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Thread: nzTiVo effort and state

  1. #1
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    nzTiVo effort and state

    After looking through some of the recent forum posts, it seems timely to reiterate that the nzTiVo team is a volunteer group and makes no assurance as to the availability of any form of operating data.

    I had been involved with the team for a while but have moved on from the group, as have a few of the original founding members before me. So, there in lines a problem for the future of the effort. It needs new input or it will simply fail.

    There are discussions a foot as to setting an end-of-life for the current setup within the current members of the nzTiVo team.

    The team has asked on many occasions for input from the community to assist in building a community maintainable system via a web interface over the top of the current database. But nothing much has come of this, it would have been an important move to allow the community to self maintain and would have likely resulted in a longer lifespan.

    I'd personally like to say thanks to the oztivo effort for supplying the data for satellite fed channels common between the two countries, and to those who spent their time uploading the data that we used. Obviously, a number of thier guide uploading members have recently moved on from their community as well and we are seeing that impact here in NZ.

    As always if there are people who are willing to contribute, make yourselves known to the team by posting available skills and experience levels as well as how much time you have.
    Last edited by DJC; 09-05-2009 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #2
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    I've offered before but I know I'm limited and may need some coaching. I've acted as the NZ contact point for an IT dept. from Aus and provided good instruction was given, I was able to render good assistance. I've made this offer previously, in July and September 08 and I'm aware that both David Stott and Schumi have made similar comments or offers.

    My offer still stands. I'm very appreciative of the efforts that the volunteers must put in and salute them for their commitment.

    I'd make the comment though, that the current problem has occurred before and just seemed to get fixed "automagically". No explanation from anyone, hence no-one can offer either gratitude or alternatively learn from it. Then, when fixed, it comes back to the old "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and things run on happily until the next break in transmission, so to speak. We seem to have a situation where people post that there's a problem and others chime in, in good faith, to confirm that it's widespread, only to effectively have their ears pinned back.

    I suspect the request for help may be fishing for someone with a lot more knowledge than I possess but if it's php and things like that, I'd be prepared to read "For Dummies" book on it if that would help.

    I'm not looking to upset anyone, just stating what I see (or "perceive") from the outside.

    If I can help, I'm only a few keystrokes away..

  3. #3
    well, i've been a perl/C++/java programmer for ~10yrs, worked in IT for longer and own a tivo series 1. i have written and maintained data feeds, web scraping technology for a living in nz and the uk.

    i can see the NZ slices being downloaded from here:
    http://210.48.107.133:8000/

    and have also looked at this website for show data:
    http://orac.caffeine.co.nz/shows/index.php

    if you need volunteers, just let me know. mike

  4. #4
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    Auckland
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    Smile

    I also have enjoyed the abilities and input of the dwindling original crew and would love to help maintain the effort, my talents are; quick learner and application to the task

    Series 1 plus Dreambox
    Series 3 TiVo HD x 2

  5. #5
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    Northcote, North Shore
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    I think Chieftain has hit the nail on the head - there are many of us out there who are willing to contribute if they only knew what to do and how. It's all nice and well to say "we need more people to enter guide data", but what is really needed are some New Zealand specific instructions what is required and when to do it. I am willing to help but I don't have the time to sift through 200 channels of program data to find a small gap that I can populate, and I am sure others feel the same. If there was a simple report method that would tell me "TV3 has a data gap on X day from A to B" then at least I could concentrate my efforts. Maybe there is, but if so, where? I also don't have the time to go through a ton of messages on the forum to find a specific issue I might be able to fix.
    What I think contributes is the fact that the community doesn't really know who the champions in the system are, or how to communicate to them. The NZ site is down "for Maintenance" whatever that means, so there is no real contact to the other team members possible aside from the forum, which again isn't the best way of communication. Why is the site down? I'm sure there is a perfectly good explanation, I just haven't found it yet. We need someone who can lead and tell us where the problems are, then I am sure we will find people who are able and willing to fix them.
    Last edited by Schumi; 09-05-2009 at 07:24 AM.

  6. #6
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    Auckland, NZ
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    We are not going to get into the discussion of why the guide creation process is not public knowledge there are reasons for this and I'm sure you appreciate why.
    If I got a C & D for a domain I'm sure they know about our NZ emu service and can quite easily issue one for that, then it is all over no warnings.

    The simple fact is previously we required 1 or 2 people with programming skills and web coding skills i.e. perl, java etc. Founding members such as myself were around to keep things ticking along. However it has come to a situation where we now we require people in a few areas. Obviously we have plenty of volunteers who can update and fill gaps in guide data however we were unable to use that until the system to do it is in place.
    We require someone to develop and create the web system to allow this, then you can volunteer to enter guide data and fill gaps.

    As discussed about the nztivo site.
    We require someone willing to develop the nzTivo site, maintain it and update it, no one did bite at this offer,
    I can make a login for someone who is willing to do this. First of all it requires a update to the latest release of wikimedia. Or if you have better ideas and want the domain pointed to your nztivo creation I can facilitate that too.

