Foxtel iQ3 – The worst piece of technology this year?

Foxtel IQ3 Website
Ladies and gentlemen, it appears that we have a definite contender (and likely winner) of the 2015 Shonky Awards! When you pay a premium for cable television, it is every Australian’s right that, they get premium hardware… or that at least works… or that works on occasion… at least I now know, this was a woeful fallacy I was under.

On IT News (http://www.itnews.com.au/CXOChallenge/404155,innovating-for-your-life.aspx#ixzz3aeJON2n7) an article which seemingly Ms Nell Payne (Group Director Technology and Operations at Foxtel) had input into states the following:

“The company faced a bit of a hiccup when the iQ3 first launched over performance issues, though the cacophony of complaints has now hushed.”

To IT News (which was likely paraphrasing discussions with Ms Payne) and to Ms Payne herself, I provide the following response… I have an “iQ3 Saga File” My summary file on the saga currently sits at the following (time to grab some popcorn):

The first block is things that I have personally raised or have encountered myself. Wherever possible I have provided a link to at least one relevant forum post for the major items. I also highly recommend the “Overall less than spectacular operations during release” section.

At the very bottom (“Posts that say it all”) I have gone through the last two pages only of one of the forums (user feedback only, I figured this was more than enough to illustrate my point).

Throughout the process I have been very active on the forums (some of the post linked below are my own or posts I have been involved in), I like to think I am an extremely level-headed individual and I work in I.T. and know what system design, development, and testing is like… I do it day-to-day. This is one such post that I believe is quite level headed http://community.foxtel.com.au/t5/Foxtel-iQ3/class-action-regarding-IQ3/m-p/56879# (first reply).

The only way I have succeeded in using my box is to use it primarily for watching TV live or download SD catchup (recordings have been too flaky). I have been lucky enough that after much complaining and a formal complaints process, