Comcast’s Tivo an Example of How Not to Do It

Logo of Comcast

Image via Wikipedia

Ever since I’ve decided to check out Comcast‘s Tivo product I’ve regretted my decision.

Aside from a UI that has major flaws (surprising since I’ve heard good things about the standalone Tivo UI) it’s incredibly unstable. The thing crashes more often than an average NASCAR driver resulting in a user experience that makes you want to throw the whole box out the window.

Speaking of windows I’m starting to wonder if it actually runs on the infamous Windows Me. Imagine settling in to watch something you set to record only to be met with a frozen startup screen and the realization that your show, movie or sports event did not record, having to reset it and wait 5 minutes just to be able to watch live TV.

Aside from the box crashing as if that is its full time job entering the On Demand menu is like playing lottery. Will it load or will it display an error, which will once again force you to restart the box? It’s quite a fun little game of chicken.

The box’s response to remote commands is like that of an elephant being poked in the rear with a blade of grass.

Lastly, the TV guide can only look four days into the future and there’s absolutely no way to tell how much space is left on your DVR‘s hard drive until something you had recorded and really wanted to watch gets automatically deleted to make room for a new recording. Major fail.

I’m not sure who made the decision to release this obviously half baked product into the wild, but that is a great way to alienate your customers. The lesson here is that it’s better to release a product late than before it’s ready. Releasing it early is how you kill a product’s reputation. Killing a good reputation is very quick. Recovering it is nearly impossible or takes a very long time.

When a Comcast technician came to install it he was so acutely aware of the fact that this thing was total crap that he warned me against getting it and asked a few times if I’m sure. I told him to go ahead because I really wanted to check it out. The only thing I’m sure of now is that I want to get rid of it as soon as possible.

What does Google think you like?

Just click to while logged into your Google account and you’ll find out.

Here are my results which are pretty right on:

Computers & Electronics – Software – Graphics & Publishing
Computers & Electronics – Software – Operating Systems
Entertainment – Celebrities
Entertainment – TV – TV Programs
Internet – Online Goodies – Skins Themes & Screensavers
Internet – Web Design & Development
Internet – Web Hosting & Domain Registration
News & Current Events – News Networks
Photo & Video
Sports – Soccer

The only thing I’d add is that I generally can care less about celebrities, but I guess I do look them up when some major scandal goes down and is impossible to avoid finding out about because even the likes of CNN cover it.

Yet Another Celebrity Death

Just found out about yet another celebrity death. The Taco Bell chihuahua has passed away at the age of 15 from a stroke. Gidget, may you rest in peace. You brought so many delightful moments to my life. Yo quero, Gidget!

I’m upset that there has been so little coverage of Gidget’s death. Coverage of Michael Jackson’s death was on every channel 24 hours a day for 2 weeks. Not fair.

I’m writing a letter to CNN as we speak. They should at least have some friends of Gidget’s on Larry King remembering the late Gidget for the wonderful, happy dog that he was.

Events in Iran Show the Growing Importance of Social Media

As you might be aware of the opposition forces in Iran have used Twitter and Facebook as their main way of organizing, communicating with each other and getting the news out in a situation where the government has prohibited journalists from doing their job. What is unfolding in Iran is quite fascinating not just from the political and image standpoint (the country’s population has, no doubt, surprised many outside of Iran with its thirst for democracy, progressive views, level of education and tech savvy), but also as a case study on just how much impact social media can have in conjunction with real political activity (street protests).

There’s now a real war being fought out not just on the streets of Iranian cities, but also in cyberspace. As the supporters of Moussavi get out the information the Iranian government is trying to stifle the agents of the government are also using the same social channels to spread disinformation and, in some cases, even track down the leaders of the opposition by finding out their current locations from internet chatter.

It remains to be seen how all this ends, but the current events in Iran show that it’s going to get more and more difficult for totalitarian governments to keep control of their country’s population.

The social media is giving unprecedented power to the people and it seems that the tide in Iran is rapidly turning into an unstoppable tsunami of civil resistance in the face of fraudulent election results. As more and more people realize that the whole country is with them (reportedly the regular Iranian police and army have refused to support the government of Ahmadinejad / Khomeini) they’re gaining strength and determination. 140 characters at the time.