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Enter Webz beta release - web browser for the TiVo!

Discussion in 'Developers Corner' started by davidblackledge, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. jgametest

    jgametest New Member

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    Oct 30, 2013
    Well I have not received the update that all are experiencing trouble on yet. So guess that's good for now, will take a look at the new changes you rolled out as soon as my kids fall asleep they are hogging the TiVo so I'm using my notebook / phone for temp access. Keep up the great work!
     
  2. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Ok, one more update this weekend.

    I made it possible for me to update the default apps.

    Next time you look at the list, you'll see things like a replacement for the broken Shoutcast link, a new set of PBS video links, more comics, removal of some broken items like Twitter, and a new NOTICE link that you can delete, and I will re-add when there is a new notice. Solitaire, Freecell, and Mahjongg are now just links, too, so you can move/delete them if you like.

    Several apps were also reorganized, and there is a new permanent entry to access the App list for editing - it's visible on both the Music/Photos and Video/Other lists.

    Check out the NOTICE for more details.

    If you saved your own link that differs from the default URL, it won't be altered by the update.
     
  3. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
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    I believe I found out why Google/Youtube tend to think that EnterWebz.tv is in Spain.
    Since most User Agent strings include an operating system model/version string, I include "TiVo/22.1.2.3.3" or whatever version your TiVo is reporting. Google is trying to be "too smart" and thinks that because there is a city named "Tivo" in Spain, I must be reporting a location, not software information.
    I will change the string to "TiVoDVR/version" (or maybe TiVoOS/version?) and I'll probably take advantage of this quirk and add TiVo's Device-reported location to the User-Agent and/or to another Header. It's kind of imprecise location information (mine reports a small town 233 miles away from me), but much better than assuming all subscribers are located where my server is. Recently added language information in the same style is probably fixing Youtube/etc stuff already, though.

    I've also run into some irritating inconsistencies in the newly-added PBS pages. The actual episode launching page can come up in one of three states. This looks as though it's driven by your mobile mode selection, but it can get stuck in one state regardless of your selection.
    It can show up 1) with default "VIDEO" tag handling that shows little film strip icons provided by EWz which you click to start the video, it can show up 2) with one-pixel "images" you may click to start the video, or 3) the one it gets stuck on for me which has nothing available to start the video.
    I've gotten some web tools to investigate this strange PBS website behavior and will try to figure the best solution, if there is one. So far it seems to give the tool one of two consistent results with different modes, and doesn't get stuck

    Finally, I added some Google Docs graphs of the EnterWebz.tv history to the "statistics" page at the website. (Oddly, they won't appear from within EWz. I'm guessing the TiVo isn't recognizing the strange URL as an image... maybe I'm not doing the necessary additional handling because I've provided size information already - if I can fix that, it might fix a bunch of other images in EWz.)
     
  4. Allanon

    Allanon Member

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    Nov 2, 2005
    Davidblackledge, you might want to change the User Agent to one used by a mobile device, that way you will get mobile webpages which usually have less Java and Flash. Plus smaller images.

    For example this is what the mobile version of IMDB looks like:
    http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0411008
     
  5. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Thanks Allanon. Actually EWz has been using a mobile UA by default (based on AvantGo) since the beginning, and has been using the m.imdb.com since the beginning. When you see that page in EWz, though, it's very limited because it uses a lot of JavaScript to fill in content.

    And in the last major update here, all 8 UAs I made available are all mobile ones as well.
    They each have dramatic differences in how e.g. Youtube is represented.
    Either Palm or Samsung seems to be the most compatible results with EWz, but some sites only make an MP4 available for iPad mode, I think.

    PBS seems to give MP4 to several mobile UAs...but it gets STUCK either providing or not providing MP4 no matter how you change your UA after that. This is happening even with a web tool I'm using to test the site. I think they must store the decision in a cookie and never check again after that.
     
  6. Jun 7, 2014 #126 of 165
    davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Ok, finally released another update both for download and on the public server.

