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This Is Beyond Ridiculous

Discussion in 'Other HD Receiver Support Forum (811, 921, 942)' started by HailScroob, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. Jun 2, 2005 #1 of 34

    HailScroob AllStar

    Aug 3, 2004
    So the 942 gets yet ANOTHER significant update, while we losers with a 921 continue to sit and wait as weeks and months go flying by.

    Who's working on 921 anyway? Are we sure that "Eldon" isn't just the name of Charlie's 9 year old nephew? Who works on the 921 software while his PSP is recharging?
  2. Jun 2, 2005 #2 of 34

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

    Dec 17, 2003
    They need to quickly fix all that doesn't work on the 942, otherwise all who have claimed that the 942 is sooooo much better than the 921 will all be called liars.
  3. Jun 2, 2005 #3 of 34

    Slordak Hall Of Fame

    Dec 17, 2003
    Fix "all the 942 problems"? But do you really think the 942 has more bugs than the 921? Admittedly, it could, since the 921 is a year older, and hence has had a lot more time to fix its bugs, but the truth is likely that the 921 has many more bugs.

    I agree that it's ridiculous that the 921 still doesn't work right after all this time, and that the 942 gets much more attention. Sigh.
  4. Jun 2, 2005 #4 of 34

    leemathre Legend

    Sep 25, 2003
    I am also waiting for the next update, but for whatever it's worth, the 942 has been even more frustrating to me than my 921's. Probably because after the glowing reviews I expected more than has been delivered. The 942 is at least as buggy as the 921 and I really hate NBR. I hope that it is never added to the 921.
  5. Jun 2, 2005 #5 of 34
    Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

    Dec 10, 2002
    If my memory serves me, When both the 811 and the 921 was released there update cycle was very frequently and then over time slows down. Basically I think this is the general model that Dish uses and one I have experience with other products. It is not like the 921 and the 942 teams are the same.

    As to the reason being related to trying to prevent someone from being called a liar. I seriously doubt it and given Dish's history on other products the 942 seems to be following that pattern.
  6. Jun 2, 2005 #6 of 34

    lujan Hall Of Fame

    Feb 10, 2004
    E* never cared about being liars before, why should they now?
  7. Jun 2, 2005 #7 of 34

    BobMurdoch Hall Of Fame

    Apr 24, 2002
    When the 921 first came out there was an update every few weeks..... It seems like the 942 is going through the same process.

  8. Jun 3, 2005 #8 of 34
    John Corn

    John Corn Hall Of Fame

    Mar 21, 2002
    I wouldn't compare the 942 to the 921, personally the 942 is far superior. :) IMHO
  9. Jun 3, 2005 #9 of 34

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

    Dec 17, 2003

    You get it. I was being sarcastic.

    Notice I don't beg for another 921 update. That is because I can now use my 921 without video jitters and sound dropouts. I haven't had a ZSR in almost a year but then I have only recorded 6 sat programs in the last 6 weeks. I'm afraid to push it, ya know.

    Is the 942 "far superior" to the 921? Heck what do I know, I only read all the bug reports so that seems a draw. So far, I haven't detected any lies or false advertised features that they now claim will be dropped like we had on the 921 so that's a plus. It can do SD on another TV set while playing HDTV too. If you need that, great but I don't and have no use for it. Both of my "TV's", The Kitchen and the HT room are HDTV so I have no use for pushing an SD signal around the house. But, I can swap my hard drive now in the 921 as the 3rd party hack is out and that is more important to me. The 921 is cheaper. Both will be junk when mpeg4 rolls out which I hope doesn't happen for a few years on the channels I now get.

    My vote- Don't fu.. up my 921 with another half baked upgrade that breaks primary functions I use! To me, the delay is a good thing!
  10. AVJohnnie

    AVJohnnie Icon

    Jul 27, 2004
    Ditto and Amen... :lol:
  11. JerryLA

    JerryLA Legend

    Dec 29, 2003
    I would have to agree, no more updates that do more harm than good. I have now joined the other 921 users that never know how the 921 will perform when needed. This time last year I had basically no problems with my 921 since I do not use the OTA features. A year later my unit misses recordings, records 35 seconds of a 2 hour movie, freezes quite regularly, and a reboot every other day is necessary. What is the deal. It seems that on all message boards, all makes and models of this type of equipment, have some major problems. Is the technology just not there yet to make these units dependable, or is it "D" and "E" rushing out the products before they are tested adequately. From what I see Tivo units still seem to get a lot better reviews from users than any other model. Maybe I just don't notice the Tivo rants and raves as much. The bottom line is a long year after its "real" release the 921 is getting worse IMO. Hopefully the next upgrade will bring back some of the stability I had a year ago. If not it sure makes for an expensive boat anchor.
  12. Jon Spackman

    Jon Spackman Icon

    Feb 7, 2005
    The tivo's are not perfect either. I have customer who ask my why their tivo occasionally doesn't record as set to. Their are also posts on the tivo forum of hard drive failures and other major problems from time to time. I think they are less frequent, but they still exist.

