Category Archives: iPhone

TiVo -> Video Podcast

Previously on “You can imagine where it goes from here”: We released a script to download stuff from the tivo, and then made some improvements to it.

After two years of saying I was going to fully automate the process of downloading and transcoding shows for my iPhone, I finally got off my ass and did it.  The script is called TiVo2Podcast and it not only does the downloading and transcoding, but it stuffs the resultant video into a an RSS feed for easy consumption/playback by a podcatcher such as iTunes. I’m now automatically getting the shows off my TiVo and onto my iPhone for easy commute-time consumption. (I commute by train, I do not recommend commute-time consumption if you are driving.)

The ruby script wraps tivodecode, HandbrakeCLI, and AtomicParsley and is intended to be run from cron.  I’ve tested this on Linux, but it should run on any UNIX-alike, but it won’t run on windows since I make liberal use of the system() call. Also, this is intended for PERSONAL USE ONLY, do not set up podcast feeds and violate the ethics (and also the laws) of copyright left and right.

This is a very early version and can certainly use some tweaks and enhancements, primarily in configuring the shows you want to capture.  Right now, configuration is in the form of doing INSERT statements in SQLite.  Not very friendly, but it gets the job done until I can make a quick and dirty question based TUI. Here’s an example of setting up getting the best fucking news team on the planet:

INSERT INTO configs (config_name, show_name, rss_filename, rss_link,
                     rss_baseurl, rss_ownername, rss_owneremail, ep_to_keep, encode_decomb)
            VALUES ('tds', 'The Daily Show', 'tds.xml', '', 
                    '', 'Keith T. Garner', '', 4, 1);

Download tivoscripts-20100304.tar.gz and let me know what you think. Make sure you read the README!

[Update 3/5: Forgot to add that all the code I wrote is under the Simplified BSD License, so have at it.]

iTunes keeps syncing the same 44 songs OVER and OVER: SOLVED!

iTunesRight as OS 3.0 came out  iTunesfor the iPhone and just after the latest version of iTunes was release a problem sprung up for me.  Without making any changes to any of my music files, iTunes would resync the same 44 songs to the iPhone on every sync.  I finally had some time to track it down.  Well, in truth, it finally annoyed me enough to find a fix.

It turns out the problems were broken id3 tags.  Now, if you ask me how they were broken, I honestly have no idea.  What I ended up doing is for mp3s that still had v1 tags, I removed the v1 tags.  My first thought was it was mp3s where v1 tags didn’t match v2 tags.  I used the excellent command line tool id3v2 to strip off the v1 tags, and then revisited the songs in iTunes information panel to make sure iTunes’s database matched what the songs now looked like.  Sync the iPhone, disconnect the iPhone, reconnect the iPhone, sync again, and boom, those files weren’t synced again.  Rinse and repeat until all were fixed until…

I ended up finding that a few of the 44 only had v2 tags, so it wasn’t the v1 tags alone.  On a whim I tried this fix which seemed to work: In iTunes I converted the v2 tags from say, version 2.3 to 2.2 and back, do the sync, rinse and repeat dance from above and that seemed to fix it.

On a related note, I found an excellent OS X only iTunes utility that does two very cool things I had been doing by hand: adding album art and lyrics.  Actually, I hadn’t been adding lyrics, but I’m considering it now that there is an easy way to do it.  The cool it called GimmieSomeTune.  What makes its album art gathering go above and beyond the iTunes’s native searching of the iTunes store is that if its not in the iTunes store, it’ll try to gather the album art from Amazon.  Amazon’s art has been hit and miss in terms of quality, but I prefer to have something there rather than the empty music symbol.  (You can also create your own default that will be put in place if iTunes can’t find it in either place.)  It also has some interesting features like integration, but I haven’t had a chance to play with that yet.

IRC: yes, people still use it

So, I’ve been having a very geeky IRC-filled Sunday.  It started with my morning RSS reading where I saw Daring Fireball point out the port of Colloquy that appeared in the iTunes App store.  And to answer DF: Yes, I remember IRC, I use it everyday.  I could go into this whole things about how I’m still tight with people from college who are all over the place, but I think that goes without saying, its the whole damn point of the internet, DURH.

As with any iPhone app not made by Apple, when you leave it, it will shut down and that won’t be much good until the notification API is up and around, and even then, it’d need IRC servers to support doing the notification and keeping some sort of connection/client information.  That’s right out as I don’t see any IRC servers really wanting to take on that additional tasks.  Reading the Colloquy FAQ, it suggested that one use an IRC bouncer/proxy.

On and off I always have considered making a middle wear irc server to persist connections and so I could use multiple clients.  However, I’ve never been motivated enough to really do something about it.  In general, gnu screen and ircII/irssi have filled my needs.  With the mobile Colloquy, I’ll want to be able to keep a persistent connections coming in and out of the app.  So I get the happy circumstance of where I go “I’d like something like this” and the Internet provides and saves me a bunch of time and gives me a working solution.  (The downside is a lot of cool coding I could have done, but probably never have gotten around to.)

After doing some quick web searching, I’ve decided to give ZNC a go as that middleware layer.  It seems to do everything I want, including the ability to have multiple irc clients hook into the instances its running for me.  It also works with any standard IRC client, which is a huge plus.  I didn’t have to retrain myself at all.  It doesn’t matter if I’m using irssi from Linux, Colloquy from my MacBook or iPhone, or xChat from wherever, its all the same irc instance with the same messages AT the same time.  Each client hooks into ZNC which has already hooked into the servers and channels that I frequent.  I can hook into ZNC over ssl from any standard IRC client and it just works.  I can also see writing a module for ZNC that will take advantage of the iPhone notification API should it ever arrive.

About 6 hours in, and I’m loving it.  IRC session ubiquity and I’m happy.  I can pop it up on my phone and IRC on the go, or just use a local client on my mac instead of sshing back home and using irssi.  I’ll probably still use irssi 99% of the time, but having options and being able to jump on from my phone will help.  IRC, how like crack you are and how I can’t quit you.  I did run into one problem with irssi and it not being able to do multiple connections to what it thinks is the same host, but I found a way around it after reading this.

Also, in rereading this post before I put it out on the web, I realize it doesn’t take much to amuse me these days.

WordPress for iPhone

I noticed that the WordPress for iPhone native blogging app appeared in the iTunes store last night. This is me giving it a try.

I don’t think i’ll bang out long posts this way, but you might see lots of smallish stuff since it’ll be so easy to add. Especially some on the fly photo blogging. Heck, it might replace my use of Twitter for some thoughts. Especially those thoughts over 140 characters.

As and added bonus, here’s Vik’s cat, Inky.


[non iPhone Update: Looks like Declan had the same idea on his blog.]