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120 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 543473 10-Nov-2011 09:12 Send private message

Thanks Gary

I appreciate Telstra Clear must be getting a bit of stick at the moment over the T-box. I'm looking forward to the impending update!

I would have to agree with some other posters that 2% of people complaining seems a bit low. I know people who have issues and haven't bothered to call and wait, and wait to talk to someone in Manila who can't help them.

Perhaps if you were to post a message on the T-box directing people to a URL for a customer survery where you also posted the information in your post above would help get to the heart of the number of people experiencing issues.
Questions could include:
Do you ever have any issues with your T-Box? if so, what types of problems (choose from a list with check boxes).

Further questions can be based on these answers, eg

Does your T-box ever become completely unresponsive - occassionally - sometimes - often - always
Does your T-box ever fail to record programs - occassionally - sometimes - often - always
Does your T-box record the wrong program? occassionally - sometimes - often - always
Is your T-box slow to respond to button presses on the remote? occassionally - sometimes - often - always

Have a free form field for 'any other comments' at the end. These are often where the best information comes from.

Perhaps offering survey respondents 1 month free T-box subscription would assist in getting some responses.

Thanks for keeping us informed and being a part of this forum. We do appreciate being kept informed.

347 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 42


  Reply # 543479 10-Nov-2011 09:22 Send private message

RobertT:Perhaps offering survey respondents 1 month free T-box subscription would assist in getting some responses.


Or similar as that offer wouldn't help people like me who paid the upfront price rather than monthly subscriptions.... (wonder I they would offer compensation to people like me... hmm... hopefully not in PPV movies :) ) 

Displaced Viking
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  Reply # 543520 10-Nov-2011 10:08 Send private message

My T-Box has decided it is going to do something new and very annoying this morning, that is , a buzzing noise
There is no recording etc its just sitting there buzzing. I can even hear it in our home office where I work.




Mike

 Interesting. You're afraid of insects and women. Ladybugs must render you catatonic.

Displaced Viking
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  Reply # 544423 11-Nov-2011 22:32 Send private message

The buzzing from the T-Box is getting louder. I have checked the unit for heat and it's quite cool and as these things dissipate heat through the chassis I assume, it is not an overheating issue. We also keep the unit clear of dust.




Mike

 Interesting. You're afraid of insects and women. Ladybugs must render you catatonic.

1712 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 544447 11-Nov-2011 23:28 Send private message

Have you tried powercycling it (serious suggestion)?

29 posts

Geek


  Reply # 544512 12-Nov-2011 10:14 Send private message

KiwiNZ: ... I have checked the unit for heat and it's quite cool ...


Seriously? My unit has been pretty hot since day one. So much so that I make sure there is never anything above it. The biggest challenge (apart from having to resist throwing it out the window on a weekly basis) is keeping the kitten off it - she thinks it is a heat pad Surprised

If I were you I would dial-up a service call ASAP - the last thing you want is it having a meltdown that causes damage to other items ion the house. Yes, I know, you don't want to have to shout at the fembot just to be put on seemingly endless hold so as to get through to a real person. Good luck with that

29 posts

Geek


  Reply # 544520 12-Nov-2011 10:49 Send private message

RobertT: ... Perhaps if you were to post a message on the T-box directing people to a URL for a customer survery where you also posted the information in your post above would help get to the heart of the number of people experiencing issues...



It would seem that if Telstra *really* wanted to know the extent of the problems then surely they would put more effort into fixing them in a timely fashion. Look at the sequence of events:
  • mySky gets released and Telstra has no equivalent (~2007/8)
  • Telstra watches customers slowly being wooed across to mySky - thinks "What to do?"
  • Answer: announce vapourware (a device that only exists in people's minds) - we all remember the initial announcement and long series of "updates"
  • Telstra then presumably realised that it could not retain customers forever without delivering something
  • Years later the T-Box is released, obviously with more warts than a witch in a kid's book
  • Perhaps they backed themselves to be able to patch the problems that we suckers would find once the things was released to the market. But the reality is something different as we all know
  • Various updates have been issued and, yes, some things have gotten better. But the whole package is still distinctly average.
It's lovely that people such as Gary attempt to offer help and information in this Forum, and yes I'm grateful for his presence. Nevertheless, this whole debacle puts me in mind of Blackadder Goes Forth - with Gary (and other front-line staff) representing to heroic sods in the trenches trying to hold off the customers while the Telstra hierarchy (think General Melchett) sit clueless 35 miles behind the lines. Each attempt to fix the T-Box problems makes me think of of the line about Field Marshall Haig's repeated attempts top advance the front line as "another gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin".

I'm suprised that there has not been a Downfall parody related to the T-Box - presumably because our spare time is eaten away by watching the "Updating" message as we reboot for the umpteenth time.

Oh yes, my favourite quote from a service call last month. In answer to the question of how often I have to reboot the machine, I responded that it was at least weekly. "Oh, well Telstra regard that as normal operation," was the reply. "You'd need to be rebooting several times a week for them to consider there was a problem." Sheesh!! 

184 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 544523 12-Nov-2011 11:22 Send private message

I also doubt only 2% of customers are havinbg problems - more likely only 2% bother to complain. I would like to know what is considered a "heavy user"? We probably record on average 3 or 4 programmes per day and we have had lots of problems. So is 3 or 4 programmes a day "heavy"?

Have plan, send $NZD50m
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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 544527 12-Nov-2011 11:27 Send private message

OldFart:  Look at the sequence of events:


Thanks OldFart for a really interesting little history lesson.  It's always interesting when someone puts things on a time line.


OldFart:  Telstra hierarchy (think General Melchett) sit clueless 35 miles behind the lines.


I can assure you that is not the case. 

242 Exhibition Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000 Australia is 1,500 miles away (if you could fly directly to the building from my place) not 35.

"Given the arm's distance of Telstra Clear from us here locally..." - No OldFart, they are not clueless as to the raft of issues that GeekZone users and members of the New Zealand community have been expressing.

OldFart:  Oh yes, my favourite quote from a service call last month. In answer to the question of how often I have to reboot the machine, I responded that it was at least weekly. "Oh, well Telstra regard that as normal operation," was the reply. "You'd need to be rebooting several times a week for them to consider there was a problem." Sheesh!! 


Still doesn't compare to a Telstra helpdesk person telling me I needed to reinstall my TCP/IP software because the fault was on my computer.

During the call I was running a visual trace route and could see 100% packet loss on the 9th hop though their network.

Eventually I got a heads up that when the Cisco router hit ~85% utilisation it would just reboot, but not before spending 90 minutes talking to their NOC staff...

OldFart, with the kindest all due respect, put the unit back in the box it came in and drop it off to a Telstra store, then take Gary up on his kind offer to consider cases "case by case".

The only way that you can seriously get your point across that the product isn't up to the par is by returning it. 

It is very clear to me that any other action, the company simply minimizes and marginalises the concerns of the customers, and by keeping the product you underwrite that action.











Promote New Zealand - Get yourself a .kiwi.nz domain name!!!

Check out mine - i.am.a.can.do.kiwi.nz - [email protected]


Have plan, send $NZD50m
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  Reply # 544531 12-Nov-2011 11:40 Send private message

ChristineNZL: I also doubt only 2% of customers are havinbg problems - more likely only 2% bother to complain. I would like to know what is considered a "heavy user"? We probably record on average 3 or 4 programmes per day and we have had lots of problems. So is 3 or 4 programmes a day "heavy"?


Based on what Gary said, I think we can assume that a heavy user is a 'feature rich' user. 

I'm sorry, I don't know enough about this box having never actually played with one.  However, most of these sorts of systems are impacted by 'feature combinations'.  Often a programmer will add a 'nice to have' feature using a collection of existing system routines because it became apparent to them during the development that they could.  Some times this works well, but some times they over look code execution required to perform the task.  What you think is just a 'press of the button' might be calling dozens of internal functions that were never really properly designed to interact. 

In applications like TBox you have 'timers' that execute code internally from time to time.  If you've selected a combination of features that cause execution of 'bad code' then things go pear shape.

Gary has said that the unit suffers memory issues.  To me that's a red light that it has routines in it that aren't well coded (and perhaps they didn't need to be for their original purpose).  For example, some times a programmer doesn't 'clean up' a process properly because he knows that another aspect of the system will clean it up later.  Problem then occurs that the function gets called way more often than was expected before the clean up process hits and the machine gets swamped.  Again, I don't know what's really going on, I can only speculate, but 20 years of programming, I have a few clues how this stuff goes off the rails.






