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Friday, March 23, 2018

Midi Fighter Pro Firmware Flashing Issues, Random Stuff, and More

- if you don't already know I play around with firmware modifications often and regularly and also repair electronic equipment everyone in a while. Recently got a MidiFighter Beatmasher in a swap. Obvious thing to do is to update firmware when you begin to use it (I stopped doing this a while back after I had some problems but started to do it semi-regularly when the firmware was well tested). Tried it. Ended up bricking the thing. Nothing was responsive and everything online was giving me nothing. This is basically the story of how I de-bricked it
- looked at the following document. Felt like I was doing the right thing but it didn't seem to be doing anything. Nothing online seemed to provide me with any direction on what to do next...
midi fighter not recognised usb
Midifighter Classic Bricked?
- all online instructions indicated that there was basically a key thing/set of sequences that needed to be done to get the thing into bootloader mode which would get it ready for the firmware to be flashed. Instructions online often make things some simple but I've experienced much strangeness over the years:
# flash chips that would no longer be writable because they had been written to too many times
# incompatible firmware despite evidence to the contrary
# power outages while in the middle of a firmware flash update (this problem has been alleviated a lot by programs which refuse to update without a proper, clean, isolated power supply)
# improperly tested firmware from vendors which led to other complications
# changes to firmware which was made impossible due to some weird intermediate problem
# firmware loads which were impossible due to some strange electronic fault which had to be rectified first (for telecommunications equipment that I've come across clean/sanitary conditions seem to be core to their optimal function)
# flash updates that were only possible through the use of an off board programming device (think about Flash EEPROM programmers)
# firmware updates that were only possible via a minimum version of Operating System (completely different to the old days when things were done via DOS and a bootable disk though safeguards were obviously minimal)
# bricked hardware because I loaded incompatible firmware (I sometimes did this knowingly as an experiment on something that I thought may be cross-compatible). Thankfully, a lot of hardware offers DFU modes that allow you to get to firmware re-write stages. Main issue is lack of documentation. Often you have to short two pins on a 'core chip', start the thing in some sort of sequence, etc... If all else, fails look up the chip and manufacturer documentation (for lower end devices which don't have an adequate support structure)
https://www.theiphonewiki.com/wiki/DFU_Mode
- if you can't figure out how to hit DFU mode try the traditional 'technology Jedi master' trick as follows... My book on 'Cloud and Internet Security' via Google or Amazon online stores provides further details on bypassing (and defending) chip based security for those who are interested...
- none of the solutions online seemed to work so I had to do what every other 'technology Jedi master' does. Randomly bash buttons until I found one that seemed to work. LOL If I recall correctly it's something similar to buttons 1/2 simultaneously and then button 1 which sort of resembles what's outlined/documented but not... The strange thing with my circumstance was that it got to the final stage before it sent a signal for a device reset and it had two errors prior to the reset finally doing through and allowing me to conduct a firmware re-flash. Distressing...
- note that in order to get to the buttons to do the reset you have to open up the device which requires hex screws. Beware damaging the screws themselves. They're in pretty tight so ensure you find the right hex screwdriver to remove them (consider using a screw removal liquid/degreaser if you think there is enough of a gap to make it possible). If you do damage it consider using epoxy glue to attach something on it and removing it (really strong quality glues allow you to do this), drilling it out (need quality drill attachments though), using a screw removal extractor system (this still requires quality gear though. On some hardware it's very difficult to skimp and get away with it), etc...
- consider using an older version of the Midifighter Utility if need be (I prefer 2.6.3 to 2.7.0) if you have problems with the latest download
- there seem to be 'odd modes' in the device that are undocumented. Press the correct sequence and combination of buttons and you can have very strange light sequences. I'm assuming these are for production and diagnostic purposes
- out of curiosity I looked at the Github to see the difficulty in loading a new layout to the hardware (for when MIDI remapping isn't offered in the DAW in question). It would take a bit of work getting the toolchain setup correctly but it seems very possible (uses an Amtel chip at it's core which requires a special utility tool to flash/load new software). Else, you can use something like Bome's MIDI Translator to act as an intermediary mechanism
How To Flash the Midifighter with New Firmware - DJ TechTools Forums
midi fighter github
midi fighter site:github.com
// This table maps key numbers to midi note offsets, to match
// up the notes with Ableton Live drum racks, e.g. key 5 will initially
// send NoteOn G#3 = 44, with the rest of the keypad sending:
//
//     C4  C#4 D4  D#4
//     G#3 A3  A#3 B3
//     E3  F3  F#3 G3
//     C3  C#3 D3  D#3
//
// The table is coded as note offsets so we can re-base the pad at another
// MIDI note, with the default offset being C3 = 36. The "PROGMEM" setting
// forces the table into program memory so it won't take up precious RAM.
//
const uint8_t kNoteMap[16] PROGMEM = {
    12, 13, 14, 15,
     8,  9, 10, 11,
     4,  5,  6,  7,
     0,  1,  2,  3,
};
- a few things about Midi Fighter devices. They can be 'awkward'. The parts may be quality but the older devices in particular look like they've been designed for pure function and don't really consider aesthetics, the software usability of the device is questionable for people who are brand new to the electronic music scene (I've had to deal with conflicts before. Diagnostic messages could have been 'more useful'), etc...
- found these programs while undergoing my search... Really neat. Some people have figured out how to use MIDI devices to control lighting and graphics software. Others have even figured out how to build DIY devices using Arduino and Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) hardware and electronics

