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Why does DirecTV push reboots during active recordings?

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#1 OFFLINE   prospero63

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:29 PM

So the daily drama has resulted in something I've seen happen at least twice, namely that reboots get pushed that interfere with active recordings. Now, I certainly understand the need for pushing the update (in general terms, in more detailed terms I think it's heavy handed) but why is it that DirecTV's system/process/whatever you want to call it is apparently unable to determine "an active recording is happening right now. Instead of rebooting this instant, let me queue the reboot until the recording is complete"? There's TONS of precedence of other software (or data... or hardware... oh my... <g>) having this functionality. Indeed, pretty much every significant update services I know of is capable of scheduling updates in all kinds of granular fashion. Anyone in the know with any ideas (or care to carry this back as an enhancement request to the DirecTV ENG teams)?

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#2 OFFLINE   spartanstew

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:33 PM

The priority to get it fixed ASAP takes precedence over anything else. Many customers are at work and art totally unaware there was even a problem this morning. Trying to get it fixed before they get home is the most important thing.

In my case, one of my units was frozen this morning with the record light still on. If the software "fix" didn't go out to units it thought were recording, what would have happened in my case? The fix might have bypassed me and if I had been at work would have come home to a frozen unit, like perhaps could happen to many others.

The risk of upsetting the people that are recording soap operas and judge judy, is outweighed by fixing as many issues as possible right now.

I'm sure Directv can't wait to get their hands on your unit.

 
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#3 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:38 PM

In fact, for better or worse, the vast majority of people may have been locked up anyway. The fastest and best thing to do was reboot everyone.
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#4 OFFLINE   prospero63

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:41 PM

In fact, for better or worse, the vast majority of people may have been locked up anyway. The fastest and best thing to do was reboot everyone.


I agree. That doesn't preclude however exploring whether there is a more effective way to do it. I mean, I can always drive a nail in with a sledgehammer... but if I have a different hammer I can be far more skillful in how I drive that nail...

It would be nice if they added this to customer enhancement requests.

#5 OFFLINE   DishDog

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:41 PM

The risk of upsetting the people that are recording soap operas and judge judy, is outweighed by fixing as many issues as possible right now.


Now that's :hurah:
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#6 OFFLINE   prospero63

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:46 PM

The risk of upsetting the people that are recording soap operas and judge judy, is outweighed by fixing as many issues as possible right now.


The time of day is irrelevant though. Let's do this with 2 outs in the 9th inning of the last game of the world series with the tigers down by 1 with bases loaded and a full count. Is the risk of upsetting the people that are waiting to see if the Tigers win their first world series since 1984 outweighed by fixing as many issues as possible right now? Keep in mind, it's happened in the past during prime time. 1? 2? years later and there's still no mechanism to prevent that? Just seems odd to me that there's not been any apparent progress made there...

#7 OFFLINE   DogLover

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:51 PM

Well, it would be up to the software on the box to accept or delay the reboot. Say the box decides to delay, because it's recording. Then, it hits the condition that is locking it up before it reboots. All of a sudden, no fix.

The box cannot be trusted to make the decision in this case. It does make the decision for regular, non-emergency upgrades to software (instructions :)). Since the box cannot be trusted, then the signal must force the reboot. After all, DirecTV's servers don't know whether are recording is happening on any particular box. So, the reboot immediately (don't pass go, don't collect $200) command gets sent.

Better in the middle of the day, than in the middle of prime time.
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#8 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:56 PM

The time of day is irrelevant though. Let's do this with 2 outs in the 9th inning of the last game of the world series with the tigers down by 1 with bases loaded and a full count. Is the risk of upsetting the people that are waiting to see if the Tigers win their first world series since 1984 outweighed by fixing as many issues as possible right now? Keep in mind, it's happened in the past during prime time. 1? 2? years later and there's still no mechanism to prevent that? Just seems odd to me that there's not been any apparent progress made there...


