Interview of Nick Wells AKA “Indirect” who hacked the Nook Tablet. Interviewed by Albert Wertz ofTabletroms.com
Albert: who is Indirect?
Nick: I’m Nick, also known as Indirect online. I’m just some 16 year old kid that happens to learn alot really fast and apply it in his daily life.
Albert: What got you started in mod’ing and hacking
Nick: Oh man, 2 years ago when my dad gave me the HTC Hero CDMA it got me hooked on android but I was really scared to root it until about 5 months after I got it then it took another 3 for me to finally flash a rom to it. I was so happy when nothing went wrong. Since then, I’ve learned basically all that there is to know about interacting with android without having to goto a code/firmware level.
Albert: So you’re saying you have only been playing around with android software for the past year or two?
Nick: About a year give or take a few months, yeah.
Albert: What lead you to the Nook tablet as your next challenge?
Sent at 3:18 AM on Sunday
Nick: Well, I was basically EXTREMELY bored at the barnes and noble store and I started talking to the salesman for the nook devices and found out he was an android enthusiast too so I got curious. wondered what android version it was running, what the firmware in general was, and above all…how can I root it? I quickly googled it but to my dismay, it wasn’t rootable so I started throwing EVERYTHING at it. Z4root, visionary, gingerbreak, and then eventually I hit zerg but since I didnt have an adb shell on it, I couldn’t do it but then my mom bought it and it inspired me even more to follow through with the root. I then started working on getting zerg to work which thank goodness it worked out of the box otherwise, it would have been a whole mess of problems.
Albert: so your mom let you try and root her new nook tablet?
she was nervous something would happen.
Albert: How did you know what to do to root it then?
Nick: advanced knowledge in android + knowledge of exploits
Worst that would have happened with zerg is “no exploitable buffer found”
Albert: But, you first ran the root on the emulator so you had a good hunch that it would work right? because I trusted you with mine…
Nick: Yeah, I tested on the emulator several times just to check before actually giving you it.
Albert: What was the biggest challenge with rooting the nook tablet?
Nick: Probably there being no official drivers out, just the simple fact that there was no simple way to get it to load up, caused a HUGE amount of problems. The drivers are taken care of now though and safe in my dropbox for all to use.
Albert: did you have any help with any of this?
Nick: Aside from the people testing it? No, this was actually just me, at home, on my laptop figuring it out and I’m proud to say that.
I’m not the kind of guy to stop from shouting out to people but up until the testing part, it was just me figuring out what didnt work before hand so when I actually got home, I could try what might work.
Albert: Did you want to name any testers that helped make this possible?
Nick: Probably anlog and albertwertz, anlog found the driver modification we needed while testing and albert just kinda put up with my bull**** while testing and trying to get it up and running. Not to mention he did 3 factory resets during the whole procedure.
Albert: Can we look for any future roms made by you for this device or will you just look for the next thing to root?
Nick: Um, I was thinking of starting to attempt to compile roms for the nook tablet but I have actually never built roms before, only kernels never released to the public for stability reasons but maybe in the future I will be an active developer. I’ll still work on the device but in different ways than people are used too.
Sent at 3:35 AM on Sunday
Albert: I cant wait! So your 16 years old and you have hacked what might end up being the most popular device of this holiday season. I am sure you may have a few phone calls from developers in your future. What are your plans for your future education and what direction do you see yourself going in the next 5-10 years… aside from…prom
Sent at 3:38 AM on Sunday
Nick: Haha, great age joke there man. That basically sums up what happened, I am not so sure on the phone calls but meh, gonna be hard to explain how I rooted without a nook tablet to begin with. My plans for future education is actually go to a local community college then proceed to a university for as many computer based certifications and classes that I can take. I know I’ll never know all there is to know about tech but it really can’t hurt to try. I also plan on attempting to work for either a large tech company (google…yeah right, like that’ll happen) or a goverment type of job such as NASA, Pentagon, etc.
Albert: I am sure you will be very successful and we will see many things from you in the future. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview at 4:00am EST right after we spent all night trying to figure this thing out.
Nick: Haha, It’s been a pleasure.
Interview by Albert Wertz of Tabletroms.com