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  #1  
Old 10-24-2012, 04:24 PM
Slugger Slugger is offline
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Schedules Direct EPG Plugin: Call for private beta testers

So I'm just about ready to get some more people to put this thing through its paces, so to speak. I have to clear the exact number with the Schedules Direct folks, but I'm hoping to get 6-10 people to join me in testing the plugin. I'm looking for people with specific types of setups that differ from mine to try and get the most coverage possible.

First, here's what you're going to lose, functionality-wise, by joining this beta program:
  • This plugin pulls its data from the new, unreleased version of the Schedules Direct service. The SD feed is itself still in an alpha phase. While that's the case, there is limited functionality, such as, but not limited to:
    • EPG data is not updated daily, or even necessarily frequently, on the Schedule Direct test servers. This means you might pull in 14 days of data today and nothing gets updated for another 5 or 6 days (i.e. when Sage does an update, it's just pulling in the same data). We can request a pull upstream, but it may or may not happen depending on what they're working on upstream. We always get new data before existing runs out, we just don't get daily updates. If this is an issue then this beta isn't for you. The frequency of upstream updates will increase, but I can't say when that will be.
    • The data that SD is pulling from Tribune isn't always correct (format-wise). When that happens then the bad data makes its way to Sage and if the data doesn't follow the documented specs then the EPG plugin craps out. These are rare now, but are still likely as SD and Tribune continue their work. I spot 'em, report 'em and they get fixed rather quickly, but, again, it's going to happen.
    • The metadata (i.e. tvdb) is still a work in progress; the data is missing, incomplete and sometimes incorrect. It's getting better, but they're still working on it. You will be missing S/E data for numerous shows while that work continues upstream.
    • Other bugs and issues upstream that I can't think of off the top of my head.
  • This plugin no longer directly pulls any data from thetvdb. The only data I pulled from there was season/episode numbers and that data is now in the feed. Warning: The S/E metadata in the feed is still being worked on and isn't really close to being perfect. In other words, you will lose S/E data until that gets sorted out. It's getter better by the day and might even be solid before new users are invited to this beta, but be warned.
  • All lineup management is controlled by Sage (via enabling/disabling channels in your lineups). The new SD data feed ignores disabled/enabled channels in your SD account.
  • Undoubtedly, there are bugs in my plugin that have yet to surface. And that's why I'm looking for more testers.
  • I'll add more as I think of them.

So if the above hasn't scared you off then these are the setup types I'm looking for:
  • Canadian OTA only user
  • US OTA only user
  • A user with OTA & sat/cable lineups
  • US sat/cable user
  • A user using FTA (in North America)**

** The new SD feed apparently provides FTA (free to air) satellite listings for North America. Currently, my plugin does not support such lineups as I don't know of any Sage users who actually use this. If they exist then I might figure out what's involved in supporting it.

It would be best if you already have a Schedules Direct account that isn't due to expire for the next 60 or so days. You can create an account and get a 7 day trial, but I don't feel like 7 days of testing is going to be useful for anyone. On the otherhand, I don't really want to be the reason someone pays for SD access and ends up not using the plugin.

If you're interested, please PM with your setup details. My hope is to be able to bring the beta testers in within the next couple weeks.
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2012, 07:02 PM
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rnadeau rnadeau is online now
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I have schedules direct and use it with 3 tuners with my cable. Are we talking about shows not recording? or just not having the program guide not update as often.

I think i'd be willing to help out with this project.
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2012, 07:13 PM
Slugger Slugger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnadeau View Post
I have schedules direct and use it with 3 tuners with my cable. Are we talking about shows not recording? or just not having the program guide not update as often.

I think i'd be willing to help out with this project.
You shouldn't miss recordings, I haven't missed one and I've been using the data feed for about four weeks now. Things were a little rough 4 weeks ago, but now it's pretty stable. The only "issue" is that the data on the SD test servers is not being updated daily. Some days it might be updated daily, sometimes it'll be 3, 4, 6, maybe 7 days between updates. It's always updated before the current data runs out. At this stage, it seems to be at least once every 3 days they're updating the data upstream on the test servers. That frequency will continue to improve as their alpha state becomes beta then, of course, production.

What you may hit is if there's last "second" changes to a channel's listings. Like if something is rescheduled say due to a change in the World Series schedule (series only goes 4 games let's say). If we don't get an upstream update in time then Fox might still list baseball on your EPG even though they aren't showing baseball - that kind of thing. Here "second" means if a channel changes it's schedule within the last 24 hours.

