HacknMod.com was a website that provided users hundreds of step-by-step videos, guides, and tutorials on how to hack and modify almost any type of tech, including elevators and Coke vending machines. Over the years, the site grew to become one of the biggest hacking and modding communities on the web.
If you are planning on hacking any tech today and hoping to find the answers you need on HacknMod.com, we have news for you: The website is no longer active. What could have happened to the website that was once featured on number 4 in PC Mag’s Top 100 Undiscovered Websites?
To find out what happened to HacknMod.com, we spent some time following the website's history, exploring some of the exciting hacks it featured and how it tried to keep the TouchPad relevant. Finally, we attempt to determine why the site is no longer online.
The History Of HacknMod.com
HacknMod.com was established in 2006 with a promise that “users will find hundreds of tutorials, guides … step by step video lessons … to hack and modify common (even retro) game consoles such as the Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, NES, Atari, etc.”
Joe Langevin established HacknMod. At the time when Langevin started the company, he was still a high school student. HacknMod was his inaugural company. He later graduated from The Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute at the Washington State University and had a stint at Microsoft before moving to Tesla in 2014.
If you go through Langevin's LinkedIn profile, you come across a talented man whom colleagues seem to admire. For instance, Perry Stultz, General Manager of Development for Xbox at Microsoft, says he is the one who hired Langevin. Stultz adds, “Bringing him into our group was a great move on both our parts. He delivered on everything we asked, and he grew at a super-fast pass.”
Hacking And Modifying Almost Anything
HacknMod would later grow into what its developers called “one of the biggest hacking and modding communities on the web.” When you look at the content and hacks on the site, you understand why visitors found the website appealing.
Kyle Monson and Brian Heater write for PC Mag. They describe HacknMod.com as “a site that can help you build pretty much anything out of pretty much anything else.”
Hacking Coke Machines
The first thing you think about when you see the headline Hacking Coke Machines is free drinks or all that money inside the machine. However, as you get to the end of the hacking instructions, you get to learn that all you can do with the tricks you just read is to impress your friends. This is because it is almost impossible to get behind the vending machine’s door without the ability to set the C-switches correctly.
Hack An Elevator And Skip Floors
Ask anyone that has ever been late for an important job interview or meeting, and they will tell you that at that moment, they wished they could wave a magic wand to make the elevator skip floors. With HacknMod.com, you didn’t need to wave the magic wand; all you needed was to be able to read elevator signs.
According to HacknMod, for elevators that do not require a key, to put the elevator into “Express” mode, all you need to do is to simultaneously press the “Door Close” and “Floor” buttons.
Build DIY Segway
For those who want the Segway but discover that they can’t afford it, HacknMod had the answer: learn “simple robotics and a balancing algorithm.”
Below is a list of the hardware suggested by the owner of the Segway clone DIY hack:
- Two second-hand 24V wheelchair motors, obtained with gearbox, hub, wheel, and tire attached
- 2x OSMC boards (Open Source Motor Controller) from Robot Power
- 1x MOB board (Modular OSMC Brain) from Robot Power
- 1x IMU Combo Board - ADXL203/ADXRS401 gyro/accelerometer from Spark Fun Electronics
- 6x 12V 7AH sealed lead-acid batteries
- Misc hardware from Dick Smith Electronics, Jaycar, Aztronics
You would also need a broomstick, two pieces of wood, Gaffer Tape, and Misc hardware from Bunnings.
Featured In Top Ten Websites For Geeks
When Arun Thakur listed the ten websites every geek should follow for India’s social media review platform TopYaps.com, HacknMod made it into the list. Thakur calls HacknMod “one of the largest communities of hack and mods, where users can see tutorials and step-by-step video instructions to learn how to hack and mod for themselves.”
Thakur had a message for geeks: “If you are a geek with some DIY skills, HacknMod is the site for you.”
Hack The TouchPad And Claim $1,500
In 2011, when HP announced that it would no longer be making mobile devices and slashed the price of the TouchPad by around 75%, the executives at the company were surprised to see the device flying off the shelves faster than they anticipated.
Where was the renewed interest in the TouchPad coming from? The answer lay in the fact that third-party players like HacknMod had started making efforts to keep the device relevant. In August 2011, HacknMod informed the public that it offered $1,500 to anyone who could hack the TouchPad and install Android.
According to BusinessInsider.com, the $1,500 prize money was divided into several categories: “$450 for a basic Android port, $350 if you can get Wi-Fi to work, $300 if you can get audio to work, $300 if you can get the camera to work, and $100 for functional multitouch.”
HacknMod would later increase the prize money to $2,000 following a donation from the XDA developer forum site. The last news we can see regarding the prize money indicates that HacknMod eventually increased the bounty to $2,225.
It’s not clear whether anyone eventually won the HacknMod prize. However, while HacknMod was still offering the reward, Wired.com reported that another modification group, CyanogenMod, “released a video of its popular aftermarket software running on HP’s TouchPad tablet.”
What Then Happened To HacknMod.com?
If HacknMod.com was willing to part with up to $2,225 to keep the TouchPad relevant, it doesn't look like the website managed to save itself.
HacknMod.com was online until February 1, 2017, after which a visit to the site was met with the message: “The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.”
The developers of HacknMod.com provide no information about what happened to the website.