Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Bet Selector Task Scheduling

You can now schedule Bet Selector to download form at a certain time each day, get scratchings and results at a certain time etc. These tasks are done completely in the background with no pops ups to tell you what is going on (reason being that it is intended for unattended use when you may not even be logged into your computer so we don’t want pop-ups trying to get in the way of it working).

Three functions can now be scheduled to automatically occur each day, namely Bestform form downloads, Sportsbet fixed price updates and Tattsbet price, scratching and result updates. Special command line arguments are used when firing up Bet Selector to tell it what to do and the scheduling part is taken care of by the Windows Task Scheduler. This will work even if you are away and logged off your computer (but it must be left running and connected to the Internet).

Using the Bet Selector Command Line


The special command lines can also be called from other programs and specially configured shortcuts on your desktop but they are really designed to be called from the Windows Task Scheduler as described in detail below.

Let's start with the command lines. The one for downloading the current days form is as follows:

C:\Price\BETSEL.EXE AUTO FORM

Basically the above is the normal command for calling Bet Selector but with two additional arguments viz the words AUTO and FORM. Note that each of these words has a space before it. The word AUTO is used in all examples and tells bet Selector that the command line is designed for automation. The word FORM tells Bet Selector that the task to be automated is the downloading of form files.

The above only downloads form for the current day but you can download form for tomorrow as follows:

C:\Price\BETSEL.EXE AUTO FORM+1

You can also download form two days in advance using the following:

C:\Price\BETSEL.EXE AUTO FORM+2

The command line for updating Sportsbet prices is as follows:

C:\Price\BETSEL.EXE AUTO BOOK

As above, the word AUTO is used in all examples and tells bet Selector that the command line is designed for automation. The word BOOK tells Bet Selector that the task to be automated is the downloading of Sportsbet prices. Note you can only download prices for the current day.

The command line for updating Tattsbet information is as follows:

C:\Price\BETSEL.EXE AUTO TAB

As above, the word AUTO is used in all examples and tells bet Selector that the command line is designed for automation. The word TAB tells Bet Selector that the task to be automated is the downloading of Tattsbet information. Currently the above only supports the current day but options to download tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will be added later.

Note that you can combine any of the above functions into one call although it would normally be best to schedule the tasks totally separate from one another. Once exception is when automatically getting Sportsbet info as following it with an automatic TAB update is basically what happens in Race TAB Live when you use the Sportsbet option. The command line to do this is as follows:

C:\Price\BETSEL.EXE AUTO BOOK TAB

Note the program will always do the TAB update last regardless of which way you order the arguments. You can also combine downloading form for the day and doing the TAB update using the following command line:

C:\Price\BETSEL.EXE AUTO FORM TAB

Note the program will always do the form download first regardless of which way you order the arguments. Note also it is best not to try doing both form downloads and TAB updated for any day other than the current day.

Task Scheduling Overview


Now to the scheduling of the above functions which is done by the Windows Task Scheduler. The Windows Task Scheduler is very powerful as it allows you to schedule things to be done say once a day at a certain time. The essentials on how to use it to automate the above functions will be outlined below. If you want to learn more I suggest you Google "Windows Task Scheduler".

To locate and run the Windows Task Scheduler just enter "Task Scheduler" in the search bar off the Start menu. Then click "Create Task" in the right-hand Actions pane. Note if you click "Create Basic Task" then you won't get full control over creating the task and will have to go back in and edit the tasks properties - hence it is best to go straight to "Create Task".

You will be presented with a popup displaying a number of TABs for creating your task. These are General, Triggers, Actions, Conditions and Settings. These are to be set as follows.

General Properties


First type in a name. I suggest you start all names with BS followed by the arguments. This way they will be easy to locate later in the task list and you can see at a glance what they do. For example use bsautoform for a task to automatically download form and bsautotab for a task to automatically download TAB data.

Then go down to the "Security options" and click the "Run whether user is logged on or not" radio button. Also make sure you tick the "Run with highest privileges" check-box.

Finally under "General" at the bottom where it says "Configure for:" make sure the correct version of Windows is selected. Then click the "Triggers" TAB (not OK).

Trigger Properties


Click the "New..." button to set a trigger for the first time. Leave the top drop down on "On a schedule" and click the "Daily" radio button (if not already selected). Then set the time at which you want the task to be run each day. Then go down to "Advanced settings" and tick "Stop task if it runs longer than:" and select "30 minutes" - this is important because if a task drags on because of internet issues or if the program freezes for some reason then you don’t want it left "open" as it will stop future tasks from running. The only other check-box in the advanced section that should be ticked is "Enabled".

Note that you can add more than one trigger which is handy for example if you want to automatically schedule TAB updates at a few different times a day. This avoids you having to set up multiple task for each time - you just have one task with multiple triggers set.

Scheduling tasks to occur exactly on the hour might best be avoided in case lots of other users all attempt to do the same thing. So rather than everyone scheduling end of day TAB updates at say 10pm or next day form updates at say 10pm it would be better to set a slightly different time like 10:11pm etc.

Important: Please do not unnecessarily schedule tasks to run more than you absolutely need to. Providers like Bestform, Tattsbet and Sportsbet may block your access if you access their data with too high a frequency.

Action Properties


Click the "New..." button to set an action for the first time. Leave the top drop down on "Start a program" and enter the following in the "Program/script" box:

C:\Price\BETSEL.EXE

Then enter the arguments in the next box for example AUTO FORM to automate form downloading from Bestform. Note you can also enter the full Bet Selector command line with AUTO and FORM on the end like in the earlier examples and you will just be asked to confirm the arguments.

Finally there is a box that says "Start in (optional)". This could be considered an optional setting that is used when you want to run the program in a separate location to where it resides (something it is best not to try with Bet Selector). However it is recommended that you enter the actual path the program resides in. This is just the beginning of the full path listed above for example C:\Price

Important: If you do not set "Start in" then the Task Scheduler may attempt to run the program in the Windows folder which you definitely do not want to occur.

Conditional Properties


Tick "Wake the computer to run this task". This should ensure your scheduled tasks run even if the computer is asleep. If you have problems with this not working then go into Control Panel and edit your Power Management settings by selecting the option to "Never put your computer to sleep".

Troubleshooting


Scheduling Bet Selector to do things is designed for when you are away from your computer or for times like during the night when you are not using it. Note that if you leave Bet Selector running (even if idle) then scheduled tasks most likely will not work. So make sure Bet Selector is closed during times when you want scheduled tasks to run.

There are other reasons why scheduling something might not work and following is a recap on some of the more important settings that if incorrect could cause tasks not to run:

  • Under "General Properties" make sure you select the "Run whether user is logged on or not" radio button and the "Run with highest privileges" check-box
  • Under "Action Properties" make sure you enter C:\Price (or whatever else your default location is) in "Start in"
  • Under "Conditional Properties" make sure you select "Wake the computer to run this task".

Note that once you locate the Task Scheduler (eg via Start>Search) you can right click it and select "Pin to Start Menu" so it is always easy to find. That way you will only be a couple moue clicks away from checking, changing or adding properties.