Mailing List Archive

Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review
Hi All,

I am rejoining the list for the near future to keep you apprised of
the status of Torc for iOS, a mobile frontend compatible with MythTV
0.25 and Torc. Something I've been keeping under my hat until just
now is that Torc for iOS will also support iPhone and iPod Touch
devices. Please see the following video for a demo of the iPod/iPhone
experience:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGoU90bdUC8

In other news, I whittled my TODO list for the application down to
nothing today, so I have submitted it for app store review. I also
did fairly extensive testing of the app with a cellular/mobile
connection over the past few days, and with adequate upstream and
backend CPU grunt, the experience is absolutely fantastic. The
average review time for Apple is currently right around 5-7 business
days. I hope that around this time a week from now, I will be able to
announce that the application is available for purchase. Because the
MythTV/Torc streaming implementation has never been tested against the
app store review process, a lot remains up in the air. Apple has very
specific requirements when it comes to streaming behaviors, and
hopefully I am not too far off the mark.

In the end, I settled on what Apple calls "Tier 4" pricing, which is
essentially $3.99 USD. I am a strong believer in open source, but I
am an equally strong believer in keeping a roof over my head. :) For
further details on why I decided to charge a nominal price for the
app, and to read quite a lot about what you can do to make sure your
backends and frontends are ready for use with the application, please
see the following:

http://www.fecitfacta.com/blog1/torc/

Note that this application has no official relationship with the Torc
open source project, which is continuing quite nicely. Since this is
a MythTV list, I won't discuss that here.

I am happy to field any questions, comments, or concerns you might
have about this application, and I hope that those of you with iOS
devices of all shapes and sizes will consider trying it out when it
becomes available.

Thanks,

Robert McNamara
Developer, Torc
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Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 6:37 PM, Robert McNamara
<robert.mcnamara@gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> I am rejoining the list for the near future to keep you apprised of
> the status of Torc for iOS, a mobile frontend compatible with MythTV
> 0.25 and Torc. Something I've been keeping under my hat until just
> now is that Torc for iOS will also support iPhone and iPod Touch
> devices. Please see the following video for a demo of the iPod/iPhone
> experience:
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGoU90bdUC8
>
> In other news, I whittled my TODO list for the application down to
> nothing today, so I have submitted it for app store review. I also
> did fairly extensive testing of the app with a cellular/mobile
> connection over the past few days, and with adequate upstream and
> backend CPU grunt, the experience is absolutely fantastic. The
> average review time for Apple is currently right around 5-7 business
> days. I hope that around this time a week from now, I will be able to
> announce that the application is available for purchase. Because the
> MythTV/Torc streaming implementation has never been tested against the
> app store review process, a lot remains up in the air. Apple has very
> specific requirements when it comes to streaming behaviors, and
> hopefully I am not too far off the mark.
>
> In the end, I settled on what Apple calls "Tier 4" pricing, which is
> essentially $3.99 USD. I am a strong believer in open source, but I
> am an equally strong believer in keeping a roof over my head. :) For
> further details on why I decided to charge a nominal price for the
> app, and to read quite a lot about what you can do to make sure your
> backends and frontends are ready for use with the application, please
> see the following:
>
> http://www.fecitfacta.com/blog1/torc/
>
> Note that this application has no official relationship with the Torc
> open source project, which is continuing quite nicely. Since this is
> a MythTV list, I won't discuss that here.
>
> I am happy to field any questions, comments, or concerns you might
> have about this application, and I hope that those of you with iOS
> devices of all shapes and sizes will consider trying it out when it
> becomes available.
>

Robert,

Thanks for your work and contribution to the community. I know that as
soon as this hits the store, I'll be buying it. It will be a welcome
addition to our household.

