Campaign for Release Notes?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by marshmello, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. marshmello

    marshmello New Member

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    I'm new here, so please forgive me if this has been brought up before. But has anyone organized a letter writing / phone calling / attention-getting campaign to get release notes?

    Tivo is a software company, and software companies should provide release notes. If we tried to release software to our client without release notes, we'd be fired. Not that I want to "fire" Tivo (I sort of want to marry it), but I do want some release notes. In fact, I kind of feel like it should be illegal for software to be upgraded on any device -- especially an upgrade we can't opt-out of -- without accurate release notes being distributed to the user.

    And this portion of the post at "showthread.php?p=5604258&&#post5604258" (sorry, I'm too new to make URLs) by TivoPony has me incensed :mad: :
    "Sorry if that bothers some" and "We do what we can" are particularly infuriating. I don't care about what the average Tivo subscriber wants. Tivo's gotten several "average" subscribers because of me- I've pimped them pretty hard to my friends, family, and coworkers (and the occasional random person on the subway, but I'm not sure if he subscribed). The least they can do is give me release notes. I'm sure they're using version control/change request management software-- pull the changes from those tools and give them to us.

    Anyway, I am now attempting to redirect my anger from TivoPony to something more productive. What if we all called their customer support and sent a polite (was "an angry") letter each time there was a release? Also, everyone with a blog could write an angry article about this situation, and we could all vote for the blog article(s) (or maybe just vote for the best written blog article) on digg (or wherever) to get more attention. Ideally, we could get some podcasters to mention the cause as well.

    So, would this be pointless? We need to be noisy outside this forum in order to get change implemented. I'm not sure we could make a difference, but it seems like we should try. Unless you've all already done something like this and gotten nowhere.
     
  2. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about angry calls or letters...I generally get more positive responses using honey than vinegar. But I do agree that basic release notes would be of great value if only for the P.R. benefit to TiVo. Not to mention keeping us from each other's throats. ;)

    My vote is yes...I'd like to see release notes! :up:

    Perhaps a poll is in order? If so it probably should go into the Coffee House area so everyone gets to put in their two-cents.
     
  3. George Cifranci

    George Cifranci TiVo Bolt 500GB - TE4 UI

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  4. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    I'd love to see Release Notes but unless we stop buying TiVo (and sell the ones we have to flood the market with resales so that the price to sell new TiVo necessarily must be driven down further) then just saying we want it doesn't amount to much. The reality is I'm going to keep my TiVo regardless of the lack of Release Notes, so for everyone like me, TiVo gets a clear indication that they can keep operating as they do.

    In a broader sense, all you really should care about are the bugs you experience. You should report every single one, and get a case number for each. You should call frequently to get updated on the status of your report, and if you don't get satisfactory service, you should file a formal complaint. (Bug reports are for bugs; complaints are for service. You need to do both, each to address the corresponding issue.) Then as each new release comes out, you should call to get an update on your report. If its status is still open, then have it escalated. And so forth. That's really the most effective way you can make the lack of Release Notes become something that TiVo WANTS to remedy.
     
  5. james.92

    james.92 New Member

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    Sigh... :rolleyes:
     
  6. JohnBrowning

    JohnBrowning Member

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    That's obvious. TiVo has made it very clear that they do not and will not publish release notes. The only thing your proposed "campaign" will do is waste time and bandwidth. Find a productive use of your energy.
     
  7. sommerfeld

    sommerfeld Lucky (?) 200 member

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    Indeed. If tivo support were to get a measureable volume of polite phone calls asking what actually changed/was fixed in the new release from people who remind the support person that their question would most likely have been answered by release notes, they might conclude that it's less costly for them to publish release notes than handle the additional support call volume.

    I suspect the volume of such calls is not measurable today.
     
  8. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Excellent advice IMO.

    (Bold text added) Also an excellent point...driving costs down is part of every company's goal. :up:
     
  9. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    And I suspect the volume of such calls parallels the extent to which TiVo subscribers actually care about this. FWIW.
     
  10. marshmello

    marshmello New Member

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    Yes, polite, non-angry letters/calls would probably be more efficient :)

    I think this is a productive use- unless someone has already tried something like this, and gotten nowhere. But right now, from reading these boards, it seems like
    1. people complain here
    2. TivoPony tells them to give up
    3. many people give up; a few others don't; several never cared to begin with

    If you don't want to waste time on it, then don't. I'm not going to flood this board with release note campaign messages (I'll take it offsite); I just wanted to gauge interest level (not looking good so far, lol). In a year, I might conclude that yes, this was a pointless endeavor. Or I might have release notes.

