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The Free Space Indicator Thread

Discussion in 'TiVo Suggestion Avenue' started by Samsara, Jan 12, 2002.

How Important is This to You?

  1. It's so important that I'd pay extra for it.

    158 vote(s)
    9.1%
  2. It's important but I wouldn't pay extra for it.

    1,306 vote(s)
    75.5%
  3. Not important, but I'd probably use it if it was free.

    219 vote(s)
    12.7%
  4. I'd probably never use it one way or the other.

    46 vote(s)
    2.7%
  1. ufo4sale

    ufo4sale Active Member

    4,056
    6
    Apr 21, 2001
    Plainview...
    I wrote a couple of lengthy paragraphs in the TiVo Coffee House that I think everyone should see. It gives some reasons why we haven't seen it yet. and a couple of suggestion on how to simplify the FSI.
     
  2. ufo4sale

    ufo4sale Active Member

    4,056
    6
    Apr 21, 2001
    Plainview...
    I wrote it under "capacity left on TiVo"
     
  3. HTH

    HTH No Avatar Selected

    4,066
    1
    Aug 28, 2000
    Lincoln, NE
    It helps if you make it a link.
     
  4. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    5,556
    0
    Nov 27, 2002
    Enable groups and you can cut it to about 7 min.

    :)
     
  5. Feb 9, 2004 #185 of 297
    DCIFRTHS

    DCIFRTHS I dumped SDV / cable

    2,119
    0
    Jan 6, 2000
    New York
    Only selectively......
     
  6. Mar 9, 2004 #186 of 297
    maddios

    maddios New Member

    14
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    Mar 4, 2003
    the posts i've read so far to be against the feature are RIDICULOUS!!

    for one thing all the people who said confusion would follow, either just like suffering or like arguing!

    for one thing, the best analogy i can think of for this is as follows:

    Your computer tells you how much hard drive space you have right? well you don't have people calling in when their windows machine or such suddenly says drive is full when the swap file increased in size and filled up the last 100MB when they tried to save a word document! the error CLEARLY states that YOU ARE OUT OF SPACE!

    ALSO, although a gas gauge isn't good for future prediction, a TiVo isn't a car, and even then some cars know at the current rate of use (MPG) and total amount of gas (hdd space) left you have so many miles to go (days/hours), and the main thing you guys are forgetting is that WHY THE HELL NOT!

    for one thing, people who don't need this feature... DON'T FRIGGIN USE IT! no one is forcing you! however the people who do (me) will... i seriously doubt it'll increase call volumes to customer service from the current "how do i tell how much space is used up" and such.

    the best idea i've seen so far was to list a bunch of lines of different data ala configuration of a program, listing how many hours of certain types of recordings, how many hours will be left after, and approx at what date...


    AND THE BEST OF ALL, THIS FEATURE WOULD TAKE 30 MINUTES TO CODE!!!!! you are all forgetting that this is a program, and when it comes to coding software this has got to be the simplest function to write EVER lol (especially compared to all of the other features), and like it's been said before, it's all already there, it just needs to be compiled into a single page.
    Don't forget TiVo has a DB for storing it's data, i'm sure all of these values are stored in it, would take 5 minutes to write up a query to come up with it


    (let the bashing begin)
     
  7. HTH

    HTH No Avatar Selected

    4,066
    1
    Aug 28, 2000
    Lincoln, NE
    Any free space indicator cannot represent space in hours. It would have to be in percentages if at all.

    When my cable box turned off, my TiVo went crazy with recording Suggestions, able to record far more hours than one would expect, because two hours of a perfectly black screen with absolutely no sound compressed extremely well. It would have to be in percentages if at all.

    That TiVo markets the capacity in hours makes a FSI not measuring space in hours a problem.

    (Swap files spontaneously grow in Windows?)
     