In that situation we KNOW DIRECTV would wait. They are aware of the World Series, NFL, etc. :)

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#9 OFFLINE   David MacLeod

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:57 PM

seeing as how one of mine had been recording nothing for 2 hours this morning the record flag cannot be trusted
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#10 OFFLINE   Motley

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:01 PM

How about allowing people to decide when to take a new software update? Put a option in the box that says to confirm yes to update. That way people who know what they are doing can have a bit of control over it. I could run this update tonight when I'm home so I can be there to do damage control. Now I am at work and my system has rebooted once or twice and I have no idea if the stuff I set to record tonight will work and I won't be home until after the recording starts.

#11 OFFLINE   David MacLeod

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

think about it, with a guide data error would that stuff have recorded anyway?
to fix the guide so it would record stuff it needed to perform this.
even those that flushed this morning may not have had updated data, we just had enough to run the units and easily could have hit the freezes again at 8 pm.
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#12 OFFLINE   prospero63

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:04 PM

seeing as how one of mine had been recording nothing for 2 hours this morning the record flag cannot be trusted


I don't know if that's the case. Honestly, I don't know if anyone on this forum knows the answer. I mean, I'm saying "flag" but what's important is the requirement, not the mechanism.

Requirement: Provide a mechanism to check a receiver and determine whether it is actively recording. If it is, delay the reboot. If it isn't, or if the determination can't be made, reboot immediately. Ideally as a middle point provide UI interaction that allows a user currently watching programming on the receiver to accept or delay the reboot request.

From the requirement, let the propeller-heads figure out the best way to achieve the requirement...

#13 OFFLINE   Hutchinshouse

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:05 PM

Better to do it (reboot) now than during the NBA finals. :D Go Lakers!

#14 OFFLINE   Jon J

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:20 PM

The time of day is irrelevant though. Let's do this with 2 outs in the 9th inning of the last game of the world series with the tigers down by 1 with bases loaded and a full count. Is the risk of upsetting the people that are waiting to see if the Tigers win their first world series since 1984 outweighed by fixing as many issues as possible right now? Keep in mind, it's happened in the past during prime time. 1? 2? years later and there's still no mechanism to prevent that? Just seems odd to me that there's not been any apparent progress made there...

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#15 OFFLINE   prospero63

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:24 PM

Tigers?


Detroit. I know, it was a completely ridiculous example (Tigers... in the world series... <ozzie>please,/ozzie>...) but since the OP had a Detroit Tigers avatar I figured it would illustrate my point that the time (Judge Judy, how on earth will I find out who gets custody of the community tooth) of the reboot doesn't matter.

#16 OFFLINE   SomeRandomIdiot

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:42 PM

How about allowing people to decide when to take a new software update? Put a option in the box that says to confirm yes to update. That way people who know what they are doing can have a bit of control over it. I could run this update tonight when I'm home so I can be there to do damage control. Now I am at work and my system has rebooted once or twice and I have no idea if the stuff I set to record tonight will work and I won't be home until after the recording starts.


Actually, the box DOES ask prior to firmware updates - to ok or later. If you tell it later, it then asks approximately every 30 minutes until you do not hit later. At that point it updates the firmware.

That has nothing to do with a Systemwide Reboot however.

#17 OFFLINE   forecheck

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:52 PM

I do agree that in order for Directv to know all receivers were "fixed" they had to push a reboot to everyone, recording or not. That also helps tech support to know everyone should now be rebooted. And I think they did it at a good time, at 56 minutes past the hour, so the dvr should have been up and running near the top of the hour.

#18 OFFLINE   ziggy29

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:56 PM

And I think they did it at a good time, at 56 minutes past the hour, so the dvr should have been up and running near the top of the hour.

On the flip side, you've missed the last critical couple minutes of a drama that's been recording for 56 minutes, when everything is resolved....
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#19 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:04 PM

On the flip side, you've missed the last critical couple minutes of a drama that's been recording for 56 minutes, when everything is resolved....


