Running flexget with the --disable-advancement switch
I’ve mentioned flexget before in another post so I won’t go into detail about all of its options. It’s enough to say that it helps automate downloading .torrent files and can use regular expressions to filter out unwanted content.
One of the problems I ran into with flexget is a “feature” in which episodes that are past a certain date are automatically disqualified and not downloaded. So if you missed the start of a season of a show you might be out of luck unless you manually download the file. But like the Apple iPhone moniker there’s a “switch” for that:
The feature is known as advancement and running flexget with the –disable-advancement should catch you up on most of the episodes you missed in the past.
TEDTalks on thetvdb.com
TED Talks cover a wide range of interesting topics by luminaries from different walks of life. You’ll find talks by Melinda Gates (Bill Gates’ wife), Jamie Oliver (Chef), Al Gore (former vice president), Julian Assange (Wikileaks founder) and a host of other interesting speakers.
I checked thetvdb.com, the TV information web site used by XBMC’s default TV scraper and sure enough TED Talks was one of the shows available. Armed with this I added to my Flexget config.yml automatic torrent downloading configuration file:
There are a bunch of rules before and after the ted: preset, but to keep the article small I’ve excluded that information. The TED feed checked out okay when I ran flexget –check, but what I forgot was that I included a RSS feed that was for the full video file, not for TED torrents. When I ran flexget it took a very long time for flexget to complete because it was downloading entire episodes of TED.
The other next surprise was that the episodes I downloaded were newer than anything on the thetvdb.com TEDTalks database. When I double checked the thetvdb.com TEDTalks database I saw that the most recent episode listed was for August. It kind of defeats the purpose of including the flexget feed if new episodes are no longer being added… or I need to find a different scraper to update the information.
Lastly there’s no real way to know which talk fits into which TED season other than looking at the year stamp and making a guess based on the thetvdb.com web site. It means renaming, which is time consuming.
TED could make this process simpler by releasing torrent feeds, not just full video feeds. Hopefully then thetvdb.com would get updated with more current content.
If anyone knows of a better way to include TED Talks (other than streaming) in XBMC please let me know.
Flexget is a nice command line program that automates the process of downloading .torrent files. The Flexget web site has a number of cookbook recipes for processing torrents. It’s flexible enough to include or exclude torrents based on the torrent name. Flexget uses a simple form of regular expressions. Everything is set in a ~/.flexget/config.yml file. Drawing on the flexget web site here’s a really simple example configuration file:
- pioneer one
- south park
Of course http://example.com/rss.xml is just an example, you’d need to use a real RSS feed. Series reflects which shows you want to download from the feed. The download section points to where the torrent files are stored. Flexget just pulls the torrents. You then need to set up a program like Transmission (under Linux) to pick up torrents from the same directory. I happen to like Transmission because it doesn’t take a whole lot of memory and can be web-enabled.
When creating the config.yml file you have to be careful to use 2 spaces, don’t use tabs or flexget will not recognize the configuration file correctly. If you’re not sure if a recipe you created works you can run:
This will run flexget using a test database. Any errors will be noted at the end. Spacing is the most common issue. Of course downloading tv-shows may be illegal… (should we take our cues from Lady Gaga the “BitTorrent Loving Freak”)