Install Reboot Script as a Software Menu Category

I reboot my AppleTV often and want a quick way to do it. So I’ve been trying to get the builtin “Reboot” script to show up in Software Menu’s main category, but to no avail despite following the instructions.

It turns out I can’t use the built-in script for that purpose. A custom script in the following folder:

~/frontrow/Documents/Scripts

would allow me to put up any scripts as a main category item.

So if you’re interested in the same convenience, below is the script I use.

#!/bin/bash
echo "frontrow" | sudo -S command
sudo shutdown -r now

Just copy & paste it in to a plain-text file, saving it with a filename “Reboot aTV.sh” (or whatever you like; just make sure you use the .sh extension.) You will then upload it to the mentioned Scripts folder (which you will create if it doesn’t already exists.)  Then go and left arrow the script to your heart’s content.  Finally, make sure the “Scripts Main Menu” option is enabled in Software Menu’s settings.

I wish the .sh file extension doesn’t show up on the screen but it looks like that’s impossible.

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nitoTV Updated to Version 0.9.5

There’s a new version of nitoTV today. You can update it when you’re free; no important changes or fixes, but it has a nicer Weather icon.

You can update directly within nitoTV (nitoTV -> Settings -> Install Software -> Update nitoTV, but I suggest you use Software Menu to update it instead, as Software Menu lets you backup and restore the installed version, just in case the new ain’t good. Read on for the how to.

Software Menu -> 3rd Party -> nitoTV. Before you hit the “Update 0.9.5” button, hit the “Backup 0.9.4” button first. This way you can “Restore 0.9.4” if the new update is not good, for one reason or another. Maybe you want to hit the “More Info” button to find out what’s new.

How to Surf the Internet on an AppleTV

If you have been day-dreaming that you can surf the Internet on your living room TV, you dream is about to come true. Unfortunately in reality the experience will not live up to your expectation. That’s because it’s hard to work on the sofa! Really! Nevertheless, when my butts are glued to the sofa my AppleTV has an internet browser for me to update myself on the result of 4D and to browse very simple sites. Maybe someday when I’m really desperate I could use it to reply to emails too.

Some people install Firefox but I like speedy Web-kit. Couch Surfer Lite by Fire Core LLC (maker of aTV-Flash) is my choice. Let’s install it.

  1. Download Couch Surfer Lite from here. It’s free.
  2. Double-click on the downloaded file to un-Tar it. You’ll get a copy of “CouchSurfer.frappliance”.
  3. Upload “CouchSurfer.frappliance” to ~/frontrow .
  4. Issue the following 3 commands in your Terminal app.
    • ssh frontrow@appletv.local
    • sudo mount -uw /
    • sudo cp /Users/frontrow/CouchSurfer.frappliance /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/PlugIns/

Take note that you must issue the last command, shown above broken into two lines, as a single command (like this.) Reboot and you shall see a “Browser” on the your Frontrow main menu.

Using the Couch Surfer is simple enough. Press the “Play” button on your remote once to bring up the humongous mouse cursor, and press it again to “click” on the highlighted link. Pressing the “Menu” button will exit cursor mode and return you to the browsing mode.

Although Couch Surfer lets you save Bookmarks, the list gets messy over time. It’s also much easier to add new entries using your computer then manually keying in the long urls. Simply edit the following file:

/Users/frontrow/Library/Application Support/CouchSurfer/Bookmarks.plist

It’s not hard; just look at the entries enclosed within each tag or duplicate one to create a new entry. Mac users can use the excellent donation ware Pref Setter to edit .plist easily. Be sure to exit Couch Surfer for your new Bookmarks to take effect.

Have fun with your AppleTV!

I wish I can get my SMS to show up on my big screen TV too….

How to Mount AppleTV on Your Mac OS X’s Desktop Using AFP

(This tutorial is good for Mac OS X users only.)

GPGT! Above is why you want to enable AFP networking in your AppleTV; so you can access your AppleTV’s content directly in Finder instead of sFTP into it.

Unfortunately when you tried enabling AFP networking, you get the following error instead:

AFP is not enabled properly or is missing essential components, Smart Installer with a 1.0 recovery dmg in ~/Documents will fix this issue

Here’s how to fix it. It’s not too difficult but pay attention.

  • First, “… you will need to find an image of an AppleTV 1.0 drive somewhere on the internet. I will not tell you where as it is copyrighted material.” 😛 Don’t click here lah.
  • Got the image on your Desktop? Good. Rename it from “OS-dot-DMG 1.0.dmg” to “OS.dmg”.
  • Now ssh into your AppleTV and issue the following command, and a file by the name of “recovery.dmg” will be created in the ~/frontrow/ for you:

sudo dd if=/dev/disk0s2 of=recovery.dmg bs=1m

  • Download the newly created “recovery.dmg” to your Desktop, and delete it from your AppleTV.
  • Now mount it and you’ll see a file by the name of “OS.dmg” inside.
  • Upload “OS.dmg” that is on your Desktop and overwrite the copy you just saw.
  • Un-mount “recovery.dmg” and upload it into your AppleTV’s “Documents” folder in ~/frontrow.
  • Check to make sure a copy of “MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.dmg” is in the same folder. It should, if you had previously installed the “Smart Installer” via nitoTV. Otherwise, go to Apple Support to download it first and upload it into the mentioned folder.
  • Finally, go to nitoTV -> Settings -> Install Software -> Smart Installer. The process of installing the Smart Installer will most likely ends with a “Partial Install” error. Ignore it and just restart Finder. Then Reboot your AppleTV to enable AFP for the first time.

