Sometimes it can be really useful to have an SSH connection into your AppleTV. If I need to explain why then you probably won’t want to do it. Unless of course, you’re just after getting something like Boxee running, which we’ll look at as well. Before we get into doing anything to your AppleTV, when we’re done I do not know how Apple will feel about your warranty moving forward, so do this stuff at your own risk (but that’s pretty much true for many articles on this site)…
So first up, let’s install SSH. To get started, plug in a jump drive you don’t mind reformatting. Then run the df command and look at which filesystem that the jump drive was mounted as. In most cases this should be /dev/disk1s1 or /dev/disk2s1 or something like that. Note this location and while you’re at it, double-check that the data is trivial to you and that you really don’t mind reformatting the jump drive.
Next, let’s download atvusb-creator, a little utility that will generate a new patchstick based on that jump drive (a patchstick being the term applied to usb sticks that will hax0r an AppleTV). Once downloaded, run the tool. Select ATV-Patchstick in the Choose an Installation dialog, and then select the version of the AppleTV OS you have (if you’re fully software updated then as of the date of this writing that would be 3.x). Next, choose ssh tools from the 3rd field in the Installation Options section, making sure that the box is checked. If you are just trying to get XBMC or Boxee running then you can check the boxes for those as well at this point.
Next, set the USB Target Device field to be the filesystem you selected earlier and then click the Create Using button and wait for the process to finish. Once the patchstick has been created, plug it into your AppleTV and reboot the unit. You’ll see a bunch of code, similar to starting Mac OS X into verbose mode. When the screen tells you that you’re done, unplug the patchstick and reboot the device. Upon reboot it will be running SSH with a username and password of frontrow. If you’re not using a static IP address then if you open iTunes and connect to the device you’ll have an entry in your arp table for it. You can run arp and find the IP fairly easily. Once found, use the SSH command to connect to the device. For example, if mine is on an IP address of 10.0.0.100 then I would use the following command to connect to it:
Now you have an AppleTV running SSH. Even though this article isn’t meant to be about Boxee or XBMC, you can then install those by going to the new Launcher menu and then to Downloads and downloading those applications (otherwise if you try to access them you’ll get an error that the .app bundle can’t be found). Once those are in place it should open pretty easily.
Now that you’re running SSH, let’s look at one of the uses. I want a web browser on the AppleTV (even though typing a URL in it is pretty painful unless you install a keyboard too). For this instance, I’m going to use CouchServer, ’cause I like the way the keyboard works and because there’s a silverlight that kinda’ sorta’ works with it. First, download the files for CouchSurfer here. Then copy the files that were downloaded up to the device (assuming the filename is CouchSurfer-Lite.tar) from your client computer:
scp ~/Desktop/CouchSurfer-Lite.tar email@example.com:~
Next, SSH into the AppleTV and extract the tar file:
tar -xvpf CouchSurfer-Lite.tar
Then move the extracted data into the PlugIns directory (which will display the appliance similar to how Launcher would be displayed at this point:
sudo mv CouchSurfer.frappliance /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/PlugIns/
(your password will be frontrow in case you have hard core add and have forgotten it already)
We’re gonna’ give ownership to wheel:
sudo chown -R root:wheel /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/PlugIns/CouchSurfer.frappliance
Then reboot the AppleTV. Upon reboot, you will then have a shiny new web browser making your AppleTV even more like a full fledged Mac with Front Row. Now you’re in pretty good shape. You’ve pretty much put more stuff on your AppleTV than you can possibly use, but you still probably just want NetFlix to work on it. For that, you’ll need to get Silverlight working with CouchSurfer and just browse to the movies in the web browser at Netflix.com as the Boxee implementation for AppleTV doesn’t yet work with NetFlix and there aren’t any native Plug-Ins that work with it yet either (that I’m aware of). Also, if you’re going to use any of the 3rd party media browsers, keep in mind that they’re sitting on top of the OS layer and that their resource utilization seems pretty poor compared to the native media browser on the device (given the abstraction there, it seems logical it would be so no complaints).
