This post is not exactly security related but I am going to tie it back into security and IT practices anyway. This afternoon I turned on my TV and saw a new screen from my DVR I have never seen before in the 5 years I have owned it. I have Mediacom Cable/Internet and with that I have a Tivo DVR box that is Pace brand. From time to time I get updates but this screen wasn’t the standard, cure, Tivo screen but what looked like a BIOS error screen from the PACE firmware.

Thirty minutes pass and I call Mediacom customer support. I explain the situation and they told me that Tivo pushed out an update and this is a ‘standard’ message. It also may take up to an hour to go away. Here was the message –

V1_65 Pace PX001BTM SysCode Loader

The ASTB needs to download new software.  This could take a few minutes, please be patient.

DOCSIS DOWNLOAD
WAITING FOR SNMP TRIGGER.

Being in the IT world for two decades I knew this was not a good thing. Waiting for a trigger. OK, so I waited over an hour and instead of calling back the customer service, where I knew the solution would be to send out a technician to ‘fix’ it, I headed to the Internet.

Here’s my tie in to the security and IT practices. The Internet is vast, wide and deep. If you know how to navigate every answer is out there, you just need to know how to look for it. You start by searching for the message with quotes “Waiting for SNMP Trigger”. It didn’t take long to find a treasure trove of results. Most are complaints about the message and nothing that will help me, calling customer service is not an option. So I dig.

I usually jump to page 5 or 10 of results. I tend to find the meaty, less than obvious pages have the best answers. Sure enough I found it.

There was some random forum where a guy posted this 4 years ago. Luckily a cable TV technician saw it and replied with an answer. He posted how to get into the diagnostic menu of the Pace DVR and flip a setting to bypass the error to allow the software update to proceed. I tried it and it worked 100%.

Here are those instructions to correct the error as noted above. These are the same steps that a smart technician would have done if they came to your home or worse, take your DVR box and replace it with a functioning one (where you lose all your recordings and schedules).

1.  From this screen the MG-1 will need to be power cycled. Once power cycled press the “enter” button on the remote repeatedly to enter the Pace Loader Diagnostics Main Menu screen.

2.  From the Pace Loader Diagnostics main Menu, using the arrow buttons select Object Directory, then press “select”.

3.  Once on the Object Directory select “Activate Object” using the arrow buttons on the remote and press

4.  Using the arrow buttons move the cursor to the “TiVo_BL” object. At this point the activation status should be “No”. Press “select” on the remote to change the status to “Yes”.

5.  Once selected the activation status should change to yes. Reselect the “TiVo_BL” to return to the previous screen.

6.  Once back to the Object Directory select “Return to Main Menu”.

7.  Once back to the Loader Diagnostics Main Menu select “Software Update”

8.  The Pace MG-1 should now be restarting.

My point is with your complex technologies and configurations you work with at home, office and everywhere use the resources around you. Don’t rely on that sole source of knowledge to be the one and only source. Chances are high that with a little research, looking for the answers yourself, you can save hundreds of dollars, hours of time and learn something along the way by doing it yourself.

Security, IT, software, home appliances, cars, etc… the answers are out there and most likely the solutions are far easier than you think.

I could have waiting several days to get a tech out to my house at my expense, potentially lose my DVR and all the time and recordings I have programmed into it but I didn’t. I fixed it with about 20 minutes of total work, minus waiting the 90 minutes to determine the original message I saw was not normal.

You can do it, you just need to look farther than the first page of Goole results.

End of line.

Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently with Magenic providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure everyday.

Subscribe
Facebook Page
Follow Me On Twitter
contactme@binaryblogger.com