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DNNA NTP Server Kaput - No Time Sync Errors - Activation?

 
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TakeTheActive
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:33 am    Post subject: DNNA NTP Server Kaput - No Time Sync Errors - Activation? Reply with quote

hdonzis wrote:
...I realized after I posted this that there are nice NTP utilities out there, so I ran one to check ReplayTV's time response, and this is what I got:
Code:
ntpdate -q ntp-production.replaytv.net
server 64.124.73.105, stratum 16, offset -5.087856, delay 0.07640
 3 Aug 13:25:04 ntpdate[9388066]: no server suitable for synchronization found
So, it seems like there is definitely something wrong with their time response, which is a real shame...

I have a belated question from a couple of weeks ago, when I first read the info quoted above and did some GOOGLE'ng.

The first page of hits from a SEARCH for "Ntpdate" returns Linux-related replies so I kept searching for something that Windows could do. I found: Manually Check NTP Server from Windows 8 Command Line, which works fine on Vista.

Comparing the results of time.nist.gov to ntp-production.replaytv.net are a bit confusing though:

Code:
C:\!Util\BAT>w32tm /stripchart /computer:time.nist.gov /dataonly /samples:5
Tracking time.nist.gov [128.138.141.172:123].
Collecting 5 samples.
The current time is 2015-08-16 17:16:24.
17:16:24, +04.5148773s
17:16:26, +04.5158393s
17:16:28, +04.5152959s
17:16:30, +04.5164935s
17:16:32, +04.5163105s

C:\!Util\BAT>w32tm /stripchart /computer:ntp-production.replaytv.net /dataonly /
samples:5
Tracking ntp-production.replaytv.net [64.124.73.105:123].
Collecting 5 samples.
The current time is 2015-08-16 17:16:36.
17:16:36, +20.7058473s
17:16:38, -19.8681626s
17:16:40, +133.9407944s
17:16:42, +29.9980607s
17:16:45, -13.0157945s

C:\!Util\BAT>

As someone well versed in this subject, how would you interpret the w32tm results displaying wildly differing time offsets instead of an error?

On that same note, I find it strange that my 3 RTV 5XXX machines continue to 'Net Connect' successfully per 411-Zones, with no hesitation at 'Setting Clock', but have clocks that are getting further and further out of sync by the day. The action that brought me to investigate this was when two side-by-side RTV 5XXX units in the living room, one dedicated to CBS, the other to ABC, set to record the Evening News at 18:30 M-F did not start recording simultaneously. When I turned on their screen time displays CBS was almost a minute behind. Why do you think the RTV 5XXXs are not generating errors when attempting to sync with this wildly varying, according to w32tm, Replay NTP Server?

Before LaHo Extra Special Good Will was created, I considered:
  • LaHo Good Will
    - but I only wanted the time, not the IR Blaster updates
  • My old WiRNS 2.X pointing to X.us.pool.ntp.org IIRC
    - Will WiRNS 2.X be able to supply a Time Sync without up-to-date Guide Data? If so, I could power up the old P4 w/Win2K, force a few 'Net Connects' and be set for a couple of weeks at a time.

hdonzis wrote:
...Again, this service will only be usable as long as DNNA's equipment remains operational, it is based on the assumption that the only problem currently is that the clock set isn't working properly...

What will be the (expected) response while using LaHo Extra Special Good Will when DNNA finally turns off their server(s)? i.e. I would like to just have to temporarily redirect my RTV 5XXXs to LaHo Good Will, and finally to WiRNS 3.X w/Schedules Direct, WiRNS 3.0 Now Available for Download, (when the basement cools down and I can finally set it up).

Due to my procrastination in asking these NTP questions, it's been just about a month since the bankruptcy notice.
  • Can someone not currently using either WiRNS 3.X w/Schedules Direct or LaHo expect to lose their activations due to the soon-to-be kaput DNNA NTP Server?
    i.e. Is Activation / Expiration Date dependent on correct time via NTP or separate?
  • Based on:
    hdonzis wrote:
    hdonzis wrote:
    Well, I doubt you'll be able to manually record long without being authorized in some way, which LaHo won't do if you don't have a subscription.

    I double checked, and LaHo DOES activate unsubscribed units (which is pretty clear if you read the "good will" instructions, that it changes the MyReplayTV wording)!

    So, it seems like a person could use the LaHo "good will" project to continue to make manual recordings!