BTW, another fun little app (to help make your AppleTV more like your iPad):
And the most intriguing one that I haven’t actually gotten to work yet (haven’t had time to get past the second or third step – busy) is:
What I’d like to see – the ability to run my AppleTV as a Zwave controller… Or iPad… Or Newton… 🙂
krypted April 23rd, 2010
Microsoft released Service Pack 2 to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac earlier this week. Once you have installed Service Pack 2 you may notice the new Open from Document Connection File menu item for office applications, or you may notice the new application called Microsoft Document Connection located in your /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008 folder. These are all part of Microsoft’s overall Software+Services strategy: provide a cloud type of environment that is able to sustain the software that you purchase from them. In this case it could be a private document storage “cloud” running on a SharePoint server or it could be a more public environment running in the Office Live environment.
We’ll cover SharePoint integration some other time, but for now, let’s look at the Live environment. Before you setup your computer, first login to your Microsoft Live account at home.live.com. Once you are signed in, click on the More menu and click on Office Live. If you see a button for Get Started for Free, click it; otherwise you should be looking at a screen with an icon in the left column for New Workspace. Click it and then type something that indicates a project or a group of documents you might upload. For example, I’ll just type Mac OS X Security 2nd Edition.
Now that you have a workspace, open up the Microsoft Document Connection application in your Office directory. From here, click on Add Location… and then click on Sign In to an Office Live Workspace… At the dialog box, enter the name and password you use to log into Microsoft Live, clicking Save when you’re done. Now you should see the name of your live account in the Document Connection screen, along with any workspaces you’ve created. You can drag documents into this screen, double-click them to open or control-click them to edit (and you can edit from non-Microsoft applications). At this point you have something similar to Jungle Disk or another application you use to access a cloud service from a Mac.
But Document Connection isn’t just about one user accessing documents. It supports sharing documents between users, commenting on documents and even document check-in and check-out. The portal is where you setup most of the Sharing: use the share button, type the address of who you want to share to, they can then access via the portal or using Document Connection with their own account. Commenting is also available in the portal, much as with a solution like Final Cut Server. Document check-in and check-out seems to require SharePoint and not be a feature of Office Live, but I’ll let you know if I can find a way to do it.
Overall, this is a great addition. Some other products are more mature, but as usual, Microsoft has taken the best from a number of competitors and made an extremely simple to use and intuitive sandbox. The uploads and downloads fail at times. The portal relies on constant communication from Silverlight so sometimes it throws an error. But those are minor issues. This is a great new product that I look forward to integrating into a number of environments. I’ll get to the SharePoint side in the next few days and do a write-up on it as well!
krypted July 21st, 2009
So I was a tad bit offended when NetFlix started to support the Xbox before supporting the Mac. But it’s all OK. You can now watch bad movies while on the road. Just log into NetFlix, find a movie that has a Play button and click on it.
If you don’t already have the Silverlight Plug-in installed it will ask you to do so and you’ll be ready to rock and roll. Enjoy.
krypted December 4th, 2008
Posted In: Mac OS X
Mono 2.0 allows .Net developers to use Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X. Mono comes with MeMA, a tool that allows for automated .Net to Linux migrations away from .Net. A lot is being made these days about Silverlight. Look at what our friends from NetFlix have done for Mac users with it. Well, the Mono framework was leveraged to write a Mono-based plugin compatible with Silverlight that they are calling Moonlight. This is pretty cool because it allows Silverlight developers to convert their code into Moonlight and then publish it as an actual desktop application rather than a more web-oriented widget. The open source community has provided a really great tool yet again.
krypted November 30th, 2008
OK, so NetFlix was always online, but did you know that you can watch movies online too. Not all, but chances are, if you have enough movies in your queue that you’ll have at least one that is able to be watched online. The technology that allows all of this is Microsoft’s Silverlight. Because Silverlight is not yet available for the Mac you can’t watch NetFlix online from a Mac just yet. Rumor has it that Silverlight will be available soon though, so just be patient and it’ll get there…
Another aspect of NetFlix that is often overlooked is social networking. You can rate movies and then share your queue and your ratings with those who you connect with. This makes watching movies at home a bit more of a social experience for those of us with anti-social tendencies.
krypted January 20th, 2007
Posted In: sites