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Data Direct "service"

 

 

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bjm at lvcm

Apr 3, 2007, 11:00 AM

Post #1 of 68 (7614 views)
Permalink
Data Direct "service"

FYI

DataDirect has recently introduced a bug where updates to
the DataDirect are not handled correctly causing episodes
to have generic descriptions when delivered through the
DataDirect service whereas the descriptions are available
through tvlistings.com . Although several users have posted
specific issues to the forums at labs.zap2it.com, no one
from TMS has posted any messages acknowledging the issue.

One post from an uninformed user claimed that that the issue
was that of myth marking generic showings as repeats and was due
to a "*BUG*" [sic] in MythTV and we should be thankful for what
we get from "Tribune". I posted a response with the following
points:

- The poster's information was backwards.

- MythTV records generic episodes by default. The myth user
reporting repeats was using the 'new episodes only' feature.

- This was not the issue. tvlistings.com is reporting the
correct episode information and the bug was 100% within the
DD service at TMS.

- DD was not provided merely as a favor to it's users but was
created in response excessive traffic from scrapers like XMLTV.

- If description information is not available from DD but is
from tvlistings.com this will surely lead to people using
scrapers which would increase tvlistings.com traffic ten fold
then one-hundred fold or more.

- Therefore it is in everyones best interest that TMS take this
issue seriously.

- I reiterated a request that a TMS employee acknowledge this
issue, report the status and set expectations for a resolution.

Though there appear to be few if any posts from tms* usernames
in recent months, this drew a response within minutes:

"You have been banned from this forum. Please contact the
webmaster or board administrator for more information."

-- bjm

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fryfrog at gmail

Apr 3, 2007, 11:09 AM

Post #2 of 68 (7520 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

This must have been pretty recent, right?

I was just noticing today that the descriptions of shows was very...
short and descriptive and that there were no episode titles. I
thought it was something I did :/

Congrats on being banned :p

On 4/3/07, Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm> wrote:
> FYI
>
> DataDirect has recently introduced a bug where updates to
> the DataDirect are not handled correctly causing episodes
> to have generic descriptions when delivered through the
> DataDirect service whereas the descriptions are available
> through tvlistings.com . Although several users have posted
> specific issues to the forums at labs.zap2it.com, no one
> from TMS has posted any messages acknowledging the issue.
>
> One post from an uninformed user claimed that that the issue
> was that of myth marking generic showings as repeats and was due
> to a "*BUG*" [sic] in MythTV and we should be thankful for what
> we get from "Tribune". I posted a response with the following
> points:
>
> - The poster's information was backwards.
>
> - MythTV records generic episodes by default. The myth user
> reporting repeats was using the 'new episodes only' feature.
>
> - This was not the issue. tvlistings.com is reporting the
> correct episode information and the bug was 100% within the
> DD service at TMS.
>
> - DD was not provided merely as a favor to it's users but was
> created in response excessive traffic from scrapers like XMLTV.
>
> - If description information is not available from DD but is
> from tvlistings.com this will surely lead to people using
> scrapers which would increase tvlistings.com traffic ten fold
> then one-hundred fold or more.
>
> - Therefore it is in everyones best interest that TMS take this
> issue seriously.
>
> - I reiterated a request that a TMS employee acknowledge this
> issue, report the status and set expectations for a resolution.
>
> Though there appear to be few if any posts from tms* usernames
> in recent months, this drew a response within minutes:
>
> "You have been banned from this forum. Please contact the
> webmaster or board administrator for more information."
>
> -- bjm
>
> _______________________________________________
> mythtv-users mailing list
> mythtv-users [at] mythtv
> http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users
>


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Rich.West at wesmo

Apr 3, 2007, 11:09 AM

Post #3 of 68 (7499 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Bruce Markey wrote:
> FYI
>
> DataDirect has recently introduced a bug where updates to
> the DataDirect are not handled correctly causing episodes
> to have generic descriptions when delivered through the
> DataDirect service whereas the descriptions are available
> through tvlistings.com . Although several users have posted
> specific issues to the forums at labs.zap2it.com, no one
> from TMS has posted any messages acknowledging the issue.
>
> <..snip..>
> Though there appear to be few if any posts from tms* usernames
> in recent months, this drew a response within minutes:
>
> "You have been banned from this forum. Please contact the
> webmaster or board administrator for more information."

