Kindle hacking and clocking…

There’s a super little Instructable on how to make a Literary clock using a Kindle. Well, I happened to have an old school original Kindle 3 about and dived it. Some observations….

  • The jailbreaking materials for the Kindle are functional but there’s so many images out there its easy to see why people can get confused.
  • The USB/Wifi Networking hack is pretty good to work with when you’re doing USB only, but I wasn’t sold on Wifi configuration, so I stuck with USB and the joy of self-assigning IPs.
  • The instructable’s own assets are easy enough to install and get running. It basically wakes up every minute and puts up the appropriate image as pre-rendered on the desktop with a Python script.
  • The time is wrong, even when set to BST and I can’t seem to correct it. Timezones seem to be odd inside the Kindle, TZ adjustments seem to only work in the negative. Still, proof of concept…
  • Swapping the display image sees the screen flash a few times which would be nice to reduce.
  • And it has to be a passive USB power supply to stop the USB disk mode kicking in.

But it is rather splendid and has set me on a course of looking at the Kindle and a slab of ePaper with a small Linux to hand and an ability to run Python. Now, thats interesting…

ESP8266 – little board, lotta Wi-Fi

An ESPtoy (the ESP8266 is the little blue board) from
Lots going on with the intriguing ESP8266 board. Coming out of China with no english documentation, this tiny board has the brains to run Lua and connect to WiFi, manage some GPIO and all it takes is… a lot of fiddling. As time has gone But for $2 on ebay, you can get hacking the firmware, flashing exisitng firmwarefrom Windows like nodemcu (thats the one with the lua) or just have fun running it as a serial controlled Wi-Fi adapter.

Folks have been learning what the card needs and is capable of like working with MQTT and relays and attaching OLED displays. The smallest version of the board has two GPIO pins, so it’s a bit tricky to think up what you can do with them, but there are bigger versions out there with more GPIO pins and, one assumes, more capabilities.

So, if you wanted to start playing with an ES8266? Well, you could just get a board and start with that; there’s plenty of reference material in the links in this article or look at this instructable on using the board. Or if you want to see what it’s like without mastering supplying a 3.3V rail, then check out the ESPtoy from which is a custom 3.3V Arduino with light sensor, temp sensor and RGB LED into which you can plug an ESP8266 and get hacking. There’s oodles of neatness about that board… why yes, I did just order one.

And an unrelated aside – Debian 7.8.8: If you’ve kept your Debian Wheezy up to date, you don’t need this, but if you have your own Debian install media you’ll want to know there’s a Debian 7.8.8 update that will freshed your flash drives and dolly up your DVDs.

Node’s new lead, Windows security disappoints, TCL is 25 and Brightbox is dim – Snippets


  • New project leader for Node.js: Isaac Schlueter has announced he’s standing down from project leading Node.js and handing the reins to TJ Fontaine who’s been working as “the primary point of contact keeping us all driving the project forward together”. Schlueter is off to create npm Inc, a company focussed on npm products and services; it will be interesting to see how that pans out.

  • Windows Native Isolation inadequate: Joanna Rutokowska, CEO of Invisible Things Labs, had previously said that they would be looking into using Windows Native Isolation (WNI) as a way of bringing their research with Qubes OS and its security isolated application architecture to Windows. Now in a posting Rutokowska says despite the time invested in creating Qubes WNI, the results have been disappointing and adds “today we publish a technical paper about our findings on Windows security model and mechanisms and why we concluded they are inadequate in practice”.

  • Tcl is 25: Tcl (Tool Command Language (often pronounced Tickle)) never really made the major leagues in programming languages but it did lead the way in embeddable scripting languages. A 25th birthday posting at TkDocs picks up on the oddness of syntax and some of the sweet of the ideas in Tcl, like Tk – a GUI language which worked everywhere? Madness!

  • EE’s Brightbox isn’t bright: The EE Brightbox has quite a few holes in its security. In an article by Scott Helme, Scott takes his Brightbox apart in a step by step look at finding vulnerabilities in routers. Guides like this are useful for developers to see so they get a better idea of what people are prepared to do to their code to get access. And get to the end for a 11 second guide on disposal of insecure devices.