“Hacking the Xbox” Released for Free in Honor of [Aaron Swartz]

Hacking the Xbox Cover

[Bunnie], the hardware hacker who first hacked into the original Xbox while at MIT, is releasing his book on the subject for free. The book was originally released in 2003, and delves into both the technical and legal aspects of hacking into the console.

The book is being released along with an open letter from [Bunnie]. He discusses the issues he faced with MIT legal and copyright law when working on the project, and explains that the book is being released to honor [Aaron Swartz]. [Swartz] committed suicide in January following aggressive prosecution by the US government.

The book is a great read on practical applications of hardware hacking. It starts off with simple hacks: installing a blue LED, building a USB adapter for the device’s controller ports, and replacing the power supply. The rest of the book goes over how the security on the device was compromised, and the legal implications of pulling off the hack.

[Bunnie]‘s open letter is worth a read, it explains the legal bullying that hackers deal with from a first hand prospective. The book itself is a fantastic primer on hardware hacking, and with this release anyone who hasn’t read it should grab the free PDF.

Rooting Sony PRS-T1 lets you get at the Android goodies

Cries of “I am root!” abound once again with the rooting of Sony’s PRS-T1 eBook reader. The eBook Reader Blog took the original rooting directions and then looked at some of the things you can do with root access.

This hardware is based around an ePaper display, but we must say that the performance seems to be fantastic. There may be a few missing features from the original user interface (like how pages are turned) that can be fixed with root access, but we think it’s the added Android access that makes this worth it. In the video after the break you’ll see that you can drop through to the Android 2.2 desktop and install any application you’re interested in using. This is a multi-touch display so it’s well suited for navigation although applications don’t work well yet because of excessive screen refreshing. But we’re sure that will improve with time. Of note is the ability to play music through apps like Pandora, and the ability to load content from other providers like Amazon books via the Kindle app.

Every time we write one of these rooted features we can’t help but think back to this I’m a Mac spoof video…. you’ll see why in the last few seconds.

[Read more...]

Full-color eBook reader needs only 8-bits of muscle

[Rossum's] still coming up with great ways to use his microtouch hardware. This time, he’s taken his inspiration from Amazon’s announcement that a full-color eBook reader (and movie player) is on the way. Judging from the video after the break, his fully functional reader is a big win for the device.

You’re probably familiar with the hardware, an ATmega644-based board connected to a touch sensitive LCD screen. You can make your own or buy one pre-assembled (but currently out-of-stock). The board has a microSD card slot making it quite easy to add books to the device. At the start of the project [Rossum] thought he might be able to read ePub files directly, but the embedded images, and unzip function needed to open the package file is a bit too much for the 8-bit processor’s restrictions. One simple step does the trick. A helper script can be used to format the files before transferring them to the device. This does the unzipping, scales the images, and repaginates the text into a format friendly for the display size.

Now if we only had a nice little case to house the hardware we’d be in business.

[Read more...]

Stripping DRM from OverDrive Media Console eBooks

stripping_drm_from_overdrive_media_center_ebooks

[Armin Tamzarian’s] local library recently started lending eBooks via the OverDrive Media Console system. He checked out a couple of books, which got him thinking about how the copy protection scheme was implemented. He wondered what recourse users had if they wanted to view a book they have already checked out on a different, or unsupported piece of hardware.

His research centers around Adobe’s ADEPT digital rights management scheme, which is used to protect the books offered on loan by OverDrive. The topic is broken down into three parts, starting with an introduction to the EPUB file structure, the OverDrive Media Console, as well as the aforementioned ADEPT DRM scheme.

The second part takes a close look at the OverDrive Media Console itself, where he uses the ineptkey and ineptepub utilities written by [I♥CABBAGES] to pull the RSA cipher keys from the EPUB data he uncovered. When he then tries to strip the ADEPT DRM layer from his books however, he discovers that OverDrive is using a non-compliant version of the ADEPT standard, which renders existing tools useless.

The final part of [Armin’s] discussion digs even deeper into the OverDrive Console’s inner workings, where he finds that the OverDrive Media Console stores quite a bit of information in an SQLite database. After a bit of digging, he finds all the data he needs to strip the DRM from his books. [Armin] also took the time to wrap all of his findings up into a neat little tool called OMCStrip, which as you may have guessed, strips the DRM from ADEPT-protected eBooks with ease.

Instructables “Hackaday edition”

We got a pleasant letter from [Eric Willhelm], the owner of Instructables. He wanted to shoot a token of good will our direction, in the form of an EPUB of some of the projects we’ve linked to in the last quarter of 2010. These are Ad-free and have all images included. You can download it and view it on the e-reader of your choice, or even in your browser with the appropriate plugin.  The videos still link back to Instructables, but he thought our readership might enjoy having an ad-free experience. He says that link should work for about a month.

For those who really want ad free content and are willing to pay for it, Instructables has been putting out publications that are collections of instructables on certain topics. For example, [Eric] pointed out that they’ve compiled some that might be of interest to us like “Better living through microcontrollers” and “Amazing LED Projects“. Actually, there are a bunch of titles and it looks like some are free as well.

Thanks [Eric], I’m sure your actions gained a little respect, even from those who dislike Instructables generally due to ads and registration.

Is that some type of new Kindle?

[Mr C Camacho] picked up an inexpensive digital picture frame hoping to hack into it. He hasn’t had the time to crack open the hardware so that it will do his bidding but he did find a creative way to make it an ebook reader. Using a python script he processes books, creating images of the pages.

The python script, available after the break, takes free books from Project Gutenburg and spits out JPG images. Page turning and bookmarking are not what they ought to be but the process does work. The thought of someone staring at a picture frame on the subway is a bit amusing but we’re sure that sooner or later someone will ask if it’s a new version of the Kindle.

[Read more...]

Kindle DRM cracked

Ding-dong, the DRM is gone. But not in the way we really want. The copy protection scheme that is used for most Kindle books has been cracked. We’d much prefer it hadn’t been there in the first place but then there’d be no challenge for security hackers.

Giving credit for the advancement gets a little messy. Apparently two folks figured this out at approximately the same time. [Labba] posted about his discoveries while [I (heart) Cabbages] wrote about his exploits in a blog entry. Either way, you can now strip the protection and use your legally-purchased books on any device you choose by using this Python script.

This means that both Kindle and Nook have had their DRM broken. Are these companies really trying to prevent copying (fair use) or do they just want to be able to tell the publishers that there are copy protections while turning a blind eye to what happens in the privacy of your personal computer?

[Thanks Sanchoooo via Slashdot]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 97,808 other followers