my apologies to anyone posting, emailing or PMing regarding this, or other mythtv/firewire related utils, that might have gone unanswered...
i no longer have a firewire capable STB and not a lot of free time these days to suss problems with new STBs from long-distance.
(new job and i'm now coding in iPhone app-land)
i'm happy to answer questions and hopefully point people in the right direction when i can, but further code changes or additions from this end are not very likely.
happy new year to the great ubuntu and mythbuntu communities!