Author Archives: Brakk

How I Unlocked My Cell Phone for Free

Cell_PhoneWhile cleaning up my computer room I ran across an old cell phone that had quit working. It got wet a few years ago on a camping trip when my tent leaked during a rain storm. I tried all the tricks like leaving it in the oven with just the pilot light to help dry it out, but even after a few weeks it still wouldn’t work so I gave up on it. Well, just for fun, I stuck the battery in and it powered right up and said “insert sim card”. I tried plugging in the sim card from my current cell, but since I’ve since changed from T-mobile to AT&T I just got a message about the phone being locked and wanted me to enter an unlock code. So, this started my journey to see if I could unlock it without spending any money.

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Hacker Space in Tulsa, Oklahoma?

I’ve been watching the goings on at the several hacker spaces which are popping up around the world. Specifically NYC Resistor has a lot of interesting activities and the Cow Town Computer Congress is a new space that shows a lot of promise. I was looking for something like that going on in my area but it seems there is none. So, if anyone in the Tulsa area is interested in starting a group like this, please leave a comment here, or send me a message through the contact form.

If you don’t know what a hacker space is, it is a place where people can get together and share ideas and equipment that they may not be able to afford on their own. It is also a place for people to learn from each other and to work on whatever projects they are interested in from electronics to arts and crafts or whatever.

To learn more and maybe find a hacker space in your area, check out this link.

Adding a Second Hard Drive to Knoppmyth

mythtvI switched back to Knoppmyth a couple months ago for my MythTV fix and I’m pretty happy with it except for a few minor glitches I’m still trying to work out. One of those glitches is that sometimes when the backend gets busy the video can become choppy and sometimes even effect the video as it’s written to the disk. This page states that this is caused by I/O problems with the disk and suggests changing the /myth partition from ext3 to the XFS file system using the instructions on this page. Since I have been using the box for a while, it has a lot of recorded and other video on it and their instructions are for a fresh system . I am also nearly out of space on this system so i’m also adding a second hard drive which further complicates matters.

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Podcasts on MythTV

mythtvI love using my MythTV for 3 main reasions:

  1. Timshifting TV
  2. Watching downloaded video
  3. Watching video podcasts

This article is about the 3rd feature, watching video podcasts. I use a script called podget which is run every night by cron to download any new shows and delete shows older than the age I specify. It also creates a playlist for all the new shows it downloades so you don’t have to figure out what’s new and what you’ve already seen.

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Playlists on MythVideo using Mplayer

I’ve been using MythTV for a few years now and now find it an indispensable part of my media setup. So, I recently went back to Knoppmyth because my mythdora box was acting up. Well, I got podget all set up again to download my video podcasts, but I couldn’t get MythTV to play the playlists it generated. First, it wouldn’t play them at all, then I figured out the new version of knoppmyth was using a “” script to start the videos which generates a file with a time stamp each time you watch a video so you can resume where you left off. Well, this didn’t work well with playlists and I don’t really need to resume anyway, so I changed it back to running mplayer directly. Well, that wasn’t enough either since you have to add the -playlist option to tell mplayer that it’s a playlist. So, I added a new extension in the media settings for m3u playlist files:

mplayer -fs -zoom -quiet -vo xv -playlist %s

Well, that would play them , but I was only getting sound, no video.

So, after a few days of searching, and talking on IRC, I finally discovered that I had a typo and used -vo vx instead of -vo xv. This option apparently tells mplayer which video driver to use, so it’s kind of picky. BTW, the above line is the correct line. So, the lesson learned, is to double check when manually transferring command lines.

Mythlink for Human Readable File Names

I started using MythTV with Knoppmyth a few years ago. It had a feature where it would put a human readable filename in a folder that linked to the original file that was recorded from live TV by MythTV. I’ve since started using Mythdora and I did some searching and couldn’t find anything like it that worked on Mythdora So I found a copy of the script and modified it to work with both Mythdora 4 and 5.

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Top 10 Reasons “Hackers” is a Good Hacker Movie

I was listening to the latest Pauldotcom Security Weekly podcast and they were discussing their favorite hacker movies. They, as most people, dismissed Hackers as cheesy, lame, whatever and try to sweep it under the rug. I disagree with this and think it is a great hacker movie and would like to point out the reasons I think so. I have also included some quotes from the movie that exemplify my reasons.

So, Here are my top 10 reasons “Hackers” is a good hacker movie:

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