updated 01:05 pm EDT, Thu March 29, 2007
Apple TV in the spotlight
Apple TV continues to draw much focus from both hackers and bloggers who are trying to add new functionality to the Mac OS X-powered set-top box as well as debunk circulating reports about its audio capabilities: Tutorial Ninjas has reported success in running Joost on the Apple TV, Apple may have a means of reversing such hacks made to its own devices, one user has posted 10 myths of the Apple TV, and a $500 bounty has been won for installing Asterisk, a telephone exchange.
Tutorial Ninjas has published a guide to help Apple TV owners disable the firewall, enable SSH as well as VNC, play xvid/divx encoded files, stop Watchdog, run third-party applications such as Mozilla Firefox or Centerstage, and install Quartz for improved performance. The tutorial also notes a successful installation of Joost on Apple TV. Joost is an interactive software for distributing TV shows and other forms of video over the Web using peer-to-peer tv technology. A private beta was recently Intel-based Macs.
Apple counters Apple TV hacks?
Apple may have the ability to reverse hacks made to its own devices, as multiple Apple TV owners who successfully bypassed the device's security to install their own software recently found that access to their systems was closed overnight.
"My startup script to disable the firewall got its permissions stripped," wrote one user.
Some suspect that Apple is remotely disabling third-party modifications through a back door in the Apple TV's code, but others note that the stripped version of Mac OS X which manages the set top box device could have a special edition of the operating system's overnight maintenance process that automatically resets access permissions and closes potentially vulnerable connections.
10 myths of the Apple TV
A document has surfaced on roughlydrafted.com that attempts to debunk 10 of the most widely circulating myths about the Apple TV, ranging from its ability to play 5.1 audio to the alleged erratic behavior of the Apple Remote. The 10 myths include: Apple TV can't play 5.1 audio; Apple TV is just like the Xbox, but can't play games; Apple TV the same price as the Xbox; Everyone Who Wants This Already Has an Xbox 360; Apple TV Only Works with Widescreen HDTVs; For $300, Apple TV Should Include the Cables; Paul Thurrott Can Review the Apple TV; The Apple TV is So Hot It Will Interrupt Your Movie Satisfaction; Apple TV OS is Available for Download; and Apple TV's Remote freaks out all my Macs.
$500 bounty for Apple TV telephone exchange
A new bounty offers $500 for the first team to get the open source PBX system 'Asterisk' running on an Apple TV. Asterisk is a complete IP PBX encapsulated in an application, serving as a telephone exchange system like those found in most offices.
The winner of the contest will also receive an all access pass to the AstriCon conference and exhibition this fall in Phoenix, Arizona. The contest ruled that the hack must use the stock Asterisk 1.4.2 code, and must include the new Asterisk GUI.
"In providing a feature-rich, free softphone download, we are offering consumers an invitation to engage in VoIP-based communications and to explore the convenience of using a softphone in a multi-media context," said Donovan Jones, President and COO of CounterPath. "Our aim is to support and accelerate mainstream adoption of VoIP while providing an opportunity for innovation and growth within the SIP community."
Update: One user appears to have successfully installed Asterisk and will be donating half the bounty toward a new bounty to enable the USB port on Apple TV.