Sunday, May 18, 2003

.... before the storm. I have big news (big for me, anyway), but it will have to wait a day or two. It should explain my recent relative silence.

TiVo recently upgraded the system software to support USB<->Ethernet bridges (including 802.11). This is to support the Home Media Option. However, you do not have to buy HMO to enable the networking support; it just works.

Since I already have an active 802.11 network at home, I picked up a Linksys WUSB11 USB<->802.11 bridge in hopes that it would solve the lightning induced melted modem problem that my TiVo is currently suffering from.

As I really wanted to solve the problem before today, I couldn't order said adaptor from some place cheap (like Amazon). Instead, I was going to resort to picking up said device at CompUSA.

However, CompUSA had the WUSB11 for $80! That is considerably more -- $30 more-- than I was expecting to have to pay over mail order.

At random, I decided to give Wal-Mart (wusb11 not listed in online store) a try. Not only did they have the WUSB11, but it was priced at $60 -- $10 more than amazon, without including shipping. While Wal-Mart has considerably less selection than CompUSA, they have the most important items (networking, upgrades, printers, etc) and their prices are generally better.

In any case, installation was elegantly painless.

  • plug in usb cable to TiVo and adaptor
  • TiVo adds "New/unread message" notification to main menu
  • Message reads: New network adaptor detected, go to ### to configure
  • Go to ###, select "Configure Network"
  • Select equivalent of "use wireless network adaptor"
  • Select my home wireless LAN (by name)

Done! It just works -- my TiVo now downloads scheduling information via my broadband connection. Cool. nmap reveals that there are a couple of ports open; look to be the basis for the Home Media Option implementation. I haven't explored further.

Speaking of nmap, I saw Matrix: Reloaded on Wednesday evening. Awesome flick -- just see the first one before you see reloaded. I would say that it isn't as strong a movie as the first Matrix, but that may be largely because it doesn't have the "Oh Wow! THIS is totally NEW!" impact of the first.

In one scene, Trinity does a bit of hacking. As she pulls up to the terminal, I was not going to be surprised-- disappointed, yes-- to see the classic Apple ][ assembly listing go whizzing by. But, no, seems that someone actually consulted with a real sys-admin/geek/developer/techie.

End result; the Wachowski brothers deserve an oscar for creating the first believable hack scene to come out of Hollywood. Trinity whips off a bit of nmap magic to find a host on the net, then leverages the CRC32 SSH exploit that made the rounds last year, and ssh's into the target machine. Insecure .org has an excellent write-up with screen shots.
1:23:57 PM  pontificate