Done.

You will be able to Share your AppleTV in Finder by typing “afp://appletv.local” in the text field of the “Connect to server …” option under Finder’s “Go” menu. You’ll know how to take it from there.

Enjoy your AppleTV; now directly accessible in good old Finder (limitations apply.)

One last word….  Did you know that you can do likewise for your jailbroken iPhone/iPod touch/iPad?  No?  Go to Cydia and install the Netatalk package by Saurik (with some helps from a fellow Singaporean, RupertGee.)

Keeping it Simple by Using the Overflow Plugin for AppleTV

A consequence of adding more functionalities into your AppleTV is clustering up the home screen. I’m a simple person and life’s complicated enough. The last thing I want is degrading the simple pleasure of watching the tele with things I don’t need.

Hence I installed the Overflow plugin so I can KISS (Keep-It-Simple, Stupid). You can do likewise by going to Software Menu -> 3rd Party -> Overflow -> Install. After that, restart your Finder and you’ll see a new Overflow menu on the home screen. Select Overflow Settings to start KISSing. Toggling a button to Green will move the menu item into Overflow, Red to completely hide it from your AppleTV, or leave it in Grey to keep it in Frontrow’s home screen. After making the changes, scroll back up and select Restart Finder for the changes to take effect.

Ah, it’s so simple.

How to Install VNC Server in AppleTV

Sep 19, 2010 edit: It has come to my attention while I was hacking a virgin AppleTV that VNC may already be present in the newer AppleTV sets.  Do check first by attempting to connect to it with a VNC Client, before you proceed to install a VNC Server outlined below.

“Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a graphical desktop sharing system that uses the RFB protocol to remotely control another computer. It transmits the keyboard and mouse events from one computer to another, relaying the graphical screen updates back in the other direction, over a network.”Wikipedia

I installed the VNC Server in my AppleTV so I could grab screenshots of my AppleTV (like this one) for the blog.  Others use it to view and control their AppleTV remotely in their computer. Unfortunately it doesn’t do so well.

  • Download Vine Server (OSXvnc) to your computer.
  • Upload the Vine Server app to the /Users/frontrow/Documents folder on your AppleTV.
  • SSH into the AppleTV and run the following commands:

cd /Users/frontrow/Documents/Vine\ Server.app/Contents/Resources/
./storepasswd YOURPASSWORD /Users/frontrow/vncpasswd
cp OSXvnc-server /Users/frontrow/Applications

  • Download this file to your computer, and unzip it.
  • Next, upload the unzipped “com.OSXvnc.plist” to your AppleTV’s /Users/frontrow/ folder.
  • Finally, issue the follow commands in your OS X’s Terminal:

sudo mount -uw /
sudo cp /Users/frontrow/Documents/com.OSXvnc.plist /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
sudo reboot

Done.

You can now use OS X’s build-in VNC Client (or any VNC Clients for your computer platform) to view and control your AppleTV!  To do so, simply select “Connect to Server …” from Finder’s “Go” menu, and enter “vnc://appletv.local” in the Server Address text field. The access password is “YOURPASSWORD”.

How to Passcode Protect a Source Folder in AppleTV’s XBMC

Sep 25, 2010 Addendum:  My face is so red….  It turns out you can easily set a Passcode protection in XBMC (instead of going through the manual process outlined below!)  All you need to do is Press and Hold the “Menu” button, and a pop-up Menu will appear giving you, among other options, the ability to Passcode protect a source folder.

I knew sooner or later someone will ask if it’s possible to Passcode protect a video source for privacy. Admit it, the reason why you have huge capacity hard disks is to store your massive collection of “prawns”. Unfortunately, XBMC only lets you easily set Master lock(1) for restricted access to some of its functions like Videos, Photos, Music, etc. To Passcode protect a source folder, you’ll need to edit the “sources.xml” file, a file I mentioned before in this entry.

Ok, let’s do it:

Step 1: Open to edit “sources.xml” file in the following path:
/Users/frontrow/Library/Application Support/XBMC/userdata/

Step 2: Look for the source you want to Passcode protect, and insert 3 new keys, viz., lockmode, lockcode, and badpwdcount, within its source tag.  In the example below, the entry for my Passcode protected “Adults only” source is highlighted in bold:

<source>
<name>Bittorrents</name>
smb://MAC-MINI/_bt/
</source>
<source>
<name>Adults only</name>
smb://IMAC/FreeAgent 1TB FW/iTunes Media/Netware/
<lockmode>1</lockmode>
<lockcode>81dc9bdb52d04dc20036dbd8313ed055</lockcode>
<badpwdcount>0</badpwdcount>
</source>
<source>
<name>Movies</name>
<path pathversion="1">/Users/frontrow/Movies/</path>
</source>

The lockmode key’s value of 1 sets the type of protection to numeric. The “badpwdcount” tag records the number of failed attempts and stops at 3.  The lockcode tag is your Passcode in MD5, which you can generate using this site’s generator.  In the above example, my numeric Passcode is 1234 and the corresponding MD5 is 81dc9bdb52d04dc20036dbd8313ed055. If you prefer to use a Password instead of a Passcode, then set the lockmode key’s value to 3.

Step 3: Now you have to enable the protection in XBMC’s main menu -> System -> System -> Master lock -> Master lock code and settings. You’ll be asked to enter a Master code, which does not need to be the same as your source Passcode.

Done.

Enjoy your seafood!

(1) To set up Master lock, go to XBMC’s main menu -> System -> System -> Master lock