There have been some very interesting discussions taking place on the very old Yahoo Group established to discuss MindManager a mindmapping software program designed by Mindjet.
The group includes early adopters, trainers, resellers, and users that share ideas and best practices for the use of the program. Some of the users in the group (including myself) have grown increasingly frustrated over the lack of progress in the development of MindManager software.
The software was extremely innovative when it rolled out versions 3, 4 and 5, but innovation has lagged through recent versions 6 and 7. Improvements have been made, but the software is no longer pushing the envelope. MindManager is a mindmapping tool that helps people to think visually and manage knowledge visually and rapidly, reducing meeting times and enabling better communication and problem solving skills among groups stuck behind conference tables in the meeting rooms of corporate America.
Mindmanager currently holds a lead over most mind mapping software programs that is hard to beat, for now. But other free programs and open source movements are rapidly catching up and MindManager has done little recently to maintain its lead.
One of the most unrealistic statements in the group highlights some of the problems at Mindjet. People representing the company claim that they are having a hard time keeping up with the information coming out of the group.
The irony here is two fold:
- If they used MindManager to track the conversation it would not be difficult to track
- If they built a tool that enabled MindManager to parse forums or even created a mindmap forum (generation) tool, the program would be invaluable as a knowledge management and research tool to millions of people around the world.
This was just stupid enough that I had to share it in the hopes that someone else wouldn't make the same mistake I did.
I was visiting my in-laws house for several days. They have DirectTV and have a DirectTV Plus Receiver DVR (Model R15).
I have a TiVo at home and I'm very used to the ability to go into a recently deleted folder and recover a program that was mistakenly deleted or deleted too soon.
Apparently the DirectTV Plus Receiver DVR (Model R15) was made by fools hoping to trick fools like myself. It doesn't have a recently deleted folder, nor any way to recover a lost program or mulitple programs.
I had recorded a series of shows (Meet the Press) and I wanted to delete the four shows in the bin so that the disk drive space would not be wasted. So I walked through the steps to delete the shows, and hit delete. It took about 20 minutes to delete 4 shows, which kind of put me on edge because it shouldn't take that long to delete 4 shows.
Well turns out the stupid DVR from DirectTV deleted ALL the shows on the entire DVR!
Holy Crappy Engineering Batman!
OK, so I figured, I'll just undelete all the shows that were incorrectly deleted. No problem. Little annoying but no harm no foul.
That's when I learned the brains at DirectTV failed to include an undelete capability in their DVR (the Plus version no less, I'd hate to see what the original looked like, probably didn't have a play button or something.)
I searched and searched online for something that would show me how to undelete the shows from the Tivo DVR.
Searched on the following phrases
How to undelete DirectTV Plus DVR
Undelete DirectTV Plus DVR
Undelete DirectTV Tivo
Undelete DirectTV DVR
undelete, undelete, undelete
yada yada yada
Nothing came up. Nothing showed how to do it. Nothing said that it could not be done.
I went to the DirectTV website and searched endlessly for the product manual. I looked there for about 30 minutes and gave up and started searching the house for the paper version. That lasted about 15 minutes and I went back to looking for the DirectTV Plus DVR manual online and didn't find it. I looked behind the DVR for the model number and found the manual stuck under the DVR!
I opened it up and went to page 26 and learned to my dismay, that there was/is no instructions on how to undelete anything.
I went to the FAQ section, which is supposed to cover Frequently Asked Questions but I quickly learned that in DirectTV language it means Frequently Asked Question that We Won't Dignify with a Working Answer and will Instead Opt to Show Our Customers Just How Stupid They Are!
The acronym is longer ( FAQTWWDWAWAAWIOTSOCJHSTA ) obviously and may account for the extra amount of time it took me to navigate their website.
I did find the relevant question
A Program I recorded was displayed in the MyVOD(stupid acronym is trademarked but this is blogger and I don't know how to put the tm symbol in here and I just don't care. DirectTV can take me to court and make a federal case out of it if they like, it will give me something to blog about) Screen, but got DELETED before I could watch it.
Well to make a long irrelevant answer short, they basically state that any user stupid enough to delete a program too early or to allow a program to be deleted automatically before they watch it is just shit out of luck because there is no Undelete capability on this TiVo knock off, so there!
So long story short the DirectTV Plus DVR (Model R15) Sucks and will suck especially hard for anyone that is used to using a DVR or TiVo with any type of undelete capability. I highly recommned against this product and if you are unfortunate enough to have experienced the same problem I did, I apologize.
