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Old 12-11-2009, 01:54 AM   #1
DaveNB
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User Made Custom Daily Content

This looks VERY interesting:

http://nookdevs.com/index.php?title=...259&oldid=prev

From NookDevs.com a BN Nook hacking site/wiki:
Quote:
So we found a way to push our own content to nook while retaining Barnes and Noble's content.
NOTE: THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT nook HAS BEEN ROOTED YET
Steps to use the DNS hack:
Change your router DNS IP's to 69.164.195.211. Both primary and secondary need to be changed to this
Restart your nook by pressing and holding the power button until it turns off
Start it up
Make sure your nook is on Wifi
Go to the Daily
Check out the new content!
Note: this only poisons the barnesandnoble.com record. Any other requests get passed through to OpenDNS servers.
Keep watching for new content every day!
I added the DNS to clarify a typo in the original description. You don't want to change the Router's actual IP address, just the servers it uses for DNS lookups (AKA the translation from www.MobileRead.com to it's actual numerical IP address 67.205.70.12, which is far harder for us to remember than MobileRead.com).

I think NookDev.com's hack works by fooling the Nook into using THEIR DNS server (69.164.195.211) which "poisons" or substitutes content requested from BN's servers for updates seen in the "Daily" section for custom data that they've created. It sounds like in addition to the normal "Daily" data from BN, they're adding some custom content of their own. (I have not personally tried this out yet).

Caveats:
They promise to send all other internet/IP requests besides to BN's Nook servers to OpenDNS servers so all your other browsing on computers via your router is normal. However, do this at your own risk as they are basically injecting their DNS server as an intermediary and can do malicious things (if they were so inclined).

If you want to try this out, I would recommend only doing this temporarily to check out their custom Daily content on your Nook ONLY. You NEED TO switch your Router DNS server settings back to what they were (I like OpenDNS personally) before doing any other browsing/internet/email/banking/etc through that router.

Also, one potentially could use this method to push bad stuff/malware to your Nook. I really doubt the folks at NookDevs.com are evil nor have they figured out how to do that yet (ie. I'm pretty sure Firmware/Software updates should be encrypted/signed by BN before being accepted by your Nook and run, but that is still being investigated) at this early stage (they have not figured out how to "root" or get full access to the Nook OS) but the risk is potentially there.

I'll have a look around to see if they've posted their custom "Daily" server code. I'm thinking that it should be fairly simple to run your own "Daily" server on your own network if they've figured Nook's protocol for talking with BN's Daily server.

Think: Sending your own RSS feeds, emails, documents, etc. to your Nook in additional to the content BN provides. Perhaps even filtering BN's content if you're not interested in some of what they're sending.

If there is a way to channel files/ePubs/pictures to specific directories through this method, it'd be way cool as you could also then side load content onto your Nook wirelessly w/o hooking up to the USB cable...

This could be pretty cool.

Dave
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:12 PM   #2
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Hi,

I'm robbiet480, the founder and owner of nookdevs.com. I just wanted to clear a few things up.

1. You are right we "poison" the DNS by redirecting barnesandnoble.com to our own servers (nookdevs.com)
2. We do actually push all traffic to OpenDNS unless you are trying to access barnesandnoble.com. You can confirm this for yourself by going to http://welcome.opendns.com
3. We do not log any requests made to the server through the DNS server. We DO log apache requests anytime someone uses our custom content.
4. We were researching ways to push malformed data through The Daily in order to gain root access to the device. The research didn't find anything of use however. If we did find something WE WOULD NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE THE USERS DEVICE ROOTED. (using caps for emphasis). I am worried about the privacy and safety of the device as much as you are. That's why at the current time I am the only person with access to the server.

Thanks for posting about this project. The only way we can accomplish our goals on the nook is to work as a community. Please watch twitter.com/nookdevs and join our IRC channel #nookdevs on irc.freenode.net to get the latest updates.

Robbie
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:03 AM   #3
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Robbie,
could you please elaborate -- what does nook expect from bn.com site to publish in dailies? I think I can spoof the DNS record on my router, I just have no clue how to publish to nook.
thanks!
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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robbiet480, thanks for your great work over at NookDevs.com

Looking forward to seeing what your hacked "Daily" feed server can do. BTW, I didn't mean to imply that your service was not trustworthy or that you had any nefarious schemes up your sleeves in my previous post. I'm pretty sure that you're forwarding other DNS requests as stated to OpenDNS (which I use anyways), but I was meant as a cautionary note for those who don't fully understand how your method of changing DNS Server addresses works that this could be a security problem for "man in the middle attacks" (and if you weren't an upstanding person).

Anyways, really enjoying following what you're doing and looking forward to trying it out soon.

Just a few questions (ok, alot of questions now that you've opened up Pandora's box as it were):

-Are you going to pass through the official BN Daily feeds so folks don't miss anything? (ie. are you tacking your feeds on to the end of the BN XML Stream?)
-Any way to filter the BN Daily feeds to get rid of stuff you're not interested in?
-Are the feeds being sent as ePub's or just text embedded in XML?
-Any way to modify the fonts/size of these feeds via your system? (nice personalization to get around the Nook's current limitations)
-Are you going to have individually configurable RSS feeds? Is this going to be per device?
-Can these feeds accommodate embedded graphics/visuals?
-Any plans to release the code publicly?
-Any way to run something like this locally within your own network? Might be nice to take the workload off your servers and folks running stuff locally could manage their local feeds and send other documents like emails, address book/contact lists, reminders, to-do lists, other private stuff like that.
-Any way to send files to other directories on the Nook (ie. uploading ePubs and Music wirelessly w/o going through hooking up the USB cable)?

