TiVo Desktop 2.8 with Windows 7 (Again, But Maybe Finally?)

In a previous post, TiVo Desktop 2.7 with Windows 7, I thought I’d hit on a fix for getting the TiVo Desktop software running right with Windows 7.  Alas, my joy was premature.

I kept getting errors both in trying to transfer shows from my TiVo to my PC as well as when I tried to play old shows on my PC (“Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file”). Looking into C:\Users\Marc Anderson\AppData\Local\TiVo Desktop\Logs at TiVoTransfer.log, I saw repeated errors like this:


Error 2009-12-25:23-01-01.522-05:00 0x28B0 RegistryHelper.cpp, MediaAccessKeyUtils::HKEYHelper::openPath, 90 |  RegOpenKeyExA(path=Software\TiVo\SharingKeys, samDesired=131097) failed: err=2
Info 2009-12-25:23-01-01.522-05:00 0x28B0 TiVoToGoKeys.cpp, TivoToGoKeys::GetSharingKey, 78 |  key is empty: err=TiVoKeyHelper Exception(SharingKeyHelper::decrypt(58)): "Error: Unexpected!"
TiVoKeyHelper Exception(MediaAccessKeyUtils::HKEYHelper::openPath(92)): "Error: 2 during RegOpenKeyEx!: path=Software\TiVo\SharingKeys"

Info 2009-12-25:23-01-01.522-05:00 0x28B0 TivoTransferApi.cpp, CTivoTransferApi::AddDownload, 167 |  GetMediaKey() returned empty MAK
Info 2009-12-25:23-01-05.204-05:00 0x29B8 DownloaderCb.cpp, DownloaderCb::start, 88 |  started: <a href="http://192.168.1.105/download/Dollhouse.TiVo?Container=%2FNowPlaying&id=2476305&Format=video/x-tivo-mpeg">http://192.168.1.105:80/download/Dollhouse.TiVo?Container=%2FNowPlaying&id=2476305&Format=video/x-tivo-mpeg</a>
Error 2009-12-25:23-01-05.719-05:00 0x29B8 DownloaderCb.cpp, DownloaderCb::error, 81 |  <a href="http://192.168.1.105/download/Dollhouse.TiVo?Container=%2FNowPlaying&id=2476305&Format=video/x-tivo-mpeg">http://192.168.1.105:80/download/Dollhouse.TiVo?Container=%2FNowPlaying&id=2476305&Format=video/x-tivo-mpeg</a> failed: error=4

As you can see, the issue seems to be with getting the value for the Media Access Key (MAK) and decoding it.  FYI: The MAK is stored in the registry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\TiVo\SharingKeys.

Ok, so now I’m starting to do exactly what there is so much of out there on the Web: speculation about arcane details of the problem, what *might* be causing it, and what *might* solve it.

I spent a lot of time over the last few days Binging for solutions, and it took a lot to finally cut through all of the opprobrium and misinformation to come up with something that a) seems like it works, and b) sounds like it actually makes sense.

The solution that seems to be working is relatively simple: Go to the C:\Program Files\TiVo\Desktop folder and set all of the executables to Run as Administrator.  (Right click each file, choose Properties, then the Compatibility tab.  Toward the bottom of the tab, check the “Run this program as an administrator” option.)  No, you shouldn’t need to do this, but it seems to have solved all of my issues.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed.  More Dollhouse episodes are on their way over to my laptop as I type…

Thanks to Nunya_Binnez for the tip in the TiVo forums on this fix.

TiVo Desktop 2.7 with Windows 7

Here’s an off-topic post for you.  I can’t live without my TiVo, but it’s been quite a long while since I’ve used TiVo Desktop to transfer shows to my PC. Somewhere along the way I uninstalled TiVo Desktop, certainly before I upgraded to Windows 7.

The new TV season and some of the great shows we’re saving has filled up the TiVo, so it was time to fire up TiVo Desktop to move some things off into storage.  Alas, after installing it, I was getting errors like "Access is denied" and other cantankerousness.  I knew my Media Access Key (MAK) was right because I was copying it right from the TiVo My Account page.

I finally got things up and running, and I think the thing that did it was a nice little command line utility from TiVo called the TiVo Desktop Cleaner utility.  You can read about it here.  This little wonder truly uninstalls every last bit of the TiVo Desktop, including the Windows registry settings, and lets you start from scratch.  Once I ran it and reinstalled TiVo Desktop 2.7, I was back in business.  Dollhouse "Belle Chose" is on it’s way to my laptop as I type.  (No ,my wife doesn’t like Dollhouse; it’s one of *my* guilty pleasures.)

My Technology Arsenal: To Kindle or Not to Kindle

I inherited the early adopter gene from my father, who had a digital calculator in the early 70s that must have cost him hundreds of dollars.  He’s given me things over the years that were very cool: a briefcase stereo that played albums (remember albums?), tapes, and radio in the late 70s; a Canon XapShot digital camera in about 1985; and more.

Now that my technology junkie budget is my own, I try to be a bit more circumspect in my purchases.  So, what are the most important things in my technology arsenal?  You might think that I’m positively a Luddite, but here’s the list:

  • Dell Latitude D820 laptop running Vista — It’s a little old, it’s a little clunky, but it gets the job done.
  • Apple’s iPhone 3G — This is my most recent acquisition, and the latest "How did I live without this?" item.  It’s not really a phone: it’s a computer that fits in your pocket and makes phone calls.  I can surf the Web from anywhere, get directions, find out what song is playing by pointing it at a speaker, my son can manifest his love of light saber play, and on and on and on.
  • TiVo HD — This is my second TiVo platform, after my old Series 2.  If you don’t have TiVo, GET ONE.  It changes the way you think about the idiot box in a positive way.  We don’t just watch TV very often anymore, we watch TV we want to watch.  That ‘500 channels with nothing on’ complaint doesn’t totally go away, but it doesn’t come up as often.
  • iPod Touch 20Gb — Another old model, but, hey, it holds more music than I can listen to and it works.

What prompted me to write this post is that my wife "bought" me an Amazon Kindle for Christmas.  I put bought in quotes because you can’t actually buy one of these things. The current shipping delay listed on the Amazon site for the Kindle 1.0 is 8 to 10 weeks, almost an eternity in tech.  My wife presented it with the permission to say no if I didn’t think I’d really use it.

The Kindle promises to revolutionize reading in the same way that the iPod revolutionized music.  I’m a big reader, so it seems to make good sense, but am I ready to give up paper?  I look at my book collection (along with my CD collection) as a sort of journal.  I remember when and where I bought many of my books, whether they be shallow "airport books" or tomes that changed my thinking in some way.  Can that happen with a digital file?

The Kindle 2.0 is expected anytime, too.  So should I wait for it before taking the leap?  From the pictures I’m seen and reviews I’ve read, it isn’t significantly different, but isn’t the new model always better in some way?  And what about generation next?  One of the big content areas is magazines, but would magazines read well in black and white or is it worth waiting for a color version?

I’m not sure what my answer is going to be, but on the assumption that there are people out there reading my musings, I’d be interested in thoughts about the Kindle.

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