they stop free hosting or that they close their doors forever though. Thanks to user f8ll on FreeVPS forums for the idea of this category.

D – The DIY home-made free hosting: slow servers, usually hosted on a free domain like .tk or .cz.cc, or even, the afraid.org domains. Usually all they have as home page is a poorly managed THT (for those that don’t know, THT is an open source software to manage hosting clients), with few and poor plans available, that can range from things with 50MB space to 5GB (where these 5GB are often oversold). Usually, but not necessarily, these hosts are run by kids in the age of 12~16 years that don’t know what they are doing (but they think they made everything appear like so). I’m talking a bit against myself, as I’m 14 but at least I don’t run a free host (although I know who does).

E – The free web hosting that is run by the typical liar, often a teenager that lives in Philippines. More details follow: The free host looks nice, the staff (or at least a big part of it) know what they are doing, the plans look great and, although most of the times space and bandwidth are oversold, the promises are accomplished. Even the website of the host is on a .info domain. Also, the owner of the host tend to start a relationship with you through instant messaging services like MSN or Skype, if and when he discovers that you’re a teenager like him. There’s however a big problem in all this “hosting paradise”: money, money, money… where? Usually the servers for these hosts are obtained by the host owner through affiliate campaigns, where you get a free VPS in exchange for a linkback, or for a limited time (6 months, for example). I think there’s no problem in using these free VPSs to host personal things that you and only you depend of, such as this personal blog. But, installing a web hosting “company” in these servers is not a good idea, because if the VPS is shutdown (something very common as it is given for free), the hosting “company” disappears along with the users’ sites. Worse, usually the owners of these hosts go opening another host on another server, on a forum with new staff, scam another lots of users and make a bit of money out of advertising, then after a period of time their close again without giving explanations to the users. Over, and over, and over, again.

I have the MSN contact of one of those liars that own a type E host. If you’re really, but really interested in getting it, contact me personally and I’ll give it to you.

In my opinion, the types A and E are the worse: they make you create a good website, then after some months disappear leaving you without website and your visitors (or users) disappointed (or really mad). Also, in case of type E hosts, you may get nervous because you talked for months with a liar, through MSN, where he promised you that your sites would be secured forever and hosted for free with him. Then one day you realize at once that all was a lie.

About the type of hosts that annoys me the most, is also the type E, specially when the owner of the host promises you so many times that your sites are “safe” hosted with their “company” that you believe, then you get in a small depression mood when your sites go offline.

I have tried for sure more than 100 free web hosts, and on more than 15 of them I established successful sites and, in some of the cases, even a “relationship” with the owner of the host (which, I discovered later when I lost the hosting, was another liar). I can classify them all into one of these categories. The B type of free hosts is the most common, and they are also the ones which are online for more time (but that doesn’t mean good server uptime).

I’m looking forward to your suggestions of more types of web hosts.

It were the problems with hosts of type A, D and E that made me loose the interest in web development, web hosting world and free VPS world, at least for now. I prefer to work with more conscious (and mature) communities of other things that interest me more. By other words, I’m tired of hosting freebies and its “world”, and I think it all sucks and could all go to hell, except FreeVPS and maybe (I’m still yet to know) HostingMotive (I do have my bets about this one, but I don’t want to share them now).

And this is the end of a post with 1273 words, which certainly won’t tell nice things for certain people, but I hope that provides a useful lecture to others on how to not trust certain people.

The two categories of free web hosting

As seen on a post of mine on freevps.us forum. Edited to join various posts in a coherent blog post.

Seriously, all the free shared and reseller hosting sucks. For every free hosting, there are two categories, A and B:

A – the host is good, gives you lots of things you wouldn’t get on many paid hosts: good CPanel, good support, fast speeds, support for lots of technologies (PHP, Perl, Ruby on Rails, etc. etc.), automated installers and all the state-of-the-art things. You start creating a website and you’re successful with it, you get lots of visits, and you’re happy. But… some day, the host reduces the free plans, goes slow like hell, or worse, all the plans become paid and you must pay, or even worse, the host goes offline forever along with your site – and nobody explains you why!

B – The webhosting sucks completely from the first look: often their website makes it look like it’s a scam, and in fact it is. Slow speeds, overloaded servers, stupid FTP that doesn’t let you upload more than 1 file at once nor files bigger than few MBs, old PHP version with safe_mode on (that is, if you’re lucky enough to have PHP)… do I need to say anything else about this type of web hosts?

In my opinion, the type A is the worse: they make you create a good website, then after some months disappear leaving you without website and your visitors (or users) disappointed (or really mad).

I have tried for sure more than 50 free web hosts, and I can classify them all into one of these categories. The B type of free hosts is the most common, and they are also the ones which are online for more time (but that doesn’t mean good server uptime).

For a better classification of hosts in these two categories, the only hosts that can be classified as A or B must either have already died or have been around for more than two years. That means, for example, that you can’t use the A-B difference meter to classify HostingMotive, as it has been just created.

Soon, I’ll post a new classification scale that will also be able to classify free web hosts that have not already died and are not more than two years old, like recently created hosts and hosting project ideas (yes, because we can also classify the ideas). Stay tuned!

