Some TiVo hacking

Recently, I started hacking a TiVo HR10-250 that I've had for a million years unhacked.

Back when I first got it, there were dozens of threads of hundreds of messages in about 10 different forums you needed to read in order to hack the goofy thing. Everybody did their own thing, it was manual and a big pain.

Then came zipper (you can find all the details out at this link). It makes it very easy to hack the TiVos in general. However, there was just one problem. The ISO authoring tools it used were windows-based. Since I don't generally run on a Windows machine, this was a problem for me. So I tried to do the steps from the batch file by hand, and it didn't work out so well.

So I rewrote the batch file in a unix script running on FreeBSD. FreeBSD's iso extraction feature of tar made this process hassle free. I can build a new ISO image from an old one using only one port (mkisofs) and no privs are needed at any step. I thought about trying to teach tar how to create an iso image, but since mkisofs does such a good job, and there are *SO* many knobs and dials that need to be implemented to do that right, I just let mkisofs do its thing. I just can't get over how easy FreeBSD's tar made it to break apart the old bootable cd that does the hacking to add the zipper files. Kudos!

I've uploaded the script to the TiVo Community Forum thread about zipper if you are interested in looking into it.


T-Mobile and iPhone 3.1.2 firmware update issue

Recently, I used PwnageTool on my mac to update my 2G iPhone from 2.2.1 to 3.1.2. I've been using T-Mobile since day one with my iPhone without hassle. Well, except for the upgrade hassles that I have from time to time. Once I unlocked the SIM, I was able to use the SIM from my T-Mobile DASH in the phone.

When I upgraded this time, however, there was a problem. My data connections stopped working. Since 3.1.2 was otherwise a nice upgrade for me, I went looking for the problem. It turns out that the bundled carrier files that describe what you can and can't do with the iPhone basically said no data.

Carrier files that are correct for T-Mobile, and the data plan I have, can be found iPhone-Dev.ca under the IPCC section of the web page. Instructions for loading the IPCC file were there as well. For T-Mobile, you'll need to call T-Mobile to find the right APN to use. For my plan it turned out to be wap-apn. Your milage may vary, but worst case would involve trying all 4 of the files.

While not a programming hack, this should come in handy for anybody that's in a similar situation. Alas, I have no experience with the 3G or 3GS phones, and problems with the upgrades for those phones seem to be more widely covered (and blogged about).