Ouch! I'm pretty surprised their reaction was such a 'knee-jerk'
reaction rather than a direct email or PM to your account with a warning
or something...

I stumbled on to the same problem that you posted about. My wife
records "The Amazing Race", and I had to download the last two from
tvtorrents.com because MythTV had flagged them as repeats and didn't
record them.

After digging, I discovered that the title and description for the past
few episodes had been generic, and, since she had set "Record New Only"
and "Match on title and description", MythTV did what it was supposed to
do: it flagged them as repeats since it matched.

I subsequently changed to to just record them all, but that is really
just a work-around (she doesn't want them all, I don't want the tuner
tied up recording stuff she doesn't want, she doesn't age them out, and
she doesn't want to manage aging out ones that she has already seen),
but I do have to agree with you. If the data integrity from DataDirect
gets compromised, people will start looking for alternative solutions
that provide better accuracy.

-Rich
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bjm at lvcm

Apr 3, 2007, 11:30 AM

Post #4 of 68 (7497 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Donald Webster wrote:
> This must have been pretty recent, right?

It seems as if this effects showing after April 1st so the
discrepancies had been in the future over the past couple
weeks but are now in the present.

> Congrats on being banned :p

It doesn't appear to be much of an accomplishment. It seems
you just need to report facts that are unfavorable to them.
Disparaging misinformation about MythTV seems to be okay with
them though and they removed my clarification.

The problem is that I'm not allowed to read their forums either
to see if they do post an explanation of the bug. In fairness
to them I need to contact them to see if the response was due
to disagreeing with another poster, seeing the mention of
scrapers as a threat (I meant to point this out as the reality
of the situation and not that I was encouraging this), the 'tone'
that they perceived or if they just don't allow unfavorable
comments.

-- bjm
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bjm at lvcm

Apr 3, 2007, 11:34 AM

Post #5 of 68 (7516 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Rich West wrote:
...
> I subsequently changed to to just record them all, but that is really
> just a work-around (she doesn't want them all, I don't want the tuner
> tied up recording stuff she doesn't want, she doesn't age them out, and
> she doesn't want to manage aging out ones that she has already seen),

I posted some suggestions last night but hadn't paid attention
to the fact that it was the dev list. Here is that same info
for mythtv-users.


Some general advice that may be useful while TMS is sending
generic descriptions.

MythTV has a feature for making assumptions when the descriptions
are generic or wrong but the user is aware of a reliable pattern.
The are the Find* types FindDaily and FindWeekly. This will not
help in all circumstances but may be useful if only the newest
episode is repeated throughout the week (or day).

For example "Bullrun" on Spike is shown Tue at 10 then repeated
a couple times. However, As of tomorrow these are all generic
(programid SH8990990000) rather than episodes 4 and 5. By selecting
a 10PM Tue showing and choosing "Record one showing of this title
every week", the scheduler will assume that I am saying that
each showing between this Tue at 10 and next Tue by 9:59 are
all the same episode and the first available should be recorded.
I have other shows at 10 so both weeks it chooses the 11pm showing
instead. This would have been correct for any of the previous
three weeks so I feel confident that this will work correctly:

--- print list start ---
Title - Subtitle Chan ChID Day Start End C I T N Pri
Bullrun 29 1029 03 22:00-23:00 0 0 w L -5/0
Bullrun 29 1029 03 23:00-00:00 1 1 w 1 -5/0
Bullrun 29 1029 07 11:00-12:00 0 0 w E -5/0
Bullrun 29 1029 10 22:00-23:00 0 0 w L -5/0
Bullrun 29 1029 12 23:00-00:00 2 3 w 2 -5/0
Bullrun 29 1029 14 11:00-12:00 0 0 w E -5/0

This may work for some. Others may need a custom rule to limit
the station(s) or day(s) to avoid other showings that are expected
to be old repeats. Still others may be a mess but you may want
to temporariy change the type to "Record in this timeslot every
week" so that shows where you expect new episodes to appear in
their normal time slot would record that showing only and not all
of the other generic repeats.

Once episode info is available again, you can change the rule
type back to All, Channel, or whatever you had been using in
the past.