I for one would really consider paying for software if you could figure out a way to package up a local "Daily" server for me to run on my computers here at home to do many of the things above. The ability to load info/files wirelessly in my own home would be the killer app for me.

Thanks again for your hard work, will be keeping a real close eye on what you're doing over there at NookDevs.com

Regards,

Dave
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:15 AM   #5
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Stangri,

I don't think robbiet480 has it set up for you to publish your own custom content yet. Things are still pretty early stages right now (though I'm VERY impressed at how fast the guys at NookDevs.com were able to reverse engineer BN's "Daily" feed protocols).

I just tried robbiet480's DNS Server hack (plugged his modified DNS Server's address into my Router's DNS settings as instructed) and upon rebooting my Nook, I looked in the "Daily" section and there was a feed from NookDev ("Welcome to NookDevs.com", NookDev.com's front page) as in the listings along with the official BN feed items (Dave Barry, Dan Bergstein, Steven King).

So far the NookDev feed only has some text from the NookDev.com web site's front page, a test image (that didn't show up), some test URL's (that unfortunately weren't clickable or selectable in the touch screen), some Javascript code that showed up printed but didn't apparently open a new window or execute as programmed.

Good start though. Too bad about the lack of inline images and no clickable hyperlinks. Still, this has lots of potential for pushing out custom RSS feeds and other documents.

Keep up the great work Robbie480.

Dave

P.S. As promised, other non-BN Daily server URL requests were passed on to OpenDNS and my browser on my other computers and other internet access did continue to work as expected using robbiet480's DNS server. I switched directly back to OpenDNS for now after I was done though. Not sure if his custom DNS server/redirect could get saturated/overloaded. Nice test though.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:22 AM   #6
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robbiet480,

Wonder if we can redirect our nooks looking for Daily content w/o the use of your DNS redirect? I have a router running dd.wrt to which I have complete root access. If I were to put this in it's /etc/hosts file would this work?:

sync.barnesandnoble.com www.xxxx.yyy.zzz

Where www.xxx.yyy.zzz was the IP of your hacked BN "Daily" server?

Dave
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:12 PM   #7
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Dave,
that's my question exactly, since we can mod hosts files right on the router there's no need for external DNS plus we should be able to publish anything to nook from our computers or NAS drives. If only we were told how to publish to nook, clearly this can be sniffed from the nookdevs responses, but I lack the inspiration to do again what's been done once already.
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:04 PM   #8
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Well the modification to the /etc/hosts file on my DD-WRT router at home worked, just add this line to your Hosts file:

Quote:
69.164.195.211 barnesandnoble.com
You'll have to then turn on your nook's WiFi, give it some time to associate. Then browse a few books in their store or go to the Daily and make sure that the Nook is using WiFi preferentially over the 3G connection (ie. there is the Wireless strength curved/pie shaped icon being displayed, not the vertical bar graph icon for 3G). Once it's no longer using 3G for data, then hold the power button down until the nook powers down. The re-start it again. It should stay in WiFi mode for Data access and when you refresh the Daily section, you should see nookDevs.com's test feed.

It's too bad that you have to power cycle/reboot the nook to get this to work the first time (seems to cache barnesandnoble.com's real IP address once it accesses over 3G or WiFi until a reboot). But it does work.

BTW, you may have to remove the /etc/hosts entry once you're done playing with this as it may mess up other functions at barnesandnoble.com (including shopping for books via a browser, etc).

This looks really promising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stangri View Post
that's my question exactly, since we can mod hosts files right on the router there's no need for external DNS plus we should be able to publish anything to nook from our computers or NAS drives. If only we were told how to publish to nook, clearly this can be sniffed from the nookdevs responses, but I lack the inspiration to do again what's been done once already.
I've been talking with robbiet480 and what they have running is apparently pretty simple right now. Don't have all the details but I think their "Daily" server upon receiving a request is getting fresh "Daily" data from the official dev.barnesandnoble.com server and then tacking on their own feed/XML data and passing it back to your nook.

So to replicate what they're doing on your own network, I'm guessing you'd have to:
1) modify the /etc/hosts file as discussed but using an IP pointing to your own computer that'll be running your "Daily" server
2) have some sort of script running on one of your server that grabs fresh XML data from the official BN "Daily" feed (using the hardcoded IP 208.67.219.132) when a request comes in from your nook
3) then add on your custom content to this XML stream and feed it out to your nook

The clumsy bit is that you'll likely have to turn on WiFi and power cycle your nook each time you come home and want to hook up to your own Daily server (to flush any cached IP addresses for BN's official servers that your nook might have gotten on the road). And you'd have to go into Airplane Mode before leaving the house to keep your custom Daily content from being overwritten by the official BN content should the nook refresh for content on its own.

What'd be much nicer would be if someone could figure how to load into the My Documents or the nook's purchased books libraries directory directly as that'd be permanent. Not sure if the Nook is set up to do that.

Dave

Last edited by DaveNB; 12-13-2009 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:19 PM   #9
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My idea was to pre-generate the XML-file for my entire library stored on a home NAS so that thru Daily you could quickly access and of your previously acquired epub books thru WiFi without the need of connecting nook to a computer.
Would be curious to learn about XML details.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:45 AM   #10
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They've posted the details of their hack here:

http://nookdevs.com/DNS_Hack

Dave
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