March 30, 2004

genietexter scriptable is now officially released

Genietexter 0.8 (scriptable version) is now officially released, and they have also got a new domain name Good stuff! :)

Posted by steeev to Cool Software at 09:04 PM | Permanent Link | | Comments (0)

March 23, 2004

Cool new free SMS Sending program in beta testing.

Genietexter scriptable version (beta) is now available for testing. (GenieTexter)

ive written some sms scripts for use with the new version of genietexter, they can be obtained here: smsac.xml and textmine.xml

The smsac.xml script is for sending sms via the portal. They let you have 8 free texts a day, allowing international texts and also replies to your texts. They also give you 150 free texts as a bonus to use in your first week of signing up, or more if you sign up at the same time as a friend, pretty cool offer. The textmine.xml script is less useful as only give you a one off allowance of 10 free texts but the replies go straight to your phone.

March 09, 2004

Free UK TV Listings in XMLTV format have started offering free TV listings for the UK in XMLTV xml format, which is good news for users of various PVR and EPG programs such as TV Guide and Freeguide-TV etc, who up until recently got them from, luckily are now offering UK TV listings in XMLTV format, so my previous posting about using Coldfusion to download and reformat their html listings is no longer necessary, the only thing needed now is to download each channels listings then unzip them. I've written a Bourne shell script that does just this specifically for TV Guide. Heres the script

# filename:
# Get today's UK TV listings in XMLTV format
CHANNELS="bbc1 bbc2 itv1 ch4 five"

for ch in $CHANNELS
sleep 2
wget -U 'My TV Fetching application (' \
-O '' \
wzunzip -o
mv -f data.xml $ch.xml

The reason I wrote the script for the bourne shell, was there was a working example on the bleb mailing list using the bourne shell, and i was having problems getting a DOS batch file version to work, as whenever wget encountered an ampersand in one of WGet's URL parameters, it choked.

Theres more info on their TV listings at their website and also on their developers mailing list.

Posted by steeev to Cool Websites at 08:29 PM | Permanent Link | | Comments (0)

March 08, 2004

Free TV Guide Software

Recently I've been experimenting with free TV Guide aka EPG (Electronic Program Guide) software for Windows. The software I've tried are Digiguide (free 1 month trial period, then after that its £10 a year which is pretty reasonable as the quality of the listings is very good, the number of channels available is huge, and the program has lots of useful features, such as spoken audio reminders.

The winner of the TV Guide applications shoot out for me, has got to be DigiGuide though the winner of the totally free TV Guide application has got to be TV Guide by Paul Ledbury. Unfortunately the program no longer works "out of the box" as it relies on downloading XMLTV formatted TV listings from the website, unfortunately Ananova no longer provide this service.

The Freeguide-tv Java application is quite good too but is currently rendered practically unusable as it relies on downloading its listings from the Radio Times website, and takes forever to download a single days listings let alone a whole weeks.

So in general the free TV Guide programs are suffering from a lack of a good source of free TV listings. Luckily a new free UK TV listings provider has emerged: At present they don't supply the listings in XMLTV format, which TV Guide requires, so Ive written a coldfusion script that grabs the listings for the main terrestrial UK channels (bbc1,bbc2,itv,channel4,channel5 and also ftn and UK History) from the bleb site and converts them to the TV Guide raw format and saves them in the TV Guide directory. You can get the coldfusion (v4.5) script here., you also need this script called sleep.cfm I havent tested it on CFMX yet. In order to get TV Guide working with these files, you will need to run the cf script once a day, and you will also need to edit the TVGuide.ini file, to get the channels to match the ones you are downloading. N.B you should not allow the program to try and download new TV listings on its own, as it will overwrite the files that the cf script has created. The TVGuide.ini script I use, which works with my script can be viewed here: TVGuide.ini You can of course edit the script and the ini file to match the channels you want to download and view.

Confusingly there is another TV Guide program called TV_Guide, this is similar to TV Guide in a way, though it downloads its listings directly from as it can interpret their listings directly, from what I have seen of this program it is very basic, and I didnt like it at all, i much prefer Paul Ledburys TV Guide program.

Posted by steeev to Cool Software at 11:38 PM | Permanent Link | | Comments (0)

March 04, 2004

I've Been experimenting with SMSSend

I've been working on converting some ASP scripts I wrote for sending free SMS messages via various SMS portals on the web, into the SMSSend format. Ive managed to get both my orange uk and my 118 com script working. I tried to upload the scripts to the official SMSSend website, but they are having a database problem there. So I've decided to host them here: 118.sms, orangeuk.sms for now

Posted by steeev to Cool Software at 04:52 PM | Permanent Link | | Comments (0)

Free SMS in the UK

EGenie was the first windows program i used for sending free SMS, it was cool as it was the only program of its kind at the time, it worked by allowing you to send text messages via the site (now renamed to Then along came Genietexter, which also let you send SMS via the o2 website but offers lots of new extra features, including the ability to send SMS via other free SMS services.

The problem with both of these programs is the slow turnaround time in getting the programs updated, dont get me wrong im not criticising the programmers behind the 2 programs, as i realise how much time and effort it takes to maintain free software of this kind. I guess its partly the fact that these 2 programs are closed source, which adds to the apparent slowness of maintenance updates.

Recently I came across a new program, it was actually released in 2002 so its not really new, just new to me. Anyway this program has an open scripting interface, that lets anyone update existing scripts, of which there are loads, including lots of internation free sms portals. If the script for a site stops working you can go in and fix it yourself, you can also add your own scripts which let you send sms via newly discovered free sms portals. The program is not as polished looking as either EGenie or Genietexter and doesnt run as smoothly but its 'semi-open sourceness' (the actual program is closed source, but the scripting API is open) adds a whole new dimension to the genre of SMS sending applications. The programmer of EGenie, is working on a second generation sms sending application codenamed Mercury, which will feature similar features as SMSSend, but right now the only program in the game is SMSSend. Unfortunately the programmer of SMSSend is also rather slow at updating his program, but luckily the fact that the program is scriptable lets the users update the SMS portal script files themselves and share them amongst themselves via the website.

Get the programs mentioned in the article here: GenieTexter, SMSSend

Cant live with them, cant live without them.

Interesting article in the observer about the state of the 'relationships market' It goes into the pros and cons of being single, and asks whether single men can truly enjoy the bachelor lifestyle. The article claims "relationship churn" as being one of the major factors in the current buoyant state of the housing market.