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Old 03-26-2010, 12:50 PM   #1
TiVoPony
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Smile Blue Moon XII

Hi everyone!

Another year, another exciting chapter in TiVo History. Today is Blue Moon Day!

What is Blue Moon Day? It's a TiVo national holiday. Back in March of 1999 we began shipping TiVo Series1 DVRs to real, paying customers. The first DVRs shipped on the planet - yep, TiVo was the first, and is still the best.

It was an incredible effort to get that first TiVo finished up and out the door. It was a tremendous start, something that we were all proud of, and at the same time we knew it set the framework for so much more to come.

Sort of like what we've all just been through the past two years. I'm talking about the new Series4!

It launched last night - we threw the big switch and the new interface is now available on those shiny new TiVo Premiere DVRs. It's the first time since that original Series1 that we've redone the hardware and the software simultaneously. And there are an amazing number of changes to the service infrastructure as well (although most of that isn't visible to you all). A complete reboot of our product, across all fronts. Series4 is a new start.

While you're reading this, I'll head straight into the wind - is Series4 perfect? Nope, absolutely not. We know that. There are plenty of things to tweak, and the team is busy working on the next release. Just like any of the products we've launched over the years, there are improvements coming, and always more features to be added. It's what makes owning a TiVo great - it gets better and better as time goes by. The Series4 architecture, and the brand new HD interface give us a great canvas to map out all of the things we've wanted to do over the years. And the features and integration in this first release of the software - tremendous. It redefines what a great television experience should be. I've been here from day one, and I'm here to tell you it's an exciting time at TiVo.

But, today, all is quiet. We all have the day off. The pencils are all down, and we're off enjoying life. Monday we'll be back at it full steam. But today - today is a day to remember everything that has come before, and to celebrate where we are today. The best DVR company, and product, and *people*, on the planet.

Pat your TiVo doll on the head, give your DVR a good dusting, and look forward to the future. It's bright!

Bob Pony

For all of those out there new to the whole 'blue moon thing', here's a history lesson. Enjoy!

What is Blue Moon day? How did it come to be? Why 'Blue Moon'? Gather 'round, and I will answer all your questions.

Blue Moon is a TiVo National Holiday. It marks the very first shipments of production TiVo DVR's to paying customers. Our first orders fulfilled. We actually were in business then, and getting there was a huge effort!

While TiVo came to be the first, and certainly the most well known DVR on the planet, we weren't alone in those early days. There was another startup company, ReplayTV, that was nipping at our heels. In true Silicon Valley tradition, two startups were in a race...for resources, money, partners...you name it. We were well aware of them, and I'm sure vice versa. Now we had kept our powder dry, not spending much of our marketing money at all thru 1998 (well, we did spend some here and there, mostly on PR trips, a partner conference in SF, etc). But Replay struck first publically with a full page ad in a magazine right at the end of 1998. Now, putting an ad in a magazine is something that's easy to do, no product is actually required. But the perception it left with some people is, well, that Replay was ahead. That was not going to happen. No way. It was Christmas, but people kept working. It was a race!

In early January we went to the Consumer Electronics Show, our first tradeshow booth, and we demo'd tons of working product there. But right down the aisle from us...was ReplayTV's booth. Their product looked pretty solid as well. There's a fun story in there about a bit of partner wooing (Sony), but that will have to wait for another day.

So, they were real, and not far behind us. Our goal had been to ship in the first quarter of 1999, but there was so much work left to do. Especially when you factor in that we'd landed Philips as a manufacturing/distribution partner, bringing in loads of structure (and work) for our QE, Operations and Manufacturing teams. Oh, and we needed a program guide on the product. That wasn't done yet, we better get one of those before March.

The execs pulled us all into a big meeting, a 'reality check'. Were we going to make it? Could we ship by the end of March? It didn't look promising at the rate we were going (and people were working long hours as it was). Maybe April. Or May. The summer is a slow time to launch, how about waiting until Fall? Ouch.