    Lets hope that L214 is worth the wait and fixes some of the most annoying issues without causing any more.

  13. GaryK

    GaryK Mentor

    Jul 9, 2002

    I have had TiVo's and yes they have had some bugs. But there is not comparison to the Dish bugs. It's like a 50 to 1 ratio. These guys are terrible and sloooow.
    I also have a 721, it used to have the delete search history bug. The 921 has the same bug. Over a year to fix a simple bug that existed on the prior box. This is just insane!

    I don't blame TiVo or Dish for hard disk falures. I just wish they would support there products in a reasonable manner. Rush incomplete buggy products to the market then take your sweat time to correct the problems. If these devices were not updatable, we would see much better quality or they would have them all back on there door steps.
  14. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

    Dec 10, 2002
    Hmmm interesting statements below.

    50 to 1 ratio.
    Simple bug.
    and Sweat time.

    Well based on my experience, bugs are usually prioritized and the P4 and P5 usually do not get addressed in a quick manner because the team is concentrating on P1-P3s. Based on some of the bugs I have seen fixed, they are not what I would classify as a quick fix type.

    Gary you familiar with the bug database of the 721 and the 921 and the Tito boxes? I seriously doubt it is a 50 to 1 ratio. Eyck since I don't have any exposure into either of these bug Debs I wouldn't personally have a clue. I understand your frustration, but I believe the 50 to 1 is a huge exaggeration. I also have a 721 and a 921. Yes the 921 is definitely flaky and I keep running into a handful of very annoying bugs. Based on your estimate for ever 2 Tivo bugs there is 100 921s. Doubt it.

    As to a simple fix, Well maybe it is and maybe it isn't. I have had a number of bugs that on the outside look real simple, but because the underlying arch or another fix they are much more complicated than they appear. Add the fact that the bug you describe would most likely fall to-wards the back end of the severity level it most likely is also back on the priority list also. By no means a showstopper so it does not suprise me that this would would hang around for a while. Heck.. I never used this feature before and I have had a 721 for a long time.

    As to taken their time, well I am sure we all have our opinions of how long things should take. The 921 has been out for a while and from all the releases we have all gotten the feeling it is a fragile box. I am sure the team also has this feeling and I am sure they are a lot more cautious of making sure they feel as confident as possible before releasing an update. I don't see this as a matter of sweat time, but a combination of resource diversion and caution in regards to issuing a bad release. From what I have seen in past release, the 921 is definitely highly prone to side effects from software changes.

    As to the slow 721 release cycle. Well the 721 is at the end of life and just like other EOL products they release cycle very minimal. From my view point, the 921 is on a fast track to that state and that is another contributing factor to the slow down in the release cycle.

    Well that is my take on the situation. Sorry but I had to call you on your assertions because I do think they are little blown exaggerated from my perspective..
  15. GaryK

    GaryK Mentor

    Jul 9, 2002


    I don't thing you are getting the point at all.
    I don't have an exact count, but I have no doubt about it being an very high ratio.
    My wife's TiVo died (hard drive) and I gave her the 721. I can't print what she had to say about the 721 bugs and I was getting happy with the 721!!! Just think what think how she would feel about the 921. All I kept hearing was, I want my TiVo back. I just asked her and she felt that I am UNDER stating the ratio.

    What do I call a simple fix? The 921 is based on the 721. The 721 had the delete bug, so I expect that code to be somewhat portable. If Dish does not have any coding standards, then they should buy the software because they are incompetent. I run an I.T. department and do a lot of coding. I would wear a mask if I could not program a delete function.

    I guess you feel that it OK to repeatedly make the same mistakes product after product and push out extremely buggy software. I have a little bit more pride in the software that I develop.
  16. Mikey

    Mikey Hall Of Fame

    Oct 26, 2004
    That's how a system with a poor design, lack of coding standards, poor regression testing, and undisciplined programmers will manifest itself to the users.

