Rather than using a physical TV listings guide or viewing TV listings on a website, I prefer to use a specialized application to see what’s on. For quite a while, I’ve been using Tom Talbott’s MyTelly, which was always pretty nice. It’s written in Java, but it’s acceptably responsive even on my G3. The only drawback was that it retrieved its listings by screen scraping the listings at the Zap2it site. It did a good job of it, but of course it was handicapped by the inherent limitations of that technique — it had to grab entire web pages and labouriously filter and extract the programming from them.
Well, Zap2it has deployed a SOAP interface, and the newest MyTelly release talks directly to it. Wow. Fetching 8 days worth of programming data with the old screen-scraping MyTelly engine took 10-15 minutes over a cable modem connection. The new release fetches the same data in about 45-60 seconds. I suspect the amount of bandwidth consumed is a couple of orders of magnitude less than with the old version. Sweet.
There is no substitute for good manners, except, perhaps, fast reflexes.