Kevin
Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 8:46 AM, Kevin Kuphal <kkuphal@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 6:37 PM, Robert McNamara <
> robert.mcnamara@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Hi All,
>>
>> I am rejoining the list for the near future to keep you apprised of
>> the status of Torc for iOS, a mobile frontend compatible with MythTV
>> 0.25 and Torc. Something I've been keeping under my hat until just
>> now is that Torc for iOS will also support iPhone and iPod Touch
>> devices. Please see the following video for a demo of the iPod/iPhone
>> experience:
>>
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGoU90bdUC8
>>
>> In other news, I whittled my TODO list for the application down to
>> nothing today, so I have submitted it for app store review. I also
>> did fairly extensive testing of the app with a cellular/mobile
>> connection over the past few days, and with adequate upstream and
>> backend CPU grunt, the experience is absolutely fantastic. The
>> average review time for Apple is currently right around 5-7 business
>> days. I hope that around this time a week from now, I will be able to
>> announce that the application is available for purchase. Because the
>> MythTV/Torc streaming implementation has never been tested against the
>> app store review process, a lot remains up in the air. Apple has very
>> specific requirements when it comes to streaming behaviors, and
>> hopefully I am not too far off the mark.
>>
>> In the end, I settled on what Apple calls "Tier 4" pricing, which is
>> essentially $3.99 USD. I am a strong believer in open source, but I
>> am an equally strong believer in keeping a roof over my head. :) For
>> further details on why I decided to charge a nominal price for the
>> app, and to read quite a lot about what you can do to make sure your
>> backends and frontends are ready for use with the application, please
>> see the following:
>>
>> http://www.fecitfacta.com/blog1/torc/
>>
>> Note that this application has no official relationship with the Torc
>> open source project, which is continuing quite nicely. Since this is
>> a MythTV list, I won't discuss that here.
>>
>> I am happy to field any questions, comments, or concerns you might
>> have about this application, and I hope that those of you with iOS
>> devices of all shapes and sizes will consider trying it out when it
>> becomes available.
>>
>
>
> Cant wait. I hope they approve the App with out any changes! I just
upgraded to .25 and created "Streaming" Storage group!
Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM, Robert McNamara
<robert.mcnamara@gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> I am rejoining the list for the near future to keep you apprised of
> the status of Torc for iOS, a mobile frontend compatible with MythTV
> 0.25 and Torc. Something I've been keeping under my hat until just
> now is that Torc for iOS will also support iPhone and iPod Touch
> devices. Please see the following video for a demo of the iPod/iPhone
> experience:
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGoU90bdUC8
>
> In other news, I whittled my TODO list for the application down to
> nothing today, so I have submitted it for app store review. I also
> did fairly extensive testing of the app with a cellular/mobile
> connection over the past few days, and with adequate upstream and
> backend CPU grunt, the experience is absolutely fantastic. The
> average review time for Apple is currently right around 5-7 business
> days. I hope that around this time a week from now, I will be able to
> announce that the application is available for purchase. Because the
> MythTV/Torc streaming implementation has never been tested against the
> app store review process, a lot remains up in the air. Apple has very
> specific requirements when it comes to streaming behaviors, and
> hopefully I am not too far off the mark.
>
> In the end, I settled on what Apple calls "Tier 4" pricing, which is
> essentially $3.99 USD. I am a strong believer in open source, but I
> am an equally strong believer in keeping a roof over my head. :) For
> further details on why I decided to charge a nominal price for the
> app, and to read quite a lot about what you can do to make sure your
> backends and frontends are ready for use with the application, please
> see the following:
>
> http://www.fecitfacta.com/blog1/torc/
>
> Note that this application has no official relationship with the Torc
> open source project, which is continuing quite nicely. Since this is
> a MythTV list, I won't discuss that here.
>
> I am happy to field any questions, comments, or concerns you might
> have about this application, and I hope that those of you with iOS
> devices of all shapes and sizes will consider trying it out when it
> becomes available.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Robert McNamara
> Developer, Torc
> _______________________________________________
>

First, thanks for this. If it works as well as it seems, especially
remotely, it will replace a lot of the kludgy things I've been doing to get
to my recordings when not at home. Plus, it will make my iPad refrigerator
mount much more useful!

Second... As somebody who can't read code and hasn't looked to see if there
are release notes, I have some questions about some of the aspects of this
app.

A) Connection - Is the connection made over just http/https or does it use
other ports? Is there some kind of MySQL connection made across the wire,
or is it all "front ended" by the http session like MythWeb? I ask because
my employer blocks several outbound ports to the internet, making
non-standard apps like Plex a challenge.

B) Speaking of connection, MySQL, etc - If this is all presented via a web
front end, it should be relatively trivial for app developers to write
direct hooks for Plex/ XBMC/ Boxee to connect into MythTV, no? This reminds
me of a paradigm shift similar to when Microsoft opened Outlook Web Access
to WebDAV and then Exchange Web Services, although a wee bit more open. :-)

C) Security - If we do set this up so it's accessible over the Internet,
how do we lock it down so that bad people don't log into our home MythTV
systems?

