EnterWebz.tv TiVo app service may shut down!

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by davidblackledge, Jan 5, 2019.

Should Enter Webz be kept on life support?

Poll closed Jan 19, 2019.
  1. I wouldn't use EWz either way and should not be voting.

    9 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. I welcome the cold turkey treatment to my addiction, let EWz die.

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  3. I am a hoarder and like to keep EWz only as part of my tech collection.

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  4. If EWz dies, so will my spirit - please keep it running!

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  1. Jan 5, 2019 #1 of 13
    davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

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    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Hi, in case you don't know, I run enterwebz.tv, an HME app server for TiVo DVRs... one of only two servers (the other is wmcbrine's Reversi) that exist for the "Add an App" button on your TiVo apps page (unless you have Bolt and later models).

    I just received notice from my provider that they are going to migrate my server from Dallas to to Michigan in about a week.
    That means a change in IP address, that means current users (of IP address 66.193.212.44) will see Enter Webz disappear and everyone has to start over entering the new IP address on January 12th (they tell me it will be 216.151.37.71)


    That said, if you have used it, you may have noticed over the years that less and less is working.
    Every time TiVo releases an update, it seems, they break another HME feature.
    No longer does EWz work with youtube links, music streaming & mp3s, and the most common video formats like mp4.
    The only things that still seem to work are MPEG2 format videos, images, simple games and information apps, and the original inspiration: a web page interpreter. But the old mobile-friendly web page formats EWz depended on are rarely used on websites anymore, so the web pages tend to not work, either.

    Of the 2000+ TiVo devices that have connected in the last 4 years, I know a hundred or so of them are still active users.
    Active users are probably just there for the games, especially the substitutes for the ones that TiVo got rid of (e.g. WordSmythe, my enhanced replacement for WordSmith).

    Here's my dilemma:
    • I do this out of my own pocket. It's not a big expense, and I do share the server with some throw-away hobby side projects. The point is, it doesn't benefit me directly (nobody at my house even plays the games).
    • Because of TiVo Inc's hobbling of the technology, I haven't been updating anything since it feels like wasted effort. I got it to automatically restart when there's a problem, and haven't done much since.
    • I am hesitant to go through the effort to even add a user notice of this change, especially since they'll only have a week to see the notice before it's gone.
    • Nothing prevents this entire thing from happening again when my provider reorganizes another time.
    I have just contacted my provider about needing to keep my IP address or at least to have more time, or to allow me to keep running concurrent with the new server so I can put up notifications for people to transition, but I am doubtful they'll do anything for me.

    Obviously, most of you don't care about apps, especially games, but those of you who DO care:
    How important is it to you that I keep this thing running?
     
    krkaufman and CopRock like this.
  2. Jan 5, 2019 #2 of 13
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    19,219
    3,472
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Sorry. Usually I feel something will come to fill the vacuum, but I'm not so sure this time.
     
  3. Jan 5, 2019 #3 of 13
    davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

    560
    35
    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    FYI, I got the following response from my provider:
    ... so now I don't know if they made a mistake before, or are making a mistake now.
    I will trust them for the moment, but let me know if EWz vanishes from your TiVo!

    In the meantime, I still want to hear the results of this poll because I have been struggling for a while with the question of "should I keep this running?"

    Thanks,
    David.
     
    TheBar1 and CopRock like this.
  4. CopRock

    CopRock Member

    56
    1
    Jul 13, 2014
    For what its worth it disappeared off my Tivo, not sure when... it was fun playing with it when it was around but its so hobbled now that it may not be worth it to you.
    As it stands on Tivo Central> Apps under all the apps I have it just states: Add an App

    But Tivo has always been a crapfest when it comes to apps... even today there's no HBOnow for those with OTA only Tivos... but its par for the course with Tivo: they remove what they want with no user input like when Download Manager disappeared

    Edit: entered the old IP address and it came back up
    Wish there was a way to load only the MPEG vids that work on Archive on Demand for example, but I'm sure thats an impossible amount of work ... Thanks for the work you did and totally understand if you wish to let it go
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
    davidblackledge likes this.
  5. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

    560
    35
    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Glad it's still up for the moment. Thanks for the update.

