Faces Of JailbreakCon 2014: Developers And Jailbreak Fans Alike Share Why This Is One Event That Shouldn't Be Missed!

A group shot of some of the jailbreak community who attended JailbreakCon 2014 (Photo: Cammy H.)
A group shot of some of the jailbreak community who attended JailbreakCon 2014 (Photo: Cammy H.)

By now most everyone who follows my writing knows I had an awesome time at JailbreakCon this year and would recommend attending it to anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of jailbreaking, regardless of expertise level. Although I wrote a fairly in depth overview of what the JailbreakCon 2014 was like for me, I realize my perspective maybe largely different from the next person. I've spoken to various individuals within the community who attended the event as well, however, and found the sentiment to be the same.

JailbreakCon is an incredible experience and worth both the time and the money you'll invest in making the journey. Rather than asking you to take my word for it though, I decided to take a little time to gather some "faces," if you will, of JailbreakCon 2014. What kind of people attended this event? What did they glean from it? Why would they tell you to attend? The people featured here are diverse in nature as some are developers and themers in the community, while others are just jailbreak fans like myself who use the tweaks and themes developed by members of the community to enhance their devices. While each of their stories are different, all agreed that JailbreakCon is an amazing experience which they would recommend to anyone. Without any further ado, here are a few faces of JailbreakCon 2014, sharing their thoughts and experiences on the event.

Faces Of JailbreakCon 2014

William Vabrinskas: Tweak Developer

@JeffBenjam of @iDownloadblog, @austinnotduncan, William Vabrinskas  -- @william_vab and @matthewmspace at JailbreakCon 2014 (Photo: Twitter)
@JeffBenjam of @iDownloadblog, @austinnotduncan, William Vabrinskas -- @william_vab and @matthewmspace at JailbreakCon 2014 (Photo: Twitter)

First up is William Vabrinskas. William is a 23-year-old iOS developer in the jailbreak community who has worked on a variety of popular tweaks on Cydia including, InstaURL, Boxy, Go2Now, SMSConfirmation, QuickHide, and, most recently, Sticky. He goes by he user Cydia dev name and Twitter handle of @william_vab, and can frequently be found lurking around Reddit under u/NBQ5.

William's been a part of the jailbreak community a while now, having started out as far back as the iPhone 3G release.

"I started out with basic themes and designs, and then eventually made my way into developing for Mobile Substrate. It was not over night that this happened; I started in high school with coding in general. I made a few websites using HTML and CSS and then started fiddling around with BASIC and Assembly on the good ol' TI-83 calculator. After realizing that the calculator was very limited, I moved on to Visual Basic on my PC and programmed a basic Web Browser with some special features, like the ability to hide the browser except for the tool bar and set the transparency of the whole browser. This was fun but I wanted to do something more meaningful to me. I picked up my Jailbroken iPhone 4 at the time and did some research about developing for this 'Mobile Substrate'. It took a long time and many hours of research to finally get the hang of it. My first tweak, Media Controller Brightness, was sloppily written but it worked. All it did was add a slider for brightness under the media controls on the lock screen. From then on I was 100% hooked and couldn't stop coding."

When asking William about why he attends JailbreakCon, he shared this about the experience.

"The first JailbreakCon I attended was in 2013, after the release of my first paid tweak InstaURL, which Jeff Benjamin from iDB did a video on ... while in NYC, I met everyone -- Saurik, Britta, the evad3rs, and many other developers behind popular tweaks. There I learned about the subreddit r/jailbreak, and started getting more involved in the community ... Britta's speech about it at WWJC played a large role in that. The community is full of great people and if you have the chance to get involved you should! This is the reason why I went to San Francisco for the 4th WWJC. This is probably one of the best communities out there and I'm glad to be a part of it.