    And the 811 is in the same boat.
  17. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

    Dec 10, 2002
    Actually GaryK, I fully understand your argument however I work in the embedded space and doing a delete is not as simple as doing a delete in other deciplines. I have also worked in the distributed managment arena. Ofcourse you don't have the exact count or even the exact ratio. What you have is the same thing I have, one use case experience combined with knowledge from these websites. Even with that I would say the retio is even a lot less that 25 to 1.

    My 721, which I used for 2 years, is sitting down in my mother-in-laws room. She is a 75 year old woman with no technical background. If she ran into any issues, I would hear it. In my 2 years with my 721 it worked reliable for my use case. We are two people with two different use cases. As to your wife's comment on it being higher let me offer this food for thought. If the ratio was at 25 to 1, I can assure you this board would be covered with defect reports on the 721. It is not, Yes the 721 has it share of issues and yes some have more problems than others. Some love it, others think it is a POS. Since either of us has factual information on ratios, You can continue to believe that it is that high and I believe it is a much lower ratio.

    As to the last comment on it OK repeating mistakes. Well like you said.. 921 was ported from the 721 at some point. With it, it would carry all the 721 bugs in it. After the porting effort you have two different branches and two different development teams working on it. Each team will address this bug based how they see fit and if there is good communication the team that fixes it will pass it on to the other team. Maybe there is a common core team, but I doubt it given what I know about how the two products were developed.

    As to the pride. Well I have always had pride in the development of my software and I have worked in teams that are dysfunctional and good development teams in my 15 years of development work. I also know that the development teams in Dish are not a bunch of lazy incompetent programmers. I also know that no software is bug free and there are a lot of factors into making a good software product. For the record, Coding standard does not equal quality code and I am not sure where you are coming from indicating that if a team does not have a codying standard they should outsource.

    For the record, I have a 921 that is usable but is flaky in my opinion. I have an 811 that has be running rock solid. It hit a bug today that was rather nasty but up until today it has been running very smoothly. The bug was caused by my local ABC messing with PSIP data. My 721 is purrying along and has not been rebooted for over 6 months. I am one use case.. There are other people on the other side of the fence I know and yes I have run into my share of Dish bugs that is why I became a Mod for the 811.


    There are other reasons for code that is highly prone to side effects. Code that was shoe horned into a product can introduce a lot of instability. THere are external marketing and management decisions that can cause software to be released before its time. THere are time to market decisions that compress schedules resulting in software going out before it is fully backed. I have seen all these. ;) And you are right but there are other reason why a wrote my above statement.

    As to the 811. I don't think it is in the same boat as the 921 at all. Based on my minimal personal experience with the 811 team I don't thing they are at all an undesciplined team. MOst of the 811 bugs I have seen lately on the last two release are of the type that seem to effect a small group of people. They are not the ooops Wooper we did not test type. With the 921, 942 and 811 you have the OTA component and the integration of Dish and OTA in harmony. Most of the issues I see on the 811 are OTA based and you have a lot of more variables in a hybred system to deal with.

    Don't get me wrong, I have said this more than once. I think Dish has a lot of room to improve quality. It is not just a software development issue from what I can see. I personally work for a company that i see a number of deja vu type incidents occur so I think I have some idea of how some of these things occur. I also could be wrong. From what I have seen, I don't think it is a totally lack of process, I don't think it is totally inept programmers, and I don't think it is lack of coding standard. As to coding standard, the ones I have seen and they have been some have been from major development sources mainly have to do with naming convention, bracketing rules, tab vs. spaces, etc. Yeck some people think that running lint over your code tree will solve your quality issues.

    The bottom line is regarding to the 921, Dish let out a lemon and the reasons behind why it was released in its state we most likely will never now. To this day it is still what I consider not a reliable piece of hardware. However, on the other side the 721 and the 811 have been for the most part reliable in my use case. Like any product of this nature, Your mileage will vary depending on how you use the box and the outside external variables.

    It is very easy to through rocks and a lot of people on here have the right given the frusturation that have gone through. But on the other hand there are also other reasons for software bugs and they don't actually envolve developers at all. Some are managment related, some are process related, requirement changes, cost reduction.. list goes on. Bottom line for the customer... They still feel that pain.