    You have a point... it's not actually a lot of work to limit to MPEG2 format in Archive On Demand, specifically. Except for the work in digging up the tools and passwords to make the change ;]

    I can just add "AND Format: (mpeg2)" to every query to limit results to things that have at least one mpeg2 file in them. I THINK I can easily limit the list of files in the details page, too.
    I think I had been mostly just crossing my fingers that TiVo would restore the functionality so I didn't want to limit the file list when it first broke, then I just didn't think about it anymore.
    This will dramatically reduce the number of results available, but that's kind of the point, right? Maybe AoD will become useful again.

    Free time is few and far between these days, but perhaps in a week or two I can muster the courage to attempt it. Especially if it still hasn't vanished for everybody by then.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
    CopRock likes this.
  6. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

    13,990
    720
    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I'll add my 2 cents. I've never heard of this until now and I have a Bolt+. (Have had Series 1's, Series 2, Series 2 DirecTiVo, and TiVo HD before.)

    Doesn't sound important to me. Sorry.
     
  7. tommiet

    tommiet Active Member

    357
    190
    Oct 28, 2005
    +1.. No idea what this is.....
     
  8. TheBar1

    TheBar1 Long Time Lurker

    165
    4
    Dec 26, 2001
    Northern NJ
    This was a nifty little hack that I used a few times, but I noticed that fewer and fewer features still worked and ended up removing it from my box last year. Thanks for your efforts to get this up and running. It's OK to let this go. :)
     
    davidblackledge likes this.
  9. PSU_Sudzi

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

    2,296
    830
    Jun 4, 2015
    Philly suburbs
    Just tried it and seems like it would’ve been cool a few years ago but is dated now. Still pretty cool though!
     
    davidblackledge likes this.
  10. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

    560
    35
    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    TiVo's original own apps (including Youtube, SameGame, WordSmith, Pandora, On Demand services, etc.) all originally used the same "HME" technology which was made available for 3rd parties. It is a fragile technology and TiVo provided an undermaintained toolkit that the developer community slowly kept alive and documented. TiVo even had a contest for app-writers in 2005 (before my introduction). If you used Streambaby, that was made with HME coming from your own computer.

    Only 5 or 6 3rd-party servers were ever created where the IP address is added on the Apps screen "Add an App" button (it had different labels on different TiVo versions). Today, only EnterWebz.tv and wmcbrine's Reversi game server (which had a similar IP address issue) are still running.

    About 4 years ago I announced EnterWebz.tv as the culmination of my hobby work (centered around a limited web-page interpreter/presenter I came up with) and released some nice apps on it and hosted some others' apps, but within a couple of years TiVo had hobbled it with updates that broke HME features for all of us because they were dropping most of their own HME servers in favor of HTML-based apps. As stated previously, most of the good media features are broken. I did discover how to do PIP live TV and included it in the apps, but otherwise we just have MPEG2 videos, plus images and basic interaction (so, games and info apps - which are outpaced by tablets).

    To be clear, Bolt was released with a broken "Add an App" button and they eventually just removed the button rather than fix it.

    Although there are some die-hard TV videogame fans, everybody else just wants to watch videos on their TiVo, so if I get Archive On Demand easier to use to watch old movies with these limitations, at least that will be valuable to the average TiVo user [edit: this was completed on 2/4/19].

    I actually created an HTML version if AoD for use through the Vewd app store, but "Vewd" keeps nitpicking it and haven't approved it and I'm kind of fed up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  11. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

    560
    35
    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Well, I just got ANOTHER notice of the exact same move, but now it's in 2 days. Hopefully it's still a mistake.
     
  12. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

    560
    35
    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Well, I just did a quick update attempt to Archive on Demand... it isn't working the way it should, but mostly is limiting the results better.

    It's not limiting the list of files on the details page for some reason, and it is letting a few cases through that don't have mpeg2 or mpeg1, and isn't letting some results through that it should (which is confusing me).
    I guess I forgot a few details of how I made it work considering I haven't updated it in over 2 years.

    I'll make another try to improve the results later this week I hope.
     
    CopRock likes this.
  13. davidblackledge

    davidblackledge Registered lÜser

    560
    35
    Sep 9, 2008
    NM
    Ok, Archive On Demand now works well again. Although it still lists mp3 files (since they still work on Series 2 I believe), it limits all video results to MPEG2 and MPEG1 both in available results, and files you can select to play.

    Yay, useful again! enjoy.

    Not sure if it had this before, but this also includes quick-mode (and my super-quick-modes) in the video playback, and a minor update to Radio Auricle, not that I can use it anymore.
     
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