For anyone considering attending JailbreakCon, I would have to say that it is one of the most educational and fun experiences you could have. The people there are fun to hang out with and you learn a lot while being there. It's great if you're a developer but it's also equally as great, if not better, if you're not a developer or are just getting started. The talks are highly inspirational and informative; it is the perfect environment to learn about developing ... It gives you a whole new perspective on the tweaks that are developed and the process required to make them. You can see how much work goes into them and appreciate it.

WWJC has been of the best experiences of my life. I enjoy everything about it and wish I could stay there for a month. The people and atmosphere are like paradise for developers and jailbreak enthusiasts. If you get a chance to go, do it, it is worth all the money in the world."

William currently has a number of projects in development, including the second rendition of Boxy called Boxy 2 and a developer library called libLockScreen, which developers can use to easily incorporate new tweaks into the lock screen environment. To contact William or just to see what he's up to, give him a shout out on Twitter @william_vab

Aehmlo - iOS Software and Jailbreak Tweak Developer

Caught a selfie with this awesome developer @Aehmlo at JailbreakCon 2014 (Photo: Cammy H.)
Caught a selfie with this awesome developer @Aehmlo at JailbreakCon 2014 (Photo: Cammy H.)

This guy has been around the jailbreak community a while himself and is probably familiar to most in the community, having developed a number of popular tweaks such as Badger and PowerDown Enhancer.

" I began jailbreaking back with Star and immediately wanted to write software, so I did - eventually."

When I asked him about his experience at JailbreakCon 2014, he shared some of his favorite parts as follows:

" As far as the workshops, I definitely enjoyed the advanced development session. We didn't talk about all that much but it was great to have a chance to talk with and work with other developers and I had lots of fun collaborating and hanging out with them. Face to Face collaboration is a better than the virtual kind.

Why I would recommend attending JailbreakCon is because of the people. I mean, JailbreakCon certainly has appeal in its talks, but of course you can find those online. The people is what makes it worthwhile though. The community is a crazily diverse group of awesome people. Getting to meet people, talk with them, work out bugs in the internal generator (a la Dustin Howett), joke with them, and just hang out with them is an invaluable experience, and it's not something you'll find online."

Aehmlo has a number of upcoming tweak projects he's working on currently. Look for his name to show up again soon in Cydia.

Ryan Hileman - Security Researcher and Tweak developer

You know a guy who wears shoes like this has got to be cool. These are the feet of Ryan Hileman at JailbreakCon 2014 (Photo: Cammy H.)
You know a guy who wears shoes like this has got to be cool. These are the feet of Ryan Hileman at JailbreakCon 2014 (Photo: Cammy H.)

Ryan aka @lunixbochs is another awesome member of the jailbreak community who's been involved almost since day one, having become interested in jailbreaking around the time of the iPod Touch 1G, before the official Apple App Store even existed.

According to Ryan, jailbreaking interested him because "I always loved the idea of improving on the operating system and apps. I got into tweak development by working on a way to use BlueTooth game controllers with iOS games, but stopped when Blutrol was released. I still recall, though, Ryan Petrich helping me work through many problems over IRC."

While Ryan's main interest is in iOS security and usability, he has released a couple of tweaks on Cydia called, Location Sentry and EnableWebGL.

In discussing JailbreakCon, Ryan also agreed, anyone who is a member of the community should certainly consider attending.

"The community is amazing. I had countless awesome conversations, learned a great deal in the talks, and connected with people from many different backgrounds. I really enjoyed Saurik diving into Cycript and explaining the PDF exploit patch. So many people put in a serious amount of work to make the Jailbreak experience as great as it is for both developers and users. The amount of depth and dedication in the scene is awe-inspiring. And, of course, while there you can also get some pretty epic selfies."

John Rickman - Tweak Developer

Some super cool folks to meet at JailbreakCon next year! @william_vab, @rickburgen, @hizinfiz, @aehmlo (Photo: @hizninfiz)
Some super cool folks to meet at JailbreakCon next year! @william_vab, @rickburgen, @hizinfiz, @aehmlo (Photo: @hizninfiz)

John Rickman aka @rickburgen is also an iOS software developer who has released a tweak on Cydia some may be familiar with -- BatteryStatusBar. Rick is currently working on a couple different jailbreak related projects, one of which, should be releasing in the next couple weeks.

