hey can anyone out there help me find critical/theoretical writing on hardware modding? (especially on video game hardware, but any kind of consumer modification of industrially-manufactured products would work)
I know that (e.g.) Stephanie Boluk and Patrick Lemieux have studied video game modding from a software perspective, but I don't know anyone studying hardware mods in particular.
(doesn't need to be "academic," just looking for stuff beyond tutorials and enthusiast press)
@aparrish it's a clash of various personalities in which a lot of enthusiastic people are thoroughly chewed up by both gamers and lawyers, mostly in service of their own egos though so it's kind of karmic
@aparrish video game reverse engineering can be a rewarding medium for folks who are tragically interested in knowing details of things. it ends badly in my experience, people get taken advantage of
@scanlime is there a particular incident that you can point to? I have to admit that I didn't know about this aspect of the practice
@aparrish still freshest in mind is an emulator dev who had a bunch of their work stolen and ended up dying by suicide.. I wasn't involved with that specific scene though. Many years ago I did a little reversing on nintendo stuff and there was constant tension between homebrewers and both the game corps and the pirates. It was hard to keep motivated. Used to be there was a lot of motivation in repurposing hardware to do something novel but nowadays portable computing is mundane.
@scanlime thank you for sharing your experience with me! my goal is to propose a class about modding that mixes practical skills with theory, especially around copyright, right to repair, accessibility, environmental concerns, etc. if the class happens I definitely need to be able to make sure students don't get harmed or otherwise in trouble :/
@aparrish at this point I'm just not sure anything good comes from starting with the tech instead of starting with the human needs and relationships. reverse engineering is often seen as like a power move, something you can do to get control back. it's not a cheat code though, it's just obeying the same rules power always follows.
@scanlime i'm not sure i entirely agree with this take, though i know where it's coming from. for me, the spirit of RE, "hardware hacking" and generally modifying stuff to do what it wasn't intended to do is a useful thing to keep around given the potential of impeding climate and economic collapse. technology really does lot of important things for people and when we're finally completely fucked in our ability to make it new, being unafraid to look inside the black box will really come in handy
@scanlime of course it's mostly just a "hobby" now, even for those who make it political with e.g. right to repair. but i do think it serves a purpose, and while it's not human-first now i think will be able to be put to human-first needs in the future.
@alexisvl the thing that kinda really bums me out about all this is that the process of opening some corporate black-box tech is just an arbitrary hoop you can choose to jump through, and if you do it's mostly the original device manufacturer who benefits from the "community engagement" or whatever.
@scanlime agreed, but i think the blame for the value-extracting machine successfully extracting value from yet another thing belongs with the value extraction system, not the people they're skimming off :)
agreed about arbitrary hoops. REing some product does not by itself fix any real problems.
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