State of the 'Brew-ion
Posted on 12-24-12 10:23 am

I appear to have disappeared for a bit, which is certainly not good for the site, the readers, or my quantum state. So to address this phase, I would like to explain my absence with a simple phrase. Or, rather, a word. Vacation. But this time around, I came prepared, and I'm happy to say that in my apparent absence, I have been both working and not working at the same time. So here's a few quick updates on the state of things, and what can and cannot be expected in the future.

Notification Center

These words make me sick. Not really, but, well, really. The application is fine and has been working fine for the last month. What's the hold up? Well, I've been trying to get it approved into the Marketplace, and as a precaution, I've disabled the application for everyone, in case extra load causes interference and causes it to wrongly fail certification. Ok, admittedly, that would be rightly failing, but let's not worry about that for now. Point is, people waiting for the NC beta will have to wait another 2 or so days (depending on if MS works over Christmas), after which I will know if it passes cert or not. This is the fourth submission. The first one had a small issue with navigation, the second failed due to a glitch with dev center, and the third failed due to something about push notifications. The app itself is fine; it's just the rule that notifications must have the ability to be disabled that is causing problems, because without notifications, the app is literally a blank page. We'll see what happens. If it doesn't pass cert this time, I'll seed it to everyone on the list, start implementing new features, and go at it homebrew style. Super sorry for the wait everyone.

My next project

Shame on me for looking ahead and starting two projects at once. I usually do a video and make big announcements for my projects, but I'm running everything over RDP right now, which makes that rather impractical. So instead, I'll just post a picture of it:

This is a genuine, WP8 app. It's processing cert right now. Hopefully it will pass, and in that case, I'll have some exciting news for everyone. If not, I'll keep working on it, because I am determined to give something to the WP8 users who have no homebrew. Which brings me to my next point.

The Brew-ion and WP8

Maybe you guys can come up with a more catchy title. Something like, Brew-merica or, square eagles? Idk. But enough clowning around, this is actually important.

I've received a lot of questions about WP8, jailbreaks, etc. I have yet to get my hands on a WP8, but here's my understanding of how things are currently.

This week marks the first birthday of WindowBreak, a tool that still kind of works for some people but was otherwise patched before it was even born. It was a noble attempt, however, and it did provide interop unlocks to many, many people. (The actual number is between 50,000 and 80,000, within the first month.) This exploit worked by copying a provisioning file into the diagnostics tool, and having the diagnostics tool feed it into the OS under system privileges. This worked because the Samsung drivers have access to the OS, which could be used to change the registry values necessary for interop unlock.

This is how all managed WP7 exploits worked. The other type of exploit involved hacking the bootloader and flashing unsigned software into it, which is something I don't know a whole lot about in design, but something I know in practice. This requires a hole to be left open in the bootloader, and some serious research and understanding.

On the WP8 side of things, there is no homebrew yet, because there's no way to developer unlock a device without being a student or selling your firstborn. I suspect, however, that one of two routes can be taken.

The first one is the managed route, which will require some holes to be left open in WP8 itself, or the OEM drivers. I suspect this won't be easy, and may very well not even be possible. Nokia knew what kinds of exploits we used before they even went to market, and Microsoft is well rehearsed in our tricks. Why they don't just make life easy for us, well, that's another argument for another time. But the managed route may or may not be possible, and even if it is possible, it will undoubtedly be patched as soon as possible.

The patch-fight-patch battle is usually won using custom ROMs, but that won't be an option on WP8, as UEFI security undoubtedly has the OS partition well protected.

The second route is a lot more simple, but it sounds rather unfeasible. WP8 has a company apps feature. This allows a company, specifically the enterprise, to design WP8 apps and deploy them to their devices, set up a store for them, etc. It's actually really neat in design, and would make a very nice Cydia-like homebrew system. The problem is that you have to be an actual company for this to work, as they verify that, and it costs at least $600 in certificates. In theory, it's a great idea, but in practicality, probably not.

I'm currently working on getting myself a WP8; I'll have more to share about apps, homebrew, etc, once I clear that plateau. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone, and I hope to get back into my regular irregular working routine soon. Any questions? ;)

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