IceTV and the Skippa pre-order disaster

I pre-ordered my Skippa back on 2nd June, like many others. Looked like a fantastic unit, based on initial suggestions. Hence I put up the money to be an earlier adopter.

IceTV wasn’t overly forth coming with an exact delivery, however we would get updates every so often.

Below is a timeline of updates that progressed along from the initial purchase along with some of the marketing emails they sent that includes specials for the units.

If you click the dates, you’ll get an image or pdf of the email in question.

  • Apr 3rd – Skippa Announced.
  • May 22nd – IceTV sends email “We’re bouncing with excitement!”
  • May 28th – IceTV sends email “Good bye ads, good bye subscriptions – hello SKIPPA”
  • Jun 2nd – Ordered unit
  • Jun 4th – IceTV sends email “No ads, big savings, act now”
  • Jun 5th – IceTV sends email “No ads, big savings, act now”
  • Jun 12th – IceTV sends email “Last 100 Left”.
  • Jun 19th – IceTV sends email “Skippa Update”
  • Jul 2nd – IceTV sends email “Now you can choose” – Pricing changes to shift more units?
  • Jul 16th – IceTV sends email “By popular demand, but not for long”
  • Jul 24th – IceTV sends email “Missed the boat?”
  • Jul 25th – IceTV sends email “Missed the boat?”
  • Jul 31st – IceTV sends email “Two new horses in the stable” – Delays
  • Aug 18th – I change my delivery address as the unit is likely to come while on holidays.
  • Aug 21st – IceTV sends email “First Skippa review published”
  • Aug 28th – IceTV sends email “Your SKIPPA Pre-Order”
  • Sep 11th – IceTV sends email “SKIPPA Shipping” – Note Heinz (CEO) clearly says Mass production of SKIPPA remains on schedule.. guessing this was a fib.
  • Sep 14th – Support ticket raised to ask where is my Skippa. Response from Leon (Customer Support) – Could be upto a week and a half before your skippa is posted.
  • Sep 25th – IceTV sends email “First steps with SKIPPA” – Be nice if they just delivered what we paid for.
  • Sep 30th – Support ticket raised to request update on my Skippa. Dave (Customer Support) responds “Sorry for the delays. Your Skippa will be posted tomorrow or Friday… etc”
  • Oct 2nd – IceTV sends email “SKIPPA Update” – Heinz (CEO) still not indicating any lack of stock to supply demand. But still no unit shipped.
  • Oct 6th – No email from IceTV or anyone indicating unit I ordered shipped. Was very annoyed. Voicemail left and email sent off my last query of where is my unit.
  • Oct 7th – No return call from IceTV regarding the voicemail left yesterday. Only an email again, this time detailing that they won’t be delivering unit at this time. However, look what is published on IceTV when you try to order one. Seems they telling public they are out of stock of SKIPPA. Oh really.

You can’t seriously tell me that this all unfolded just this week (i.e. Oct 6th first day of work post public holiday Monday). I find that impossible to understand myself.

New AMD Gaming PC build

In the last week or two I have come to the conclusion I really want to get another Gaming PC build going, as I really want to play Battlefield 4 with some friends. In addition to playing a few other games on Steam.

As I looked at pricing, I came to the conclusion that I will end up going with an AMD based system this time around for a change, since the price point works well for what I want. I am still throwing ideas around of end product and specs, but so far I have concluded that these will probably form the basis of the build itself.


AMD FX 6300 6-CORE BLACK EDITION CPU, 3.5 GHz, Turbo Core up to 4.10 GHz,Total L2 Cache 6MB, L3 Cache 8MB, Socket AM3+, 32nm, 95W ($157)


AMD FX 8320 8-CORE BLACK EDITION CPU, 3.5 GHz, Turbo Core up to 4.00 GHz,Total L2 Cache 8MB, L3 Cache 8MB, Socket AM3+, 32nm, 125W ($217)


Gigabyte GA-970A-D3P ($123)


Gigabyte Radeon R9 380, 4GB GDDR5, 1792 Steams, WINDFORCE 2x (GV-R938G1 GAMING-4GD) ($368)

I’ll continue to post updates as I determine any additional items.

Mikrotik RouterBoard RB951G-2HnD First Look

As noted in yesterday’s blog post here, our Mikrotik RouterBoard RB951G-2HnD arrived and I have managed to take a few pictures.

You’ll note I have taken photos of the unit with the recently purchased Mikrotik RouterBoard RB260GS switch. As you can see the enclosure for these units is exactly the same.