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Random Quotes:
- And that is the actual case. Executing a successful ICO is difficult. A lot of things have to fall in place. This is why the majority of these ideas will fail and you will never see an actual working product or service on the market.

According to a recent article in Fortune magazine “Nearly Half of 2017’s Cryptocurrency ‘ICO’ Projects Have Already Died“. And Bitcoin.com found another 113 projects that it calls “semi-failed,” because their teams have gone off the radar or their community has withered away. Add those to the mix and the failure rate jumps to 59%. Nervous yet?

As investors grow wary and scared the flow of funds will begin to shrink.

People are getting smarter, earlier. They’re doing more research, sharing information, getting the facts and exposing the schemes, scams and con artists behind these projects. Regulators are getting more involved in cryptocurrencies and they are starting to prosecute scammers. This will make it more difficult for new ICO projects to achieve PRE-ICO and ICO success.
- Why do these journalists and many others keep quiet and try to stay in the good books of politicians? The answer is simple: though the jobs of journalists and public relations people are diametric opposites, journalists have no qualms about crossing the divide because the money in PR is much more.

Salaries are much higher if a journalist gets onto the PR team of a senior politician. And with jobs in journalism disappearing at a rate of knots year after year, journalists like Murphy, Maley and Baird hedge their bets in order to stay in politicians’ good books. Remember Mark Simkin, a competent news reporter at the ABC? He joined the staff of — hold your breath — Tony Abbott when the man was prime minister. Simkin is rarely seen in public these days.

Nobody calls journalists on this deception and fraud. It emboldens them to continue to pose as people who act in the public interest when in reality they are no different from the average worker. Yet they climb on pulpits week after week and pontificate to the masses.

It has been said that journalists are like prostitutes: first, they do it for the fun of it, then they do it for a few friends, and finally they end up doing it for money. You won’t find too many arguments from me about that characterisation.
- The price of bitcoin sank late Wednesday after a report by the Wall Street Journal that the Securities and Exchange Commission is ramping up pressure on the initial-coin-offerings industry, issuing scores of subpoenas and information requests to companies. The Journal reported the SEC is seeking information about the structure of ICO sales and pre-sales. Bitcoin BTCUSD, +2.10% immediately fell about 2% after the report, and was last trading at $10,346, according to Coindesk. The SEC has previously suggested that many ICOs may be violating securities laws. In December, a new SEC cyber unit took its first action, halting an allegedly fraudulent ICO. An ICO is a fund-raising method in which a company issues its own cryptocurrency, typically in exchange for bitcoin. The process has significantly fewer regulatory hoops to jump through than an IPO, and the ICO market has been booming, with $6.5 billion raised last year. They're also highly risky -- according to a new survey, 46% of new ICOs in 2017 either flopped out of the gate or have since gone out of business.
- "Why would the US Government fund a tool that limited its own power? The answer, as I discovered, was that Tor didn't threaten American power. It enhanced it."

Levine said the documents showed "Tor employees taking orders from their handlers in the federal government, including plans to deploy their anonymity tool in countries that the US was working to destabilise: China, Iran, Vietnam, Russia".

"They showed strategy sessions, discussions about the need to influence news coverage, and control bad press. They featured monthly updates that described meetings and training with the CIA, NSA, FBI, DoJ and State Department.

