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Old 04-27-2011, 08:51 AM   #1
funtoupgrade
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Instant Cake ripoff

Just a warning to those thinking about buying an instant cake for their TiVo. I know in most cases these do work, but just want to let know my recent bad experience. I paid the $43+ for an instant cake download ($39.99 + sales tax) which would not work on my computer. The program froze part way through. In various places on their web-site they mention the fact they will not support either the download or CD instant cake, but no mention of this at the point of downloading. I can understand no support for commands, etc. once the program is working, but when you can't even get the thing to work at all there ought to be some recourse other than check our forum (which is not going to solve the problem of download not working).
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:00 AM   #2
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I have used their product and it was a little challenging to say the least. It should come with more warnings about not being for computer novices.
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:20 AM   #3
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I see IC as a poor last resort considering there are better alternatives.

First, if you haven't bought your new HDD yet, just buy a pre-imaged drive from DVR_DUDE (just Google). The cost will be about $40 more than what you would pay for the "naked" HDD and no-fuss, no-muss.

If you already have the HDD, take a look here:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...sprune=30&f=25
in particular the thread entitled "Need an image, don't PM me"
You can install that image with free program WinMFS which is easy to download and use.

If IC isn't even being supported I am baffled at the high price. I bet they could make more money selling it for $20.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:36 AM   #4
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I recall using instantcake once to deal with an S2 that had a failed drive and no backup. I recall it working well with no issues.

Often when someone tries to automate a systems task like this, it ends up being a very fragile program, unable to deal with unexpected errors that come from differences in end-user hardware. You'd almost be further ahead learning a bit more about Linux and running the commands manually.

For the OP, if the program doesn't work for you, I'd insist on getting your money back. No sense in paying for something that you cannot use. I sell software on the internet myself, and when a user comes to me with a genuine issue where he bought something but cannot use it for whatever reason, I always refund. It's just software, a refund is an easy remedy and nothing is lost by either party.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:47 AM   #5
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I've bought and used InstantCake several times, and it always worked exactly as promised. But it probably is sensitive to PC connections being "just right".
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:07 PM   #6
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I think I've only purchased an InstantCake image on one occasion and never had any issues with it. The best alternative to IC is to create your own backup image when you first get your Tivo using WinMFS. There's no reason why anyone should ever have to buy InstantCake if they perform this one simple task.

Unless you have another source for a backup image, InstantCake is your only available choice. InstantCake is a Liinux-based utility so you need to know the command line instructions before you make your purchase. They're quite simple and basic for Linux and not hard to master. WinMFS uses a GUI and works in Windows and is about as idiot-proof as it gets for this type of utility.

The moral to the story is - plan ahead.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:54 PM   #7
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I thought this was going to be about food.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:57 PM   #8
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I think selling the images is wrong, they should provide the software only with the ISO's as a free download ><
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Old 04-27-2011, 03:27 PM   #9
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Well, I'm somewhat curious as to what arrangement they have with TiVo that allows them to sell copies of the TiVo software while TiVo actively frowned on people who made images available for free download. Parts of the image are TiVo's copyrighted software and ordinarily it would be illegal to do what DVRupgrade is doing, unless they have permission from TiVo. Maybe they do, I don't know.