If you are looking for the DirectTV manual for the R15, here it is.
If you are looking for other manuals for DirectTV equipment, they are pretty hard to find also, but here they are.
Skype finally came up for me this evening. It was down for about a day. I didn't mind at first and was impressed with the updates on the Skype blog. Unfortunately, the updates seemed to stop shortly after I remarked how impressed I was with their communications.
Fourteen hours later, I was finally able to log into Skype,but there are still millions of users that can not get on the network and Skype (an eBay company) reports that they are still working to get out of the woods and re-establish a reliable network.
They blame the problem on a deficiency in their algorithms (ergo there program is very buggy). I have a cordless skype phone, but for all the good its doing me, I might as well be talking to a stuffed animals or playing with my daughters imaginary friends.
I've never experienced a problem with Skype before, but when this one hit, it really hit hard.
A recent study of business users has found that people used to a Qwerty styled keypad on an existing phone have a much harder time going back to the touch pad technology that iPhones are built on. The innovation of the software in the iPhone does not appear to compensate enough for the inherent challenges presented by touch pad screens.
Phone users that were used to texting on phones without a Qwerty keyboard faired better on the iPhone's predictive type applications.
Users also complained that they could not type as fast on a touch screen, made more mistakes and felt the touch keypad buttons were too small for their fingers resulting in even more errors. When the hype is removed the design flaws of the iPhone have been apparent for quite some time. iPhones are less like diamond rings and more like faux jewelry at worst and a diamond in the rough at best.
This morning I woke up to a world without Skype. Skype hasn't gone bankrupt like competitor SunRocket, but they do have a major glitch that prevents users like myself from successfully logging into the Skype system.
They have been having problems for at least 5 hours as I write this at 5:16 am US est. They thought things were getting better around 2 am, but for the users that can not login it doesn't matter much.
Using Blogs to appease customers facing an Outage
I have to give Kudos to Skype for using their blog to communicate very regular updates to their customers around the world. As of the writing of this message, they have posted 5 blog updates on the problem since they announced the problem 7 hours ago. Its a great example of how companies can stay on top of a problem, demonstrate they are staying on top of a problem and curb customer discontent during a service outage.
Skype has been dueling Vonage for real estate in the VOIP industry. Skype captured an early lead in Europe and spread to the states, while Vonage focused on the US and looked to spread elsewhere.
Vonage experienced major legal issues this year as some of their technology according to the courts belonged to Verizon and things were touch and go for a few months for Vonage, which came close to being forced to shut their doors.
I was reading an article last night that casually referenced Dragon Naturally Speaking which I'm rather passionate about. The article mentioned a great product that I saw at CES last year. It's called SmartShopper. This is a little gizmo that you put on your refrigerator and anytime you walk by you can push a button and say a few words and it will add those words to a shopping list. When you're ready to go the store, yet another button and it prints out your shopping list!
It's basically using some voice-recognition software to generate the list. It seemed worked great when I was at CES and according to the review I read it seems to work great as well in real life.
So let's say you run out of natural skin care products, and you don't have any more Ginko to rub on your biloba, you just push the button and say "Ginko Biloba" and it should add this to your list.
note. I'm using Dragon Naturally Speaking to write this post and Dragon Naturally Speaking doesn't auto transcribe the word Ginko Biloba.
Note to note. Yes I am aware that can go below but is not a natural skin care product and that you couldn't rub your ginko on your biloba if you wanted to.
Note to Note to Note. If anyone has a Smartshopper, I'd be very interested to see if the device can accurately transcribe Ginko Biloba.
Note to Note to Note to Note. I used Ginko Biloba as I thought it was ironic to use an example with a memory enhancer about a device that is essentially a memory enhancer. Be glad that I was not talking about enhancing other areas of the anatomy.
My brand new laptop(8 months old) isn't feeling so new anymore. Its getting bogged down by my 4 favorite/most utilized programs.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking
- MindManager Pro 7
- Firefox with Google Toolbar
- Outlook (not my favorite, but definitely the most used)
Now I have 1 gb of ram, but apparently that isn't enough to keep my machine running smoothly when the ram is at 40% capacity. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but historically it seems to hold true. No matter how much ram you have, you always need more for your computer to run "fast". Notice I'm not saying faster.
I think what I really need is to put my computer through something like drug rehab, lets call it Memory Rehab. My computer is an addict a memory junky. It needs to learn how to cope without having to constantly adjust to its increased tolerance to heavy doses of memory. There needs to be a point where enough memory is enough memory!
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