...get a commercially supported UNIX® Secure Shell server.

...replace nonsecure Telnet.

...replace nonsecure FTP.

...securely transfer files with simple drag and drop.

...connect from the road to check email.

...remotely access machines over the Internet.

...allow users to transfer files with limited access.

...lock down my firewall.

...automate or script secure file transfers.

...protect my private data.

...use strong encryption.

...connect using a variety of terminal emulations.

"TiVo Hacks" by Raffi Krikorian, published by O'Reilly Media in 2003, covers tips for changing the order of recorded programs, activating the 30-second skip to blaze through commercials, and more. Once you take the lid off your TiVo, you will learn how to gain even more fun and functionality. Upgrade the hard drive for more hours of recording, log in to the serial port for command-line access to programming data, log files, and closed-captioning data, display graphics on the TiVo screen, or even play MP3s.

O'Reilly Media has given VanDyke Software permission to reproduce two examples from the book of hacks that use SecureCRT: Hack #33 – Connecting to TiVo Serially; and Hack #36 – Moving Stuff to and from Your TiVo.

View/download Hack #33 and Hack#36 in Acrobat PDF format (686K)

Would you like to receive a free, authographed copy of "TiVo Hacks" for yourself or a fellow TiVo lover? Email us the answer to the trivia question at the bottom of this page and you'll be entered into the drawing.

Raffi Krikorian is an MIT graduate student and Media Lab researcher who is involved in what most of us would call futurist projects on networks and computing. He is also a quintessential 21st century public thinker and writer on technology, with books as well as blogs, conference presentations, and other emanations scattered across the internet. You'll learn that his tools for traversing cyberspace are disarmingly straightforward – though this is probably not a surprise to most UNIX users. The Internet 0 project he is involved in encompasses the possibilities and challenges of more ubiquitous IP devices, such as household objects (think light bulbs).

Raffi found his place at MIT and its Media Lab, where he has been doing research since his freshman undergraduate year. Since he "took a year off" between his bachelor's and graduate school – that meant working for visionary, but now defunct, Popular Power on distributed computation and writing for O'Reilly Media– he has been a highly visible writer and blogger on technology, especially television. He achieved notoriety as the author of "TiVo Hacks", an O'Reilly guide to front- and back-end customizing of the TiVo video recorder. Since then he has become a fixture on the O'Reilly web site, and presents at O'Reilly conferences on emerging technologies. His latest venture is a hardware/software technology development startup, Synthesis Studios. Raffi also plans to write a new book for O'Reilly, to appear late in 2005, on how to build small and embeddeded projects, which he says will "show you that making microcontroller-based projects is a piece of cake."

Raffi speaks quickly, with the epigrammatic passion of a technologist. Here are excerpts from our phone interview of December 6, 2004.


Did "Tivo Hacks" change the kind of email you get?

Krikorian: Absolutely. Since the book came out I have better contacts. I want to talk to lots of interesting people, and the book gave me that. Now I talk to people like WGBH and the Emmy awards people about interactive television, like the Emmy award systems.

How do you manage email now?

Krikorian: I use several email addresses, with one client to check five to six servers. Actually I use Gmail. I like the interface, and it's simple. I don't like it being a web client, but it searches across multiple inboxes better.

Tell us about the way you use SecureCRT.

Krikorian: Right now, I'm on my home office computer, and I have five Secure Shell windows open. I have to talk to linux boxes around the world from here or from work. It's what a lot of people do, monitor processes, check email. When I travel, I use an SSH tunnel back to my home network through one "router" machine. I port forward VNC packets so I can VNC into my home machines. Oh, and I tunnel SMB to get to file shares, and tunnel CVS connections for access to source code. At MIT, we use Secure Shell to hotsync machines in the graduate school.

Are there any changes you'd like to see in SecureCRT or Secure Shell?

Krikorian: You know, it really does what I need it to already. It's surprising, but nothing comes to mind. Maybe the command shell and port forwarding are still tricky....

What have you been doing the last year? It looks like you haven't been writing as much for the web.

Krikorian: I've been finishing my second master's thesis, on the Internet 0 concept. You might have heard about it, because it's been written up in places like Wired and Scientific American.

What is Internet 0?


Internet 0 is a framework for networks of billions of nodes. It's about creating a non-computer device network, taking networking out of the computer. And it tries to deal with the "litany of protocols". Now protocols are all hardware-specific. We need something that's portable like Morse code – independent of transport medium. You might be able to use ultra-wide band over a lot of media – IR, ultrasound, radio. We could even be talking someday about networks of micro-cellular organisms. So we're trying to develop a way to shrink [protocols] down to device scale.

The sponsors of Internet 0 research were BT and Sun Micro. They were interested in ways to cheaply get a home online without a $1,000 computational node. They would benefit from increased demand for network capacity and servers. [Right now] the internet is not a billion (IP connections). Entertainment can only add one to two nodes per technology household. That doesn't include most of the world; it's mostly in Europe and North America. IP traffic will continue to rise steadily in the next five years. Five years after that it will explode. New buildings are being built with IP infrastructure down to the device.


Which of your technology projects relate to security?

Krikorian: Security is part of Internet 0. If you enable every light bulb and switch, how do you keep people out of your house? In Madrid, at first, we couldn't get our demonstration system to work. Then undergraduates in Cambridge saw lights flashing in the lab – the Madrid system was talking to light bulbs / IP addresses in Boston. That capability means we need a secure light bulb.

Was there security in the Madrid Internet 0 demonstration?

Krikorian: Security is acknowledged in Internet 0, and can be designed in. The demonstration network only was secure by being firewalled. [At home,] the cable modem router already does most of that for you, so the kids down the street can't reprogram your house. With these non-computer devices security [is] on extreme scales – they can only cost a dollar.

So what security does Internet 0 need?

Krikorian: Well, the best thing is to encrypt the channel, with public-private key encryption like in SSH to handle authentication, and biometric authentication – how does your door know that it's you?

Enter the drawing for an autographed copy of "TiVo Hacks". Just send an email to with the answer to the trivia question below before December 21, 2004.

Q. What university hosts the Media Lab?


About the Author
Raffi Krikorian is the author of TiVo Hacks, published by O'Reilly Media. Raffi is an unapologetic TiVo lover and a digital plumber who's constantly sidetracked from one project by the prospect of hacking on another project.

This material has been adapted from "TiVo Hacks" by Raffi Krikorian, published by O'Reilly Media, Inc. Copyright O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2003. All rights reserved. O'Reilly makes no representation as to the accuracy of the materials provided by them. To purchase this or other O'Reilly publications, click here.


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