Hope this helps,

-- bjm




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fryfrog at gmail

Apr 3, 2007, 11:36 AM

Post #6 of 68 (7506 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Do you remember anything about the thread you posted in? I'd like to
find it, but the few threads I could find that discussed the issue
didn't sound anything like what you mentioned. Maybe they nuked the
whole thread? Got a link? Or maybe just the title of the thread or
something else?

On 4/3/07, Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm> wrote:
> Donald Webster wrote:
> > This must have been pretty recent, right?
>
> It seems as if this effects showing after April 1st so the
> discrepancies had been in the future over the past couple
> weeks but are now in the present.
>
> > Congrats on being banned :p
>
> It doesn't appear to be much of an accomplishment. It seems
> you just need to report facts that are unfavorable to them.
> Disparaging misinformation about MythTV seems to be okay with
> them though and they removed my clarification.
>
> The problem is that I'm not allowed to read their forums either
> to see if they do post an explanation of the bug. In fairness
> to them I need to contact them to see if the response was due
> to disagreeing with another poster, seeing the mention of
> scrapers as a threat (I meant to point this out as the reality
> of the situation and not that I was encouraging this), the 'tone'
> that they perceived or if they just don't allow unfavorable
> comments.
>
> -- bjm
> _______________________________________________
> mythtv-users mailing list
> mythtv-users [at] mythtv
> http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users
>


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bjm at lvcm

Apr 3, 2007, 11:43 AM

Post #7 of 68 (7505 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Donald Webster wrote:
> Do you remember anything about the thread you posted in? I'd like to
> find it, but the few threads I could find that discussed the issue
> didn't sound anything like what you mentioned. Maybe they nuked the
> whole thread? Got a link? Or maybe just the title of the thread or
> something else?

It's in "User Questions, Problems, and Comments". I believe
it was started yesterday and may have "generic" in the title
but I'm not allowed to go look ;-).

There is a longer thread in "Schedule Discrepancies" but this
has no comment from TMS either and only a second hand assurance
from a user that they are aware of the problem.

-- bjm
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david at shay

Apr 3, 2007, 11:51 AM

Post #8 of 68 (7523 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

On 4/3/07, Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm> wrote:
>
> Donald Webster wrote:
> > Do you remember anything about the thread you posted in? I'd like to
> > find it, but the few threads I could find that discussed the issue
> > didn't sound anything like what you mentioned. Maybe they nuked the
> > whole thread? Got a link? Or maybe just the title of the thread or
> > something else?
>
> It's in "User Questions, Problems, and Comments". I believe
> it was started yesterday and may have "generic" in the title
> but I'm not allowed to go look ;-).



Your comments are gone now.


tom at redpepperracing

Apr 3, 2007, 11:54 AM

Post #9 of 68 (7503 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

David Shay wrote:
>
>
> On 4/3/07, *Bruce Markey* <bjm [at] lvcm <mailto:bjm [at] lvcm>> wrote:
>
> Donald Webster wrote:
> > Do you remember anything about the thread you posted in? I'd
> like to
> > find it, but the few threads I could find that discussed the issue
> > didn't sound anything like what you mentioned. Maybe they nuked the
> > whole thread? Got a link? Or maybe just the title of the
> thread or
> > something else?
>
> It's in "User Questions, Problems, and Comments". I believe
> it was started yesterday and may have "generic" in the title
> but I'm not allowed to go look ;-).
>
>
>
> Your comments are gone now.

Confirmed. The last post is from Yeechang Lee. I was going to add a
comment, but my listings seem to be ok...

Tom

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spectro at gmail

Apr 3, 2007, 12:44 PM

Post #10 of 68 (7514 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

I would like to know if there are any plans to have an interface to edit
programming, like we know datadirect is outdated and we can correct it in a
way is not going to get overwritten by the next mythfilldatabase run. This
is what I am thinking:

- Having a "xmltv source" field in the program table and some easy interface
to modify programming entries. these will have a "manual" value in there
that mythfilldatabase will not overwrite (unless a flag is passed to it)
- Having the option to share "corrections" and manual entries between mythtv
users, either through a central server or some sort of distributed network.
This should have a provision to prevent sharing information from datadirect.

Is anything like this already in the works?


david at shay

Apr 3, 2007, 1:22 PM

Post #11 of 68 (7503 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

FYI, an official TMS person "labsadmin" has now admitted that they are aware
of the problem and are working to fix it.


bjm at lvcm

Apr 3, 2007, 3:12 PM

Post #12 of 68 (7498 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

David Shay wrote:
> FYI, an official TMS person "labsadmin" has now admitted that they are
> aware of the problem and are working to fix it.