DVRupgrade did put some effort into scripting the IC install, though it uses freeware underneath to do the actual work. They also create and test variants for each type of system. I don't begrudge them some compensation for that and you can pretty well trust that you're getting a good, clean image. I do have a problem with the current price they are charging, which is double what it used to be, but it's my choice as to whether or not to pay it.
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:06 PM   #10
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DVRUpgrade is the only distributor licensed by Tivo to distribute images of the Tivo OS.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:42 PM   #11
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Where did you get that information?
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:21 AM   #12
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Where did you get that information?
It's been widely known for quite some time. I'm surprised you weren't aware of it. I'm pretty sure I read about it in these forums. If DVRUpgrade wasn't sanctioned by Tivo they would have been shut down long ago for illegally distributing licensed software.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:03 PM   #13
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It's been widely known for quite some time. I'm surprised you weren't aware of it. I'm pretty sure I read about it in these forums. If DVRUpgrade wasn't sanctioned by Tivo they would have been shut down long ago for illegally distributing licensed software.
If he were sanctioned by TiVo I would think he would mention that fact, for number sold I don't think TiVo would take the time to try to shut him down if he was not sanctioned by TiVo. TiVo would have to go after everybody selling HD with TiVo software already on them.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:14 PM   #14
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It's been widely known for quite some time. I'm surprised you weren't aware of it. I'm pretty sure I read about it in these forums. If DVRUpgrade wasn't sanctioned by Tivo they would have been shut down long ago for illegally distributing licensed software.
If he were sanctioned by TiVo I would think he would mention that fact, for number sold I don't think TiVo would take the time to try to shut him down if he was not sanctioned by TiVo. TiVo would have to go after everybody selling HD with TiVo software already on them.
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:25 PM   #15
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Count me as one who also thought DVRUpgrade was licensened to distribute TiVo software.
The reason for the 100% price increase? TiVo probably upped the license fee and DVRUpgrade is just passing along the cost.
The only other way I've seen TiVo software distributed is 'under the table', friends helping friends...
If TiVo frowned on that happening, I'm sure they could lock down the software to prevent DIY upgrades.
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:40 PM   #16
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The cost of IC doubled shortly after Weaknees acquired DVRUpgrade. My guess is Weaknees is more interested in selling plug n play drives then selling DIY tools.

Back when he was posting Lou said they had permission from tivo to distribute the images. Tivo shut down many of the FTP sites which hosted images. A simple letter would have been enough to shut down a commercial site, hosted in the US.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:39 PM   #17
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You still have to pay Tivo to use the software. It seems like it's in Tivo's best interest to let a third party distribute the software, because it keeps old hardware in service longer. The profit center for Tivo is the subscription fees, not the hardware.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:57 PM   #18
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here,s your help

i to had problems, but i kept at it and after failing and reading i 2 found what I was doing wrong. first if you burn an iso it must be at a slow speed second you get 3 downloads do them at different times to reduce d\l errors.
also you must understand you have to use a larger drive than 160 gig. and when you get pissed walk away and relax because you think you read 1 thing when it doesn't say it learn to rean all messages closely. my second burn first was series 2 d\l second was hd 652160
so try that too. good luck
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lew
The cost of IC doubled shortly after Weaknees acquired DVRUpgrade. My guess is Weaknees is more interested in selling plug n play drives then selling DIY tools.

Back when he was posting Lou said they had permission from tivo to distribute the images. Tivo shut down many of the FTP sites which hosted images. A simple letter would have been enough to shut down a commercial site, hosted in the US.
+1 I think Weakness is charging so much because they can. Not because TiVo has changed any pricing for them.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:28 PM   #20
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You still have to pay Tivo to use the software. It seems like it's in Tivo's best interest to let a third party distribute the software, because it keeps old hardware in service longer. The profit center for Tivo is the subscription fees, not the hardware.
For monthly your correct but for Lifetime TiVos it's a dead loss for TiVo to have you repair the unit, instead of purchasing a new TiVo.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:41 AM   #21
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For monthly your correct but for Lifetime TiVos it's a dead loss for TiVo to have you repair the unit, instead of purchasing a new TiVo.
If the hard drive failed after a few years on a lifetime unit and the only remedy was to buy another lifetime unit, I would say that many customers would switch over to a cable or satellite DVR. How many people would even buy a lifetime unit, if they couldn't repair it?
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:14 AM   #22
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If he were sanctioned by TiVo I would think he would mention that fact, for number sold I don't think TiVo would take the time to try to shut him down if he was not sanctioned by TiVo. TiVo would have to go after everybody selling HD with TiVo software already on them.
When the Instantcake software was sold by PTVUpgrade I recall reading several posts indicating that they were licensed by Tivo to sell the software. I can only assume that Weaknees bought the rights and are now sanctioned by Tivo to sell Instantcake just as PTVUpgrade once was.

I agree about the assessment that Weaknees jacked up the price for their own interests. Although they do serve a niche market, virtually everything they sell is at extortionist prices. It's pretty bad when a replacement power supply from them costs more than a complete Tivo on ebay.
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:10 PM   #23
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When the Instantcake software was sold by PTVUpgrade I recall reading several posts indicating that they were licensed by Tivo to sell the software. I can only assume that Weaknees bought the rights and are now sanctioned by Tivo to sell Instantcake just as PTVUpgrade once was.