Well, since most programs are soaps that are dramas at that time, they NEVER resolve anything (and are usually done by 55 minutes anyway). Movies and other shows (cable networks) are on several times so you can get them later (would be a nice feature if the box detects a partial recording and gets the next one available of the same program but that is a different discussion and could help with rain fade as well).

Since there were several reports of boxes freezing while recording, there is no way they could ask the box if it was recording. Just hit it. At that time of the hour you will usually get nothing but commercials except on PBS, movie channels and Smithsonian, if they are running a show through the top of the hour. Then the box picks up the rest after reboot.
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#20 OFFLINE   prospero63

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:15 PM

Since there were several reports of boxes freezing while recording, there is no way they could ask the box if it was recording. Just hit it. At that time of the hour you will usually get nothing but commercials except on PBS, movie channels and Smithsonian, if they are running a show through the top of the hour. Then the box picks up the rest after reboot.


That logic doesn't hold up. If the box doesn't respond, reboot. If it does respond though, then it's highly probable that a reboot isn't needed right that instant, and it can be delayed.

#21 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:19 PM

That logic doesn't hold up. If the box doesn't respond, reboot. If it does respond though, then it's highly probable that a reboot isn't needed right that instant, and it can be delayed.


You know for a fact that it would not respond to whether it was recording or not? One of my boxes was unresponsive this morning but I could watch programming from it via MRV in another room. They were not totally unresponsive. They kept doing stuff like recording or showing video.

There are too many variables and this was an emergency situation. Force the damned reboot. Do it at a marginally acceptable time. Since late at night is too far away, do it during the typical commercial break.

Edit to add: Maybe you thought I meant it wouldn't respond. I meant that the answer was not dependable. It may have been recording because it was supposed to or it may have been recording because it got stuck. Doubt they could ask it that.
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#22 OFFLINE   prospero63

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:21 PM

You know for a fact that it would not respond to whether it was recording or not? One of my boxes was unresponsive this morning but I could watch programming from it via MRV in another room. They were not totally unresponsive. They kept doing stuff like recording or showing video.


I no more know for a fact than you do. That's why it's called an improvement.

There are too many variables and this was an emergency situation. Force the damned reboot. Do it at a marginally acceptable time. Since late at night is too far away, do it during the typical commercial break.


I have to think you are totally missing the point here.

#23 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:25 PM

I know more know for a fact than you do. That's why it's called an improvement.


Huh? I just demonstrated to you that the boxes while stuck were still doing stuff. And you "know" that it would not respond "I am recording?" How in the hell would you know that?

I have to think you are totally missing the point here.

What is the point? You decided that DirecTV has no code in their boxes for reboots because they forced one today in an emergency. I have never seen a software push break up a recording before. What is your point, then?
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#24 OFFLINE   prospero63

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:37 PM

Huh? I just demonstrated to you that the boxes while stuck were still doing stuff. And you "know" that it would not respond "I am recording?" How in the hell would you know that?


So because they were still "doing stuff" you contend it's impossible to know whether a receiver is active or not? As for how to know, that's why customers bring up issues and hopefully they get taken back to DirecTV to determine what, if anything, can be done. It's really a very simple thing.

What is the point? You decided that DirecTV has no code in their boxes for reboots because they forced one today in an emergency. I have never seen a software push break up a recording before. What is your point, then?


Re-read the thread. I shouldn't need to explain it again. :nono:

#25 OFFLINE   ricochet

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:44 PM

That logic doesn't hold up. If the box doesn't respond, reboot. If it does respond though, then it's highly probable that a reboot isn't needed right that instant, and it can be delayed.


How does the box respond? There is no communication back to the head end that sends the reboot command.

Given that they can reboot boxes that are locked up I suspect they are using some sort of very low level reset. If you are going to have some sort of fail safe like this you want it as basic as possible. Ideally a hardware mechanism so it doesn't depend on any software that might be messed up but I don't know that they can do that. If the "fix" requires normal running software then there is no reason for the fix.





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