Could someone please post that message here verbatim?

-- bjm

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david at shay

Apr 3, 2007, 3:23 PM

Post #13 of 68 (7502 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

On 4/3/07, Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm> wrote:
>
> David Shay wrote:
> > FYI, an official TMS person "labsadmin" has now admitted that they are
> > aware of the problem and are working to fix it.
>
> Could someone please post that message here verbatim?
>

"We are aware of this and are working to fix it" . That was all the message
from "labsadmin" said.

This was in the same thread that you were locked out of, pretty much in
response to someone who asked if anyone from DataDirect was monitoring the
thread, and who pointed out this wasn't a specific myth problem, and gave an
example of the Jay Leno show this week. The thread has also since been
locked.


mythtv at guilfoos

Apr 3, 2007, 3:45 PM

Post #14 of 68 (7497 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

David Shay wrote:
> "We are aware of this and are working to fix it" . That was all the
> message from "labsadmin" said.

There was a guide bug with TiVo earlier this year, and now that I've
finally got a stable, reliable MythTV setup (and my
slow-to-accept-change wife finally warming to it), and BAM - guide data bug.

Grr. This bug is a real problem for me. The whole point of a DVR is
that I don't have to care about when something is on and if it's a new
episode or not. What a pain.

> This was in the same thread that you were locked out of, pretty much in
> response to someone who asked if anyone from DataDirect was monitoring
> the thread, and who pointed out this wasn't a specific myth problem, and
> gave an example of the Jay Leno show this week. The thread has also
> since been locked.

I love it. Nothing quite like pissing off the customer by refusing to
let him/her vent. Admit a problem, inform that you are trying to fix
it, and allow users to blow off a little steam. Brownshirting it and
locking critical threads will just push customers towards critical mass
more quickly.
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f-myth-users at media

Apr 3, 2007, 3:49 PM

Post #15 of 68 (7500 views)
Permalink
Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

> Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 18:23:43 -0400
> From: "David Shay" <david [at] shay>

> On 4/3/07, Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm> wrote:
> >
> > David Shay wrote:
> > > FYI, an official TMS person "labsadmin" has now admitted that they are
> > > aware of the problem and are working to fix it.
> >
> > Could someone please post that message here verbatim?

> "We are aware of this and are working to fix it" . That was all the message
> from "labsadmin" said.

> This was in the same thread that you were locked out of, pretty much in
> response to someone who asked if anyone from DataDirect was monitoring the
> thread, and who pointed out this wasn't a specific myth problem, and gave an
> example of the Jay Leno show this week. The thread has also since been
> locked.

Hmm. And one entitled "Incredible shrinking db"
(http://bb.labs.zap2it.com/viewtopic.php?t=1206)
vanished between the time I saw it in the listing
and when I tried to click on it ("The topic or post
you requested does not exist"). It's only a guess,
but I'm guessing it was on this topic.

Truly remarkable how suddenly proactive the monitoring
of the forum is, compared to how bug reports have languished
without so much as an acknowledgment for months before now!

"labsadmin" has also posted the very same message (quoting the
third party claiming "being looked at") at the bottom of the thread
in Discrepancies (http://bb.labs.zap2it.com/viewtopic.php?t=1202)
---and locked that thread as well.
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ylee at pobox

Apr 3, 2007, 3:56 PM

Post #16 of 68 (7513 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm> says:
> One post from an uninformed user claimed that that the issue
> was that of myth marking generic showings as repeats and was due
> to a "*BUG*" [sic] in MythTV and we should be thankful for what
> we get from "Tribune". I posted a response with the following
> points:

[...]

> - DD was not provided merely as a favor to it's users but was
> created in response excessive traffic from scrapers like XMLTV.
>
> - If description information is not available from DD but is
> from tvlistings.com this will surely lead to people using
> scrapers which would increase tvlistings.com traffic ten fold
> then one-hundred fold or more.
>
> - Therefore it is in everyones best interest that TMS take this
> issue seriously.