Bonus almost completely off-topic question: I'm about to set up a security
system at my house and have considered MythZoneMinder. How hard would it be
to add the ability to tune into my cameras using this app? I'd pay for a
TorcZoneMinder app. :-)
Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
Hi Matt,

On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:53 AM, Matt Emmott <memmott@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> First, thanks for this. If it works as well as it seems, especially
> remotely, it will replace a lot of the kludgy things I've been doing to get
> to my recordings  when not at home. Plus, it will make my iPad refrigerator
> mount much more useful!
>
> Second... As somebody who can't read code and hasn't looked to see if there
> are release notes, I have some questions about some of the aspects of this
> app.
>

There are indeed support/troubleshooting notes. See:

http://www.fecitfacta.com/blog1/torc/

Which answers some of the questions you have asked here.

> A) Connection - Is the connection made over just http/https or does it use
> other ports? Is there some kind of MySQL connection made across the wire, or
> is it all "front ended" by the http session like MythWeb? I ask because my
> employer blocks several outbound ports to the internet, making non-standard
> apps like Plex a challenge.
>

All connections are via http. The backend web server uses port 6544
by default, the frontend one uses 6547 by default.

> B) Speaking of connection, MySQL, etc - If this is all presented via a web
> front end, it should be relatively trivial for app developers to write
> direct hooks for Plex/ XBMC/ Boxee to connect into MythTV, no? This reminds
> me of a paradigm shift similar to when Microsoft opened Outlook Web Access
> to WebDAV and then Exchange Web Services, although a wee bit more open. :-)
>

Yes, it's all does via web services. You can request returns in XML,
Apple plist (which is what I use), and JSON. You could also write a
serializer for any other relevant output type.

> C) Security - If we do set this up so it's accessible over the Internet, how
> do we lock it down so that bad people don't log into our home MythTV
> systems?
>

This is covered in the troubleshooting page, so I'll just cut and paste here:

How do I connect to my backend from outside of the house?

This is a topic on which I can give you some advice, but I can’t give
you any direct assistance. There are lots of ways to connect to your
backend from outside of your home. There are really easy ones
(opening up port 6544 on your router and forwarding it to port 6544 on
your master backend) and there are slightly more difficult options
which are a way better idea. You could use an SSH application to
create a tunnel to your home, or you can use the built in iOS VPN
functionality to connect to your system. These are way better ideas
than simply opening up port 6544. I strongly recommend the VPN or SSH
option. I use the iOS VPN and connect directly to my master backend
using a Dynamic DNS hostname.

</end cut and paste>

Personally, I set up OpenSwan/IPSec and just use the native iOS VPN
client. It works great-- I just go into settings, turn VPN to "on,"
and go to town.

> Bonus almost completely off-topic question: I'm about to set up a security
> system at my house and have considered MythZoneMinder. How hard would it be
> to add the ability to tune into my cameras using this app? I'd pay for a
> TorcZoneMinder app. :-)
>

No interest in this functionality for my part-- first off, none of the
plugins have any APIs associated with them yet, but moreover,
MythZoneMinder is dead in terms of development. For my own part, my
goal was to be concise and distill Torc/Myth down to the most
fundamental elements-- and to make those elements vastly more easy to
use than a regular remote or any other frontend (web or otherwise)
makes them. I wanted it to feel fun and self explanatory. For this
reason, I think I will be trying to keep a tight focus on what this
app should do, to do it really well, and not bolt on everything I can
think of.

Thanks, and hope this helps,

Robert
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Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
Robert,

Any specifics on backup CPU requirements and internet upload speeds for
quality viewing on the iPad?

Thanks,
Mitchell
Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
Hi Mitchell,

On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 12:03 PM, Mitchell Gore <mitchell.gore@gmail.com> wrote:
> Robert,
>
> Any specifics on backup CPU requirements and internet upload speeds for
> quality viewing on the iPad?

This will depend broadly on the level of quality that you desire.
There are eight settings for bitrate/quality which will affect the
upstream needed (total of the audio and video bitrates, plus a little
overhead). These profiles are taken from the Apple specifications for
optimal bitrates and resolutions for their devices, and represent a
sampling of those recommended for both cellular and wifi networks.
They are:

224p:
110 Kb/s Video, 64 Kb/s Audio, 224 Height

224p HBR:
400 Kb/s Video, 64 Kb/s Audio, 224 Height

360p:
600 Kb/s Video, 64 Kb/s Audio, 360 Height

360p HBR:
1200 Kb/s Video, 64 Kb/s Audio, 360 Height

540p:
1500 Kb/s Video, 64 Kb/s Audio, 540 Height

540p HBR:
2200 Kb/s Video, 64 Kb/s Audio, 540 Height

720p:
2500 Kb/s Video, 64 Kb/s Audio, 720 Height

720p HBR:
4500 Kb/s Video, 64 Kb/s Audio, 720 Height

My Core 2 Quad Q6600 (about 3 years old now) keeps up with the 540p
baseline profile while also delivering what I consider pretty nice
quality. 540p is the default profile on the iPad, though you can set
any you like. 224p is the default setting on iPhone/iPod. As the
variables for each individual user will vary quite a lot, you will
need to find the sweet spot for your own configuration.

