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A simple handy feature TiVo should add

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by macjeepster, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Stormspace

    Stormspace Electrocuted by TiVo

    Apr 13, 2004
    Hartsville, SC
    The goal at the time was to catch up my wife on old episodes. I originally set the FRO SP on TBS, but noticed that suggestions from FOX were showing up in the list, so I added another SP without really thinking about it. After a while I noticed dups showing up on both channels so I restricted it to FRO, yet I was still getting every airing. Checking the guide data showed that all eps were listed as first run on both channels, even for reruns on the same channel.
  2. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    Looking at the zap2it listings for TWC in your area, I see absolutely no reason for this to be happening. All of the episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" have complete guide data on both channels.
  3. mattack

    mattack New Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    It would be VERY SIMPLE. I work in software.

    It is of GREAT UTILITY. Just because you don't think it's useful, doesn't mean most people wouldn't think it's useful. Much of the infrastructure (keeping track of what it has recorded) is already there, but of course currently that is thrown out on a 28 day sliding window.
  4. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    I've been a s/w developer for almost 40 years, including 17 as an O/S analyst. It's not as "simple" as you make it out. The history would have to be extended by two orders of magnitude, it would have to be a configurable option, you'd have to make sure they're aren't any unintended consequences, etc. Even it is

    I suppose whether or not it is of "GREAT UTILITY" is a matter of opinion, as is the percentage of users who would use it.

    For other reasons, I've been giving some thought recently to developing a PC based Premiere scheduler. I will add the to my list of possible features. Of course, this presupposes that I actually get around to developing it. :) Feel free to DIY.

    One last thing - no matter how much you extend the history, it won't help in the situation where there is no individual episode information.
  5. astrohip

    astrohip Active Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Houston & Brenham TX
    Would love this feature. I sometimes set up ARWL for people or directors, and then over time, as it records movies I don't want, I go back and start adding -(xxx) to the WL. PITA. Your idea would completely solve this.

    Bottom line: We're for the most part advanced users, and want features 90% of users wouldn't use or understand.
  6. macjeepster

    macjeepster New Member

    Sep 2, 2007
    I want to thank everyone for offering opinions on what could be a handy addition to the TiVo software. If I said something to anger James lpwcomp, I apologize. But I do wonder what Steve Jobs would have said if a programmer would have told him the following:
    I also want to better explain a couple of things that this gentleman got wrong about me:
    For the record, I do use season passes, and I do rank them in order of priority. But I only use them for must-see new episodes; I manually fill in with other shows myself. I usually want episodes that are new to me from shows that have been on many seasons.
    I would be nervous about what I'd get if I only used SPs and let the TiVo handle everything.
    I haven't forgotten anything. My first Mac hard drive was 20MB and cost $715. My first Series 1 TiVo, a Sony, I believe had a 30GB hard drive. I don't understand how this is relevant to the value of a new feature today that's well within the capability of modern equipment and skilled programmers.
    I also don't understand why the amount of time the scheduler has to run is a big problem. I think most people keep their TiVo on all the time; it might as well be doing something.
  7. tomm1079

    tomm1079 New Member

    May 10, 2005
    I personally would love for tivo to add a per folder option of View by original air date or view by Series/Epsoide
  8. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    There are a lot of times when it would have been a good thing if someone had told Steve Ballmer something similar and he had actually listened. BTW, no anger on my part.

    My apologies. For some reason, I read "rarely" and my brain stored "never". :eek:

    The 28 day rule was established when disk space was at a premium. And based on recent experience, I'm not sure I would call the current TiVo s/w development team "skilled" although it may be more a case of pressure from management to "get something out the door". Personally, I wish they'd make the TiVo s/w more fault tolerant. A disk error while recording or playing back shouldn't cause a system crash.

    I might agree with you if scheduling was always done in the background. It isn't. Since you do use SPs and the SP manager, when you reorganize them, surely you have noticed that there is a noticeable and annoying delay when exiting.

    As for your specific situation, might I suggest creating ARWL entries for the episodes you want to record. Fairly easy if a bit tiresome when using the HDUI. More difficult with the SDUI. But I would think it is better than having to check "Upcoming" every week or so and scheduling the episodes you want.
  9. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    I too would like to see more sort options. Even a simple choice of ascending or descending would be nice.

    The lack of the ability to sort on OAD is why I have modified my personal version of pyTivoMetaThis to add the "time" entry to the metadata. And to set the T part of both the OAD and time to 23:00:00. And one of the reasons I prefer "Pull" to "Push".

    The current Premiere s/w doesn't even seem to have an option for sort order within a group. Always descending by record time.
  10. replaytv

    replaytv gun talk ignore list

    Feb 20, 2011
    Denver ish Colorado
    Couldn't Tivo make it so I can skip 2 minutes 30 seconds with one button press to equal most commercials?
    I know that I can set it up to skip 30 seconds a press, but then I have to do that manually five times, and that also takes away my 15 minute skip feature.
  11. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    Skip to tic is still available while in FF or RW.