I agree about the assessment that Weaknees jacked up the price for their own interests. Although they do serve a niche market, virtually everything they sell is at extortionist prices. It's pretty bad when a replacement power supply from them costs more than a complete Tivo on ebay.
Try running a co. legally and see what your overhead is, I doubt Weaknees is making a fortune for its owners, they charge for convenience. Today one can beat the price of almost any retail store if you want to use the web and do your own service, as long as Weaknees provides enough values for their customers they will stay in busness, even if most people on this form can do their own repair work and find parts for themselves, I purchased a TP from Amazon at $50 just for the parts for my 4 working TPs.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:04 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
When the Instantcake software was sold by PTVUpgrade I recall reading several posts indicating that they were licensed by Tivo to sell the software. I can only assume that Weaknees bought the rights and are now sanctioned by Tivo to sell Instantcake just as PTVUpgrade once was.

I agree about the assessment that Weaknees jacked up the price for their own interests. Although they do serve a niche market, virtually everything they sell is at extortionist prices. It's pretty bad when a replacement power supply from them costs more than a complete Tivo on ebay.
Is that an apples to apples comparison on the power supplies?

Both new, same warranty, same chance of being able to track down the seller if you have a warranty claim?
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:06 AM   #25
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Count me as one who also thought DVRUpgrade was licensed to distribute TiVo software.
Neither DVRUpgrade, nor Weakness, nor any other site that they own have a "special right" to distribute TiVo images simply because TiVo software is supposedly free under GPL v2 license.

Take a look on their websites (dvrupgrade.com, weakness.com, newreleasesvideo.com, etc...) and nowhere they mention any specific license. Why? It doesn't exist!

Source code to TiVo software can be easily bought for $15 directly from TiVo:

http://www.tivo.com/linux/index.html

However, since TiVo software is based on GPL v2 license and not GPL v3 license, TiVo can keep software both free and locked in a specific way by making it run only if the TiVo's digital signature matches those authorized by the manufacturer of the TiVo. In other words, while TiVo software is technically free.... it cannot be modified in any way by anybody. However, software is free for distribution. For those more interested in details, read here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tivoization

Again, there is no specific "license" for TiVo software. I absolutely agree with the OP that IC is a ripoff. Weakness and DVRUpgraded first lied about the "license" and then charge $40 for simple shell script that is based on the free software to make image run.

It's really sad to see them charge people for something that they got for free... In my opinion it is far cheaper to buy the preimaged drive from DVR_Dude or others; or simply make one yourself.

Last edited by jmill : 05-02-2011 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:22 AM   #26
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Isn't that source code just the linux kernel and the stuff that they used from other sources? AFAIK the main TiVo application and all of the proprietary stuff that they wrote from scratch has never been released.

I have no idea if there's actually a license/fee or not.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:22 AM   #27
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The TiVo application software is not GPL and not open source. As ggieseke says, TiVo does make available changes they make to Linux itself, but that does not give you enough to build all the TiVo software.
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:30 PM   #28
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I've used IC downloads twice before and they worked with no problems. I seem to recall the price was less though. Maybe $19? $40 does seem a bit much, is that for just a download, or an actual physical disc mailed to you? $40 to download an ISO seems excessive.

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Old 05-02-2011, 09:42 PM   #29
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I've used IC software more than twice and have never had any problems with it.

However, $40 is just robbery.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:14 AM   #30
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I've used IC software more than twice and have never had any problems with it.

However, $40 is just robbery.
Another vendor sells a 1TB drive for $250.
1TB drives are now $50 or so. So the IC + Drive = $90 + 30min of my time, $50 = $140 total installed vs $250 + $50 = $300.

I have IC for the 3 model tivos in my house, a series 2, a series 3 HD, and a THX audio series 3. Until I saw this comment, I thought I was saving money, and getting a great deal.

It's definitely a techie thing. I know otherwise intelligent people who couldn't figure out how to burn an ISO. But their site spells out all the warnings, that imaging a drive this way is a bit different than just downloading MP3s.

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