Bruce, I hate to say it but the first reaction I had upon reading the
above (not to mention your choice of subject line) was that you were
issuing a threat of the DataDirect servers melting down if the
data-accuracy issue isn't fixed pronto. "Not I," you will surely
say. "I never said *I'd* do it!" That's what's called
passive-aggressive threatening. (Besides, would you yourself really
hold off on using a screen scraper and therefore contributing, even if
only fractionally so, to the 10-100X traffic jump?)

The uninformed user was just that, uninformed and not affiliated with
Tribune Media Services user. There was no reason to, in addition to
correcting his mistaken impression of the methods by which MythTV
select which programs to record (methods that are certainly far, far
superior to the baling wire-and-masking-tape recording methods that
non-MythTV DataDirect users use), also say anything like the above, at
least in quite such a way.

I agree that a fix of the data really is best for all
parties. However, I know better than to make any kind of ultimatum,
however veiled it may be, because *Tribune Media Services isn't
obligated to do anything*. The company is doing us a huge favor, and
would be doing so even if we had to fill our surveys every three days
instead of every three months. That's not to say that there isn't a
certain amount of quid pro quo occurring here--there is--but in the
net tally of who is benefiting more, us or TMS, I know how the
arithmetic works out.

Again, there is no moral or legal obligation on TMS's part to not pull
all XML access to the data immediately should it choose to do so. Of
course, then there's nothing that prevents us from returning to the
screenscraping days of yesteryore. But guess what? *TMS knows this
very well*, and its employees don't need your or anyone else lecturing
them about it. If you don't like it, they will surely be happy to
refund you the money you've forked over to TMS for the data feed. (Any
resemblance to the first sentence of the sixth paragraph of the GPL is
purely intentional.)

For the record, here's I responded to the same post by the ignoramus
poster, before I read your message here (I never saw your actual
response on the forum itself):

MythTV assumes--and I think rightly so--that a generic episode for a
TV show that has a recording rule is one that could be one the viewer
wants to watch. This behavior can be overridden, if desired, but
better safe than sorry; better that an episode of that big new TV show
be recorded without a description than not be recorded at all.

And, FYI, later in the thread, from one 'labadmin':

We are aware of this and are working to fix it.

I wish the TMS luck and godspeed in getting the issue fixed soon.

--
Yeechang Lee <ylee [at] pobox> | +1 650 776 7763 | San Francisco CA US
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f-myth-users at media

Apr 3, 2007, 4:21 PM

Post #17 of 68 (7498 views)
Permalink
Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

> Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2007 11:43:32 -0700
> From: Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm>

> It's in "User Questions, Problems, and Comments". I believe
> it was started yesterday and may have "generic" in the title
> but I'm not allowed to go look ;-).

I presume that there's nothing preventing you from creating a
brand-new login at the forum and coming right back in, using a
disposable Yahoo/Hotmail/Gmail address if required to do a two-step
confirmation. If there is, let me know and I'll do the requisite
throwaway email thing here and hand you a username and password,
but I assume they don't deliberately block Yahoo users or whatever.
(Unless the block is not per-username but per-IP and you can't easily
use a different IP; I have no idea.)

More to the point, does getting banned interrupt your ability to
fetch data from your DD login? I would hope that the two are in
fact completely separate, but now might be a good time to run
mythfilldatabase and find out... :/
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gaberubin at gmail

Apr 3, 2007, 4:38 PM

Post #18 of 68 (7491 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

On 4/3/07, f-myth-users [at] media <f-myth-users [at] media> wrote:


> More to the point, does getting banned interrupt your ability to
> fetch data from your DD login? I would hope that the two are in
> fact completely separate, but now might be a good time to run
> mythfilldatabase and find out... :/

more to the point, is there any reason to antagonize the directdata
service? I realize this is a frustrating issue, leading to
duplicitous recordings, wasted tuner usage, and conflicts, but if TMS
decides that the myth-community is threatening them (whether a correct
analysis or not), it can shut down the directdata service completely,
and perhaps take technological means to end (or at least make
prohibitively difficult, time consuming, and frustrating) screen
scraping. Where does that leave N. America users? With a fine piece
of hardware that is incapable of providing ANY listings, much less
listings with accurate, non-generic program descriptions.

