About Me

installtekz about me
installtekz logo

Over the years I’ve been involved in so many aspects of technology from such a young age. I’m starting this blog at 34 years old as I guess it’s now time to share my experiences with you.

I know there’s so much stuff out there to learn for anyone in the computer industry and so I will give you as much helpful info as I can on my experiences so far.

 

Experience

  • Games console modification
  • Electronics
  • Networking
  • Network Security
  • Crypto Currency
  • PC Building
  • Linux
  • Other
 
Work
  • Software Tester
  • Communications Systems Operator
  • IT Assistant
  • Today
 

Experience

Games Console Modification

If you’re as old as me then you can probably remember the days when games consoles would be modified by your neighbor or a “friend of a friend”, that would allow you to boot up copied games (or for legal purposes: to allow us to play our backed up games of which we also owned the original title 😉 )

Well this all set off my fascination with console mods when one of my neighbors chipped my playstation 1. I began taking my playstation apart and wanted to reverse engineer what had been done and find out how the modification was working.

This I believe at the time was achieved by using a PIC micro-controller but to be quite honest I’m struggling to remember what the integrated circuit was.

After the original Playstation then came the Playstation 2. I set about to modify this console myself and with so many modification chips out on the net to choose from, I eventually settled for the matrix infinity chip. This was not a simple 6 wire soldering job like the original Playstation was, but it was around 14 pins!

My first attempt was not a success and my confidence in my ability at the time was low. The Playstation 2 was thrown into a cupboard in my bedroom where it lay for over a month.

Eventually I dug the unit out and began to give it another attempt and re-wire the whole thing again. This time it worked. As I booted up the unit a huge logo on screen showed up that read ‘Matrix Infinity’. I had done it. This gave me the confidence I needed. I then started ordering more Matrix Infinity chips and began working on any Playstation 2 I could get my hands on.

I then began buying broken/faulty PS2 consoles from Ebay, fixing them, modifying them then eventually re-selling them for profit. The main problem here was the mechanical disk trays would eventually malfunction but with these consoles selling for $5 each at times it wasn’t too hard to get hold of working parts.

The next console on the scene was the Nintendo Wii. At the early release of this console this was another simple 4-6 wire install with a mod chip called the Wii Key. I loved this chip as it was so quick and easy to install. I took a huge risk by modifying my brothers brand new Nintendo Wii which he has just been given for Christmas just a few weeks earlier. There was a lot of pressure on me here not to make a costly mistake on this mod as you can imagine.

After the Wii became the Xbox360. Now as many of you might know, the hack on this console was not just a simple mod chip install but it required flashing the firmware in the disk drive.

I must have spend at least two good years studying with the hacking community on this console. The Xbox360 firmware flash approach was different for every single disk drive. Microsoft was working with the drive manufacturers to thwart the hackers and it seemed like every new drive that was released with each new Xbox360 version the hackers were winning this security war.

With drives from Toshiba Samsung, BenQ, Hitachi and then Liteon was used in the final console versions there were multiple skills involved where some modifications required soldering and cutting of the circuits and one particular Liteon drive required a bespoke USB probe tool which was developed and manufactured by hackers.

So after I had cracked the disk protection on the Xbox360 it was time to step up my game and attempt the Xbox Jtag hack. This involved working with MS-DOS and some electronics hacking but the end goal here was to boot up linux on the Xbox. I remember Gentoo linux booting very well indeed, and the hack also changed the colors of the LED’s on the unit. A very impressive hack as this also allowed us to run console emulators where the old sonic the hedgehog games etc. could be ran, along with custom dashboards and the functionality to dump original game disks to the Xbox hard drive for later playing!

It seems now though with consoles primarily connected to the net, it’s made this kind of hack a thing of the past as console designers have improved security so much, coupled with the fact that the units can now be interrogated and banned over the internet by the manufacturers.

I hope this isn’t the end for the console hacking scene but all I can say is that this was very fun times while it lasted! 🙂

 

Electronics

I was first introduced to electronics when I was 17 years old. I was working towards a BTEC in Electrical Engineering as at the time I was headed in the direction of becoming an Electrician.

During this time it was a mandatory part of the training to know some basic electronic’s, from components to circuit building to circuit testing.

When the course was completed I then took it on myself to use the internet and study as much about electronics as I possibly could. I started building circuits using stripboard and a soldering iron and for a while I was building small FM transmitters that would transmit on the commercial bandwidth, so I could use a simple commercial radio to tune in to these bug’s and receive the sound that the bug was transmitting.

These things only had a range of around 200 feet but certainly a fun circuit to build.

I still like to get involved in electronics when I can but I’m usually getting stuck into computers and networking as it’s far cheaper as a hobby in electronics can get quite expensive at times. 

Although today with open-source hardware such as Arduino it is creating opportunities for micro-controller development to become a cheap and fascinating place to be. 