Nope. We would make our date. Every one of us was challenged to make it happen, get it done. We knew that we had the best product, we'd seen the competition. And we'd all worked far too hard for too long to be second to market. Someone had brought a copy of Henry V to the meeting, and we all watched Olivier deliver the St. Crispin's Day speech. We were a band of brothers, and we would be remembered.

In that meeting we decided upon the final code name for this project. Oh, there had been other code names for bits and pieces of the development. But the final push needed something special. One of our engineers had noticed that March of '99 had two full moons in it - the second full moon of a month is known as a 'Blue Moon'. We had our code name - Blue Moon. It's really nice when the code name has the launch date built right into it, eh?

From that moment on we completely abandoned the outside world. January through March people lived, slept, ate at TiVo. The futons in the common area were great for naps (if you could get one). The coffee pots, and that wonderful first espresso machine we had were in constant use (every floor of our buildings at TiVo has a commercial espresso machine to this day). The closet near my office became storage for pillows and blankets (we had to clear out all of the exercise gear and engine parts that normally were there...hey, engineers like to tinker). The company brought in breakfasts, lunch, dinner...we were well fed. Our normal lives were set aside, everyone in the company found a way to pitch in and do whatever was necessary to move things forward and hit the date.

And we did it. At the end of March '99 we all met at the manufacturing line (Our products were built at a subcontractor, and one of their lines happened to be in east San Jose). Everyone from the company converged on the place, donned blue lab coats, and toured the line. We watched those first TiVo DVR's rolling down the line, and boxes piling up on pallets at the end, going out to customers. We drank champagne and cheered. Hugged our partners. Hugged each other. And collapsed. We were so exhausted. Everyone signed the very first box down the line. That TiVo DVR still sits in a glass display case here at TiVo, surrounded by photos of the day. It's a very special thing.

We'd done it. We were first to market. Replay would come out about a month later with their DVR, but we were first, and it was sweet. Mike Ramsay, our CEO, announced that the last Friday in March would be a TiVo holiday, forevermore. Blue Moon Day. He ordered us all to stay home, he was padlocking the doors to the office. Nobody was to come in, for any reason. Go home and see your family & friends. Tell them the stories. Enjoy the daylight and fresh air. Do whatever you want - but don't come to work.

Those that have heard the story before may remember that nine months following that first holiday five Blue Moon babies were born. So not everyone took the advice about daylight and fresh air.

So today we're at Blue Moon number eleven. TiVo is closed for business today, we're all off having a bit of fun. Today's the day we remember not only the Blue Moon launch, but all of the effort that has gone into developing and launching each and every project here at TiVo since. We even move our payday up a day here so our finance folks can take the day off. The only people working - our customer support team. Someone has to answer the phones. So if you have to call today, please be extra nice to them. It's a special day, and they're working away.

Give your TiVo DVR a dusting today. Pat your TiVo doll on the head. Change the batteries in your remote. Think good thoughts, post good things. Remember that not that long ago, controlling your television at all simply wasn't possible. But for the efforts of that small band of brothers, it might still not be possible today. Enjoy Blue Moon Day!
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:00 PM   #2
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Yee-haaw...
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:12 PM   #3
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Thanks Mr. Pony for sharing that story!
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:06 PM   #4
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So when will the HD interface be done for more screens than "search"?
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:15 PM   #5
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Blue Moon TiVo Holiday!

And I came to work~~

Darn it.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:16 PM   #6
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It's been awhile. Welcome back.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:28 PM   #7
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For those of you who would like to see the true origins of TiVo...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsXUPmWAfhY
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:31 PM   #8
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The original TiVo on Blue Moon Day. Elevan years later the Series 4 is released.

Twice in a Blue Moon.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:10 PM   #9
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It's been awhile. Welcome back.
Exactly, hope you all enjoy your day!
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:25 PM   #10
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Nicely stated TiVoPony
reminds me of the good old days when I first joined the forum
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:59 PM   #11
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Series4 is a new start.
Bob, as a long-time Tivo enthusiast, I hope this is true.