Anyway, if you want to participate send me a PM with your email address and I'll email you when I'm ready to take on the beta testers (hopefully within the next couple weeks).
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  #4  
Old 10-25-2012, 07:28 PM
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rnadeau rnadeau is online now
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That will be fine. I can keep an eye on things and having updates 5 to 6 days apart doesn't bother me. I'm in. Let me know what I need to do.
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  #5  
Old 10-26-2012, 10:34 PM
EdH EdH is offline
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Would like to volunteer

Slugger, I'd like to help test your new SD EPG plugin if you could use my setup. I am located in Dallas, TX and receive only OTA. I recently put together a second computer to run tests on alternative EPGs for SageTV and other DVR/PVR systems if it became necessary. I just signed up for a 2 month Schedules Direct subscription this afternoon. I loaded SageTV7 on this 2nd PC last week and set up my HDHomerun tuners to work with it. All seems to be working well with the Zap2It EPG at this time. Let me know if I can help.
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  #6  
Old 10-28-2012, 12:18 PM
Slugger Slugger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdH View Post
Slugger, I'd like to help test your new SD EPG plugin if you could use my setup. I am located in Dallas, TX and receive only OTA. I recently put together a second computer to run tests on alternative EPGs for SageTV and other DVR/PVR systems if it became necessary. I just signed up for a 2 month Schedules Direct subscription this afternoon. I loaded SageTV7 on this 2nd PC last week and set up my HDHomerun tuners to work with it. All seems to be working well with the Zap2It EPG at this time. Let me know if I can help.
PM me if you want to be a beta tester for this plugin.
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2013, 09:58 AM
Slugger Slugger is offline
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Well, I'm looking for 5-10 more users for the last couple of closed betas. If you're interested, please let me know. The next beta is scheduled for this weekend then I anticipate at most one more additional closed beta then I should be able to release the plugin to the general population.

Everything is rather solid at this point, the Schedules Direct team is looking to get some more users hitting the server and is why I'm asking for additional testers at this time.
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2013, 12:37 AM
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tvmaster2 tvmaster2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slugger View Post
Well, I'm looking for 5-10 more users for the last couple of closed betas. If you're interested, please let me know. The next beta is scheduled for this weekend then I anticipate at most one more additional closed beta then I should be able to release the plugin to the general population.

Everything is rather solid at this point, the Schedules Direct team is looking to get some more users hitting the server and is why I'm asking for additional testers at this time.
sounds promising
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2013, 06:21 AM
crarbo1 crarbo1 is offline
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Slugger,
I may be interested in this. Has any of the items you mentioned in the first post changed since then? Have certain items that were problems, now corrected.

Just trying to gauge risk vs reward at this point.

Thanks,
Chuck
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2013, 07:10 AM
gdippel gdippel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slugger View Post
Well, I'm looking for 5-10 more users for the last couple of closed betas. If you're interested, please let me know. The next beta is scheduled for this weekend then I anticipate at most one more additional closed beta then I should be able to release the plugin to the general population.

Everything is rather solid at this point, the Schedules Direct team is looking to get some more users hitting the server and is why I'm asking for additional testers at this time.
Great news as Sage's epg servers have been acting flakey as of late. I had to switch to them after the mc2xml plugin was giving me fits. With both alternatives epg sources having problems the SD plugin couldn't come at a better time.
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2013, 07:38 AM
Slugger Slugger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crarbo1 View Post
Slugger,
I may be interested in this. Has any of the items you mentioned in the first post changed since then? Have certain items that were problems, now corrected.

Just trying to gauge risk vs reward at this point.

Thanks,
Chuck
Yeah, all the issues in post 1 are non-existent at this point except for the season/episode numbers. There are some issues with that data and that's basically due to thetvdb.com having some serious server issues as of late. When thetvdb.com actually responds then the S/E data is populated, when they don't, well, the data disappears. Schedule Direct's code to pull the S/E data in is quite solid now, it's just a matter of whether or not tvdb responds to API queries.

Other than that, the updates with Tribune are now pulled daily (well six days a week; Tribune only delivers updated data Sun-Fri), issues with the upstream formatting received from Tribune have been addressed, etc. Basically it's rather solid (tvdb data aside).

For the first time, I'm willing to publicly announce an open beta release date target. The last scheduled closed beta should be released by the end of tomorrow. There may be one additional closed beta if anything comes up, then I'm away on vacation for a week and when I return, I expect to release the first public beta. This would be the week of Feb 4. Don't hold me to that, but unless something major arises, I expect that target to be hit.
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2013, 11:59 AM
crarbo1 crarbo1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slugger View Post
Yeah, all the issues in post 1 are non-existent at this point except for the season/episode numbers. There are some issues with that data and that's basically due to thetvdb.com having some serious server issues as of late. When thetvdb.com actually responds then the S/E data is populated, when they don't, well, the data disappears. Schedule Direct's code to pull the S/E data in is quite solid now, it's just a matter of whether or not tvdb responds to API queries.

Other than that, the updates with Tribune are now pulled daily (well six days a week; Tribune only delivers updated data Sun-Fri), issues with the upstream formatting received from Tribune have been addressed, etc. Basically it's rather solid (tvdb data aside).

For the first time, I'm willing to publicly announce an open beta release date target. The last scheduled closed beta should be released by the end of tomorrow. There may be one additional closed beta if anything comes up, then I'm away on vacation for a week and when I return, I expect to release the first public beta. This would be the week of Feb 4. Don't hold me to that, but unless something major arises, I expect that target to be hit.
Slugger,
Thanks for the update. It seems that it is almost ready. Since you are this close to releasing an open beta, I will probably just wait until then.

Thanks,
Chuck
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