The Power Supply (vol. 03): A chat with Aldostools (developer of IRISMAN / webMAN MOD / PS3 Tools .)

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    We are back once again for another edition of The Power Supply. If you have not caught the previous editions (vol. 1: deank & vol. 2: m0rph3us1987) we have started a new interview series featuring many of the talented people from around the community. So with this latest edition we have yet another great developer in the community to feature in the new series. This developer has developed tools & homebrew that you have more then likely used on your exploited PS3 . If you have been a member of the forum here, you may of seen one of his many informative post as the developer is always posting great information and advice. Also this developer has been the person who keeps the PS3 catalog upto date with the latest releases over at brewology.com. We are of course talking about developer @aldostools who is the magic behind the webMAN MOD plugin and the IRISMAN AIO homebrew for the PS3. Also creator of a variety of utilities for the PS3, many featured in PS3 Tools Collection. Learn more about these projects and the developer behind the projects in the third installment of The Power Supply featuring @aldostools

    Learn more about "The Power Supply" & view past interviews HERE


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    Volume 3: @aldostools



    • First off, for those of who do not know @aldostools, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
      Aldostool's: Hi everyone! As probably many already know my real name is Aldo Vargas. I’m 50 years old and I’m from Dominican Republic, a beautiful island in the Caribbean. I graduated of System Engineer magna cum laude at age of 19 years. I like video games, especially the retro games, but what I love most is to create solutions that is useful for everyone.

      What was the first programming language you learned and what inspired you to start coding? Also, do you still use it?
      Aldostools: I started programming BASIC when I was 12 years old in 1982, with a Commodore VIC-20. At the time, it was common that manuals and magazines came with code of mini games that readers could type on their personal computer. So I stated learning programming when I needed to debug these games because the errors typing the code.

      In 1983, I started using a Tandy TRS-80 Model 4 and IBM PC XT and my interest changed to business applications, like text editors, files indexing and code generators in BASIC. In, 1987 I started my first job where I developed my Computer Aided Software Engineering tool in Business BASIC for a PERTEC 3200. In 1989, Borland’s PARADOX and it’s PAL script took my attention and I became interested in the world of relational databases.

      I used Quick BASIC 4.5 and in 1995 I started to use Visual Basic 5.0 which I still use J Although lately I’m using more Javascript, C, C#, ASP.NET, ASP, VBA and Visual Basic 6.0

      How did you get interested and your start in the homebrew community?

      Aldostools: In 1996, I found in Internet that the console emulators (NES, SNES and Genesis) started to progress and became a fan of emulatronia.com and zophar.net. More and more emulators started to appear. In 1999, bleem! was released and it catched the attention of the community –Sony included. It was amazing that it emulated a PlayStation (PSX) on a PC even with better graphics. In 2000, Connectix Virtual Game Station (CVGS) was launched and I started to make tools around it and for other PSX emulators (memory card managers, patch to increase the video resolution of CVGS, pec cheat editor, ISO tools, etc.). A popular emulation site of the time (psx-emu.com) loved my tools and offered me to host them. I started to use the nick “aldostools”. My site later had its own domain.

      In 2005 I became interested in PSP scene and developed some homebrews in LUA and for PC. In 2008, I fell in love of the PS3 and Xbox360. In 2010, I started to follow the PS3 scene in a passive way –some of my few posts were to help to fix a bug in the backup function of the backup managers of the time (Open Manager clones). multiMAN still uses that fix :)


      When Dean Kasabow (deank) released AVCHD and Game Manager (aka multiMAN), I loved his programming style and his charisma. I started to collaborate with him, first giving ideas for multiMAN, then making PC tools around multiMAN. DeanK and I ended being good friends.

      What has been your greatest challenge as a developer? Please provide an example if possible.