  8. Deven

    Deven New Member

    82
    0
    Feb 6, 2001
    Greenhills,...
    What?!? They're taking away sort by expiration?? That's my most important sorting mode! Managing my Now Playing list was a nightmare before that was available! :(
     
  9. Deven

    Deven New Member

    82
    0
    Feb 6, 2001
    Greenhills,...
    That's not good enough, and nowhere near accurate when you're close to 100% full, which is exactly when you need to worry about free space. If you have space for lots of suggestions, it's not really a concern, is it? My TiVo's *normally* operate at 100%. I know that because my nightly ritual of extending expiring programs always forces other programs to expire earlier, so I end up having to prioritize and decide what I'm willing to let be deleted that I haven't watch. This is almost impossible to do correctly without sort by expiration.
    Most of us would be satisfied with ANY solution which allows us to see the current amount of free space in almost any form. The plethora of suggestions here is entirely aimed at mollifying all the people who ***** and moan about how an FSI is "confusing", "inaccurate", "misleading", etc. If people weren't so dedicated to trying to torpedo a simple feature, we wouldn't have to get so creative to address all their concerns.
    So what!? In case you haven't paid attention, the TiVo already gives misleading information. The System Information screen gives an unrealistically high estimate of the total amount of space (at least on combo boxes). Programs can get deleted before they've actually expired. Life isn't perfect. Why are people demanding perfection of this feature? Why the ridiculously high standard here?
    Personally, I don't believe features like sorting and the FSI should be hidden, but as long as I can find out how to turn them on (without backdoors), I'll be happy enough with it.
    Yes, there are kludgely workarounds. And if they were good enough, we wouldn't still be debating this topic year after year. We know about the workarounds, stop harping on them. With sort by expiration, I can get by without an FSI better than I could before, but I still see a need for it. It's absurd that this has become a point of perennial debate when it should be a non-issue.
     
  10. Deven

    Deven New Member

    82
    0
    Feb 6, 2001
    Greenhills,...
    You're not really going to suggest that a driver is too stupid to have an idea of how much driving they're going to do in the future, are you? If I'm driving cross-country, and I know it could be 100 miles to the next gas station, I might fill up at a quarter of a tank. If I'm driving in the city, I'm comfortable letting it get much lower while waiting to find a good gas price. As a driver, I have a good idea of how much driving I'm going to be doing in the near future.

    And guess what? As a TiVo user, I also have a good idea of how much I'm going to record in the near future. And if I lose track, well golly gee. The TiVo can give me a list of everything I've scheduled to record, so it's really no mystery at all. I can see what I'm going to record. The problem is that I can't see how much space I have left, and that mystery is unnecessary and a source of constant frustration.
    Of course, you can't prevent all your recordings from expiring. You should be able to mark everything as Save Until I Delete, but you can't. But that's a separate issue from the FSI one.
    Yes, and this maintenance is a constant burden, on a device which is supposed to take the burden out of television. I literally spend 20 minutes or more a night extending expiration times to make sure I don't lose anything I care about.
     
  11. Deven

    Deven New Member

    82
    0
    Feb 6, 2001
    Greenhills,...
    That would be a pretty crappy FSI, if it only shows the amount of space taken up by unexpired recordings. At the very least, it should show how much space is taken up by: (1) unexpired recordings and (2) requested but expired recordings. It would be best to also include: (3) space taken up by "Save Until I Delete" recordings, (4) Suggestions and (5) unallocated free space not used by recordings of any sort.

    Just because the TiVo feels free to blow away anything that's expired doesn't guarantee that the user is equally sanguine about it. I would rather mark every program as "Save Until I Delete" (except filler shows) and risk not having a new program record due to lack of free space than to have to spend countless hours of my time ritualistically extending the expiration times of the programs I don't want to lose. Of course, design flaws in the TiVo software make that approach impossible unless you don't use most of your disk space. But that's a separate issue from the FSI one.

    The point is, I want to be in control of what gets deleted, because my TiVo has no clue what's more important to me. Until I am the one in control, TiVo isn't really TV "my way" yet.
     
  12. Deven

    Deven New Member

    82
    0
    Feb 6, 2001
    Greenhills,...
    Percentages are better than nothing (or even a bar graph with no numbers), but it's ridiculous to say that a free space indicator "cannot" represent space in hours. I think maddios is right, you must like arguing over this feature, because objections like this are far from compelling.
    So what? That's obvious an abnormal situation. You probably deleted all those suggestions because they were worthless. You would never want to know the amount of a blank screen you can record, so just because your "35 hour" TiVo may be able to record 200 hours of a blank screen doesn't make that information worthwhile. Users want to know how much real programming they can record in the remaining free space.
    It's also a problem that TiVo markets the combo box as a "35 hour" device, yet in practice it maxes out around 30 hours.

