My job has recently changed from mostly programming in Perl to mostly Java. As such I’ve been playing around with Java at home a bit too.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone who bought my Sky+ Remote Recorder app asking if I’d be updating it. I replied saying that I wouldn’t because I didn’t think it was worth the effort when Sky have their own app and at least my asp still worked for people with older versions of Android.
A couple of days ago I read that Sky’s apps got pulled because they got hacked. I cursed myself for not having bothered to update my own app and decided it would be good practice at Java and would be a welcome improvement to the people who still use my app regularly.
I’ve spent my evenings working on a new version this week. It’s coming along quite slowly because I’ve got no experience of most of the new Android development practises or designs.
I hope to have a very basic ugly version working by the middle of next week and then spend some time polishing it and doing what testing I can on the devices at my disposal before releasing it.
I was looking around on the Android Marketplace today when I saw that BSkyB are now offering their own Sky+ app for remote recording shows, listings, etc. It’s a very nice-looking app. Lots of polish and shine.
I don’t really see any need to continue developing Remote Recorder now this app exists. It’s kind of a shame because I was still in the middle of my rewrite. I’ll leave my app listed and I’ll probably finish the new version at some point because it’s actually something I enjoy doing, but once the new version is out and stable I doubt I’ll plan any new features, unless I think I can offer something that BSkyB can’t, won’t, or don’t.
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time working on the next version of Remote Recorder (my Android app for recording TV programmes with Sky+). I’ve listened to a lot of feedback and the main thing requested by people was the availability of listings for TV channels, rather than just a search interface. When I originally made the app I just wanted to be able to search, so I made it just for myself. That’s no longer the case though, as there are quite a few users of the app, and that number is growing every day.
So I have spent quite a bit of time looking at how best to implement this feature and the video below is what I’ve come up with. Keep in mind that it’s incomplete, and excuse the elevator music 🙂
So yeah, that’s the basics of how it will work. There will be some minor differences that I have in mind, like the ability to filter the channels/programmes by typing the name into the box at the top. This next version should go a long way towards making Remote Recorder a much more stable and usable Android app. 🙂
I received a notification from a user last night saying that there were problems sending remote record requests because of a login issue. I just wanted to update to say that I have replicated the problem with my own account, and so I plan to work on fixing this issue this evening, as soon as I get home.
Based on a tiny bit of checking I think it should be a fairly trivial fix, but that’s without knowing the true details of the problem.
I will update again when I know more, and will get a working version on the Android Market as soon as possible.
I made some changes to my Sky remote record app for Android available on the market today. The changes are fairly basic, and are mostly there to make the user experience a bit better.
For example, if your recording fails then you receive a screen where you can choose to test your login details on Sky’s website to make sure you’ve got them correct, you can also view the help on my site, or open the preferences to change your username and/or password.
The update will make it much easier for people to be sure their details are correct and solve any problems they may encounter when setting up remote record requests with Sky.
I’ve decided to release a trial version of my Sky+ Android application Remote Recorder so that it’s a bit more accessible to people who want to try it out before they commit to a (refundable) purchase.
The trial version is limited to one recording request for now, but that may change in the future if people want to try it a bit more. For now I believe that one recording is all it takes to get a feel for the application.
Along with this new trial version I have made some minor changes to the full version of the app. There are now some more robust checks in place to see if your login details are correct, and to find out if your remote record request was properly received by Sky.
To find either version search for Remote Recorder on the Android Market and pick the one you want. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
My Remote Recorder application got a bad review earlier because the search was too slow. It turns out that the section of the Sky website that deals with remote recording is actually down. There’s not really a great deal I can do to make my app work when Sky is down, but I really should have had some more sturdy error handling in place.
The MySky section of Sky.com
As I was in the middle of testing a couple of quick changes Sky seem to be attempting to fix this now, and the service keeps going up and down.
I’m pushing out an updated version now with a more helpful message in the event of a communication failure.
A month ago I wanted to set something on TV to record from my phone because I was out of the house. I was aware of the Remote Record option available on the Sky website, and that I could send an SMS to a specific number to set it up, but the website is a real pain to use on my phone, and I couldn’t remember the phone number, or what to send to it anyway.
I figured there was probably an Android application for sending a remote record request via the web, and there actually was. I was very pleased, until I saw that is cost quite a bit of money. This was when I came up with the idea of writing my own Remote Recorder application.
After a lot of my evenings and weekends spent on it I finally have a working application that I’m satisfied with enough to release to the general public.
Search the Android App Store for “Remote Recorder” and give it a go!
Remote Recorder has a very basic interface. You enter the name of the show you want to record into the search box and results are returned for you to choose from. Once you’ve chosen a show a list of show times and channels is retrieved and displayed to you. If you long-click on the show description then a remote record request is sent to Sky and they forward it to your Sky+ or Sky+ HD box. Hey presto, your show gets recorded. 🙂