Archives For Hacks

Hacking The Nook Touch

Dave Zatz —  June 13, 2011


What a difference a week makes…

When we last discussed Barnes & Noble’s new Nook Touch e-Reader ($139), I lamented the absence of a web browser. While some browser components were clearly present, to enable WiFi hotspot login functionality, there was no obvious means to launch a full-on browsing experience. As it turns out, it’s not so tricky at all. In fact, no hacking required. However, what you end up with is indeed a hack. For now. As the browsing experience is less than ideal. But, hey, it’ll do in a pinch and this gives me some hope that B&N intends to refine and release this feature.

More interestingly, the Nook Touch seems to have a good deal in common with it’s larger, Color brethren. And I learned on Liliputing that it’s been rooted. Directions can be found here but, while the steps are simple, the end result isn’t entirely suitable for novices at this point. What you’re left with is basically an unlocked device that you can sideload apps onto… and launch via computer. So while the savvy are mucking about with the Amazon Kindle app, I wouldn’t say the root experience is quite ready for weekend geek warriors.


Coincidentally, last week, both Blake Krikorian and I worked out methods to move compelling HBO GO content from smartphone to television. Blake, who you might recognize as the inventor of the Slingbox and champion of the Crestron Android app, ultimately got it done via his Motorola Atrix… in conjunction with the multimedia dock. Like the Atrix’s netbook enclosure accessory, the multimedia dock launches Motorola’s Linux webtop OS/interface and Blake merely brought up HBO GO via the desktop version of Firefox. On a 103″ plasma. As I quipped on Facebook, 320×240 never looked so good. (Although, HBO is definitely streaming higher res than that.) Jason Hirschhorn, who you might recognize as a former MTV, Sling, or MySpace executive and curator of the must-follow MediaReDEFined, snapped the incriminating photographic evidence.


Likewise, I attempted to harness the power of my iPhone in ways it wasn’t intended… by HBO. Having picked up Apple’s digital AV adapter, I had plans to pipe iPhone app content onto the TV via HDMI (as screen mirroring is only offered from the iPad 2). Unfortunately, although not unsurprisingly, most app providers haven’t enabled this functionality. And, once again, I jailbroke my phone to extend its capabilities. The $4 DisplayOut app (purchased via Cydia) provides iPhone 4 display mirroring, in addition to pushing audio out over the aforementioned HDMI. Stretched Flight of the Conchords quality wasn’t great on the big screen and the process of streaming while mirroring pretty much crushes the iPhone battery. Not to mention Apple’s dongle is not compatible with their iPhone bumper. So while I figured I’d end up writing a post chronicling how this $40 cable would replace my more bulky Roku on travel, it just wasn’t meant to be.

There’s good news and bad news for anyone who wants to upgrade their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to the latest version of iOS, but also wants to be able to jailbreak their device to run apps that aren’t supported by Apple. The good news is that you can jailbreak iOS 4.3.1. The bad news is that the process is rather long and complicated, you’ll need to connect your device to a computer to reboot if you don’t want to lose your jailbreak, and there’s no support for carrier unlocking, which means if you’re using your iPhone with an unsupported network, you should probably just hold off on updating to iOS 4.3.1. altogether.

The latest operating system update provides minor bug fixes, addressing a graphics glitch on the latest iPod touch models and some other bugs affecting iPhones and iPads. But if you need a carrier unlock or if you wand an “untethered” jailbreak which lets you reboot without a computer nearby, you should probably hold off until hackers release new jailbreak tools. Read the rest of this entry »

The Motorola Atrix 4G isn’t expected to go be available for another few days. But in advance of launch day hackers have managed to get a hold of the full system dump (containing the operating system and all the files and programs that will come with the phone).

Once that was done, users were able to extract the custom wallpapers, ringtones, and even the boot animation from the phone.

If that wasn’t enough, you can find pictures of a rooted Atrix 4G at the xda-developers forum. There are no instructions on how to root the phone yourself just yet, but the Getaphixx, who is responsible for the initial hack says he’ll release more info soon.

The Atrix 4G is a new phone with a dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor running Google Android 2.2. It supports AT&T’s HSPA+ mobile broadband network, has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. But what really makes the phone unique is the way you can dock it with a laptop station to use a full version of the Firefox web browser on an 11.6 inch display or with a media dock for displaying HD video content on a big screen TV.

This post republished from Mobiputing.


For all the polish of Apple’s iPhone, there’s still a number of missing technological enhancements. For example, one would think that archiving voicemail in some manner would be a no brainer — saving a message to iTunes or emailing it beyond the confines of one’s handset. In preparation for an AT&T exodus and Verizon iPhone 4 purchase, that’s exactly what I wanted to do.

My initial plan to perserve a classic voicemail message involved a variety of mini plug cables. The thought was I’d have audio play over my iPhone headset jack which in turn would be received via the laptop’s audio input and recorded via Garage Band or Audio Hijack Pro. Unfortunately, at some point I realized that my current generation MacBook Air doesn’t really have audio in. So instead of dislocating the wife from her laptop for a similar attempt via Windows Movie Maker, I went with plan B…

Using Greenpois0n, I quickly jailbroke my iPhone… followed up by an install of the Cydia app store and SSH. Using my preferred OS X file transfer client Cyberduck, I wirelessly accessed the iPhone via SFTP using the default username (root) and password (alpine). Once in, I browsed to /private/var/mobile/Library/Voicemail/. Unfortunately, I rarely clean up after myself and was greeted by a rather a long list of .amr (adaptive multi-rate) audio files. So I copied them all down to my computer for safe keeping. While the .amr file type is new to me, QuickTime is familiar with it and had no trouble playing back messages until I found the one I was after.

XBMC is a highly customizable and powerful media center application that can run on computers and a number of other devices. In fact, the project started its life as Xbox Media Center, thus the acronym. But my how XBMC has grown in recent years. Last night the developers announced that the app has been ported to run on devices with Apple’s A4 chip. That includes the Apple TV2, iPad, iPhone 4, and 4th generation iPod touch.

You’ll need to jailbreak your iOS device in order to install XBMC, since it’s not available from the App Store. But if you do that, you can effectively turn a $99 Apple TV into a powerful media center capable of 1080p HD video playback. This will let you stream videos from computers on your home network without relying on Apple’s AirPlay service, handle almost any video codec you can throw at it, use XBMC skins, and run add-ons.

The version for the iPad supports drag-and-drop loading of photos, videos, and music from your computer. The XBMC developers say you can also run the app on the iPhone 4 (and presumably the 4th generation iPod touch), but that it’s “frustrating to use.”

You can find instructions for installing XBMC on an Apple TV2 or iPad/iPhone at the XBMC wiki.

This post republished from Mobiputing.


Want to turn your Android phone into a portable WiFi hotspot without installing a custom ROM or waiting for Google to officially roll out Android 2.2 Froyo? If your phone is running Google Android 2.1, then you can.

This only works on phones that have been rooted (giving you access to settings and files that are otherwise off limits), but if you’ve already enabled root privileges on your phone then enabling WiFi tethering is about as easy as downloading and installing an app. Read the rest of this entry »