When I asked Rick what he liked about JailbreakCon and why he's recommend it, this is what he shared.

"As I tell everyone that asks me how the conference was, it is such an invaluable resource. From networking with others to getting inspired, there's no better feeling than being at WWJC. My favorite session was the advanced developer session. While there, I was able to meet with other developers, ask for help and collaborate ideas.

If you are part of the jailbreak community you should definitely attend WWJC because one of the best way to get your hands wet in coding, is to start than customizing the device you use every day. This you can learn by sitting in on a beginner session at JailbreakCon."

Haifisch - Software and Jailbreak Tweak Developer

Another guy I snagged a selfie with at JailbreakCon 2014 -- Mini Talk presenter and jailbreak tweak developer, Haifisch! (Photo: Cammy H.)
Another guy I snagged a selfie with at JailbreakCon 2014 -- Mini Talk presenter and jailbreak tweak developer, Haifisch! (Photo: Cammy H.)

If you've hear of Hashbang Productions, or lurk around the Twitter jailbreak crowd, then you are probably familiar with the name Haifisch aka @0x8badfl00d. Haifisch is a jailbreak developer who's worked on a number of tweaks such as PebbleStatus, PBNest, QuickResponse, ZenBTC, and others. Outside of the jailbreak community is works as an iPhone Engineer on various Software/Hardware projects. Haifisch is another developer who's been following the jailbreak scene almost from the beginning and was one of the presenters during Saturday's mini talks.

"I got involved back in 2008ish when I wanted to do more with my iPod 3rd generation, so I looked into hacks (to be honest, I wanted free apps cause my father took his card off of our iTunes account and I was like 10-11 years old at the time). Then I heard about jailbreaking. I looked into redsn0w as a jailbreak for 3.1.3 and I did what every other n00b does, and I buy the software for $15, not realizing this software is free. I did end up jailbreaking my iPod and somewhat learning some CLI stuff. It wasn't till about a year later I got a 2008 Macbook that my uncle passed down to me, that I started developing apps for iOS. I learned to make a "hello world" app within an hour or so. Fun stuff."

When I asked him about his experience at JailbreakCon and favorite sessions, this is what he shared.

"My favorite session at JailbreakCon was probably Kevin Bradly aka @nitoTV's presentation. He's just a funny guy that seems pretty cool. Other than that, the mini talks were cool and exciting. If you are thinking about attending JailbreakCon, I definitely would. It's an awesome experience to be put in the same room as a bunch of other really good developers and hackers. Meeting all these guys there was like a dream to me. Plus, you get to build some IRL friendships."

iSixter - Theme Designer

This guy traveled all the way from India just to attend JailbreakCon 2014! (Photo: Cammy H.)
This guy traveled all the way from India just to attend JailbreakCon 2014! (Photo: Cammy H.)

This guy I had to add to the group because, not only has he faithfully followed me on Twitter for a while now, he's just getting his feet wet into theme designing and travelled quite a distance just to make it to JailbreakCon! iSixter (@vishadubb on Twitter) made the 18 hour flight to JailbreakCon all the way from India! That's a pretty ambitious trip for a 16 year old to attempt alone! But talking to him, he wouldn't have missed JailbreakCon for the world.

"I wanted to attend JailbreakCon to learn more bout jailbreaking in general, and of course to meet people like Saurik and Cyril. My favorite session while there was Saurik's lecture on the second day. It was such a great talk! For non-developers and developers alike, JailbreakCon is amazing!"

Hope you enjoyed getting to know a few of the faces in and around JailbreakCon 2014 and see you there next year!

Cammy Harbison

Writer/Reporter For iDigitalTimes

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