Promote New Zealand - Get yourself a .kiwi.nz domain name!!!

Check out mine - i.am.a.can.do.kiwi.nz - [email protected]


184 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 544587 12-Nov-2011 14:18 Send private message

DonGould:
ChristineNZL: I also doubt only 2% of customers are havinbg problems - more likely only 2% bother to complain. I would like to know what is considered a "heavy user"? We probably record on average 3 or 4 programmes per day and we have had lots of problems. So is 3 or 4 programmes a day "heavy"?


Based on what Gary said, I think we can assume that a heavy user is a 'feature rich' user. 

I'm sorry, I don't know enough about this box having never actually played with one.  However, most of these sorts of systems are impacted by 'feature combinations'.  Often a programmer will add a 'nice to have' feature using a collection of existing system routines because it became apparent to them during the development that they could.  Some times this works well, but some times they over look code execution required to perform the task.  What you think is just a 'press of the button' might be calling dozens of internal functions that were never really properly designed to interact. 

In applications like TBox you have 'timers' that execute code internally from time to time.  If you've selected a combination of features that cause execution of 'bad code' then things go pear shape.

Gary has said that the unit suffers memory issues.  To me that's a red light that it has routines in it that aren't well coded (and perhaps they didn't need to be for their original purpose).  For example, some times a programmer doesn't 'clean up' a process properly because he knows that another aspect of the system will clean it up later.  Problem then occurs that the function gets called way more often than was expected before the clean up process hits and the machine gets swamped.  Again, I don't know what's really going on, I can only speculate, but 20 years of programming, I have a few clues how this stuff goes off the rails.




Thank you Don -I think I kind of understand what you are saying.

Have plan, send $NZD50m
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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 544608 12-Nov-2011 16:04 Send private message

ChristineNZL: Thank you Don -I think I kind of understand what you are saying.


You're welcome.... if you check back later I'm planning a bit of a fun translation of what Gary said which might make you laugh... or not...  :)






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Check out mine - i.am.a.can.do.kiwi.nz - [email protected]


Displaced Viking
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  Reply # 544895 13-Nov-2011 21:41 Send private message

Hmmmmm our T-Box has been hexed, not only are we getting a buzzing noise tonight is going really slow. Changing channel, migrating through the EPG has become painfully slow. And yes I have power cycled.




Mike

 Interesting. You're afraid of insects and women. Ladybugs must render you catatonic.

142 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 9


  Reply # 544910 13-Nov-2011 22:34 Send private message

Buzzing could be a fan or the hard driver perhaps.

The slowness *could* be something else.  Have you tried resetting the modem? 

Have plan, send $NZD50m
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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 544925 13-Nov-2011 23:55 Send private message

As promised earlier, here's a bit of a fun translation/piss take of Gary's last post. 

Please note that while some of my translations might have a bit of validity (and you can work out which ones) the purpose of this post really is just a bit of a giggle :) 

TelstraClear: Hi everyone,


Translation:  Hello again whingers, please don't shoot me, I'm only the messenger...

TelstraClear: Thanks for the feedback and questions. Rather than make a lot of posts quoting everyone, I’ll make one post covering the important points.


Translation: blar blar blar... boss made me write this post... 

TelstraClear: We can understand your frustration at the time it has taken to get the update ready. We’re frustrated as well. We’re frustrated with the new issues that have arisen. We’re frustrated that we haven’t been able to issue the release as we’d planned. But we’re continuing to work through the issues and, as stated, we intend to get the update right so that we make things better and not worse or even different. It will be better, and that’s from the top TelstraClear management level. We are taking this very seriously and will be getting it sorted.


Translation: Yip, you think you're pissed off, we were all set to get bonus from this wiz-bang product and you're right, we know it, we've been sold a lemon by a bunch of geeks on the other side of the world who are now just laughing at us while drinking their fine beer!

TelstraClear: The early version of the update that was shown, as some have mentioned, to those who visited the broadcast lab will, as they saw, improve the performance. However, during intensive testing of that update and subsequent iterations in a real-world environment we discovered other issues that would frustrate customers just as much as the issues it fixed.


