• Alex said this one was a little too long for the main WTF board, but thought folks here might enjoy it.
    My friend's mom is not a computer savvy person, but she wanted to talk with her friends and relatives over e-mail.  So a couple of years ago, he bought her a little standalone machine called a Mailstation that basically has a small screen, keyboard, and modem that allows people to send and receive e-mail.  The company - CIDCO - was apparently acquired by Earthlink and the support for Mailstation was shipped over to India.  A few weeks ago my friend's mom began having problems with her Mailstation so he had to make several calls to the support in India to "reset" the Mailstation unit and configure it for her account.  None of the instructions they gave him worked.  So we turned to the internet to see what the hacker community had come up with and we hit PAYDIRT!  He was able to follow the instructions below to succesfully reconfigure his mom's Mailstation and she can now talk to Aunt June.  I think the steps (and sheer determination) the individual had to go through to reconfigure a Mailstation deserve a salute - a WTF!

    The Steps:
    OK - I have gotten a Mailstation 120 (Software Version V4.04E). I now have it
    sending and receiving email just fine - works great. I am typing step by
    step instructions below.
    First - you have to get an email provider. The provider must use a static DNS
    for dialup. JUNO, AOL, NETZERO do not - you can't use these.

    I found: TOTALUSA.NET http://www.totalusa.net.

    Their static DNS Numbers Are: (primary) and (secondary)

    They are $1.99 for the first 3 months, and $7.99 thereafer. (Much better than
    the earthlink price of $21.95 per month).

    So first you need to go to totalusa.net and sign up for an account.
    Please mention you were referred by prathfel@totalusa.net - I'll get a free month.

    When you sign up, you'll get:

    Username: THis is both your email username and your ISP username
    Password: This is both your email password and your ISP password
    Dialup Number: Be sure to go to the website map (bottom) click on your
    state and get the access number for where the box will be.

    Now you need to load the settings into the Mailstation.

    I am re-writing the instructions below because I had some trouble.

    I hold the mailstation sideways (screen facing left) and:

    1. Power up the unit using the wall adapter - don't put any batteries in.
    2. Push and continously hold "Function" and "D" keys.
    3. Take a push pin and put the "Reset" button (in a hole on the back of the unit)
    4. You should see some horizontal boxes on the screen lighting up
      I DIDN'T TELL YOU TO LET GO of "Function" and "D" yet did I?
    5. Next, the following menu comes up. ** MAKE SURE YOUR MENU MATCHES **

    Reset System Data
    No Clear
    Restore Default Account **Very Important
    Clean E-mail Data
    Clean Address Book Data
    Clear All Data

    1. OK - Now you can let go of "Function" and "D" keys
    2. Use the down arrow to go down one until

    Restore Default Account - is in the black box

    1. Push "Enter"
    2. The next steps #10 through #11 - You have to be quick. Do it exactly as written.
    3. Box comes up saying: Are you sure to clear?
      Yes - is currently in the black box.
      ** Don't Push Anything Yet **
    4. GET READY. You must set it up so you are ready to push "Enter" (not yet!), and
      also, unplug the power plug out of the back of the unit, all within about
      1/10th of a second.

    Yes, 1/10th of a second to do all this.

    I hold the unit in my lap with the screen facing me.
    I use my left hand to reach around the back of the unit, grab the
    power plug and get ready to unplug.
    I use my right hand to get ready to hit the "Enter" key.



    Don't wait for the screen to change, don't count to "1" do it in 1/10th
    of a second.

    1. Now plug the power plug back in.

    2. The scrolling horizontal boxes should "do their thing"

    3. Then this menu should appear (** It's different from the last one)

    Reset System Data
    No Clear - This one is in the black box
    Clear Email Data
    Clear Address Book Data
    Clear All Data

    1. With the black box on "No Clear", push "Enter"

    2. Now a new menu comes up saying:

    Please create a new user account.
    OK - OK is in a black box

    1. Go ahead and push "Enter"

    2. A new menu: User Setting comes up.

    3. Fill out the menu with all the info (I write the instructions for this below).


    ** Important - if you choose another service provider - you may need
    to use different values.

    User Name: YOUR WRITTEN NAME This is the name which will appear in
    the email header.

    Dial-Up No: Put the dialup telephone number here (if local dont use the area code).

    (My Dialup number is 844-2008, so I enter here: 844-2008)

    Reply-To: username@totalusa.net This is the user name you got when
    you signed up.

    E-Mail Address: username@totalusa.net Again - user name from signup
    (same as Reply-To)

    E-Mail Password: password the password you got when you signed up

    POP3 Server: mail.totalusa.net
    SMTP Server: mail.totalusa.net
    ISP Account: username@totalusa.net The ISP Account name is the same as the
    email account name.
    (Same as Reply-To and E-Mail Address)
    ISP Password: password The ISP password is the same as the
    email password.
    (Same as E-Mail Password)
    Primary DNS:


    1. At the bottom, it says (in a black box) - Save.
      Push the button below the black box to save.

    OK - If you entered everything right when you push:

    Get Mail

    You will get your email.

    If you don't get an error message - everything is OK.


    TOTALUSA does not send you an introduction email. So send yourself an email
    to test the receive.

    Now send an email from the mailstation to your self to test the sending function.


  • Uhm, thats just wierd. 🙂

    If he bruteforced that hack he needs to get a life.

  • <FONT face="Courier New" size=2>that's completely insane.  what would cutting the power out like that do exactly?  cause a short somehow?  that's weird.</FONT>

  • If you cut the power halfway through the reset then the stored
    configuration will be invalid and the unit will presumably ignore it
    and let you start configuration from scratch. It's still a bit weird
    that it doesn't just use the default configuration in that case though.

  • @Ben Hutchings said:

    If you cut the power halfway through the reset then the stored
    configuration will be invalid and the unit will presumably ignore it
    and let you start configuration from scratch. It's still a bit weird
    that it doesn't just use the default configuration in that case though.

    It's really just a more forgiving variant of your power going out in
    the middle of operation and your OS refusing to start because some
    configs were truncated or corrupted. Ah, the sweet smell of fried
    system 7 and windows 95 in the morning.

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