If you want to check out the product specifications you can do so by clicking the model name on this post or refer to the table below;

Product specifications

Product code RB951G-2HnD
CPU nominal frequency 600 MHz
CPU core count 1
Size of RAM 128 MB
10/100 Ethernet ports 0
10/100/1000 Ethernet ports 5
MiniPCI slots 0
MiniPCI-e slots 0
Wireless chip model AR9344-DC3A
Wireless standards 802.11b/g/n
Number of USB ports 1
Power Jack 1
802.3af support No
Supported input voltage 9 V – 30 V
PoE out No
PoE in Yes
Voltage Monitor No
CPU temperature monitor No
PCB temperature monitor No
Dimensions 113x138x29mm
Operating System RouterOS
Operating temperature range -20C .. +50C
License level 4
Antenna gain DBI 2.5
Current Monitor No
Max Power consumption Up to 7W
SFP ports 0
SFP+ ports 0
USB slot type USB type A
Number of chains 2
Serial port None

I still need to spend the time to plug it in and configure it, which won’t be too difficult, as I will take the configuration off hAP Lite I am using currently. Will post up another post in a couple weeks on how I progressed with the configuration of the unit and what not.


Nice new Mikrotik RB951G-2HnD arrives

Managed to get down to the local PO to pickup my parcel. It was my nice new Mikrotik RB951G-2HnD unit. Will be posting some pictures of it in the next day or two.

I need to get it configured, I don’t really need the wifi built in, but I figured we could set it up on its own network and have it as a guest portal.

You can purchase a Mikrotik RB951G-2HnD from Duxtel in Geelong, Victoria.

Mikrotik RouterBoard RB941-2n – hAP Lite and RB260GS review

My experience with Mikrotik RouterBoard line of products is relatively new (as in got my first unit ever back in mid April). Anyways enough background, let’s get straight into it.

I purchased the following two units as I was wishing to evaluate them, while I have plans to use the Mikrotik RouterBoard RB260GS switch in my new house when its finished being built. I heard the best place to purchase this gear is from Duxtel (as mentioned by a friend who is crazy mad about Mikrotik hardware). So I ordered them and they arrived 11 days ago and I immediately set up the hAP Lite (RB941-2n) as my Home Internet Router with an ADSL modem in bridged mode. It’s been running as this since that time.

The hAP Lite (RB941-2n) is an awesome device, it has completely impressed me. So much so it has handled everything I use my Home Internet for and still keeps on running. I’ll post a few graphs from the routers monitoring graphs, which shows CPU usage and other metrics towards the end of this post.

I personally love the winbox interface, however, if you like you can use the webfig (web) method to configure it or you can use pure terminal. I actually use a combination of terminal and winbox to configure mine.

I’ve noticed when you do a export of the configuration from terminal prompt, this will use 100% CPU, however upon export being completed CPU usage returns back to what it was. While this happens, I haven’t noticed any hiccup in my connection. But I guess I am not stressing link at the time to notice it.

The Mikrotik RouterBoard RB260GS is a nice little smart switch. Web interface is quite clean. I had mine configured to split out a VLAN trunk that was being passed to it from my Mikrotik RouterBoard RB450G within an hour (since I am pretty new to this gear). My plan is to use this and some other hardware to allow me to VLAN trunk down to a few key rooms (will post more about this in the next 12-18months). I’ve ordered anĀ RB951G-2HnD which is the exact same case size/design to be my Router, so that I have nice matching units to mount in the future Hills Home Hub at the new house.

Highly recommend this hardware, I love how you can take ports out of the switch and turn them into routing ports etc.


The hAP Lite (RB941-2n) monitoring graphs, as generated every 5mins by the router itself.

Mikrotik RouterBoard Hairpin NAT

I thought I should do a quick post about Mikrotik RouterBoard Hairpin NAT and Port Forwarding. The post in which I used to set this up on my router is found here.

The best explanation for this, would be that if you want to have say http from the public interface forwarded to an internal host, while not impacting LAN access to the RouterBoard’s http port. The forum post linked is how to best handle this situation.

It also allows your internal LAN clients to access your public IP and forward to the appropriate host/service internally too.

Tivo Series 3 Backup

I was surprised to find out in the last few days that you can backup your TiVo internal hard drive and subsequently also upgrade/replace it.

We have two TiVo’s and unfortunately the WD DVR expansion units we had on both have long since died unfortunately, and now I know we can upgrade the internal drive. I pulled one of our units apart and hooked up the drive to a Windows XP machine and created a truncated backup. Just incase, below is a screen grab from the Windows application I used.


After you select the drive, you can run a backup of the drive. Which I did quite promptly.


Mikrotik – Total convert

As you will have seen in one of my previous posts (here), I have a Mikrotik RB450G which I purchased and have been playing around with.

I must say I am a complete convert, I really love the hardware. The amount of things it can do and how configurable it is really makes it a great bit of hardware.

It brings back the memories of when I would run a old PC as a linux router/internet gateway when I could run mrtg on it and constantly have a record of link utilisation etc. This is done on the Mikrotik too, and I love it.

