pathetic commentary on computers, from my new cable box

This is what the world has come to expect from computers:

“Keep in mind that your DVR will act like the computer it really is, and as such, may reboot occassionally or the screen may momentarily freeze.”

— from the ‘quick tips’ for my new cable box

No wonder everyone wants to move to web apps.

3 thoughts on “pathetic commentary on computers, from my new cable box”

  1. My point was not to ridicule the manufacturer of the box, which actually seems to have fairly nice usability- far better than my previous ‘smart’ cable boxes. I mean, can you argue with them? For most people, ‘like a computer’ means (among other things) ‘completely unreliable.’ Hard to blame the cable box manufacturers for aiming low when there is no one who is aiming terribly high.

    Mostly I blame Microsoft for this, but the modern Linux or Apple box is only mildly better. And hardware shares some of the blame as well- until more CPUs run better with poor ventilation, and hard drives fail less, even perfect software will still create unreliable PVRs.

  2. In the land of the blind the one eyed is the king.. I see. Just as in the previous discussion that we had:)

    An other view.. The uptime records for the reliable systems that I have heard of and that have been actually doing something constantly instead of spending all their time in the idle loop are past 10 years. I have heard of one server in New York that did 24 years non-stop non-interrupted service. It crunched numbers for one of the gigantic financial organizations 24/7. It didn’t crash at the end actually. It was replaced by a new system because it was built on custom operating system (big boys have big toys) using custom programming language. They couldn’t get anyone to add new features anymore, not even by using a lot of hard cash. It really wasn’t worth trying anymore. They had actually fired the administrators years ago because they didn’t have anything actual to do…

    My view is that both Linux and Windows fanboys can freely zealot about the reliability of their systems – they are still just full of crap. Those systems have not even existed for long time enough to have had theoretically the possiblity to prove their reliability. Some entirely other systems have pedigree, which can partially give certain assurances.. (The downside being stalled development but for instance Nexenta seems to be rising fast.)

    Back to DVRs. They can be very simple if compared to most of the computers. You can quite easily build one that doesn’t have any fans. You can replace the hard disk for some more reliable model, they are really not all equally crappy. Or, you can even build cheap/silent/massive raid. For the platform you can use some real microkernel RTOS for extra fault tolerance. Tailored cut down drivers for minimum amount of drivers. Then talk to some guru like Rasterman to build the software using proper tools. Add proper process controls involved with proper integrated hardware & software development processes. A few months after, with only a certain premium, voila. It’s really not impossible, and there are people who would buy the premium quality anyways.

    Not everyone wants the average trash.

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