Nothing makes us happier than hacking an inexpensive gadget to run just about any Linux app — and that’s exactly what Shannon Morse is doing this week on Hak5. We’re also joined by Jason for a little Google Voice SMS scripting with Java or PHP libraries, and Darren Kitchen has gone googly for Chrome OS. Prepare the popcorn it’s technolust time!

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First look at Google Chromium OS

Last week the news was a buzz about Google’s Chrome OS, and while we typically don’t cover tech news on the show I freaked out in my usual open source, cloud lovin’ Linux-y sorta way. So this week we’re taking a first look at Chromium OS — the FOSS project that Chrome is built on.

Darren Kitchen

Google Voice SMS Scripting with Java and J-Bomb

Google voice is a powerful multi-use tool that could be used as a free SMS aggregator, that could be leveraged for anything you could come up that would fit into 140 charters, like a text based adventure game or a sms bbs. There are several different libraries that people have developed to take full advantage of Google voice’s features: Java Libary, PHP Libary, or for those who just want the raw unofficial API. The sky is the limit with this, the code that was showed is up on the forums, so head over there and get those idea up there. Source Code


PS: Doesn’t J-Bomb sound like some sort of netbeans module?

Unlocking Linux on the Zipit Z2, a $50 hacktop

The Zipit Z2 is an inexpensive wireless handheld instant messaging device by Zipit Wireless. It sports WiFi, a color 320×240 display, backlit keyboard and similar CPU and memory to that of a last-gen smart phone.

It’s also a prime candidate for some hacking. In this segment we’ll unlock the device and install Debian, X, and Pidgin. The Z2 also has potential for emulators, video streaming and more.

Rather than repeat what has already been well documented we’ll link to these helpful Zipit Z2 hacking resources:

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  • dennis 6 years ago

    I enjoyed the quick intro to ChromeOS and the Zipit hacking!

    Its a shame I can’t find the Zipit here in england :(

    Just as an aside: you can achieve the same result that you pointed out in chromeos, in Firefox. The two addons “Faviconize Tab” and “Permatabs” will make a small tab which cannot be closed. I have been doing that for GMail and some other tabs for ages.

  • anthrounit 6 years ago

    There was a mention of the zip it being on this site for sale right? because I don’t see it yet but its not a bad idea. Maybe if Hak5 sold all the goodies they make they would get some cash for more cooler projects. after all they are selling the pineapple and the monkey soon but why not something like the U3 switchblade or a multipass? sure there is a lot of people that would like that sorta stuff even if it was autographed by the crew of hak5!

  • JC Denton 6 years ago

    Nice, Bring back the hardware stuff hacks and mods.
    Good stuff.

  • Fingon 6 years ago

    I loved the try in the German language ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I couldn’t stop laughing… because I am a native German speaker.

    You should do a complete show in German. Or at least a segment…would be funny. If you want to know some German stuff, email me. ๐Ÿ˜‰



  • SoupMan 6 years ago

    Nice show as always guys. One thing you should try with the zipit is getting flash to work in a web browser, the maybe watch some youtube, or even some hak5 on that thing!

    Peace :)

  • moshguy 6 years ago

    Sad vampire Darren makes me laugh.

  • Ik think this Zipit will make a nice remote for my mediacenter ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • What do you use for the video conferencing, the quality looks

  • @Cal, Jason recorded locally with an HD camera and sent along the video files. I then synchronized ’em in post production.

  • Since Chrome OS can be built on Debian, and Zipit runs on Debian. Why not make the perfect min-netbook by combining the two?

    Unfortunately, with Christmas approaching, every place is sold out of the Zipits.

  • OME! That was hilarious!
    What… no shirtless Matt…

    Looking forward to more Chrome OS stuff- exciting.

  • Namenlos 6 years ago

    The segment on that little device was interesting, but come on; it was completely ridiculous to see Darren acting like he had to have Shannon tell him how to enter commands like ifconfig, eth1 up, apt-get, etc.

  • Namenlos 6 years ago


    Ja, das war ziemlich lustig, aber ich bin sicher, dass keine ganze deutschsprachige Folge kommt!

  • Namenlos 6 years ago

    To clarify my comment at November 26, 2009 at 11:53 pm, so it’s not misconstrued:

    I meant that it is unbelievable that Darren would need anyone to tell him how to use those commands, not the fact that it was Shannon telling him.

    : ^ D

  • Now we just need to add 3g to the Zipit!


  • I can’t wait to try this, especially if I can get xwindows working. Only problem is finding a zipit.

    Does anyone know of other devices that can be linux hacked like the zipit?

  • Garry 6 years ago

    Chrome OS is very much like Web Convergence (linux based) boot disk that is a mozilla firefox web browser connected to the cloud.

  • Fingon 6 years ago

    @ Namenlos

    Das war auch nicht ganz ernst gemeint ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • @Namenlos

    Yes I understand and it’s a balancing act. You see, the role the other host has to play is that of the inquisitive viewer. Had I simply breezed through all the commands, like either of us can, we wouldn’t have properly demonstrated the unlocking process.

    But yes, I’ll work on that.

  • Is this the hack house?!

  • Nice show! Zipit portion was very cool. Looking forward to more ssl hacking, possibly going more in depth with sslstrip, what else can it do? More wireless hacking techniques, cowpatty segment was great. Keep up the great work!