Homebrew on the Wii

This post is pretty long. No matter if it’s in Portuguese or English, it’s very difficult to me to write a short blog or forum post, because there’s always more to say. This post is, however, “lightweight lecture” – at least, I’ve written it to be like this. 🙂

I got a Wii for more than a year. I bought it not because I like to play games (I’m not a fan of video-games in any way), but because I found interesting the way data is input to the system – not only keys, but also gestures.

In fact, a Wii is not a really good product if you want to have an all-in-one device that apart from playing games, also act as a media center and allows you to browse the ‘net. Something that is further delineated with the lack of HD output – the Wii only does PAL (576i) or NTSC (486i) resolution, through a normal RCA A/V cable, or the optional (bought separately) composite cable that also only allows 480p. With my old CRT TV set, this wasn’t much of a difference, but now with a HD TV it’s highly noticeable, specially when you’re near the screen and on moving images.

Apart from the lack of HD, which doesn’t bother me much, when it comes to media the Wii is pretty poor, as I said. The nearest thing to a media player is the Photo Channel, which allows you to view photos from an SD card (yes, because although the Wii has two USB connectors, they aren’t used for anything than for connecting a microphone in certain games, and for charging devices), and to play AAC (not even MP3!) music while viewing slide shows. It is also supposed to support AVI Motion-JPEG files, but from the various I encoded I could never get one to work.

The Wii has also some downloadable channels, from the Wii Shop Channel. The most interesting is the Internet Channel, which is nothing but Opera 9.30 (a pretty old version) for embedded devices, on a GUI optimized for the Wii. It supports CSS (wow!), JavaScript (wow!) and Flash 8 (again, pretty outdated), and YouTube videos have pretty poor image and sound quality. Also, some more complex sites don’t load because of lack of memory, and the Wii says “Out of memory!”. It sometimes makes me remember the old computers with MS-DOS, but with a nice interface.

I think I can stop saying bad things about the Wii now. Oh, but I forgot about one thing. Since the System Menu (the “OS” the Wii) verison 4.0, all the releases have had the purpose of fixing exploits that allowed the installation of homebrew and the ability of running unsigned code on the Wii. This homebrew that exists for the Wii, apart from the piracy software (that allows you to load pirated games), is developed by honest people that do harmless software. However, Nintendo keeps only seeing the “black part” of homebrew and keeps on blocking the exploits. With the latest version of System Menu, 4.3, installation of the Homebrew Channel (a channel that is installed on the Wii using the HackMii installer) is only possible if you have certain specific games – previous bugs on System Menu 4.0, 4.1 and, recently, 4.2 that allowed hacking by simply inserting a SD card have been fixed.

To have a better idea of what I’m talking about I suggest you visit WiiBrew, a site made by honest independent developers that only want to unleash the potential of the hardware they bought. On that site, you won’t find piracy homebrew, exactly because people there are honest (well, most of them – at the end, this is the internet). Installing homebrew allows you to do much more with the Wii – it still doesn’t bring HD video, but it allows you to run, amongst many other things, a complete media center, WiiMC.

I don’t have homebrew installed on my Wii – yet. Some time ago, when System Menu 4.3 came out, I didn’t know about Homebrew and ended up updating the software of the Wii. Now, the only way to get Homebrew running is to use certain games, as I said. I already ordered one of these games and I hope it arrives ASAP. Now, lets just hope that the installation of Homebrew is successful and that I don’t end up with a brick – yes, because these things of hacking always involve certain risks.

And you? Do you own a Wii (certainly no, and don’t go for it unless you really want a cheap gaming console and Homebrew)? Did you know about Homebrew? Waiting for your comments 😉

Hi!

Welcome to the personal website of gbl08ma (the username), Gabriel in the real life. Website that was made with wordpress, not because this is gonna be a (traditional) blog, but because I wanted something nice looking and working, “cheap and quick”, that also worked as a Content Management System.

About me

gbl08ma likes IT, more precisely software and web development. Being a Linux (and open source software in general) lover, but not a fanatic (at least, that’s what he says…), expect him to not be using MS Windows most of the time, much less any kind of software developed by Apple (because when it comes to Apple hardware, I do have an iPod… remastered with Rockbox).

Gabriel/gbl08ma doesn’t like, at all, writing about himself. He does, however, express about himself better in English than in his mother language, Portuguese (yes, because Gabriel is Portuguese, but that ashame him so much that must be written in a really small font size).

gbl08ma is, preferably, the username Gabriel uses all over the internet. Not a solution that he recommends when it comes to privacy protection and internet security, and he knows he must be very careful about what he posts on the internet with a unique username. That’s why, ideally, you won’t find a photo of him on the internet.

If I have a Facebook account? Yes, but only to be able to login to other sites with it. The account is almost empty… I prefer twitter. I have two accounts there, gbl08ma and gbl08ma_tester. The latter one was created just for the purpose of testing certain scripts; now it is used to “spam” who follows it with lots of RSS feeds delivered by dlvr.it.

And that’s all for now 😉