Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Rabbit Hole

Last night I went to see Andrew "Bunnie" Huang at USC, where he gave a talk about reverse engineering and the use of open source software in proprietary products, as part of Cory Doctorow's series of Fullbright Chair talks. Although hackers are often associated with software programming, Huang is also interested in hardware and tinkering literally at the nuts-and-bolts level. He defends the right of the consumer to take things they've bought apart, and this ethos also informs his choice of projects. For example, you can see the guts of a Microsoft Zune MP3 player on his blog this week. Perhaps Huang's most famous exploit is hacking the Xbox, which he describes in a tell-all book that includes a primer on hardware modding and a diatribe against the DMCA. Huang also gave a pretty standard pitch talk on the Chumby, a beanbag device for portable computing designed to appeal to the DIY crowd.

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