    Anyhow, I believe a free-space indicator should include the number of hours as well as a percentage of disk space. And it's simple to do this in a very reasonable fashion, despite all the whining opposition which is rampant in this thread.

    First, let's address the obvious. For existing recordings, the TiVo can provide information on disk space used AND total recording time, with 100% accuracy. It knows the exact length of every recording, in both time and megabytes. So there's no good reason not to provide this information. Ideally, the user should be able to see both MB as a raw number, and the % of the total space that represents. It's trivial for any user (no matter how unsophisticated) to understand that 1 MB is a unit of measurement of the space available, and that the total space is xxxx MB, and that this program is using xxx MB.

    Nobody needs to understand or care what the unit MB means, although most people have been exposed enough to computers that they probably do know. But that knowledge is unimportant -- anyone can understand the relative sizes expressed in a common unit, no matter what that unit is. Hell, the TiVo could represent the sizes in units of 174773 bytes each, and I wouldn't care, as long as I could see the size of each program in that unit, the total number of such units, and the number free. I would be curious about the use of such a strange unit size, but it would be equally usable as MB.

    Now, can the TiVo report the number of hours of free space? Of course it can! While the exact compression ratio is not 100% predictable, since programming will vary, the TiVo can readily come up with a much more accurate estimate than the user possibly could. Display "(estimated)" after the amount of time, if necessary, and nobody will complain when it's a few minutes off.

    For the standalone models, this calculation is trivial. For each recording quality, the TiVo knows the maximum bitrate it will use, so that's a worst-case bound. That means that the TiVo can accurately predict that xxx MB free will be able to record at least xxx minutes of programming. That's the number that should be shown, in hours and minutes. Either show the calculated time for each recording quality (or make it available by selection), or simply for the one in use as the default recording quality. That would be sufficient. And if something (like your blank screen) happens to compress better than the maximum bitrate, great! Nobody's going to complain if it manages to record more hours than expected.

    For DirecTV combo models, such precise worst-case numbers aren't available. On the other hand, the blank-screen recordings are much less likely to occur with an integrated tuner. However, rather than using an arbitrary average bitrate estimate to calculate the number of hours (as the System Information screen does, which always estimates too high), there is an excellent source of data available -- the existing recordings. The combo units should calculate the average bitrate of actual recordings that are in the Now Playing list, and use this to estimate the amount of recording time available.

    In practice, the bitrates on DirecTV are fairly consistent, although they do vary depending on the type of programming. However, using the actual average based on the user's own recordings will automatically adapt to the user's preferences. If the user watches only pay-per-view movies which are highly compressed in advance, they'll see a lot more recording time estimated to be available for the same amount of free disk space than a sports fanatic who is always recording high-bitrate programming. And this is perfectly appropriate. Chances are that the user will record programming similar to what they've recorded in the past, so this is the best way to estimate the time remaining for that user.

    Of course, since this is an estimate based only on averages, it's particularly important to include the "(estimated)" warning after the time. If you really want to avoid misleading the user, present the remaining time estimate as a range instead of a single time. This will emphasize the fact that it may not be precise, and discourage users from taking a single time estimate too literally. Moreover, you can be 99% sure that the actual remaining time is in the range given by calculating the mean +/- 3 times the standard deviation of the actual bitrates used in existing recordings. This is hard to calculate by hand, but trivial for the computer.

    Since the free space estimate may differ from the actual space used by expired programs, it would make sense to be able to see both the actual free space as well as the "free" space that would exist without the expired recordings, since that number will may vary a bit from the time used by the expired recordings plus the estimate of the completely free space. (And the range will vary even more.)

    On standalone models, the TiVo could easily calculate the amount of free space at each (or the default) recording quality, with 100% confidence that at least that much time can be recorded, while DirecTV combo models could easily estimate a range for the remaining recording time with 99% confidence that the actual recording time left will be in that range. Are you really going to sit there with a straight face and try to tell me that 99% confidence isn't good enough? If so, then you're trolling and/or looking for a fight. Either way, your contention that free space "cannot" be shown in hours and minutes is unsupportable.
    Yes, they can if virtual memory runs low, although in my experience the user does see a pop-up dialog warning them that it's being expanded.
     