    *BONUS* it includes some new HME apps: Airnow.gov Air Quality Index map forecast/history browser (in Apps/Sports&Weather), and a Minesweeper clone (in Apps/More/Games). Both are kind of thrown together just for fun. Not 100% clean presentation.
    *Easter Egg* of sorts: It also includes the Multiplayer Cribbage game I'm working on (only about 75-85% complete). Your challenge: figure out how to launch it (and then have another TiVo launch it, too, to play against them)... it's the first attempt with a multiplayer architecture I'm setting up so I can do a bunch of stuff in the near future.

    Enter Webz itself:
    • Changed hints to only generate once, not once per web page - this should save some memory during your session.
    • Made the keyboard a little more understandable.
    • Also added a Remote Picker support HME app. You can pick your remote from the EWz "info" menu. It changes how help hints display.
    • Improved Video tag strange cases like PBS uses (1x1px size), so if you get a working PBS page, you'll get "normal" Video tag icons to launch videos.

    --------
    On the technical side...

    1) something in the network route between my neighborhood and the enterwebz.tv keeps dropping packets so a lot of the time I can't connect to my own server now :/ No problems tonight at least.

    2) Recently almost zero videos will play for me (except youtube, and one extremly low quality small sample video)... I don't know if this is just a temporary thing, a problem with my DVR, or if TiVo somehow locked down their VideoPlayer app I use. Do non-youtube videos work for you still from EWz?

    3) for me, the PBS pages are stuck in the "bad" mode where I don't get a video tag sent to me at all. Anyone have a working page?

    4) Attempting to do multiplayer stuff with the 1.4.1e experimental "thread safe" SDK, I learned that they made it so "thread safe" that it's a brick now. In reality it's one giant synchronized block. There is like one line outside of the synchronization, and it doesn't yield the thread, I guess. (all of handleChunk (which is the origin of ALL 3rd party code execution) is in the synchronized block, and getting the next chunk is not). So instead I use the Factory as a central data source and use sendEvent to poll it for changes.

    Please post your experiences or suggestions!
     
  7. jgametest

    jgametest New Member

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    Oct 30, 2013
    I tried the PBS videos, I saw the links for each area and loaded the link was presented with pictures and descriptions of the video but upon clicking it it's like a pulse to my TiVo and then returns back to the description. Is there a process to get the videos to load that I'm missing.
     
  8. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
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    Thanks for trying it! I'm glad you at least got video links (they probably showed up as "filmstrip" icons, right?)
    You're not doing anything wrong, but the result is surprising.

    The video troubles I was having show in a "incompatible format" message screen from the TiVo Video Player. I HAVE gotten SOME videos to work for me, just not the ones that usually work.
    It sounds like yours is failing before even trying. Perhaps try a few different PBS shows to see if all of them fail.
    I'd also be curious if you can play any of the archive.org videos.

    It FEELS like EWz can't find your Video Player app, but I'd expect to see something in the logs if that was it... oh...wait... I just checked... it doesn't log anything if that happens... you'd just hear a Bonk. I sabotaged myself ;]

    I'll get that logging fixed up ASAP.

    But much more interesting to try... start EWz and go to "More/"
    Select "[Enter Webz suggested links]"
    Scroll down to the "Servers" section
    Select the link in "TiVo's applications (at 204.176.49.116)"
    This shows a page of all the apps that TiVo is showing to your DVR.
    Can you see one called "VideoPlayer" in that list?

    There should be one listed... but it's behaving like there isn't one.
     
  9. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
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    Jgametest - try it again... I think I should get something useful in my logs if it fails, now.
     
  10. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Fixed finally... I "missed a spot" regarding the issue that the TiVo can't handle https URLs. I was allowing https to go to the videoplayer, and I guess archive.org must have recently changed their redirects to not use http.

    ... I really need to update the wiki with more of this stuff I've learned.
     