Watch out for some Single Board Computer, Arduino, ESP8266 and other exciting related subjects from me in the future!

 

 

Networking

I know that a lot of people really want to learn more about network security/penetration testing. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a hacker right?

 but knowing as much about how networks really work is a fundamental prerequisite. I’ve been on and off with regards to self studying for the Cisco CCENT/CCNA exams and I did sit the CCENT exam twice but unfortunately I failed this test both times. 

The second time I was only about 6 points away from the pass mark. This maybe on the back burner at the moment but I will return again in the future as this is a fascinating topic and knowing these fundamentals will certainly get you far in life in any Information Technology direction you head in.

 

Network Security

This is a topic I’d love to spend more of my time on and hopefully in the near future I will be firing up my kali linux terminal once again.

I began network security at home when wifi had not long been a standard. I remember using Auditor Live CD to crack WEP encryption. What we know today as Kali linux was once named backtrack. There was five installments of backtrack but even before then I remember to this day, Linux Auditor and Wax merged to become Backtrack so I’ve been using this for quite some time now.

This distro is full of tools such as the aircrack suite for cracking wifi encryption protocols, nmap for port scanning, metasploit framework for deploying exploit code with chosen payloads and so much more. Just writing up about it here makes me want to jump right back in.

 

Crypto Currency

So one day I bought a USB block erupter for learning bitcoin mining.. how little did I know how far I would end up going down this particular rabbit hole.

I still like to keep up to speed with whats going on in the crypto world so you will no doubt see some more articles on here in the future by me on this.

 

PC Building

Like most tech geeks, my fascination with technology started when I was at a young age and I believe I was around 15 years old when I began learning everything I could about building PC’s.

Almost all of the hardware that I had learned back then is now obsolete and so I feel that much of what I had learned back then was a waste of time. Connectors such as the centronics used for printers and Fast Page Mode RAM. Yes I still remember to this day what I had memorized back then.

I remember when I was around 18 years of age when I was working as a fence painter and we were contracted to paint the steel fence at the local tip. I was coming away with old keyboards, CRT monitors and desktop towers at the end of the working day. My boss thought I was nuts for wanting all this old junk that people were throwing away. But this gave me the perfect opportunity to push the envelope with what I could learn without the anxiety that I would do any damage because is was all old stuff that had been thrown away any way.

 

Linux

At the time of tinkering with PC hardware and discovering what all the internal components were doing, I was also hacking away on MS-DOS. I would create boot disks on floppy, install windows multiple times and study all the commands and the parameters that went with it.

But it didn’t take long before I grew board with it and it was time to move on to something else. This is where I discovered linux.

After multiple floppy distro downloads and boot-up’s I would start using the linux commands and teach myself the linux filesystem, which was completely different to that of DOS and windows.

It didn’t take long before I was distro hopping and booting linux Live CD’s.

I ran live CD’s for quite sometime while learning about installing linux on to the hard drive. At the time it wasn’t as easy as it is today and it needed to be done using the command line only.

I then went on to dual booting linux with Windows for a few years after that but as of today I only use linux. I really see no need for Windows in my life anymore. There is the odd game I would love to play from time to time, but until the game developers port their games to linux, I shall be leaving them games and Windows in the dust.

 

Other

I think it’s worth mentioning some other journey’s I’ve had in the past, such as:

  • Android rooting and custom ROM installs
  • Learning programming languages such as C
  • Raspberry Pi projects
  • Website building
  • App building

 

 

Work

I’ve done a LOT of job hopping in my time. Some were technical, others not so technical. But I will give you a brief overview of some of the most relevant jobs I’ve had in the past.
 

Software Tester

My latest full-time job I worked for 2 years at a big international tech company where I spent most of my day in an office. I was part of the Operational Test team working on a government project. I got to spend all day in Unix and Linux so I was in my element.

Communications Systems Operator

As part of my time serving in the military I was working with all the latest communications equipment while working with other Operators like my self, Engineers and Information Security Tech’s.

IT Assistant

This is currently my part-time work where I’m usually creating Android apps, building websites in WordPress, working in Virtual Private Servers and MYSQL databases.

 

Today..

So now is the time I can HOPEFULLY leave the 9 to 5 working world behind me and follow my passion in life. 

No one has told ANY of us working class this, but our jobs are disappearing rapidly! From robots and automation, to outsourcing  jobs to cheaper labor in other countries, coupled with mass immigration here in UK. 

I believe we need to create our own sources of income and right now couldn’t be a more exciting time as we have access to the internet. Use this opportunity wisely.

As you can probably tell from my writing, i’m certainly no writer. I hadn’t even thought about writing.. ever!

I’m all about learning tech and leveling up my tech skills. So other than android app’s I’m currently working on, now it’s time to upgrade my blogging skills to bring you some (hopefully) useful content in this site and every other website I will be releasing in the future (and I have some killer projects in the pipeline 😉 ).