Displaying what your TiVo recorded as a blog badge

There have been some people blogging about having what was recorded on TiVo being displayed on their blog.  Something like how you have display what you have been listening to with Last.FM.  Personally, I wouldn’t want the world to know what was just recorded on my TiVos.  One TiVo gets filled up with cooking shows and NY Mets baseball, the other one gets an eclectic collection of kid shows and the SciFi channel, with some Animal Planet for extra seasoning.

The programmer in me keeps thinking about from a how to build it viewpoint.  There are some scripts out there that will pull the recorded show information from the TiVo mini web server.  That part is pretty easy.  Getting it to your blog is another story.  Unless you host your own blog, you need some place to store the data so a blog widget can render it in Web 2.0 approved colors (plus the bottom reflection with alpha channel blending goodness).  Since your TiVo is behind a firewall (well, it should be behind one), your blog can’t pull the data directly form the TiVo.  And you really don’t want to pull the data, that’s too much traffic.

What you want to do is to push the data up once you find a place to host the data.  Since we don’t want to hack the TiVo, the TiVo wont be pushing the data.  You’ll need a home PC to query the recorded show history and push the data up.  A pretty simple task, but if you step back and think a little more about the whole TiVo experience, there is a better way.

Your TiVo box is connecting back to the TiVo mothership on a regular basis.  It gets program updates, verifies that it’s subscription is still good, sends usage data back to TiVo.  Other than creating the infrastructure, it would be pretty easy for the TiVo company to supply to you what your TiVo has recorded.  That’s where Louis Gray was heading with his article about TiVo adding social network related functionality.

I wonder if anyone at TiVo has thought of doing this.  They already have the hardware and networking stuff in place.  It’s basically just taking the data that TiVo is already sending back and allowing the users to display and share that data.  It adds a coolness factor that you wont get with a cable company DVR.  I mean TiVo spent resources enabling you to program your TiVo from a mobile phone, why not social networking?

Not a fan of Vibrant Media’s intellitxt popups (and how to get rid of them)

I was reading a blog about pulling an XML feed from my TiVo and I kept being distracted by popup ads over key words in the article.  You’ve probably seen them on other sites, the words have a double underline and they are not actually links. 

In the middle of a sentence, you see a word like this Internet and it looks almost like a regular link.  Except the color is wrong and the underline is not the same a regular link.  When your mouse hovers over them, a popup ad that has some contextual relationship to the text appears.  In the fake link above, nothing will happen when you mouse over it.  I just used an inline CSS style to do the double underlining.

Vibrant Media calls it “in-text advertising”.  I call it a popup and I want it to go away.  As in go away right now.

I can understand the desire to have ads on your blog and I have them here myself.  I’m using Google to supply the ads on this blog and they are pretty unobtrusive.  I don’t have any beef with web based advertising as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the reading the web page.  I don’t like popups and if I can avoid them, I will. 

In this case it was pretty easy.  I am using Firefox 2, so I installed the Adblock Plus addin.  That little gem will give you fine control over what ads you will see and experience.  For Vibrant based popups, it’s pretty easy.  For a web site to use Vibrant’s popups, they need to register an account with Vibrant and add some code to their web page that scans the text and creates something funky with Javascript when the page is rendered.  The web site author gets a url that includes their blog name on the intellitxt.com domain.  With AdBlock Plus, I just added a filter for the text http://*.intellitxt.* and after I refreshed the web page the popups were gone.  For Opera users, this link will show you how to block Intellitxt popups.

I would prefer not using AdBlock Pro. When I installed it, it prompted me to pick a subscription for automatically picking up ad filters.  When I did this, it took out most of the ads on every page.  And I don’t have a problem with Google Ads or other ads that don’t interfere with the consuming of the content.  So I yanked the subscription list out.  From here on out, I’m just going to kill the popups and leave the other ads in place.