  • Namenlos 6 years ago

    @ Darren,

    I knew that’s what you were doing, just like when you watch CSI and one of them is seemingly explaining things to the other that you’re pretty sure they should know! :)

    @ Fingon,

    Ja, das hab’ ich schon gewusst, aber das wรคre echt toll, oder? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Now this is what I’m talking about. Best episode in weeks. LOVE the hardware hacks. Keep Em Coming.

  • Ryonni 6 years ago

    Yesssss, hardware hacks are the best. Those are the projects that keep me going. Love them please keep them coming.

  • redxine 6 years ago

    Where is this magical source code that was promised for the google voice java API? I tried my hand at it today and sending messages was a cinch, but the getSMS() function returns unparsed HTML that makes it oh so much more difficult to run a simple if (reply == “y”). Any suggestions as to how to parse it?

    Great show btw.

  • htfkid2000 6 years ago

    why is this more then 350 mb large? not everybody has comcast! :@

  • Good show (Linux Hacking the Zipit/SMS Scripting Google Voice and Chrome OS)

    More on acquiring a Zipit please – seems there are multiple versions, some without SD slots, and a subscription is required?

    I’m curious if the device supports USB (host or client), and what sort of brightness the screen has (or not – ie, outdoor?).

    A cheap display backed by a linux OS could go a long way in many places – find and promote this machine! Using cast offs/old stock only goes so far (loads of Compaq iPaqs in my drawer!).

    Needing one of them Google Voice accounts if anyone is sharing…

  • 200 nits (1000 is needed for daylight :( )

    Good spec sheet

    LCD Display 320 x 240 TFT LCD
    Transmissive Display
    Dot pitch: .18h x .18v
    256K Colors
    Min 2.8โ€ diagonal
    LED Backlight
    200nit Backlight

  • Hey..

    Does this work in the UK..?

  • Gater_Byte 6 years ago

    Loved the Episode!

    Watched the show and ordered my Zipit Z2!
    is there a way to create a “Mesh” or an adhoc that you could create to make the Zipit’s to talk message each other were no wifi is?

    and I found this site that is like your grub video about mutiboot.
    This Katana uses lilo instead.

    I’m trying to get it working.


  • Great show! The Zipit looks like a really interesting toy – I’m really keen on getting one to install the aircrack suite on. Maybe turn it in to something similar to the wifi pineapple/Jasager with VPN goodness. The idea of having a screen/keyboard but then being able to close it up and walk around with it in a pocket (or like Darren mentioned, attached to a kitty!) would be awesome ๐Ÿ˜€

  • kuatous 6 years ago

    So am i the only one that seriously picked up on the the zipit gameboy aspect of the mod. I mean seriously in about 5 minutes it goes from being an ultra portable netbook to being an all in one portable game device. Call me short sighted but dudes it would definitely make a nifty toy. Another viable option is turn it in to a wifi multipass with an in depth visual…?

  • thejart 6 years ago

    i’ve been looking for the sample google voice code, but i can’t seem to find it. am i just overlooking it?

  • Angelo 6 years ago

    Hi there I was wondering if it’s possible to install backtrack4 on the openzipit.

  • Got my Zipit Z2 in the mail today.

    Looking for my microSD card now to get started!

  • good stuff man!!

  • bobdole369 6 years ago

    I totally want a zipit. Maybe my fiancee’ will listen to me and buy me one.

    I have a bitchin’ app for it too. I want to use it as a front-end – media selector (sort of remote) for my vehicle based entertainment system. I would probably end up using something like a keyboard based entry where I’d build an iPod style control panel into the dash and mount the screen somewhere near the dashboard.

    It’s the perfect size and for that price I almost can’t pass it up. Sure I could use a regular-ass 7″ TFT like everybody else in but what fun is that?

    I saw on other sites the possibility of a JTAG or even a full fledged 232 serial port (even ttl would be fine). Any thoughts on that? If so I could easily get OBD-2 data from my car and display that on the device as well. If it can’t handle the crunching like I suspect it can’t – I have a PC that can, and it could be the display device. (VNC or SSH x session over wifi in the ride).

    Also I do a LOT of serial comms as my day-to-day job is IT manager, as well as “technical operations” – which means big freaking geek – send this guy when nobody else can figure it out. We do monitoring and control systems aboard oceangoing vessels – typically 80-300FT in length. I spend a LOT of time talking to machines with a laptop over serial ports (think Modbus, CANbus, proprietary stuff, Caterpillar/MTU/Detroit Diesel engines and generators, power panels, distribution panels, HVAC, fire systems, etc). So a serial port on a machine THIS size would be a godsend. Shoot even using it as the display end of a VNC session while a real laptop was physically connected over wifi.

    I was MORE than shocked to see startx work!!!!!

  • Pixelated Dwarf 6 years ago

    What Kind of Card does the Z take? I tried a micro but it is too big.

  • cmbeid 6 years ago

    Anyone having problems with the keymaps not working properly when starting X on the zipit? Like when the virtual terminal is up, the keys work fine. The “…” key corresponds to Ctrl and the “:-)” corresponds to Esc. But when starting X, the :-) is to toggle the mouse, and “…” has no effect. Someone willing to let me try their keymap file? Ive already tried several and none work properly

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