  13. Deven

    Deven New Member

    82
    0
    Feb 6, 2001
    Greenhills,...
    In case anyone thinks showing a range of times would be "confusing", another option would be to show the lower number of that range, which would give 99% confidence that at least that much time is available. I still think a range would be preferable to encourage people to view the times as approximate.

    By the way, if anyone reading this thread has hacked their TiVo to allow Ethernet access, they might be interested in this free space hack in the Underground forum. I plan to try it out once I get around to installing my cache cards, which have been waiting for me since Christmas!
     
  14. BrettStah

    BrettStah Well-Known Member TCF Club

    24,211
    515
    Nov 12, 2000
    San Antonio
    Then how would knowing that you have 0% free help you?

    :D
     
  15. HTH

    HTH No Avatar Selected

    4,066
    1
    Aug 28, 2000
    Lincoln, NE
    You're responding to posts I made nearly 7 months ago and you preemptively accuse me of picking a fight?

    I fully understand what you want, Deven. Perhaps you should ask TiVo to push to you the special lobotomized version of the software you desire that performs no disk management at all.
     
  16. Deven

    Deven New Member

    82
    0
    Feb 6, 2001
    Greenhills,...
    I didn't accuse you of anything, I said you must like arguing over this feature -- I can't imagine why else you invariably raise spurious objections to every reasonable suggestion. And that was in response to a post you made 2 days ago, not 7 months ago. Perhaps if you would try to help improve the ideas presented for an FSI more than trying to tear them down, I might not suspect you're just arguing for the sake of arguing, which is what it's starting to look like.

    And you obviously don't understand what I want. I don't want a "special lobotomized version" that performs no disk management at all. I want the disk management to be more intelligent than it already is, not less. Right now, there are unnecessarily, arbitrary limitations in TiVo's disk management strategy, and I'd like to see those limitations removed, because I want the TiVo to be the best it can be.
     
  17. star_treking

    star_treking %user_name%

    443
    0
    Dec 18, 2002
    Olympia, Wa
    I'm shure someone said this all ready in this thread but...

    What about a guess-ta-mit display. A green>yellow>red bar where it could take probly 6 hours of new shows just to have it go more yellow or red. Of course everything thats not shows dosent get counted in the bar.

    The idea with this is its extremely simple so hopefully even grandma/pa can understand it. Also stops people from blaming TiVo for it saying "It should of recorded [This] there was XX hours avalible on there"

    So who wants to show me the post that said the same thing I just did?
     
  18. DCIFRTHS

    DCIFRTHS I dumped SDV / cable

    2,119
    0
    Jan 6, 2000
    New York
    star_treking:

    I don't know if that idea has been posted before.....but it sounds like a good one !
     
  19. HTH

    HTH No Avatar Selected

    4,066
    1
    Aug 28, 2000
    Lincoln, NE
    Oh really?
    Some would classify accusing someone of trolling as you did as a personal attack.
    Oh please. Obviously I was responding to your messages en masse with only one.
    You've already stated in the past that you want to be able to overschedule your TiVo so that you can have everything be KUID and still schedule more KUID recordings. You want your TiVo to behave more like a VCR that stops recording when the tape gets full.

    That's tantamount to wanting the disk space manager disabled. That you want a FSI as well says you feel you can do a better job at managing storage space than the TiVo. Better than a computer that has ready access to more facts than it even conveys to you.

    Thus I don't consider you a reasonable disputant on this topic.

    I'm a forgiving type and willing to agree with people on some things and not on others (e.g. if you were to petition David Bott to modify the quoting code here to better handle original text that used bold text so those quoting them wouldn't have to reverse the boldness manually, I'd be behind you on that), but if you continue to make this personal as quoted above I doubt I'll be willing to listen to what you have to say on any topic.
     
  20. HTH

    HTH No Avatar Selected

    4,066
    1
    Aug 28, 2000
    Lincoln, NE
    A meter that gave no hard figures to the user could pass muster. I'd suggest the color be a continuous chromatic scale though rather than a simple green/yellow/red indicator to prevent attempts at assigning a precise threshold meaning to the color change. Anyone trying to discern hard meanings to the colors should have to resort to using a color matching wheel.
     

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