    And, to be clearer about some of the other responses, the "good will" activation does not set an expiration, keeping it lifetime. However, the expiration is only enforced in the absence of net connecting. Again, a networked version ReplayTV MUST net connect with some frequency in order to remain activate, regardless of its subscription status (lifetime or monthly). The only thing that setting an expiration does is deactivate the unit sooner in the absence of net connecting. So, if you knew that your subscription was going to run out, you can't just disconnect from the network to keep using it, it will still stop operating on your subscription expiration date. And, having a lifetime subscription just means that the ReplayTV won't deactivate early in the absence of net connecting. You still can't use a lifetime subscription image to make lifetime activated units. A net connect which continues to activate the unit is required to keep the unit usable...

    Basically, DNNA was very careful about their subscription-based networked units. They made sure that you can't trick them into being activated. They protected the time set mechanism so that you can't trick the ReplayTV into being earlier in time so as to keep it activated, and they require frequent activations from net connecting, as well as setting an expiration date to cause the unit to deactivate at the appropriate time even if it is not net connecting...

    Henry

    ...the original LaHo Good Will will supply Time Sync and maintain activation (and update my IR Blaster codes) until I can get WiRNS 3.X w/Schedules Direct up and running but I don't want to take up any more of Robert's bandwidth than absolutely necessary.
    1. Is the IR Blaster Codes update a one-time deal?
    2. Does LaHo Extra Special Good Will also maintain activation?
      - Since it depends on the DNNA Server(s) remaining operational, I'd say no.
    3. Would it be correct to assume that if the DNNA Server(s) were shut down, WiRNS 2.X, although able to get the correct time from the NTP Pool, would lose activation and need WiRNS 3.X with its special text file for authorization?
      Glenn1963 wrote:
      ...WiRNS now operates without contact with the ReplayTV servers.

      Authorization / signed functions are fully operational.

      Included in the installation is an authcmds.example file in your WiRNS install folder. You can use this file (or edit it as you wish) to remove the ReplayTV nag messages. Copy or rename the file to authcmds before your next net connect...
      - I'd say yes.
So, in summary, would I be correct in saying that one should use:
  • LaHo Extra Special Good Will to restore Zones and Software Updates after a Reset, with the added bonus of setting time?
  • LaHo Good Will to set time and maintain activation until one is able to either subscribe to LaHo or setup WiRNS 3.X w/Schedules Direct?

Thanks!

P.S. I put all these questions and QUOTEs in a new thread because, although I've been following the PlanetReplay Forum daily, I find that thread titles usually don't reflect the 'gems of info' that are often hidden in replies.
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hdonzis
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Joined: 05 Jan 2005
Posts: 9021
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: DNNA NTP Server Kaput - No Time Sync Errors - Activation Reply with quote

TakeTheActive wrote:
As someone well versed in this subject, how would you interpret the w32tm results displaying wildly differing time offsets instead of an error?


Actually, I have no idea! Robert Eden and I have been discussing it. He thinks it's because they are being a Stratum 16 NTP server so that they won't get a lot of load, and I just think something crazy is going on...

TakeTheActive wrote:
Why do you think the RTV 5XXXs are not generating errors when attempting to sync with this wildly varying, according to w32tm, Replay NTP Server?


Actually, my first testing was with the 4Ks, and I thought it was unique to 4Ks. However, when I finally got around to testing with 5Ks, the behavior was identical. What I have found is that when the 4K/5K DEPENDS on setting the time, which is basically any time you set the ZIP code and it wants to get the time zone string, then it gives an error with this "funcky" time from ReplayTV. However, there appears to be times when it is more lenient about the time setting, like during normal net connects, maybe because they didn't want to disrupt normal operations if they were having a problem or outage with their NTP server(s), that they might assume that missing setting the time once in awhile shouldn't hurt anything. The still do the time validate, and the time server still validates the time, so they appear to be happy. Now, it's certainly possible that at the same time they also throw away the time (seems like a good idea since it's "bad") and simply allow the unit to drift, versus setting it some "strange" time...

TakeTheActive wrote:
Before LaHo Extra Special Good Will was created, I considered:
  • LaHo Good Will
    - but I only wanted the time, not the IR Blaster updates


The only IR Blaster updates are to add the Comcast IR Blaster code, and it is done in a very professional manner such that it doesn't disturb the "normal" IR Blaster codes. It isn't like any of the other IR Blaster updates, this is a fully integrated IR Blaster update added into the normal IR Blaster Zone. It does not copy files and mess with files like the manual IR Blaster updates do...