  11. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Today's EWz update:
    • :up: Added custom blitzortung.org Lightning map browser thumztak (clone of my airnow.gov Air Quality map browser) in "News, Sports, & Weather/"
    • :confused: Rearranged thumztaks to consolidate top level to only 2 groups and 1 regular app (Internet Radio) under music & photos, and 4 groups and 2 regular apps (YouTube and Cribbage) under video & apps. (You can always move your favorites to the top Apps/ group if you like).
    • :up: Added more video, audio, photo, news, social, etc. thumztaks. (I especially like the "stock footage")
    • :thumbsdown: Removed no-longer-compatible flickr thumztak and silly "card trick" one.
    • ;) Updated icons to make wmcbrine happy (no more purple outline, but uses the trick still for groups) and with a prettier default (not the "EW" stuff).
    • Saving a thumztak now places it in the last-used group (not the top level above Apps/).
    • Some improvements in Image handling (especially in displaying errors)
    I probably won't do any more bulk rearranging. I'll just add new or replace/delete broken ones and rotate old games to "Games & More/" when I add new games at the top Apps/

    BTW - Hey! anybody! Does the PBS content work for you!?!?!?
     
  12. Sep 6, 2014 #132 of 165
    davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    I know I'm just talking to myself since nobody will even complain about it, much less say something is working or ask for additions, but...
    • Changed from standard Bananas "whisper arrows" to a custom link highlighter.
    • Automatically inserts a "submit" button for forms that don't have one

    The custom link highlighter also modifies behavior so adjacent links (images, and font style changes that I have to break up into multiple links) are treated as a single link.
    I need to improve its visibility a little, but it's still better than the whisper arrows.

    The automatic "submit" button fixes pages that use a form with a single text field that automatically submits when you hit "return" in a real web browser. It also can work for JavaScript-submitted forms.
    As I'm writing this, I realize an exception I made for forms that have only a SELECT field shouldn't be there - those are frequently submitted with JavaScript and this would have fixed those. I'll change that for next time.
    Right now it's a small default "submit" button - I'll probably change it to a custom "obviously an EWz special button" display in the future.

    Again I'll ask: can somebody tell me yes or no if PBS episode streaming works for you? It's a no for me, but it SHOULD be a yes for some people.

    I'm about out of steam on this beta stuff and will do the official 1.0 announcement soon (I'll update the download then, too).
    Please let me know if there is something that needs to change before the "grand opening."

    I'm hoping I can get Zatz to check it out, but no response yet on an email last week. Just another "I'm talking to myself" example.

    I'd appreciate even hearing somebody say "this is crap, why would you do this?"... better than silence.
    Oh yeah... number of subscribed TiVo DVRs broke 300 this week.
     
  13. Fofer

    Fofer XenForo Rocks! TCF Club

    82,165
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    Oct 29, 2000
    I just set up Webz on my TiVo Premiere, via the IP address, and it's looking pretty cool! I'm enjoying what I am seeing so far. I listened to some internet radio, checked out a few web pages. I was unable to get a PBS video to stream, though. I'm still poking around and seeing what Webz can do for me.

    Thanks for making it, davidblackledge! This is awesome. I feel like I just upgraded my TiVo with cool new functionality, and all it took was a few seconds to set up.
     
  14. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Thanks for posting, Fofer!

    I just tried my best available theory on the PBS Video stuff (clear all cookies and change device type and try again) but none of my attempts got any better result... very strange. I know it's POSSIBLE for the PBS pages to provide a basic "VIDEO" tag, but it's so resistant to cooperating. If I can't figure it out before the "launch" I'll remove all the PBS pages (same as I did with Twitter) until I can find a fix... unless somebody posts that they're having success.
     
  15. m.milhofer

    m.milhofer New Member

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    Sep 12, 2014
    Hi
    I recently got a TiVo box through VirginMedia
    I haven't worked out if you are UK based or not so that may not mean anything to you!
    I found this forum because I was looking for a way to browse via TiVo
    I work with computers so am not daunted by the technical side of things but.. How do you 'install' stuff on a TiVo? I have no idea. Is it possible that my TiVo is different because it comes from a TV/broadband provider?
    Anyway, you all sound very helpful and friendly on this site, if someone can help me out then great, if not, I've enjoyed reading you all!
    Manfred
     
  16. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Thanks for your interest!
    I don't know a lot about VM TiVos, but I'm fairly confident you can't add 3rd part content on them. By "on them" I mean "visible to them" as you don't actually install software on the TiVo, it's more of a client/server setup where the real work is done on another computer, and the TiVo is knows how to display stuff and play videos.