I just purchased a TP-Link TD8817 in the last few days, to have this permanently hooked up to the Mikrotik RB450G and will run my ADSL via bridged modem. Mikrotik is handling everything. When I move and eventually get an FTTH service, I will just need to reconfigure the Mikrotik accordingly.

I still have lots to understand about RouterOS, but so far its working very nicely and doing everything I need of it.

My plan is to play around with queues and what not further, so I can put the kids devices into a group that gets a percentage of bandwidth available, however for now I am marking packets and assigning them priorities to keep the link quick for stuff that needs it. Like web browsing and email.

MikroTik – RB450G

I recently came across an MikroTik RouterBoard 2011 appliance, and it’s not something I haven’t heard of, as I have a friend who loves the gear.

Unfortunately I never got to play much with it, as no one knows the Administrator details and/or associated password. So this made doing some troubleshooting in the environment a bit difficult.

Decided it might be a good reason/idea to purchase a RouterBoard, since I will probably need to reset the unit for a friend, and before doing this, would like a good understanding of the device and configuration. I was about to order a new RouterBoard RB450G when I noticed someone had a unit for sale on ebay. So I bought that one at a good discount over the new one.

Looking forward to it arriving so I can make good on my research and start the configuration.

I am also looking at purchasing some of the wireless gear from MikroTik as also have a need to replace some 2.4Ghz Wireless Access points for a hotel, so will be purchasing an MikroTik Groove and testing out HotSpot capabilities of the RouterBoard etc.

Transport Sync – The hardware and the software

Since getting my Transport Sync and seeing reports that the drive when formatted by the unit may not be accessible by any other means. I thought I would investigate this further myself.

I took the external drive I was using and attached it to another Linux machine. As I expected when I did this I could see 3 partitions had been created on my external drive. The first was a 1GB (primary partition 1), followed by ~1.8G (logical partition 3 ) and the rest of the drive space (logical partition 4).

I’d heard that the drive my not be mountable outside of the unit/use. However, that’s not true. I could mount all the partitions and traverse the contents without an issue. However, the layout of the disk is not what you’d expect. See below, as your share name s in the web portal are linked to what looks to be a UUID type relationship.

# ls -la
total 48
drwxrwx---    7 embedded embedded      4096 Mar  9 21:36 .
drwxr-xr-x   18 embedded embedded      4096 Mar  9 20:20 ..
drwxrwx---    5 embedded embedded      4096 Mar  9 21:00 54f6e0afbe034963343d3082
drwxrwx---    2 embedded embedded      4096 Mar 12 21:53 54fd66fdbd1f46071996b985
drwxrwx---    6 embedded embedded      4096 Mar 12 12:07 54fd720c591f467c6196b991
drwxrwx---    8 embedded embedded      4096 Mar  9 21:27 54fd75569ac07c7e7896b97e
drwxrwx---    3 embedded embedded      4096 Mar  9 21:37 54fd77969ac07cf43196b97e
# pwd

Anyways, under these UUID named directories is the data that you would get under each of your shares etc.

I also pulled down a copy of the diag logs and reviewed those too, and noticed that rootfs for the Transport Sync is downloaded from connected data and is used to build the OS onto the external drive etc (including a network boot prior to that happening). Determined that Transport Sync when in a labmode or beta state would have ssh daemon enabled. Worked this out from the init.d scripts (nS50ssh) contained in the rootfs that was downloaded (rootfs-

Source: /etc/init.d/nS50ssh

start() {
    if /usr/bin/in-labmode || /usr/bin/is-beta || [ -e /replicator/configuration/ssh ] ; then
 	    echo -n "Starting sshd: "
	    /usr/sbin/sshd -f /etc/ssh/sshd_config -h /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
	    touch /var/lock/sshd
	    echo "OK"

I made some tweaks so that when I unmounted the drive and attached back onto my Transport Sync, it would boot and enable ssh. So I could dig a little more around, and can see the architecture information below of the system;

# cat /proc/cpuinfo
Processor       : ARMv6-compatible processor rev 4 (v6l)
BogoMIPS        : 239.20
Features        : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp java
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant     : 0x0
CPU part        : 0xb02
CPU revision    : 4

Hardware        : Connected Data CNS3411 Portal Board
Revision        : 0000
Serial          : 0000000000000000
# uname -a
Linux cd_haven #14 Tue Jun 24 14:51:41 PDT 2014 armv6l GNU/Linux

The program that seems to do all the heavy lifting is “replicator” and this is something connected data has developed, and has ties to Drobo as far as I can tell also.

I recently installed Windows 10 RC and installed the Transporter Desktop client on and was surprised to see that the Transporter Library shows up in Windows 10 RC as a drive letter, this was pretty cool I thought. So my D: drive on Windows 10 RC after installing the client is associated to the Transporter Library folder.