    You might not think I know where you are coming from Gary.. Maybe I don't. However, I have been around the development teams and have worked for various companies that produce embedded and server based products that have shipped. I personally have been involved in 4 full life cycle products that have shipped and a number of false starts. We all bring out experiences here and I am interested in yours. I just pipped in because I wanted to bring mine and felt the ratio was way over the top.

    That does not discount the customer pain you and your wife feels. I am a bring believer on minimizing customer pain. It is not the bug count that matters, it is the level of pain customers feel. Example: One product is filled with 100 bugs that only a few people hit and are minor. Customer pain overall would be low. Another product has a handful of known bugs but one bug everone hits, it is really easy to do, and it causes the box to reboot. Obviously, the second product would be classified as less reliable than the first. But in reality, the second one has more issues but it does not have the one that really hurts. The whooper. To me not having a clear history feature or that it does not work is low customer pain overall. The aspect ratio issue on the 921 on the other hand has high customer pain.

    I am rambling... and rambling. Final point. We all have our take on the software quality leve of Dish and why it is the way it is. Mine happens to differ from yours Greg and as to what I consider acceptable. Well as a software engineer my house if glass and full of holes from rocks thrown at it over the years. My level of acceptance and understanding is all tied to customer pain and my take of why a bug was released to the wild. The 921 when initial was released was just plain scary if that gives you and idea of where I am coming from.
  18. boylehome

    boylehome Hall Of Fame/Supporter

    Jul 16, 2004
    Ron Barry, Very good post! Personally I think that the 921 was released as prospect for Dish to be leader in DVR/HD equipment with shortsited decisions as a result of time parameter limitations. I think that the software problems are compounded by incompatible hardware interactions. Simply, hardware used, are just not cooperating in harmony. It may be an unrealistic goal to assume that the software team will have true success with the 921. I think that most of the glitches that I see with my 921 are caused by some hardware interataction that conflicts with other hardware. One thing that frosts me is that the 921 was designed for HD and the hardware components used are limited from full HD function (like the PIP only working in SD and only two of three DVR events being recordable at the same time). Even the 942 may have some limitations. Limitations most likely resulted in early planning and decision making before better components were available or still in a mystic stage(I'm being nice here). Wasn't MPEG-4 in existence before the 942? But the 942 is only MPEG-2. Anyway, thanks for you good post.

  19. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Hall Of Fame

    Jan 15, 2004
    WJD: I understand what you're saying, and SOME of it certainly applies, but things like the just-introduced "enhancement" to the event delete function is plain and simple a HACK. :mad:

    If you watch how it operates under various conditions, it becomes obvious just how bad it really is - like the pop-under for the "Stop recording" dialog.

    That's far from the only one - as you're probably well aware.
  20. Ron Barry

    Ron Barry 622 Tips & Trick Keeper

    Dec 10, 2002
    Thanks Boyle... Felt like I was rampling on mostly... I did not re-read like I do sometimes so I am sure it is riddled with spelling and grammer mistakes.

    Yeap.. sometimes chip decisions are done at the initial phase of a project and never revisited at the end to see if a chip swap could be done. Since I am not a hardware guy, my guess this it is either too risky to re-evaluate later in the project and do a chip swap or it might not be feasible adding risk at such a low level. Heck it also could be related to the fact that the BOM might already been set and a cost change is out of the question. I think one of the key mistakes made was doing the 921 offshore. No dig to Eldon, they get enough rocks, but I just think it would have been better doing it state side where they have access to the OTA signals. Also, Dish really needs a wider external Beta program throughout the country to get better code coverage before releasing things to the wild.

    My guess with teh 942 was that MPEG-4 was not in the plans when board layout was done. I do agree with others that the first MPEG-4 DVR will be a 942 with and MPEG-4/MPEG-2 chip on it.

    Simon.. I am going to have to go back and take a look at the bug mentioned. What I was referring to was Gary's comment on the delete search history. As And yes I am aware it is not the only one. As to Hack, I would seriously questioned any developer that stated they have never added a hack to a code base. Sometime referred to as a work around or band aid. And I have seen some of these hacks that only addressed the symptom instead of the root cause to cause some very strange and ugly side effects. Heck... in my current position one such work around was added to the code base to clean up the corpse though we don't know the killer. ;) Of course the plan is to provide a way to disable the code that removes the corpse, but time will tell if this code remains in the code base at release time.

    The 921 has been very notable for releasing some really good "That should have been caught in QA" bugs. I think that is why their is some conception that the 921 got no QA time. Much more so than the 811.

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