Really, this is a service that we do not pay money for and provides
key functionality for our mythboxes. While it is not perfect, TMS has
acknowledged the problem and is working to resolve the issue. I
personally will take that, and hope that TMS does not decide to shut
the door on us. We are TMS customers in the vaguest sense of the
word; TMS owes us nothing, and has really asked for nothing in return
(subscription just requires a renewal now, not even survey questions).
So again, why is it we would antagonize a company that provides
critical infrastructure to myth?
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myth at dermanouelian

Apr 3, 2007, 4:46 PM

Post #19 of 68 (7501 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

On Apr 3, 2007, at 4:38 PM, Gabe Rubin wrote:

> Really, this is a service that we do not pay money for and provides
> key functionality for our mythboxes. While it is not perfect, TMS has
> acknowledged the problem and is working to resolve the issue. I
> personally will take that, and hope that TMS does not decide to shut
> the door on us. We are TMS customers in the vaguest sense of the
> word; TMS owes us nothing, and has really asked for nothing in return
> (subscription just requires a renewal now, not even survey questions).
> So again, why is it we would antagonize a company that provides
> critical infrastructure to myth?

I hate to prolong this, but the message that got him banned was in
fact trying to get a response of "We know it's a problem and are
working on it." Until that point, no one from TMS made any comment. I
really don't think that message would have been posted if they
announced in response to the "bug in myth" post that the problem is
actually with the DataDirect service and will be resolved as soon as
they can.

Oh, and if TMS decides to scrap DirectData then we'll just start
screen scraping and bringing down their web servers again. DirectData
is a compromise that helps BOTH MythTV users AND TMS. They know they
can't stop us from scraping their data, so they've packaged it in a
low-bandwidth format and even tell us when it's convenient for us to
grab this data. We comply. They *do* benefit from providing this
service as much as we benefit from it. It's mutually agreeable.
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f-myth-users at media

Apr 3, 2007, 4:49 PM

Post #20 of 68 (7494 views)
Permalink
Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

> Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 16:38:46 -0700
> From: "Gabe Rubin" <gaberubin [at] gmail>

> On 4/3/07, f-myth-users [at] media <f-myth-users [at] media> wrote:

> > More to the point, does getting banned interrupt your ability to
> > fetch data from your DD login? I would hope that the two are in
> > fact completely separate, but now might be a good time to run
> > mythfilldatabase and find out... :/

> more to the point, is there any reason to antagonize the directdata
> service?

I hope that no one here is planning on doing that, and that Bruce, if
he gets himself un-banned or arrives via another account, will read
but will be cautious in what he posts. But it would also suck if he
discovered a week or so from now that he didn't have any listings
data at all...

[.I'm also guessing that the reason these threads are getting locked is
so the DD people can devote their time to tracking down the bug,
rather than answering the same question dozens of times, or trying to
keep order on forums grown unruly. I'm also guessing that -saying-
that's why they're being locked, as part of locking the thread, might
be (or have been) a good idea, though it's really not my place to judge.]
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gaberubin at gmail

Apr 3, 2007, 5:17 PM

Post #21 of 68 (7515 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

On 4/3/07, Brad DerManouelian <myth [at] dermanouelian> wrote:

>
> Oh, and if TMS decides to scrap DirectData then we'll just start
> screen scraping and bringing down their web servers again. DirectData
> is a compromise that helps BOTH MythTV users AND TMS. They know they
> can't stop us from scraping their data, so they've packaged it in a
> low-bandwidth format and even tell us when it's convenient for us to
> grab this data. We comply. They *do* benefit from providing this
> service as much as we benefit from it. It's mutually agreeable.


I probably should not prolong it either, but TMS can use various
means, such as changing the layout of the data, forced timeouts, or
other things that I am not smart enough to think to either completely
prevent screenscraping or make it difficult enough (by requiring
creating new screen scrapers and having users constantly monitor for
new ones and downloading them). I do believe this is an arms race
that we could win, but is it one we even want to engage in? It likely
will cause intermittent gaps in our listings, which as I said is a
whole lot worse than what we have now.

