November 23, 2003

Overview of Open Source

Slashdot pointed me to "Open Source Desktop Technology Road Map" by Jim Gettys. It's a great overview of many of the technologies that make up an Open Source desktop solution.

With layer upon layer of libraries and processes, I can't help but wonder when we'll start considering many of these lower layers as the base for our computing platform rather than add-ons.

Posted by rob at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2003

Inventors Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame has a website where you can read about your favorite inventors. You can search by name, or view "invention channels" that group inventors into categories such as agriculture, or computers.

Posted by rob at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2003

Grown-up Gameboy

I found this in some coverage of Comdex. It's the Tapwave. A 200MHz ARM, Palm OS 5, powered portable game machine (and PDA, too). Looks cool...

Posted by rob at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

Tivo Upgrade Completed

I finally have my Tivo upgraded with a 160GB Seagate Barracuda.

I ended up making space in my PC for all the requisite drives by taking out my WinXP boot disk and taking out my CD-RW drive. Booting from the CD, it gave me room to plug in the Tivo drive and backup to a new drive that I bought.

That was the first problem I ran into though. Backups. I still haven't quite figured out what the mfstool thinks a backup is. The regular backup backs up just the "essential" files and is quite small (around 800MB this time). However, it provides an option to backup everything (-a).

So, that's what I thought I would do. I would create a single backup of everything on my hard drive and store on my new 300GB disk. Sounded good in theory. Unfortunately, it turns out that the Linux kernel on the boot cd is version 2.4.4 from Aug-20-2001. Apparently, due to the tools used at the time, it suffers from a 2GB file size limit. (Needless to say, it took forever to figure out that was what was happening. I couldn't find mention of this 2GB file limit in any Linux FAQ.)

Having given up on making a full backup, I used the mfstool to backup and restore to the new drive over a pipe. No problem. It copied everything over. (many hours later.)

My next problem came when I tried to enable backdoors. I thought, "Hey! I'll do the hexedit nonsense while I have the drive in the PC before I put it in the Tivo." Silly me. Turns out the MFS Application Region partitions of the disk are blank after doing an mfstool backup/restore. I needed to boot up the Tivo once to populate the partitions with information that I could then change with hexedit.

Also, when using hexedit it took me a while to realize I was supposed to hit "TAB" before Ctrl-S to do the search for the key string. It was written in the book, I just missed step one and it turns out the editor defaults to searching for hexadecimal strings rather than ASCII strings.

But all is working. Took longer than expected. But which projects around my house don't seem to take longer than expected.

Posted by rob at 11:36 AM | Comments (2)

November 18, 2003

First try at TiVo Hacking

I thought I was all set. Got myself a copy of "Hacking the Tivo" by Willaim von Hagen and I thought I was all set to open my Series 2 box.

I figured I'd dip my toe into the waters of Tivo hacking by doing something simple - upgrade my hard drive. Went to the store and got myself a new Seagate 160GB drive to upgrade the stock 60GB drive in the Tivo. Bought some Torx screwdrivers and thought I was all set.

Then I hit The Wall

The book is great. It provides great directions and it even provides a CD-ROM to boot off of to get into a Linux kernel with all the tools. But I ran into a few hitches.

First, the PC that I have doesn't have any empty drive bays. I've got them filled with:

  • a floppy drive (hey! I still have some of them)

  • a CD-ROM drive

  • CD-RW drive

  • my WinXP Pro 40GB boot disk

Finally, my tendency for buying smaller, cuter machines has turned around to bite me. Hard.

To do a backup of the existing Tivo drive I need to insert two drives - one to hold the backup and the Tivo drive itself. I hadn't counted on needing two drive bays to do this juggling.

Also, it was pretty funny. I never thought about where I'd backup the existign Tivo drive to. I had just though, "Oh, it's small. I'll be able to back it up." It's a strange world when 60GB of data is starting to look small. Anyhow, I don't have anything big enough to hold that data, so I need to go back and buy another drive tomorrow.

Then, I can take out the XP boot disk (in addition to being too small to do the backup, it's NTFS and that's not supported by the software on the BATBD CD), and the CD-RW and then I'd have enough space to do the backup and upgrade to a new disk.


Posted by rob at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)