    Continue posting what your skills and what you would like to contribute too. If we don't get the required volunteers for this round of asking then the system will be placed in EOL mode for the next year.
    Last edited by jaidev; 09-05-2009 at 10:10 AM.
    TiVo Series 1 Thompson PVR10UK Unit, Dual 250Gb, 512Mb Cachecard, NZ Emulator Port 8000
    TiVo Series 1 Sony SVR2000 unit, Dual 300Gb, 512Mb Cachecard, Philips FTA Tuner, NZ Emulator Port 80
    TiVo Series 1 Philips unit, Dual 160Gb, Turbonet, FTA Tuner, Private Emulator
    TiVo Series 1 Philips unit, 120Gb, Turbonet, Dev Emulator, Development Unit...
    DTiVo Series 1 Philips DSR6000 unit, 120Gb, Turbonet, Work in progress...

  7. #7
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    I've noted posts here (and on the other thread) wanting to know who, what, why and seeking explanations ...

    A couple of things need to be made clear from prior exposure to decentralised structures like this:-

    1. The nzTiVo setup is not a commercial service ... far from it ... never intended to be ... its a volunteer best endeavors setup which may or may not work, but has worked pretty well in the past. But of course as various people move on numbers need to be kept up, otherwise EOL will come sooner rather than a planned date.

    If you don't agree with that SLA, ie there is not a service level agreement - you still have the simple alternative to set up your own system and to get it to work the way you need, this is what the original team did to evolve from the old VCR manual record and then loadguide methods.

    2. If members of the nzTiVo team choose not disclose their details or level of contribution, then that is really their decision. After all, they are volunteering their time to help others and are not accountable for doing so or not doing so, we just hope they do.

    This is the nature of a loosely knit group of volunteers. Personally, I'm just thankful for the contributions that many have made in the past - its been a great service while it lasted.
    Last edited by DJC; 09-05-2009 at 03:09 PM.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    Northcote, North Shore
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    Hi guys,
    I thought I better make it clear that it is my and presumably everyone elses view that you have done fantastic work to keep this going for as long as it has. From day one when I imported my TIVO from the US I have always viewed this as a volunteer service with a no-guarantees-attached policy. I have often pondered where to help, but since I have no experience in java programming and have done little perl scripting my assistance is probably only minimal; I could update an html page with an FAQ if that skill was required. I have no problem if the guide creation process is not published or members don't want to reveal some of their personal "tricks", but if that's the case where is the rest supposed to pick up? No one is asking for the inner workings of it all, but if we are supposed to contribute we need to know what needs doing. I don't believe you will get like for like replacements for the team members who have moved on. The way I see it the jobs that need to be done are not bite size, so some just shy away because they are overwhelmed, which is why they need to be made small and overseeable so when someone can't do it any longer a replacement is easily found. Someone who knows the systems needs to take the lead. If this isn't possible then maybe it is best to say thanks for the good time and move on.

  9. #9
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    Wellington
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    Well I have no skills that will help but understand if it's time for the project to end it was never going to last for ever. I guess now there are products on the market like MySky, MyFreeview and soon MyTiVo (I really hate that naming convention we seem to have fallen into in NZ) it could get nasty. Maybe it's time to look at something with HD and more features than the series 1 TiVo. Thanks to everyone that has helped me out over the years.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Tairua, NZ
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    While I'm also very thankful for what we have received over the last several years, I'm not at all keen to give up the ghost on the current system sooner rather than later.

    Having experimented with other systems including Topfield's so-called top-of-the-line PVR (simply awful) and MySky (good but not up to TiVo), I am still of the opinion that TiVo is the gold standard in PVRs. But as someone who lives in the boonies and cannot get a terrestrial signal at all, let alone a high def one, I am constrained to Satellite based TV for the foreseeable future (even the internet is likely to be many years away as my 1.3Mb download speed is unlikely to be upgradeable for quite a while). That means Sky or Freeview and I refuse to pay Sky's extortionate monthly fees. Which means Freeview, which means no high-def.

    Will the new NZ TiVo allow for SD or does it assume that everyone can get HD? And I assume my two TiVos become junk at the point that we lose our wonderful free guide? The recent outage reminded me of how awful it is to have programs with date/time stamps instead of names.

    All in all I'm very keen for current service to continue as long as possible and am keen to help out in anyway I can, as I know others are. But I have no programming skills that seem to be required (unless Cobol is of use :-). I have made a donation to OzTivo in the past, but guess that doesn't help out the NZ operation.

    I think I now understand the commercial reasons for the lack of replies on the specifics of how the magic happens, and just hope that someone with the appropriate technical abilities will post sooner or later to help out the dwindling band of magicians.

    David
    TiVo Series 1 Philips unit, 750Gb, Turbonet, Topfield Freeview satellite Tuner
    TiVo Series 1 Philips unit, 120Gb, Wireless, CoShip Freeview satellite tuner

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