"They revealed plans to funnel government funding to run Tor 'independent' nodes. Most shockingly, the FOIA documents put under question Tor's pledge that it would never put in any backdoors that gave the government secret privileged access to Tor's network under question."
- And if that’s not enough, they may have detected mysterious dark matter at work, too.

The glimpse consisted of a faint radio signal from deep space, picked up by an antenna that is slightly bigger than a refrigerator and costs less than $5 million but in certain ways can go back much farther in time and distance than the celebrated, multibillion-dollar Hubble Space Telescope.

Judd Bowman of Arizona State University, lead author of a study in Wednesday’s journal Nature, said the signal came from the very first objects in the universe as it was emerging out of darkness 180 million years after the Big Bang.

Seeing the universe just lighting up, even though it was only a faint signal, is even more important than the Big Bang because “we are made of star stuff, and so we are glimpsing at our origin,” said astronomer Richard Ellis, who was not involved in the project.

The signal showed unexpectedly cold temperatures and an unusually pronounced wave. When astronomers tried to figure out why, the best explanation was that elusive dark matter may have been at work.

If verified, that would be the first confirmation of its kind of dark matter, which is a substantial part of the universe that scientists have been searching for over decades.
- SEAN PARKER: If the thought process that went into building these applications–Facebook being the first of them to really understand it–that thought process was all about “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever, and that’s gonna get you to contribute more content and that’s gonna get you more likes and comments. So it’s a social validation feedback loop. I mean it’s exactly the kind of thing that a that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in in human psychology. And I just think that we–the inventors/creators, you know, and it’s me, it’s Mark, it’s Kevin Systrom at Instagram, it’s all of these people–understood this consciously and we did it anyway.
- “In the past, when elephants were sick, they were often released back into the forest. The sick elephants would seek leaves and herbs to treat themselves. But now forests have been largely destroyed; there are few medicinal plants left,” Long added.

Long said elephants were big animals that were generally in good health. Most of their diseases are caused by working too hard and carrying loads that are far too big.

“In recent years, elephants tend to have more tumours in their bodies. The tumours stem from polluted food and water, which leads to lack of nutrition and resistance in their bodies,” he added.

Long often uses the bark of lộc vừng (fish poison tree or barringtonia), and leaves of trâm (Jamblon or syzygium cumini) and some salt boiled to rinse off the injured areas. After sterilising the injury, Long uses soil taken from the nest of termites or fermented rice to cover the open injury.

“Both substances have antibiotic functions and kill parasites and work very well for elephants with tumours,” Long said.
- Australians are loyal to their mobile phone operators, staying with them through thick and thin, with a newly published report finding that switching is in the too-hard-basket for many mobile users, and others find comparing their options too confusing.

According to comparison website finder.com.au, 10% of mobile users say it’s too much hassle to change providers and a further 6% find comparing their options too confusing.

But, according to finder many mobile users stick with the same mobile phone provider when they could be switching and getting a better deal – or even a better deal with their current provider.

Finder says that the average Aussie has been with the same telco for 6.5 years, with only one-third (38%) switching providers in the last 3 years, while a further 14% have been with their telco for 4-5 years and 26% haven’t switched for 6-10 years.
- Huawei's global chief executive Ken Hu told the AFR last week that the US and Australian concerns were based on "groundless suspicions".

"We welcome discussions and even debate if it is based on facts," he said. "We are very happy to conduct open and transparent discussions with the Australian Government and telecom operators."

The US has been increasing the pressure on Huawei from the start of this year. A deal for AT&T to sell the Chinese firm's phones on plans was cancelled by the American company at the last minute in January.

Not long after, Verizon was reported to have yielded to pressure from the US Government to stop selling Huawei devices.

In February, US intelligence chiefs warned against the use of Huawei equipment.

FBI chief Christopher Wray told a US Senate hearing: “We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks."

But the UK works with Huawei and recently said it would continue to do so.

Australia denied Huawei any role in supplying equipment to the country's national broadband network project about six years ago, following advice by ASIS, one of its spy agencies.

And last year, Australia put pressure on the Solomon Islands to drop Huawei as the main contractor for an undersea cable project. The project was later awarded to the Vocus Group.

Linux Transcode DVD to Video Script, Random Stuff, and More

- needed to save more space. Created a script to transcode DVD ISO files to smaller mp4/m4v/mkv files. Download it here: https://sites.go...