Archives For Hacks

Fellow tech enthusiast and DC neighbor Joel Ward continues his role as a Features contributor here at Zatz Not Funny. Beyond ZNF, Joel can be found at Joel Explains It All and @joelsef on Twitter.

In our crowd, just a few years back watching OTA and cable on your computer was all the rage. Platforms like Windows Media Center, SageTV, and SnapStream BeyondTV allowed you to attach a tuner to your PC, watch and pause live TV and record shows. I was all about Windows Media Center, and with the advent of Windows 7 it was available in every edition of the OS (well, except Home Basic). Instead of needing to buy a “Digital Cable Ready PC” like with Windows Vista, Windows 7 allowed WMC to view encrypted cable via a CableCard with the right tuner attached to any PC. Who needed a cable box anymore?

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Next up in our buy more TiVo series are steps to hide intrusive pause menu advertising. While TiVo produces arguably the best DVR, beyond consumer sales and service, the company augments revenue by leveraging their userbase for advertising and analytics. The vast majority of these initiatives are applied with a soft touch, but pause menu ads clearly cross the line by layering paid promos atop television content. As TiVo says, Continue Reading…

Waterproofing Your Gadgets

Dave Zatz —  March 24, 2014 — 3 Comments

waterproof-kindle

The Digital Reader is out with a post covering yet another waterproofing coating. While I wouldn’t roll the dice with aftermarket “nano” coatings on devices not designed for immersion and I don’t trust Lifeproof after evaluating two cases, the broader hope is that major manufacturers would directly integrate water resistant technologies… as we’ve started to see from Samsung and Sony tablets and smartphones. Of course, an obvious use case would be taking your Kindle to the pool or tub. And protecting your device from minimal splashes and the occasional, accidental dunk may not require a significant investment of money or cutting edge technology… as both I and the Geek Tonic household have been using inexpensive Zip-loc sandwich bags to protect our “books” in moist environments for years. However, I will tell you that wiping away “screen” condensation (in that steamy shower) works way better with non-touchscreen Kindles since the plastic transfers touch pretty darn well.

tplink-wr702n

For many years, I’ve relied upon a small ASUS wireless bridge (WL-330gE) for a variety of blog and personal projects around the house. And, frankly, I’m long overdue for a 802.11n upgrade… especially as I consider a second TiVo Mini – in my kitchen, lacking both coax and Ethernet connectivity. I’d originally considered having Verizon wire me up with another FiOS TV jack but, after their recent rate increases, that’s off the table. Powerline is another option, and probably a safer bet than wireless, yet I remain firmly anti-clutter.

So I briefly took a look at ASUS’ latest and greatest portable router (WL-330N), which does indeed add higher speed, greater distance 802.11n capabilities — but at $47 it was a bit more than I cared to spend for this sort of product. Not to mention, configuration of my model has always been something of a pain. Enter the TP-Link TL-WR702N Continue Reading…

roamio-html5

Beyond easy drive replacement, it’s come to light that the TiVo Roamio and updated Minis are capable of displaying arbitrary web pages and streaming H.264 video. I suppose it’s really no surprise given the Roamio’s Chomecast-esque DIAL capabilities and upcoming HTML5 Opera app platform. Fortunately, this new method of TiVo interface is unprotected and the infinitely useful kmttg has already been updated with rudimentary support – adding a new Web tab, as shown above. But I imagine it’s just the beginning…

roamio-guts

TiVo Roamio On The Operating Table

After a mere 24 hours on the market, WeaKnees has delivered TiVo Roamio hard drive expansion. It may not come cheap, but the additional recording capacity certainly enhances the value of a new TiVo. And, perhaps amusingly, the TiVo Roamio Plus with 3TB of storage now clocks in at less than the stock TiVo Roamio Pro (also at 3TB). Weaknees offered up a little color, informing me that both Roamio hardware enclosures utilize 3.5″ hard disks but replacing drives in the smaller form factor base Roamio is a bit trickier and requires different tools (T8). Self-install kits will be made available once these guys catch their breath and it sounds like the team is hopeful of ultimately offering 4TB drive expansion options.

  • TiVo Roamio 500GB (stock), $200
  • TiVo Roamio 2TB $350
  • TiVo Roamio 3TB, $450
  • TiVo Roamio Plus 1TB (stock), $400
  • TiVo Roamio Plus 2TB, $500
  • TiVo Roamio Plus 3TB, $570

(Coupon codes from their recent email blast should work, $10 off Roamio with ROAMIO and $25 off Roamio Plus with ROAMIOPLUS.)

Update: Turns out hard drive upgrades may be supported by Roamio out of the box! Of course, you’ll need a Torx drive set and a a suitable drive, along with a willingness to tinker and potentially void you warranty. (Thanks Brennok!)

sad_tivoMultiple data points had indicated a TiVo Mini launch this week… yet here we are, Miniless. As to the shifting announcement, one can only guess – perhaps TiVo’s still getting the device’s technical or marketing ducks in a row. Better yet, maybe they’re taking time to reevaluate the TiVo tax. Regardless, TiVo support seems to have confirmed the situation as we understand it:

We had to delay the release. Unfortunately we have not announced when the release was rescheduled to.

So while we wait, or perhaps in lieu of an eventual TiVo Mini purchase, by using an iPhone or iPad as an intermediary, TiVo Stream owners can already move video from TiVo to a secondary television via Apple TV. Now it is a bit of a hack and, in my experimentation, I did experience some dropped frames. But for occasional usage or those on a tight budget, here’s how you’d expand the capabilities of a TiVo Stream: Continue Reading…