Translation:  I know some of you whinge about our over seas call center all the time, but seriously guys, we had to out source it, we needed the room for the dozens and dozens of TV sets and Tbox's we've had to set up to soak test this pup.  If you could see the test rooms you'd think they were cool till you realised that all our old New Zealand helpdesk staff are now just being crash test dummies trying to test the crap... errr,... bugs out of this pup.

TelstraClear: While we are confident that Digisoft.tv (the European software developer) has now ironed out most of those bugs and we’re close to being able to test a release in the real-world environment, we’re not 100% certain. Until we are completely confident that the new software will deliver as promised we can’t commit to a release date. As noted, and we admit, we were wrong with the expected timing of the release being ready at the end of the RWC.


Translation:  Yip, it's name and shame time and I'm not going down with this sinking ship!  At Telstra we have a proud history of hanging our vendors out to dry when they over sell us with a lemon, and it's got to that time! 

TelstraClear: As also noted, during real-world testing of the customer-ready release we discovered new issues that, while they would fix the issues already raised, would introduce new ones. This wasn’t good enough and we delayed the release, as updated Monday. All going well, the release will be a couple of months away at most, quite possibly less. If we have to reject the update and get it re-worked then the release date will be later. As mentioned yesterday, the update does remain a priority for both us and Digisoft.tv and many hours both here and in Europe are being put into getting it right. As soon as we have more to tell we’ll update you.


Translation:  Look guys, I'm not going to keep crapping on about this...  I have no idea at all when we'll be releasing an update.  As noted, you guys are amazing and finding the bugs and thanks for all the help to produce test plans.  I'm pissed off too.  I've been made me look like a dick here and I'm sick of this crap as well.  It wrecks my sense of job satisfaction as well. 

TelstraClear: It’s highly unlikely that the update will take another 6-12 months as some have speculated. It’s quite likely to be a few months. However, given the issues that have been identified in earlier iterations of the release as mentioned, 3-4 months is also possible. We’re not denying that and giving you all the available information. We’ll have more certainty in 4-6 weeks.


Translation:  Can I fob you off returning your TBox's for another 4 weeks until at least after xmas so we can all get our Christmas bonus?  Seriously, you send me a wave of these things and I don't get holidays in Europe this year and you really really REALLY want me to go to Europe for the hols ;)
 


TelstraClear: T-Box hardware – the T-Box has plenty or memory and has high quality hardware and build. The T-Box is not an off-the-shelf PVR and has been built and developed for New Zealand. It is the only PVR in the world (that we know of) that has the features we’ve included that will enable it to become more versatile as delivery and content options evolve. The reported issues are all to do with the software, not the box design, components or build. As enhancements have been made with each of the updates, the software has ‘bloated’ and this has been found to impact on the operating system memory. The audio and video processing memory has not been affected. As mentioned, Digisoft.tv has found further ways of reducing the load on operating system memory (reducing ‘bloat’). This will help address many of the issues that have been reported, as well as improve performance and response. The new build itself will also further improve performance.


Translation:  The vendor blar blar is 'it's not just a stupid Linux PVR'... but it is just a stupid PVR with one of those other strange European OSs on it.  We were sold on all these really cool things it 'can do in the future... blar blar blar...' which was going to pay for my second holiday house but as you lot have well figured, it's little more than a bloated pup, we're at the end of our tether too, name and shame Digisoft.tv.


TelstraClear: Early T-Boxes v later ones – they are the same. The specifications haven’t changed. The issues that some customers have experienced are related to the software, not to the age of their T-Box. The codes ‘D’ and ‘E’ relate to the manufacturers batch numbers. Our customer service records show no performance or internal hardware differences between the batches. While the manufacturer may have changed some brands of electronic components between batches, the architecture and specifications are the same, as are the QA requirements. As one poster noted, the manufacturer made a unilateral minor change to the external facia to improve the remote angle of response. In a few cases, some customers may experience IR interference. Moving the T-Box back into the cabinet or further away from their TV reduces the likelihood of interference.


Translation:  We haven't been told about any changes in the specs, but we've had the top off these pups and ya, we can see that they keep changing bits around and choosing the cheapest stuff they can get from the east....  pffft...  we asked for a cheap box, we got one.  They still put the QA sticker on the box in the same place, what more can I say?

