Ken Segler walked into his local Circuit City store, ordered a computer -- and unwittingly kicked off a small phenomenon.
When his order arrived, he tweaked a simple connector cable and turned what was meant to be a closed Internet access "appliance" -- the $99 Netpliance i-opener -- into a fully functional, Pentium I-class PC. The cables' connectors are modified to allow the connection of a basic hard disk to the i-opener, which can then be booted using the user's operating system of choice
A practical guide from Armadillo Intertie System
First thing is to get an I-Opener from somewhere. Goodwill has them from time to time,
You will need to order an updated BIOS chip from http://www.badflash.com/.
Order an All-in-One drive adapter from http://www.wizztronics.com/.
You will need a CPU cooling fan since you will be removing the heatsink to make room for the hard drive.
Those are the specialty items you will have to order. Here is the remainder of the needed parts that you can purchase at your favorite electronics store.
A hard drive of no greater than 9.5mm in height.
A replacement Windows-compatible keyboard (PS/2). The stock I-Opener keyboard works, but it doesn't have an escape key.
A PS/2 mouse.
A PS/2 splitter cable. The I-Opener ahs one PS/2 port so if you want to use a keyboard and mouse you will need the splitter.
A USB ethernet device to connect to a network (makes loading updates, new software, etc. easier).
That does it for the parts.
Installing the Parts and the Software
Remove the back desktop stand and the back cover of the I-Opener.
Remove the silver heatshield.
Remove the black heatsink. You should now see the connector where the hard drive will plug in.
Remove the old BIOS chip and install the new one.
Remove and replace the memory board if you chose to upgrade it.
Install the Lasagna cooler. modify the clip , if it won't fit or puts too much pressure on the CPU. You'll plug it into the power plug on the drive adapter later.
Install the drive on the drive adapter.
Plug the drive adapter into the second IDE port on a standard computer. Boot with a Windows 98 boot floppy. FDisk and Format the I-opener drive. Make sure to "format /s" so the drive will be bootable.
Copy the entire contents of the WIN98 directory from your Windows 98 CD-ROM to the drive.
Copy all the necessary driver files. This includes video and chipset drivers. Make sure they are unzipped on the I-Opener drive.
Download the drivers here
Copy all the drivers for your USB network adapter, serial adapter, etc. to the drive. Make sure they are unzipped on the I-Opener drive.
Install the drive adapter in the I-Opener.
Boot up the I-Opener and go into the BIOS setup screen. You'll need a standard keyboard to do this. Set the I-Opener boot order to D instead of C. The drive will show up as C in Windows, but you have to set it to D to get it to boot from the hard drive. The I-Opener should boot to a DOS prompt at this point. Some of you may not have to do this.
CD to the win98 directory and run setup. Let Windows install. It will set up in standard VGA mode.
Once the machine boots into Windows, right-click the desktop and change the video driver to the new one. The I-Opener can do 800x600 16-bit color. Windows will complain that this is the wrong driver, but it works fine.Open the device manager. You will notice the PCI controller has a yellow exclamation mark. Using the device manager, update the driver from the 4-in-1 chipset driver found in the ZIP file above. Once it's installed, go back into the device driver and set the IDE controller to only use the primary IDE channel. This is in the Advanced tab. Otherwise, it will soak up an extra IRQ needlesly.
The original and mod,
old i-opener history, new,
Joe Kewl's story, "how to" by Anthony Saxton,
targetpc, Netpliance Fined $100,000,
I-Hack, Runs on a variant of QNX in ROM,
prefect hack, stonekeep,
unixmonkey, more links,
The folowing links were stolen from veghead's tutorial,
Recent i-opener hack page with downloads!,
Linux hacking guide including mod kit,
Original Linux i-opener site,
Jailbait: Tiny Linux distribution for sandisk,
Adam Lotz describes how he did it.,
Details on downgrading.,
now calling it's self tippingpoint,
"By purchasing the i-opener you are agreeing to use the i-opener Internet service. The fee is $21.95 a month and will be billed approximately 2 days after the i-opener is shipped to you,
I-opener Internet appliances shipped after March 20, 2000 can no longer be reconfigured in the manner described in recent reports. Modification of the i-opener in any way is in violation of our terms and conditions.
If you "fail to activate the account within 30 days of purchase or cancel before 90 days after the purchase date, Netpliance is authorized to charge [your] credit card a $499 fee
IF YOU DO NOT PURCHASE THE SERVICE OR IF THE SERVICE IS CANCELLED DURING THE FIRST 90 DAYS (EITHER BY YOU OR BY NETPLIANCE), THEN YOU WILL BE IN MATERIAL BREACH OF THIS AGREEMENT YOU AGREE NETPLIANCE'S DAMAGES WILL BE DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE AND AGREE TO PAY NETPLIANCE, AS A REASONABLE ESTIMATE OF ITS DAMAGES AND IN ADDITION TO ALL OTHER AMOUNTS OWING, A TERMINATION FEE FOR EACH DEVICE EQUAL TO $499 ("TERMINATION FEE"). NETPLIANCE WILL BILL YOUR CREDIT CARD FOR THE TERMINATION FEE OR, IF A CREDIT CARD IS UNAVAILABLE, NETPLIANCE WILL INVOICE YOU FOR THE TERMINATION FEE AND SUCH FEE WILL BE DUE FIFTEEN DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE INVOICE. Netpliance may terminate or suspend your account for late payment, returned checks, declined credit cards or other non-payment at any time. You will still be responsible for the monthly charge if your account is suspended. Netpliance may charge a fee to reactivate suspended service. You agree to pay expenses (including attorneys' fees and collection agency fees) arising from Netpliance's efforts to collect any unpaid balance from you or otherwise enforce this Agreement.
TEASE Terms and Conditions preclude Disassemble, reverse engineer, modify, adapt, or otherwise alter the Device.
Unauthorized dissemination of trade secrets. Your Service may be disconnected or suspended or your Device may be disabled without warning if Netpliance suspects it would prevent or interrupt a violation of this policy. If you pay by credit card you authorize Netpliance to charge your credit card account number for any Service charges. This authorization will remain valid until terminated by you in writing or until your Service is properly terminated.