      Aldostools: Iris Manager was one of my greatest challenges. I forked it for a few reasons: First, at the time -2013-, my knowledge of C programming was very elementary. I wanted to learn C and multiMAN’s code was too advanced to start.
      Estwald had an excellent software, with an open source code very easy to follow but with a coding style that I thought that could be improved. Also it had features that I preferred the way deank did. So it was my personal challenge to implement my own ideas and IRISMAN was born: a mix of my favorite backup manager –multiMAN- with one easy to learn –Iris Manager.


      Can you tell us about some of the projects and tools you have created?

      Aldostools: webMAN MOD, IRISMAN, PS3 Tools Collection that include many tools that I created related to PS3 and some other tools from other developers. There are many others but not related to the scene.

      What was your favorite project to work on and why did it stick out above the rest (if there was one that stuck out)?
      Aldostools: webMAN… the concept that @deank conceived was simply amazing. It was so incredible, that made me think on several new ideas. At the time, @Zar and @Matsumot0 already started their own fork, named webMAN MOD. I merged my new ideas to the ones of the new fork, other developers also contributed with ideas and it has evolved to what it is today.

      The reason why I slicked to it is more than obvious… the plugin (and its addons) do almost everything that any AIO backup manager can do, and in some cases even more.

      Who have been some of the developer's you have worked with in the community?

      aldostools: I used to be in private Skype sessions with several developers of the scene. I prefer not to mention names to not omit important people that I could forget to list. However, I used to talk for hours almost very days with @DeanK and @Joonie.

      I should add that the scene has a lot of great developers, very smart and with great ideas. I thanks them for all I have learned a lot from them.

      Platforms such as the PS3 may not be the easiest platform to develop for if you’re a newcomer, what advice do you have someone looking to develop on platform such as the PS3 and what has helped you along your ps3 developing journey?

      Aldostools: I have posted about this in the past ( link ) . My suggested path is simple: install the SDK, download one of the open source projects, learn to compile it, follow and understand what the developer did, try to change some functions yourself. Start simple, changing basic functions –like some texts, colors or remove functions-, then continue increasing the complexity changing the logic or adding functions.

      What qualities/skillset does someone need if they want to start creating homebrew for the PS3 or other platforms?
      Aldostools: It is very important to have a good background in software development (especially in C/C++). But if the person knows other programming languages (like Java, C# or VB.NET), it can help too, but the SDK for PS3 are mainly created for C/C++.

      What is your personal favorite feature or function the community has added to the PS3?
      aldostools: Cobra… The Cobra Team and especially the anonymous Cobra developer that shared the deobfuscated code did a wonderful job. Without them the scene would be different and limited.

      Joonie, Habib, the Rebug Team and ps3xploit Team have done an outstanding job integrating Cobra to the CFW or HFW, and improving its functionality to a level never thought.

      What is an underrated/overlooked feature a Jailbroken PS3 can perform?
      aldostools: Linux on PS3 and dynarec. In my humble opinion, they deserve more research to make able run new emulators at decent speed.

      It’s incredible that PSP with less resources can play N64 and other emulators not found in PS3.

      What are your thoughts on forks of homebrew projects in general, and what do see as their key benefits for both the developer and the end user?


      aldostools: One of the beauties of the open source paradigm is that new people can add new ideas or improve the existing features. I’m totally in favor of people forking the existing projects to continue the work that other developers started.

      However, I against to the idea of use the work of others just to rebrand the name with the sole purpose of promote your name, brand or site; or simply to lucre without give the proper credits.

      This have happened in the past and was of the main reasons why multiMAN is no longer open source. Fortunately, the scene have matured and these cases are seen less often.

      Was there a different development approach with IRISMAN and webMAN MOD, How do the two projects differ from each other?
      aldostools: As I commented earlier, my development objectives of each project were diffeent.
      My intention with IRISMAN was to learn a programming C and learn to create homebrews for PS3 while adding new ideas to an already great software made by Estwald. At some point I wanted that he merged my code with his project and only have one project, but unfortunately he didn’t get interest.

      In the other hand, the goal of webMAN MOD was to take the experience learned with IRISMAN and improve another great project with new ideas from the community and personal, without consume time of DeanK.

