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Book 3

My third book is released! Learn what you'll need to know in order to become an embedded engineer.

Book 2

Check out my second book; learn practical stuff about building robots and control systems around Linux PCs and the Atmel AVR.

Book 1

My first book gives you all the intro you need on developing 32-bit embedded systems on a hobbyist budget.

virgin webplayer:
virgin webplayer
convert into a pc
use with another isp

Hacking the Virgin Webplayer's OS

NEW (06/24/2001): XenTriC has kindly provided a password generator that will get you into the setup screen (Ctrl-Music) about 60% of the time. This is much better odds than the "try adding/subtracting" method mentioned below.

Click here to download an archive containing the sourcecode for this utility, as well as a compiled version for DOS.

These notes were provided to me by Randy. Thanks, Randy! I personally think the Webplayer is much more efficient (friskier by far) running Windows 98 than the OS Virgin preloaded on the thing, but this technique below does have the virtue of requiring no hardware whatsoever.

  1. Turn on your Webplayer. When you see the usual login screen, press CTRL-MUSIC. (The "MUSIC" key is the one just to the right of the ESC key, top row (second from left).
  2. You'll be presented with the rotating password page. You have to get past this. It may take you 5 to 10 minutes of trying, but you'll get past it. You will be presented with a 3 or 4 digit key, and you'll need to input a 4 digit password in the provided field. Here's a few quick tips. First, if the key is just 3 digits, pretend that that key has a "10" in front (i.e., example, a key of "334" should be considered as "10334"). Second, if the key is less than "2500", pretend that the key has a "1" in front (i.e., example, a key of "2345" should be considered as "12345"). If the key is more than "2500", consider it as is. Next you'll create four password possibilities by subtracting these four numbers from the key: 2400, 2401, 2402, and 2403. If none of these work after the fourth try, you'll return to the regular login screen, in which case you should press CTRL-MUSIC and try again with a new generated key.
  3. Surprise! Just when you thought it was going to take you back to the login screen, you'll find that you have busted into the setup panels. You'll change the settings in four of the panels. Note the navigation arrows on the top-right of the screen because a couple of the panel tabs extend past the edge of the screen. The four panels you'll change are: "PPP File Settings", "Dialup Settings", "Network Settings", and "User Settings". In the next four steps, I'll detail exactly what to change in each panel. Be careful NOT to change anything else. Also, DO NOT click the button at the bottom left titled "Revert to Factory Settings." You've been warned.
  4. On the "PPP File Settings" panel, you should change only two fields -- "login" and "pap_user_name". Change both to your ISP login username. A couple of notes about this: The original Virginconnect "login" field will have something like "user VC/" in it. Don't leave the word "user" in there. Replace the contents of the whole field with your ISP login username. Similarly, the "pap_user_name" panel will look exactly like the first field except that the word "name" will appear instead of "user". As before, don't leave the word "name" in there, but instead replace the contents of the entire field with your ISP login name. Easy enough. CLICK "APPLY" on the right and wait for it to save. Then click "APPLY" one more time to be safe. (I didn't click this twice the first time around and it didn't save my new settings. Your mileage may vary, but why not be better safe than sorry. Clicking it again just takes a second.)
  5. Next, you'll alter the "Dialup Settings" panel. There are four fields to modify here -- "modem.baudrate", "modem.local.dial.number", "", and "secretsfile.secret". Change the field labeled "modem.baudrate" from "28800" to "56000". Put your local ISP dialup phone number in "modem.local.dial.number" and "". Insert your ISP login password in the "secretsfile.secret" field. Click the "APPLY" button, and then one more time, to ensure that the settings were saved.
  6. The third panel to modify is the "Network Settings" panel. You'll change three fields in this panel -- "domainname", "primaryDNS", and "secondaryDNS". These are what your ISP calls the DNS Lookup fields; if you know what they are, put them in there. If you don't know what to put there, call your ISP tech support and tell them you are configuring a manual TCP/IP connection and that you simply need the DNS Lookup domain name and associated numeric address strings. I use Mindspring, for example, and I simply put "" in the "domainname" field, and then "" and "" in the "primaryDNS" and "secondaryDNS" fields. Note: I'm including this as an example for newbies. These obviously won't work unless you also use Mindspring as your ISP. Every ISP has different DNS settings. Finally, click "APPLY" again and then again to save this panel's new settings.
  7. The fourth and last panel to change is the "User Settings" section. You'll change six fields here. Put your ISP login username in these four fields: "displayname", "emailid", "local userid", and "userid". Put your ISP login password in these two fields: "local password" and "password". DON'T change the "global password" and "global userid" fields, even though they include original Virginconnect data. One more, click "APPLY" and then again to save this panel's new settings.
  8. Click "Exit" below, and you'll return to the login screen. Turn unit off. Unplug the unit. Plug it back in. Turn it on. You should now see your local ISP login username on the login screen. Sign on just like you did when you were using the VirginConnect service.
  9. Caveat: I've not yet figured out how to change the home page, so for now you'll continue to view the Virgin home page when you sign on.
  10. Congratulate yourself. You no longer depend upon Virginconnect to stay in business in order to continue enjoying your Webplayer. and all original content herein is © Copyright 2001 by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards. "" is a trademark protected under U.S. and international law. Infringement or attempted dilution of the intellectual property rights held by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards will be prosecuted to the fullest possible extent.