Saturday, January 20, 2007

Technomoment 4 - Who is the legend?

I think I have posted before about the intricacies of connecting the Legend digital set-top-box with the DVD/VCR combo, the television and the hi-fi. It was reasonably successful, but we were having problems getting the G-coder to record properly. It would never come on at the right time.

Sharp-Eyed Jackson realised one day that the time display on the set-top box was not right - it was an hour out. I navigate to the settings and discover that there is only one way to set the time - New South Wales. No manual time setting. Hmmm. SEJ goes to the Legend website to see their FAQs, and discovers that there was a bug. Despite having been around since forever, Legend does not recognise daylight savings time. It requires its firmware to be updated. How does one go about that?

First one acquires an RS232 cable, otherwise known as a crossover cable, or null-model cable. I am familiar with these from years ago using dialup modems attached to the RS232c interface. I don't have one, of course. Neither does Harvey Norman (who also had no idea about having to update the Legend box we bought there). Neither does Dick Smith. Sigh. I go to the web and order one from there, and it arrives the following day. In the interim I speak to the Legend tech support guys who tell me the simplest thing to do is pack up the box, drive to Silverwater to drop it off there, they will send it to Adelaide for updating, and some time in the future I will receive it back.

I decide to persist with doing it myself. The techies express their doubts. When the cable arrives I plug one end to the set-top-box, the other to the laptop which has a wireless connection to the internet. I download the firmware update with its instructions. Open the instructions. Hmmmm. Chinglish in the extreme. The screenshots are in Chinese characters. Oh dear. I am nothing if not persistent.

First you establish your HyperTerminal connection, setting all those lovely things like baud rate and parity (oh these are a blast from the past!). Then you invoke a terminal command which is very cryptic. Then what? The instructions are very unclear, but I finally manage to send the file I have downloaded. The screen fills with the playing card spade symbol, and keeps going for 25 minutes. I walk away, despairing, but leave it to run.

It stops, and gives me the PMON> prompt. This, in theory, means it is done. Heart in mouth I disconnect everything, turn off the box, and back on again. Nothing. No channels. Gulp! Menu works! I ask it to set the time, and lo and behold I have a new option - summer time!!! Yay!!!! I choose it. It needs to scan for all the channels again, and this time it does it in a much more logical fashion than it did before.

It looks like everything has worked. In case I have missed something, or there is something else I could do while it is all connected, I call the techos again and tell them what I have done. They expressed astonishment at my having done it. Well, I modestly declared, I have been playing with this kind of thing for a while - like thirty years. They are still astonished and tell me it wasn't easy. No, I reply, it wasn't easy at all, and it would have been nice to have English instructions. They agree heartily.

Can you believe that whole story? Wouldn't you think that technology would be a bit simpler than that these days? Why isn't it plug and play? Why does it happen to me?

Back to playing with the Pug, who is more adorable every minute.


  1. Congratulations on getting the firmware update to work - it sound like it was a lot harder than mine, so you definitely are a legend. I've done the whole cable connection and firmware update thing with my Wintal STB, and it was much easier as I had good English instructions...

  2. You are most definitely the legend. Who knew all that archaic 30 year old tech experience would come in handy setting up the digital TV? How things really don't change all that much!