I think a lot of the complaints and criticisms that have been thrown towards Tivo and the Series 4 launch over the last few weeks are due to the recent silence from people like you. Frankly, I think you've lost the trust of many of the Tivo faithful in this community.

A few years ago, we could always count on you and TivoJerry and other Tivo employees to come by frequently and help out with problems and assure everyone that their concerns were being heard.

Now, if one has a software problem affecting basic functionality of their Tivo box (GSAS, analog tuner problem, SDV/pixelation, etc.), it's seems like the only hope is that a Tivo VP runs into the same problem so it will get noticed and fixed.

I know there's a lot of whining and other crap that flows out around here, but that kind of goes with the territory, and shouldn't prevent you from engaging in real dialog with those of us who can be civil.

So, you say there are "improvements coming", but I'm finding it a little harder to believe that than I would have a few years ago.

Anyway, to close on a positive note, congratulations on another Blue Moon, and many happy returns!
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Old 03-26-2010, 05:04 PM   #12
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So what's the deal pony. We only get to see you once a year. You should come out more often and play with us.

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Old 03-26-2010, 05:17 PM   #13
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Thanks, Bob for coming around, please don't be a stranger!

BMF is my favorite Tivo story!
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:05 PM   #14
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So what's the deal pony. We only get to see you once a year. You should come out more often and play with us.
Totally unfair. Eight of TiVoPony's 2,100+ or so posts came between BMF11 and BMF12.
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:22 PM   #15
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Congrats on the S4 release and Blue Moon. Please come back after the holiday and post something on the Premiere forum that will give all the "it's half-baked" crowd some info to calm them down.

(It would be nice to hear that initially we'll see updates more frequently than twice a year and it would REALLY be nice to hear you are going to fix the cache/redraw problem on the Discovery Bar and top menus that give the appearance the S4 is dog-slow)
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:34 PM   #16
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Great story. Thanks for sharing it. Look forward to my new S4
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:58 PM   #17
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TiVo Guy is wishing he had arms right about now.



Congrats!
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:30 PM   #18
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Wow.. again already.. (Honestly not meaning to put a downer in the thread, but for some reason my Tivos are having a heck of a hard time successfully making phone connections lately. 1 out of 3 successfully made a call yesterday, for the first time in about a week. I dialed the # on my cell phone to make sure it was still a modem.. it is.. The S1 just starts downloading then fails during it.. the TivoHD gives P07, P08, P09, I think.. I've seen 2 out of those 3.. and the S3 did finally connect yesterday.. Yes, this is making me try harder to get my ddwrt bridge working..)
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:40 AM   #19
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I bought one of those first series 1s, at least the first one that appeared in Chattanooga; at Sears no less.

I have fond memories of that early TiVo (I still have it but it is not in service) I remember the software ver. was 1.1 or 1.2. No season pass manager, no wish lists, and a bit of a slowness issue and 14 hrs max recording time.

Beta testing the later vers. was such a pleasure because each one had major improvements and were actually a huge joy to test and play with.

And, these forums were more fun; the forums were truly about helping others and discovering features to make the TiVo experience better.

Ah, the good old days. Hard to believe it was only 11 years ago.

BTW: For those that notice my join date. At that time I posted under a different user name. (can't seem to remember it, old age I guess) I had a major computer crash and had to recreate many of my accounts.
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:34 AM   #20
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Hi TiVoPony,

Congratulations on the new chapter. I'm happy with my 2 S3's so not likely to go buy or upgrade to a Premiere, but I hope the new interface and features helps TiVo win new subscribers in the long run.

Scott (TiVo owner since 2000)
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:36 AM   #21
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Yes, this is making me try harder to get my ddwrt bridge working..)
Mattack,

Go buy a refurbished Netgear wireless G WSPS606 print server/bridge on eBay $33). They work great.