    I'm just hoping that the 30-second skip back-door feature remains available.
  12. Sam Ray

    Sam Ray New Member

    Jul 29, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I agree that this is entirely possible and potentially very useful. The main problem I see is that Tivo marketing will decide to do it but they will leave out 10% of what is needed to make this useful and the absence of that 10% will make the whole thing useless and then Tivo will think it is a useless idea.

    For every one person in this thread saying it is a bad idea, there are thousands that will use the feature if it were implemented (correctly).

    It would be useful if this were done for movies too, not just show episodes. My mother gives every movie two thumbs-up. She is definitely not the type to use a computer (other than her Tivo) nor is she organized enough to keep a list of what she has seen. She is highy dependent on the thumbs-up to keep track of what she has seen. She cannot remember every show she has seen just based on title and a vague description. She needs historical data. She is very frustrated that we are unable to get the thumbs-up data from our Tivo that has failed to the new Tivo.

    Tivo is behind time. When they get around to using current technology, they can store some data such as the historical data described here in the Tivo servers or in a "Cloud". Smartphones do it. Current Tivos must be connected to the internet so that is not a problem.

    Of course.

    Does that require an iPhone? Does it require typing in the data? For those of us that have a Windows computer, there is also something in Windows called Notepad that could be very effective. Personally I prefer to let Tivo do it all for me. It is a computer too. For my mother, nothing is effective other than Tivo.

    There are thousands that would vote for it.

    I think forgetting the past is a good thing for this discussion. Tivo was designed when Tivoe had to use the phone line to phone home. Don't look backward; look forward. The internet opens the whole world to Tivo. The little smartphone in your pocket can search more data than needs to be searched for doing what is described here.

    I am not familiar with an API for scheduling shows to be recorded. I know it is possible for a Windows program to get the list of recorded programs from a Tivo but I am not sure the data is specific enough for this. Assuming it is, then it is just a matter of checking the data periodicly. It would be better if it could be event-driven but otherwise it is posible.

    Again that is something a computer can do much more conveniently.

    I have also been a developer for about 40 years, except I intentionally avoided technical support. To the extent that an OS Analyst is someone that installs, maintains and debugs software developed by others with little or no opportunity to fix the software, I chose to be in application develppment. Application development includes databases.

    Using database software it is as easy as driving a car, for those of us that drive every day.


    Of course. Application developers constantly do that type of thing to the UI.

    Are you saying you do not normally do that to the software you develop? I assume you develop software.

    That is a separate problem to be solved separately.

    Yes many companies do not understand application development adequately. Many managers are impressed by programmers working long hours to get something done but the managers do not understand that quality takes time and saves money. Unfortunately too few managers understand the answer to that riddle.

    Yes. I am not sure how much that is a problem but I think they do not use enough asynchronous programming, similar to what you call the background. They should do more error checking and they should log errors so that if a hard drive is going bad, we should have something notifying us of the problem.

    I agree that they could and should do more in the background (asynchronously).
  13. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    You base that on what exactly?

    I certainly don't want my TiVos even more dependent on the net than they already are, which in some ways is too much already. For instance, if you're using the HDUI and there is a network or TiVo server outage, you have 0 search capability. It does not fall back to a search of the local guide data.

    Definitely doable, using the same methods used by kmttg.

    You are absolutely clueless about what an O/S analyst does or at least what I and my colleagues did. I worked on "big iron" - CDC 6000's, 70's, 170's, and 180's running Kronos, NOS, NOS/BE, and NOS/VE. Except for NOS/VE, we had the source code for the O/S and I modified both CP and PP O/S code. I wrote O/S level programs from scratch, in both Compass (CDC's assembly language) and Cybil. I also wrote assembly language programs for a Modcomp and and an FR-80. So you can take your superior attitude and stuff it! It's also nice to know that you have such intimate knowledge of the TiVo database structure.

    The history is currently 28 days. To what do you propose to extend it?

    :rolleyes: That veiled insult was a completely uncalled for. I only brought it up for three reasons:

    1. Some people seem to think (I don't include you) that it is a simple matter of writing a few lines of code, recompiling, and voila, everything works perfectly.
    2. Recent history would indicate that the TiVo s/w is not being subjected to rigorous testing.
    3. Write and test idiot proof s/w and the world will produce a better idiot.

    It's more than that. There's the "feature creep" problem. I was tech lead on a project (cable routing system for Bellefonte nuclear power plant. I did most of the UI, written in PL/1 and using ISPF dialog manager). Saying that the requirements were written in Jell-o would have vastly overrepresented their solidity. But we were told we absolutely had to meet the original delivery date, which strangely enough was the last day of the current fiscal year.