    Sommerfeld understands what I'm trying to do, which is make Tivo realize it would be cheaper for them to give us release notes than not. I do fear there aren't enough people to make a difference, but I still feel like trying. A phone call + a letter per released version doesn't seem like that much work per person (YMMV). As bicker mentioned, none of us are going to stop buying Tivos over the issue, so I'm just trying to get their attention in another way. Bicker's advice re. the bug reports/case numbers is excellent, but I still want release notes.

    Edited for grammar
     
  11. GoHokies!

    GoHokies! O2->CO2 Converter

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    ++

    We'd all like more info on these releases, but this is a long standing request that I just don't see Tivo budging on.

    In the grand scheme of things, you have to remember that we're grossly in the minority here and Tivo isn't going to change how they do business for a handful of people.
     
  12. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Carmel...
    If TiVo were to get more "professional" about anything it should be first to have a real beta testing procedure.
     
  13. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

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    They don't? Seems like I recall references by Pony that the MRV was in beta testing with consumers and that the real code would be deployed in Nov. I also recall a sign-up page to register to participate in the program. What do you mean by your comment?
     
  14. rodalpho

    rodalpho New Member

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    You're probably right, but like I explained in the main 9.2 upgrade thread, that is a severe miscalculation on TiVo's part. Wacky internet enthusiasts who post on forums matter.

    Nobody's saying that TiVo should include detailed release notes in the upgrade notification on the box. Most people just don't care. But it should include a link to "http://www.tivo.com/releasenotes" or something of the sort for those who are interested and want to see more, particularly when functionality is changed or major bugs fixed.
     
  15. marshmello

    marshmello New Member

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    Hmm, a "sticky" poll might benefit everyone. It would give all release note proponents a single place to ***** while giving all the "i don't care about release notes" people a single thread to ignore. Theoretically, a thread like this would keep the "Version X.X Has Been Released" threads cleaner, since they would not be all clogged up with "I want release notes" posts (because people could vent in the poll thread). And the stickiness would make it easy for newcomers like myself to find.

    And it would give us an actual number for people who want release notes.

    I guess I'll go ask a mod to do this (am fully expecting a "no" answer, however).
     
  16. GoHokies!

    GoHokies! O2->CO2 Converter

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    You may be surprised, the moderators around here are pretty helpful and open to requests.

    I wouldn't mind seeing the results of such a poll myself.

    If we're going to bring beta testing into this, something else to consider is that many of the people that are interested in "release notes" sort of information may actually get that info from Tivo's "unprofessional" beta testing process. I mean, if Tivo didn't tell them anything, why would they need such a big NDA? :confused:

    The subset of folks that are interested enough to want release notes, but not interested enough to involve themselves in the process has got to be fairly small (but again, I'd love to see the poll results and be proven wrong).
     
  17. wiedmann

    wiedmann New Member

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    I would rather Tivo's developers spend time fixing bugs and implementing new features than keeping track of every little bug fix they add to a given release.

    The reason why lean software organizations do not publish release notes (and this is not as unusual as implied in some posts here) is that it takes significant effort on the part of the same people who are responsible for fixing bugs to keep track of what was fixed. This overhead is fine if you are Microsoft, but would be a burden to a company like Tivo that has limited resources.

    I would like to see release notes too, but I don't know that I would want Tivo to redirect energy that could be better spent elsewhere onto writing them.
     
  18. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    This is a very pragmatic and cost-effective perspective. I think folks need to keep in mind that what the OP is asking for translates into higher costs, which translates into higher prices. So when advocating this, please indicate your commitment to paying (let's say) $200 a year for support from TiVo for each box.

    :up:
     
  19. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin Active Member

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    Nobody has yet stated the obvious. TiVo may not be able to provide release notes because there might NOT BE any release notes!

    The quantity and severity of bugs in 9.1 lead me to observe that TiVo is very unprofessional in terms of their approach to software development, testing, and deployment. From that observation it is logical to conclude that release notes just aren't part of the current TiVo "culture".
     
  20. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

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    No software organization worth its weight in crap would follow a lifecycle model without release notes. Whether they release them to the public, that is a totally different story. Sometimes release notes contain proprietary or otherwise embarrassing detail that the company would rather not release.

    As for demanding release notes, we consumers have very little power to make those demands. No one here would really avoid a purchase based on the lack of release notes. Comcast on the other hand, might get them.
     

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