That said, do I think it is ridiculous that TMS is banning users who
make posts such as what is described here? Perhaps so, but I just
don't want to bite the hand that feeds me (and that seems to be what
the quid pro quo is in your view, TMS gives us food for free --
listings in a convenient format -- and we don't bite TMS -- hammer its
servers via screenscraping).
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bjm at lvcm

Apr 3, 2007, 5:21 PM

Post #22 of 68 (7515 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Yeechang Lee wrote:
> Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm> says:
>> One post from an uninformed user claimed that that the issue
>> was that of myth marking generic showings as repeats and was due
>> to a "*BUG*" [sic] in MythTV and we should be thankful for what
>> we get from "Tribune". I posted a response with the following
>> points:
>
> [...]
>
>> - DD was not provided merely as a favor to it's users but was
>> created in response excessive traffic from scrapers like XMLTV.
>>
>> - If description information is not available from DD but is
>> from tvlistings.com this will surely lead to people using
>> scrapers which would increase tvlistings.com traffic ten fold
>> then one-hundred fold or more.
>>
>> - Therefore it is in everyones best interest that TMS take this
>> issue seriously.
>
> Bruce, I hate to say it but the first reaction I had upon reading the
> above (not to mention your choice of subject line) was that you were
> issuing a threat of the DataDirect servers melting down if the
> data-accuracy issue isn't fixed pronto. "Not I," you will surely
> say. "I never said *I'd* do it!" That's what's called

People often take that approach to MythTV to try to leverage
forcing others to do things their way. F-abuser is currently
the king of attempts at acts of intimidation to try to have
things his way and has posted that he believes that he is
effective.

However, "I never said *I'd* do it!". I was pointing out the
reality of the situation before zap2it initiated DataDirect
for their own benefit. If they continued to ignore this issue,
they would create a situation that you or I, and most certainly
they, do not want to see again.

> passive-aggressive threatening. (Besides, would you yourself really
> hold off on using a screen scraper and therefore contributing, even if
> only fractionally so, to the 10-100X traffic jump?)

If they continue to deliver inferior data for weeks or months,
everyone would use a scraper regardless of anything I'd say one
way or the other. Shooting the messenger is not a solution.

> The uninformed user was just that, uninformed and not affiliated with

And I responded with a factual correction. Partially because
your replay was at least mis-leading if not downright wrong.

> I agree that a fix of the data really is best for all
> parties. However, I know better than to make any kind of ultimatum,
> however veiled it may be, because *Tribune Media Services isn't
> obligated to do anything*. The company is doing us a huge favor, and

This is absolutely false and this attitude that we have to
be beholden and obedient to then else they will take our
toys away is BS. They are doing themselves a favor which
is mutually beneficial.

Before DD, XMLTV users were hitting potentially hundreds of
web pages per grab per person. No one asked for DD but they
initiated it because it accomplished two things; delivering
compressed data reduced their network traffic by magnitudes
saving them millions in hardware and IT costs, and by having
an account based system they can gather demographic information.

The idea that we have to walk on egg shells or they'll take
it away is just plain wrong.

> Again, there is no moral or legal obligation on TMS's part to not pull
> all XML access to the data immediately should it choose to do so. Of
> course, then there's nothing that prevents us from returning to the
> screenscraping days of yesteryore. But guess what? *TMS knows this
> very well*, and its employees don't need your or anyone else lecturing

And I certainly don't need you lecturing me. If they were aware
of the importance of the issue they would not have ignored it
for the past week or two. I assume that you are not a TMS
employee so I fail to see how you believe you can tell me what
they do and do not know. However, I know exactly what they've
had to say about it up until today: "" and that's a direct quote.

> them about it. If you don't like it, they will surely be happy to
> refund you the money you've forked over to TMS for the data feed. (Any
> resemblance to the first sentence of the sixth paragraph of the GPL is
> purely intentional.)

You may choose the bend over and ask for another. I will not.

I have sent a letter to them explaining my message and my
concerns about their reaction. I hope they can clarify what
their reasoning was. I would be more than a little disappointed
if that message was ignored.

> For the record, here's I responded to the same post by the ignoramus
> poster, before I read your message here (I never saw your actual
> response on the forum itself):
>
> MythTV assumes--and I think rightly so--that a generic episode for a
> TV show that has a recording rule is one that could be one the viewer
> wants to watch. This behavior can be overridden, if desired, but
> better safe than sorry; better that an episode of that big new TV show
> be recorded without a description than not be recorded at all.

"Overridden" implies the override feature which would be entirely
the wrong solution thought I assume you meant 'it cold be
configured differently'. You completely missed that the record
status was "Repeat" rather than Will Record or Previously Recorded
Earlier, Later or anything else. This status is the result of
"Record new episodes only". Had this not been set, it would try
to record all generic episodes.