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Old 03-27-2010, 10:04 AM   #22
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I found it interesting how TiVoPony mentioned ReplayTV's early magazine ad. I specifically remember coming across that ad and being confused. The concept of a DVR was so fresh and new that I didn't even know what to make of it. In fact, the whole DVR concept didn't click for me until I saw an early TiVo demonstration at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. At that moment, I realized that they had created a product that was truly game changing. Of course, I ended up buying a ReplayTV instead of a TiVo, but that's a story for another day.

To TiVoPony and all the other people who helped make TiVo what is is today ... Congratulations!!!
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:05 PM   #23
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Happy Blue Moon Day to the entire TiVo Team! and congratulations on shipping series 4. I for one have one of those Premieres heading my way and am looking forward to receiving it.

You know, I have seen a lot of criticism of the new series 4 platform, how it was marketed, the features that were not included, the HD UI performance issues and I would say this.. If your ordering a premiere at launch, you fall in to the category of an 'early adopter', being an early adopter means that you love technology, and you want to be the first in line to receive a product, however you must accept that if you have the benefit of being on the front line of consumers to use the product, the product still may be young, may have bugs, and in some cases may not be fully functional, that's just the way it is!

I am sure TiVo have done their best to ship a product which is as stable as possible, after all that is one of the main strengths of the TiVo product, and though the hardware itself may be capable I can accept that some areas of the software are still under construction.

I am purchasing my TiVo Premiere not because it particular enhances my DVR experience over my TiVo HD, but what the new platform will allow TiVo to do in the future. I consider my purchase my contribution towards a bigger better and more functional device, which can only be achieved if those that love the TiVo product continue to support the company.
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:34 PM   #24
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...
You know, I have seen a lot of criticism of the new series 4 platform, how it was marketed, the features that were not included, the HD UI performance issues and I would say this.. If your ordering a premiere at launch, you fall in to the category of an 'early adopter', being an early adopter means that you love technology, and you want to be the first in line to receive a product, however you must accept that if you have the benefit of being on the front line of consumers to use the product, the product still may be young, may have bugs, and in some cases may not be fully functional, that's just the way it is!

I am sure TiVo have done their best to ship a product which is as stable as possible, after all that is one of the main strengths of the TiVo product, and though the hardware itself may be capable I can accept that some areas of the software are still under construction.
...
Funny - I don't see anything in the advertisements that says its not fully functional and still under construction....

Customers are entitled to receive a product that does what the advertising says it does at the time they purchase it - not at some unspecified time in the future.

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Old 03-27-2010, 04:22 PM   #25
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Happy Blue Moon Day to the entire TiVo Team! and congratulations on shipping series 4. I for one have one of those Premieres heading my way and am looking forward to receiving it.

You know, I have seen a lot of criticism of the new series 4 platform, how it was marketed, the features that were not included, the HD UI performance issues and I would say this.. If your ordering a premiere at launch, you fall in to the category of an 'early adopter', being an early adopter means that you love technology, and you want to be the first in line to receive a product, however you must accept that if you have the benefit of being on the front line of consumers to use the product, the product still may be young, may have bugs, and in some cases may not be fully functional, that's just the way it is!

I am sure TiVo have done their best to ship a product which is as stable as possible, after all that is one of the main strengths of the TiVo product, and though the hardware itself may be capable I can accept that some areas of the software are still under construction.

I am purchasing my TiVo Premiere not because it particular enhances my DVR experience over my TiVo HD, but what the new platform will allow TiVo to do in the future. I consider my purchase my contribution towards a bigger better and more functional device, which can only be achieved if those that love the TiVo product continue to support the company.
It's this devil may care "early adopter" bravado that allows companies to continue to get away with these soft product launches. I can assure you that there are engineers at TiVo that pleaded for another month or two to get more done with the S4 and they were over ruled by marketing/sales pukes who insisted people would not mind beta testing the new stuff because "everyone releases 1/2 done stuff". Would you buy a car that only had four of six cylinders working at time of purchase with a vague promise that the other ones would be working at a future point in time?