Unless you have an Atom backend, in which case, the sweet spot is down
the street at your local computer retailer, where they will be happy
to sell you a computer more suited to this particular task :)

Robert
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Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM, Robert McNamara
<robert.mcnamara@gmail.com> wrote:
> Note that this application has no official relationship with the Torc
> open source project, which is continuing quite nicely.  Since this is
> a MythTV list, I won't discuss that here.

Perhaps. On the other hand there has already been multiple, often
confused, posts on this list regarding Torc and more than one call for
a somewhat official statement. (E.g.
http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users/513593#513593 )

Given that Torc doesn't have much of a home page right now, it might
be a good idea to post something here, if for no other reason than to
end further speculation on this list. (Or, perhaps to put up a proper
home page for Torc that has a FAQ list with answers, and then just
post the URL here.) A lot of us would like to better understand the
reasons why the existence of Torc is necessary, and what the long term
plans for both MythTV and Torc are in relation to each other.

Eric
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Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM, Eric Sharkey <eric@lisaneric.org> wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM, Robert McNamara
> <robert.mcnamara@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Note that this application has no official relationship with the Torc
>> open source project, which is continuing quite nicely.  Since this is
>> a MythTV list, I won't discuss that here.
>
> Perhaps.  On the other hand there has already been multiple, often
> confused, posts on this list regarding Torc and more than one call for
> a somewhat official statement.  (E.g.
> http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users/513593#513593 )
>
> Given that Torc doesn't have much of a home page right now, it might
> be a good idea to post something here, if for no other reason than to
> end further speculation on this list.  (Or, perhaps to put up a proper
> home page for Torc that has a FAQ list with answers, and then just
> post the URL here.)  A lot of us would like to better understand the
> reasons why the existence of Torc is necessary, and what the long term
> plans for both MythTV and Torc are in relation to each other.
>
> Eric

Well, I won't argue that the content isn't *that* complete, but there
is a page, and a forum:

http://www.torcdvr.com/
http://forum.torcdvr.com/

There are a number of reasons not to go into great detail here.
Suffice to say the conflicts are both personal and technical in
nature, and those of us on the Torc side of the fence don't want to
provoke a conflict or a "he said, she said" type of situation. One of
the primary reasons for the fork is to leave behind exactly those
kinds of things. I am/we are happy to try to address some of the
questions and concerns on the Torc forum, in the Torc IRC channels, or
any other place where I can be pretty sure it won't elicit a flamewar
or out of proportion response. For purposes of this mailing list I'd
rather just address the technical questions as they pertain to using
Torc for iOS as a MythTV client.

Robert
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Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM, Robert McNamara
<robert.mcnamara@gmail.com> wrote:
> Well, I won't argue that the content isn't *that* complete, but there
> is a page, and a forum:
>
> http://www.torcdvr.com/
> http://forum.torcdvr.com/

Thanks, Robert. My google searched didn't seem to turn those up.
Most things seem to point to the github page as the Torc home page
(E.g. http://www.schedulesdirect.org/approvedsoftware ) and you must
admit that's pretty spartan from an end user point of view.

Going forward, as MythTv and Torc diverge, do you plan to continue
supporting using MythTv as a backend for your iOS app?

Eric
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Re: Torc for iOS - Application Submitted to the App Store for Review [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 1:20 PM, Eric Sharkey <eric@lisaneric.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM, Robert McNamara
> <robert.mcnamara@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Well, I won't argue that the content isn't *that* complete, but there
>> is a page, and a forum:
>>
>> http://www.torcdvr.com/
>> http://forum.torcdvr.com/
>
> Thanks, Robert.  My google searched didn't seem to turn those up.
> Most things seem to point to the github page as the Torc home page
> (E.g. http://www.schedulesdirect.org/approvedsoftware ) and you must
> admit that's pretty spartan from an end user point of view.
>
> Going forward, as MythTv and Torc diverge, do you plan to continue
> supporting using MythTv as a backend for your iOS app?

The idea behind the API is as minimal "external" API change as
possible, so much of what's already there should continue to work for
a good long time. I do anticipate divergence, at which point it's
probable that I will split the app in two-- so long as the Myth API
stays relatively functional I will support it, and strike off in
another direction with a distinct second app. If there is a split, I
will make sure any purchasers have the ability to stick with whatever
they like.

Hope this helps to answer the question,

Robert
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