TelstraClear: Number of issues – about 25% of our tens of thousands of cable TV customers have a T-Box. The percentage of customers that are reporting issues is very small (about 2% few percent). This is in line with levels of other computer-based technologies, including other PVRs and recording devices. We have logged the issues and, as stated, we are working to address these. All of these reported issues have been identified as relating to the software (apart from the occasional problem with a faulty connection in the cable to the home). As stated, the update under development will address the issues that most users find the most frustrating. The software has not performed as well as we or you would have liked. This is a new device and there have been some teething issues. These are being worked through. We remain committed to the T-Box. As mentioned, a few of the issues some customers have reported have been caused by faults in the cable or connections to the individual home. If you think this might be causing you some issues please call our faults team and ask them to check this. The number is: 0508 888 800.


Translation:  Big Al came down to my tiny desk in the cube farm last week and dropped the whinge, err I mean 'Customer Concerns' folder on my desk, seriously guys, you know it's a pup, I know it's a pup... but the only numbers Big Al is concerned with is the numbers that come back from Minilla.  I hope Don does a translation for those of you who are to stupid to get the hint CALL US! 

The number is: 0508 888 800.

We have a free phone number you can call from your mobile while you watch TV and read GeekZone on your iPads.  The number is: 0508 888 800.

Every time the box even blinks, pixilates, farts or does what ever other stupid stuff they do, call us and lodge a fault. The number is: 0508 888 800.

The more faults I get the more traction I have with Digi and Big Al. The number is: 0508 888 800. 

Some of our TV network is getting old now, so let's get that cleaned up at the same time, if you haven't had a tech out to prove that you don't have a cable fault then use this opportunity to get us out....  remember all that money we're saving using that Minalla call center Don hates so much....  well we're spending the savings on tech call outs and more local employment! :)  The number is: 0508 888 800.
 


TelstraClear: Delay in this update – based on feedback from Digisoft.tv we had high confidence that the performance release would be ready to upload to T-Boxes about now. However, our real-world testing of the update identified new issues. It did markedly improve performance, but also caused other unwanted behaviour and did not properly address existing issues. The software is being re-worked to ensure that it delivers the improvements expected.


Translation:  Vendor lied.... it's never ever happened in the tech world before and we've been caught out! 

TelstraClear: Heavy users’ experience – the amount of use or ‘work’ that the T-Box does is related to the operating system ‘bloat’ and impact on memory. A few small memory leaks have also been detected and updated device drivers to address this are being sought and incorporated. Together, these factors mean that light users (and those who regularly power cycle their T-Box) in general experience fewer issues. This is not always the case, as some unrelated behaviours occur anyway. These are also being addressed in the next and future updates.


Translation:  I have no idea at all what the fault list from Europe means...  it was written in European!  I do know the box has more memory holes than a PacknSave shopping bag, what more can I say.


TelstraClear: Early termination – if you have experienced problems with your T-Box, and have previously logged this with faults, and have read the information above on how we’re working Digisoft.tv to make improvements, but still feel you would like to return your T-Box, please email me with your customer number and contact details. I’ll ask one of our customer help staff to contact you and talk about the options on a case-by-case basis.


Translation:  Everyone who commented about FTA and CGA is 100% right.  If you've just had enough then give me a yell and we'll sort it. 

Big Al makes me keep up the party line about Digi being hard at work blar blar blar...  He's also said he's filling my cube in the farm with the returns, so I have to beg you guys to hold on to them...

If you're in Christchurch then you can just drop it into our Colombo Street store, but be warned, users have said the staff there are so used to people dropping off TV decoders now that they're a bit cranky about it.

If you're in Auckland then you can drop it in the boot of my car after pub night on Friday, yes, I'll be shouting again, it's the least I can do.


TelstraClear: Hope this is useful, Gary


Translation:  Lawyers wouldn't let me write "ya...  we got shafted by a bunch of northers in BMWs who got us pissed on a work trip...  like none of you have ever been caught in Europe on a 'big OE' with your.... well you know the rest"





Promote New Zealand - Get yourself a .kiwi.nz domain name!!!

Check out mine - i.am.a.can.do.kiwi.nz - [email protected]


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