"Hacking has become a big issue for makers of devices that are
engineered and marketed to perform specific functions but can be
converted to other uses by the technically savvy. Earlier this
year, hackers found a way to turn Netpliance's I-opener Internet
appliance into a Linux-based PC. Unlike the well-publicized
Netpliance hack, which eventually led the company to revamp its
business model, TiVo customers who modify their digital video
recorders still use the company's service, which includes
on-screen, interactive program guides."
"We're not trying to circumvent what the actual unit does," said
Mike Hill, a software consultant in Cincinnati whose Web site
offers free instructions for modifying TiVo. Hill said he added a
second hard drive to expand his 14 hours of storage, instead of
paying for a $300 upgrade. Plus, he couldn't part with the device
long enough to get it upgraded."
"For the past month, Hill has offered his BlessTiVo
instructions, which help people modify the Linux-based TiVo unit to
recognize a second drive. Hill said more than 1,000 people have
downloaded the instructions from his site, but he estimated that
probably fewer than 100 people have actually added a hard drive.
...People are bound to play around with these new devices, Hill
said, particularly if they are based on Linux."
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