      DeanK and Estwald gave me all the tools, assistance and knowledge to achieve both goals.

      Looking at IRISMAN and webMAN MOD, do these projects have any hidden easter eggs or some functions and features that may be under-utilized in your view?
      aldostools: No they don’t have hidden Easter eggs. These projects are open source, it’s almost impossible to hide any feature without expose its code.

      Both projects are feature-rich and used by a large audience. So, it would be difficult to say what feature is under-utilized. Every user use one feature or another even in ways that I can’t think.

      Looking at another project of yours. What are your Top 3 Tools in PS3 Tools Collection?
      • aldostools: It’s hard to choose only 3. At the time each tool received its dedication and love J Here are 3 random tools:· Bruteforce Save Data
        · PS3 Games Database
        · GetSymbols

      From a developer perspective; educating a user in 2020, Tell us about the differences from CCAPI & PS3MAPI?
      aldostools: CCAPI (Control Console API) is a closed source tool and I know little about it. It’s one of the first RTM tools available for PS3, and has the benefit that other developers created tools having CCAPI in mind.

      PS3MAPI (PS3 Manager API) -in the other hand- is an open source version of CCAPI developed by NzV. It was created to mimic CCAPI functionality using a Fake CCAPI interface (PS3Lib.dll). NzV chose to use a custom version of webMAN MOD’s ftp server (with is a custom version OpenPS3FTP by John Olano) as the network protocol of PS3MAPI. As PS3MAPI is part of webMAN MOD, it has the benefit of some additional features not provided by CCAPI.

      Then also while unrelated what is the difference between COBRA and MAMBA?
      aldostools: In regards the difference of COBRA and MAMBA, they are very similar. MAMBA was created by Estwald as a reduced version of COBRA that could boot from XMB and to be integrated into Iris Manager. Its goal was to facilitate its port to future firmware versions, due at the time it was hard to find the offsets for the debug symbols and removing PS2 and PSP features, the symbols needed would be reduced significatively.

      Later, NzV created an auto-boot tool that allowed to boot the console with MAMBA and Rancid-O –from PS3ITA- re-added the PS2 and PSP feature, making MAMBA almost identical to COBRA. I say “almost” because there are still internal differences (e.g. MAMBA 8.2 has unique features not found in COBRA 8.2 and vice-versa).

      In general, whenever is possible go with Cobra. Although MAMBA is a great alternative too.

      Do you have any current projects or plans on the horizon you can tell us about?

      aldostools: No, just projects related to Business Project Management and Enterprise Content Management.

      Do you see yourself developing on the PS4 in the future?
      aldostools: No. I’m not interested in PS4 scene. IMO, it should have been called a PS 3.5 since its main innovation was the change of architecture.

      Now to a few fun questions. What are some of your all-time favorites in the following categories:
      --Movie –
      Schindler’s List
      --Game –
      The Legend of Zelda (NES)
      --Retro Console –
      Nintendo
      -- Food –
      Steak with Mushrooms and Onions
      -- Vehicle –
      Mitshubishi Montero

      Who would play you in a movie of your life?
      aldostools: I would play myself…

      Also, do you have any personal links (website / social media) or anyway for users to show their support for your work and projects?


    • PS3 Tools Collections:
      • A collection of PS3 Tools more suited to CFW as the collection as released prior to PS3HEN, however many tools can be used on both, some are not PS3HEN compatible.

      IRISMAN
      • A fork of Iris Manager (developed by Estwald & D_skywalk) and built upon for progression of the scene.and building upon the foundation to provide a fully featured AIO homebrew choice for the PS3.

      webMAN MOD
      • A fork of webMAN (developed by deank) like IRISMAN built upon a great foundation but added additional functionality to grow with community advancements. Aldostools added a ton of new functionality in the plugin.


    • Previous Interviews:


    Thank You @aldostools for your work and contributions in the scene and being a great member of psx-place :) Shout-out to the mod team here at psx-place for helping with forming some great questions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020

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