Early adopter does not have to mean receiving 1/2 baked equipment that looks slow and glitchy. Look at the iPhone, which at launch was "done" in that it did everything Apple had implied it could do when they announced it. Look at PS3 which also did all the stuff it was supposed to do when it launched, even though it meant Sony had to delay it.

This soft, early launch just smacks of ego from TiVo. "Hey, our product's not done, but we're TiVo, we make the best DVR and we have millions of subs, so these suckers will just have to accept it!"... and look how that panned out for them, they've been properly panned by the leading tech writers out there, including Mossberg, Engadget and Gizmodo (Cnet didn't have much love either).

You know the old story about companies that are too big for their britches, the bigger they are the harder they fall.
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:26 PM   #26
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It's this devil may care "early adopter" bravado that allows companies to continue to get away with these soft product launches. I can assure you that there are engineers at TiVo that pleaded for another month or two to get more done with the S4 and they were over ruled by marketing/sales pukes who insisted people would not mind beta testing the new stuff because "everyone releases 1/2 done stuff". Would you buy a car that only had four of six cylinders working at time of purchase with a vague promise that the other ones would be working at a future point in time?

Early adopter does not have to mean receiving 1/2 baked equipment that looks slow and glitchy. Look at the iPhone, which at launch was "done" in that it did everything Apple had implied it could do when they announced it. Look at PS3 which also did all the stuff it was supposed to do when it launched, even though it meant Sony had to delay it.

This soft, early launch just smacks of ego from TiVo. "Hey, our product's not done, but we're TiVo, we make the best DVR and we have millions of subs, so these suckers will just have to accept it!"... and look how that panned out for them, they've been properly panned by the leading tech writers out there, including Mossberg, Engadget and Gizmodo (Cnet didn't have much love either).

You know the old story about companies that are too big for their britches, the bigger they are the harder they fall.
Nice thread crap.
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:31 PM   #27
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Nice thread crap.
You can call it whatever you want. A lot of us love our TiVos but are very worried about the direction that this company has taken and the people at TiVo need to know about it.

Fan boys alone can't save a product. For reference, see Empeg.
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:38 PM   #28
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Would you buy a car that only had four of six cylinders working at time of purchase with a vague promise that the other ones would be working at a future point in time?
The first batch of Tesla roadsters shipped with a 2 speed transmission locked into second gear as it was found to be unsuitable for the car. The owners were promised that their transmissions would be upgraded to the newer single speed transmission once it was developed. A Tesla cost a lot more than a TiVo.
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:41 PM   #29
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The first batch of Tesla roadsters shipped with a 2 speed transmission locked into second gear as it was found to be unsuitable for the car. The owners were promised that their transmissions would be upgraded to the newer single speed transmission once it was developed. A Tesla cost a lot more than a TiVo.
Yes, a comparison between a $250,000 limited edition vehicle that is only sought by multi-millionaire collectors and a $299 mass market consumer product is totally on the money.

The point is that general consumers (who TiVo need to appeal to) don't want to buy incomplete products. Sorry this is such a difficult concept.

I know you guys feel some kind of maternal need to defend TiVo but they need to hear that they are pissing off their base and that the natives are restless. Hopefully the thrashing they got in the tech blog reviews is starting to alert them to this.

When the company I work for has user groups meetings we tend to learn the most about the issues with our products from the vocal (but rational) customers. Many of these changes and enhancements are then added to our product.

If it was nothing but wind and roses for us at those meetings then we wouldn't be motivated to make a decent product a good product, or a good product a great product.
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:41 PM   #30
orangeboy
yes, I AM orangeboy!
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Moline, IL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
A lot of us love our TiVos but are very worried about the direction that this company has taken and the people at TiVo need to know about it.
Then start a new thread with that intent. It seems ridiculous to expect your message to get to TiVo from the bottom of a "Blue Moon" story thread...
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