    There are two ways to get 3rd party apps on TiVos that support it:
    First is software installed on a computer on the same home network as the TiVo which normally "announces" the list of apps with a bonjour-style protocol. This is generally the "downloads" you can find on the Internet for TiVos.
    Second is software installed on a server on the Internet. In that case you have to select the "Add an App" option under the Apps section of the TiVo and enter the IP address of the server. I'm pretty sure VM TiVos don't have an "Add an App" option.
    I also don't think VM TiVos support the bonjour app announcements.

    Note that the 3rd party apps are a separate concept from the programs that serve your household music, photos, and videos ("devices") as just a listing using the "HMO" protocol. The apps that display those entries are built in to the TiVo. I don't think VM TiVos support that concept, either.

    I don't really KNOW whether any of that is supported by VM TiVos, but I have yet to hear anyone say they're using those features with one of those models.
     
  17. m.milhofer

    m.milhofer New Member

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    Sep 12, 2014
    Thanks David I will look at getting my PC and TiVo communicating on the home network first
    Manfred
     
  18. jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

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    Jan 1, 2009
    Decided to try this out. Looks pretty cool. Went to PBS.org web page and clicked on something and my Premiere running 20.4.2 rebooted.

    Tried to stream PBS and could not stream. Got what looks like something that would control the video. I would click on it and a blank pick list would appear. I could scroll down and select it but could not see anything.

    On an ESPN video, I got that the TiVo could not display this video error because of incompatible format.
     
  19. jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

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    Jan 1, 2009
    Interesting problem I have. Was playing around changing different emulations. Changed to AVANTGO and now it is greyed out and cannot change it to anything else. Also the info in the bottom left corner of the screen does not show the emulation mode just font size. I cannot seem to reset it. I deleted the app and reinstall but it kept all the same settings. Clearing cookies did not do anything either.
     
  20. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Thanks for letting me know your experience, this really helps!

    Reboot: I might just have to remove (or at least hide) the "enter a url" feature for the 1.0 launch. Pages I didn't pre-select have a high likelihood of rebooting by having complex combinations of images that HME doesn't handle gracefully.

    I have some ideas to reduce failures when you're browsing pages for a while, but it likely won't help a case like you encountered. Without pre-processing every page for safety while you sit and wait for it, I can't protect against TiVo's HME bugs. It is tempting to have a "no images" mode that should make things pretty safe, but so many pages will not make sense without the images... and I don't want to maintain a list of "safe for images" pages but how else do I allow images in some cases but not others? It's a whole level of app complexity to add. I want to keep this thing simple to use, but there is nothing simple about the unrestricted Internet ;]

    I guess it's not looking good for PBS video streams... very strange because I added those pages originally because I had it working for a while. If it was working you'd get a "filmstrip" default video icon instead of the blank pick list. That's the strangest website that it won't cooperate most of the time. I might even try to contact them to see what's going on.

    ESPN video: too bad. TiVo has a very limited subset of video formats it supports. Anything that comes across as "this is video" EWz sends to the Video Player and hopes for the best. If it failed then either 1) it's not in the subset that TiVo can handle or 2) it is an "https"-only link and the HME is too dumb to handle secure media links (I tell it to drop the "s" and usually it works, but some places it doesn't)
    I wish I could better determine this ahead of time so it's not such a surprise to the user.

    One thing I've been thinking is to "claim" that every video I send to the player is a supported format in case the player is having trouble figuring it out... some links have weird filenames or video types that might look wrong to the player but would actually work. This is just a theory, though.

    Thanks again! let's hear some more!
     

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