-- bjm

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bjm at lvcm

Apr 3, 2007, 5:32 PM

Post #23 of 68 (7505 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

f-myth-users [at] media wrote:
> > Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2007 11:43:32 -0700
> > From: Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm>
>
> > It's in "User Questions, Problems, and Comments". I believe
> > it was started yesterday and may have "generic" in the title
> > but I'm not allowed to go look ;-).
>
> I presume that there's nothing preventing you from creating a
> brand-new login at the forum and coming right back in, using a

I did try to set up an alternative account just to see the
new messages but I made no attempt to conceal my identity.
Apparently this account with the same return address was
banned also (this is when I asked for the "labsadmin" which
David posted). I'll just wait for a reply to the letter I
sent them.

> More to the point, does getting banned interrupt your ability to
> fetch data from your DD login?

No. I can still grab data, login to manage my lineups. etc.

-- bjm

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bjm at lvcm

Apr 3, 2007, 5:48 PM

Post #24 of 68 (7499 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Brad DerManouelian wrote:
...
> I hate to prolong this, but the message that got him banned was in
> fact trying to get a response of "We know it's a problem and are
> working on it." Until that point, no one from TMS made any comment. I

Precisely.

> really don't think that message would have been posted if they
> announced in response to the "bug in myth" post that the problem is
> actually with the DataDirect service and will be resolved as soon as
> they can.

Correct again. I first wanted to correct the inaccuracy about
this being the result of a problem with myth and to ask for
an announcement concerning this issue that they had appeared to
ignore up to that point. I had posted earlier as well as many
other registered users. This issue has been around for a couple
weeks now and they still were in full ostrich mode.

> Oh, and if TMS decides to scrap DirectData then we'll just start
> screen scraping and bringing down their web servers again. DirectData
> is a compromise that helps BOTH MythTV users AND TMS. They know they
> can't stop us from scraping their data, so they've packaged it in a
> low-bandwidth format and even tell us when it's convenient for us to
> grab this data. We comply. They *do* benefit from providing this
> service as much as we benefit from it. It's mutually agreeable.

Right again. Good job. This was their solution to their problem.
I would hope that they didn't think they were punishing me for
pointing out the truth that scraping is bad business for everyone
whether or not I say it or if anyone else mentions it.

-- bjm

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mark_oliver at java2000

Apr 3, 2007, 5:55 PM

Post #25 of 68 (7494 views)
Permalink
Re: Data Direct "service" [In reply to]

Yeechang Lee wrote:
> Bruce Markey <bjm [at] lvcm> says:
>
> [...]
>
>> - DD was not provided merely as a favor to it's users but was
>> created in response excessive traffic from scrapers like XMLTV.
>>
>> - If description information is not available from DD but is
>> from tvlistings.com this will surely lead to people using
>> scrapers which would increase tvlistings.com traffic ten fold
>> then one-hundred fold or more.
>>
>> - Therefore it is in everyones best interest that TMS take this
>> issue seriously.
>>
>
> Bruce, I hate to say it but the first reaction I had upon reading the
> above (not to mention your choice of subject line) was that you were
> issuing a threat
Except that Bruce provided a historical context for a future prediction,
which means that he is pointing to a rational reason for an expected
consequence where the expected consequence cannot be attributed to Bruce
(he presents his reason(s) for why he thinks something will happen).
That is to say that Bruce is not making a threat, but he is pointing to
a potential threat and arguing that it is a real threat.
> of the DataDirect servers melting down if the
> data-accuracy issue isn't fixed pronto. "Not I," you will surely
> say.
What he will or will not say is NOT part of his argument and is simple
conjecture on your part. Your reading this into his argument probably
helps explain why you reacted the way that you did.
> [...] I agree that a fix of the data really is best for all
> parties. However, I know better than to make any kind of ultimatum
Bruce's if/then statement can only be viewed as an ultimatum if you
misread that part of his argument by taking it out of context.
> [...] But guess what? *TMS knows this
> very well*, and its employees don't need your or anyone else lecturing
> them about it.
Probably a matter of perspective, as I saw Bruce's words as more of a
kick-in-the-pants, which it appears that at least someone at TMS needed,
and for which Bruce deserves thanks.

mark oliver

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