Reversing Sage’s SmartProbe

[[UPDATE: see-also: http://bioshacking.blogspot.com/2016/09/down-to-silicon-level-debugging.html ]]

I received the below URL as a Comment on this blog. I know very little about it, but it sounds potentially interesting some of this blog’s readers, maybe. The post is about Sage’s SmartProbe.. I haven’t had a chance to read the code the article points to, please use care.

A Complete Pill for the Sage SmartProbe.
The Sage SmartProbe was a very spiffy “Hard ICE” debugger, one of the few ever manufactured for use with modern (2010s) AMD x86-64 processors, and – as far as I’m aware – the only one ever sold on the mass market, rather than as part of “favourite son” deals (as, e.g., Intel’s, and Arium’s similar products were, and perhaps still are.) Probe (right hand side) and “GizmoBoard” AMD G-series motherboard (left hand side.) Quite a few of these things ended up bundled with various dev boards, saddled with time-limited demo expiration (yes, a time-limited hardware peripheral! don’t ask me…) The vendor perma-re-enabled an expired probe for a small fee. Sage Eng. LLC, it appears, is long dead. Leaving no trace! How and why it died is unknown to me. So now, instead of being unique tools in the development of, e.g., Coreboot, or whatever other attempts at sane utilization of x86-64 iron, the demo probes are stuck in limbo, working as so many peculiar paperweights. This is a crying shame. Now you cannot unbrick the expired probes for any price. (At least not by buying the magic code from the original maker…) So, without further delay, let us get one of these patients onto the operating table:[…]

http://www.loper-os.org/?p=1667

Jeff Thomas leaves Sage Engineering

Hmm, I don’t understand what is happening at Sage Engineering, it looks like there are are multiple coreboot people who are looking for a job(?), see below bold sentences (emphasis mine):

http://www.se-eng.com/2015/07/so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish/

I woke up this morning dreaming about different chipsets and boot solutions, though quickly realizing there was no longer a reason. Because today I’m writing my last blog for Sage Electronic Engineering. Along with myself, the change the technical to non-technical writer, there are a lot of fine coreboot engineers now looking for work. I’d like to thank everyone who followed this blog, notably Vincent Zimmer at Intel, as it has meant a lot to me, as well as my company. I’d also like to thank Sage CEO Scott Hoot and VP of Marketing Dennis Batchelor for having me along, as well as the numerous engineers and managers, Drew Jensen and Steve Goodrich come to mind, I’ve bothered with questions along the way. I enjoyed working here very much. Mostly, I’d like to note that I never did get around to writing about owner/engineer  Kimarie Hoot, who certainly deserves an award for both a woman in software and a woman in business. Some publicist I am. Kimarie is much more than a credit to her gender and electronic engineering. I’m not sure what’s going to happen to some very fine engineering here at Sage, especially the SageBIOS for Intel and AMD processors, but I’d like to believe it will be available in some form. Seems like an incredible waste otherwise. Everyone I’ve worked with here has been a credit to x86 embedded development. When they asked me what I knew about BIOS and firmware when I interviewed here, I said, “Well I’ve updated BIOS on my laptop, pretty much know what that does, and I’ve flashed a couple of routers — that’s about it.” Hopefully, I’ve found my way around a bit since then. Anyway, my last stab at humor, and there have been some outstanding failures in this department, comes from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. So long, and thanks for all the fish.