TakeTheActive wrote:
  • My old WiRNS 2.X pointing to X.us.pool.ntp.org IIRC
    - Will WiRNS 2.X be able to supply a Time Sync without up-to-date Guide Data? If so, I could power up the old P4 w/Win2K, force a few 'Net Connects' and be set for a couple of weeks at a time.


This should work just like the Extra Special Good Will, since WiRNS2 only intercepts the NTP requests but proxies everything else to DNNA. If you configured WiRNS2 not to serve guide data, then it would be identical to the Extra Special Good Will. Really, the only thing that WiRNS2 couldn't take care of for you is the activation, and you could use the activation plugin that someone wrote back 4 years ago to work with WiRNS2 (I think it was posted on AVSForum). But, WiRNS3 is so much better, that would be kind of silly...

TakeTheActive wrote:
What will be the (expected) response while using LaHo Extra Special Good Will when DNNA finally turns off their server(s)?


Basically the net connect will "die" when it first tries to establish the connection. It won't even get to the point of attempting to set the clock...

TakeTheActive wrote:
  • Can someone not currently using either WiRNS 3.X w/Schedules Direct or LaHo expect to lose their activations due to the soon-to-be kaput DNNA NTP Server?


If the unit cannot net connect at all and cannot verify the time, then they will lose their activation...

TakeTheActive wrote:
...the original LaHo Good Will will supply Time Sync and maintain activation (and update my IR Blaster codes) until I can get WiRNS 3.X w/Schedules Direct up and running but I don't want to take up any more of Robert's bandwidth than absolutely necessary.


We appreciate your consideration!

TakeTheActive wrote:
  1. Is the IR Blaster Codes update a one-time deal?


Yes, it is simply a Replay Zone update of the Zone that holds the IR Blaster codes. It is done exactly the same as any other Zone update, it has a proper Zone response which allows it to be updated one time..

However, unlike software updates, it isn't based on version, it is simply based on a "tag" that is unique. There is no calculation on whether you have older Zones or new Zones, just that your Zones are different. So, if you net connected to DNNA through the Extra Special Good Will, then your Zones would be reverted back to the original DNNA Zones. Same thing holds for installing the MyReplayZones plugin for WiRNS, if you only install the "DNNA Zones", then it would revert a net connecting unit back to the original DNNA Zones. And, if you install the Comcast IR Blaster update, then it will update your Zones again and re-add the Comcast IR Blaster code. Switching back and forth with the Zones file for WiRNS (you could make a DNNA Zones file and a Comcast Zones file and switch back and forth), would be identical to switching back and forth between net connecting through to DNNA through the Extra Special Good Will and just the regular "good will" that simply updates the IR Blaster codes...

TakeTheActive wrote:
b. Does LaHo Extra Special Good Will also maintain activation?


No, it simply intercepts the set time request to send that to LaHo instead, and it also corrects the software update and Zones update requests so that they work properly. It does not actually do anything RNS related at all and does not understand anything about the ReplayTV protocol. It simply redirects the DNS only, both the time request and the two update requests...

TakeTheActive wrote:
c. Would it be correct to assume that if the DNNA Server(s) were shut down, WiRNS 2.X, although able to get the correct time from the NTP Pool, would lose activation and need WiRNS 3.X with its special text file for authorization?


As I mentioned above, you could use the WiRNS2 authorization plugin that was built by someone on AVSForum before WiRNS3 was available...

TakeTheActive wrote:
So, in summary, would I be correct in saying that one should use:
  • LaHo Extra Special Good Will to restore Zones and Software Updates after a Reset, with the added bonus of setting time?
  • LaHo Good Will to set time and maintain activation until one is able to either subscribe to LaHo or setup WiRNS 3.X w/Schedules Direct?


Sounds correct. Of course, the Extra Special Good Will is likely to be rendered non-functional as soon as DNNA completely shuts down...

Henry
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RTV-or-No-TV
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I assume you get all these updates if on LaHo?
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hdonzis
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RTV-or-No-TV wrote:
I assume you get all these updates if on LaHo?


What updates? LaHo provides the lastest Zones plus the Comcast IR Blaster (which you should be aware of from getting Zones on your 4K). It does not provide any software updates at all...

Henry
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