    It's more a case of having better error handling. Having an asynchronous task checking the disk is not really the answer. I've also had a TiVo reboot when a recording date (time) in the metadata is prior to @1970. I suspect that it caused an arithmetic overflow or underflow.

    Ya know, I had planned to go to bed early, but to try to discourage people from thinking that I am taking a "superior attitude", I will tell a story on myself:

    While working in the systems group at FSU, I once modified the Kronos CPU system executive(CPUMTR) but left out one instruction (increment of a B register, IIRC). Didn't fail when I tested it but when it was put into production, it ended up putting the exec into an infinite loop. Blank consoles. Operator calls. Deadstart, get a dump. I look at dump and code. OOPS.:eek:

    With that, I bid you all a belated adieu.
  14. Stormspace

    Stormspace Electrocuted by TiVo

    Apr 13, 2004
    Hartsville, SC
    And yet it happened. It was like a BBT virus or something. I ended up hosing all season passes for BBT on that TiVo, changed every other SP to FRO, and deleted almost everything that looked like a rerun. In retaliation that TiVo stuck out it's tongue, made a rude noise, and died. I'm currently waiting on a replacement.
  15. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    So recording something it shouldn't have was a cry for help? :D
  16. Stormspace

    Stormspace Electrocuted by TiVo

    Apr 13, 2004
    Hartsville, SC
    That's the way I see it. ;)
  17. macjeepster

    macjeepster New Member

    Sep 2, 2007
    I'm more convinced than ever that some implementation of this feature set would be useful to a lot of people. It would be a way to set TiVo apart from the me-too DVRs, which face it, until you use both, seem like they're just as good as TiVo (and cheaper).
    Clearly TiVo stumbled badly on the early versions of the new software, but it's working pretty well now, at least it is for me.
    And the iPad app is fantastic. It's worth buying an iPad for it alone.
    It's the computer's job to make complicated jobs simple.
    And it's the programmer's job, imho, to make that happen.
    I appreciate that it's hard. That's why they earn the big bucks (my son is studying comp sci at Stony Brook University).
    I'd love to see TiVo add something like this, plus some related features I haven't thought of. Let the TiVo keep track of my viewing for me.
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

    I'm a little late coming into this discussion, but...

    So what? An SP set for the primary channel will not pick up episodes in syndication on other channels. An SP set up for "first run only" will not record older shows, although the mechanics of this feature are not perfect, so I don't use it.

    That is an awful lot of work for something that doesn't really need to be done in the first place.

    I think mostly, yeah.

    I certainly do not, but then few of my recordings (not even one in ten) is part of a series. For the handful that are series, in truth I don't mostly use an SP. I don't select them, at all. I just let them be picked up by Suggestions, or in a few cases a Wishlist. For those I definitely want to be recorded and kept a while, I set an SP, or in some cases (syndication), more than one. It sounds to me like you are speaking of items in the latter category, in which case a Season Pass is definitely the proper answer. I just don't do much of that, myself.

    Well, it's a little difficult to be sure, but it surely sounds like it.

    Well, unless you set the SP for the cable channel(s) in question, it won't, but even supposing it did, so what? It wouldn't really hurt anything.

    Definitely not. Why would it do so, unless of course the schedule changes at the last minute, an emergency broadcast pre-empts it, the schedule was wrong in the first place, or a system failure occurs?

    My guess would be database processing time. The amount of time required to search and cross-reference the database grows geometrically as the size of the database grows. Remember, the database processing must occur in the background and may be pre-empted by any real time or foreground processes on a regular basis, and people already complain about how slow the menus are.
  19. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

    Why would anyone ever record an individual episode? It's a heck of a lot of work to do something the TiVo can handle for you without wasting a lot of time endlessly searching through the silly guide.

    So what if it does record it? Will your TV blow up? Will the state police descend on your house and arrest you for recording an episode a second time? So the TiVo records something you have seen before? BFFD. Deleting it, if you bother to do so, and which is not required, either, takes a fraction of a second - far, far less time than searching through the guide even one time, let alone hundreds of times.

    Finally, what's wrong with recording an episode a second (or third or fourth) time? I frequently will watch an episode multiple times, if it was a good one. The rest I just delete, or more likely just let the TiVo delete them for me.

    Time spent searching for an episode to record: 0
    Time spent worrying about whether an episode was previously recorded or not: 0
    Time spent deleting episodes I have already seen: 20 or 30 seconds a week.
    Time spent letting the Tivo take care of it: 24 x 7
  20. lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

    Worse than being marginal, it would seem to encourage bad practices.


    Well, not necessarily, anyway. What's more, sometimes things that are devilishly difficult to describe in English are fairly easy to accomplish in code.

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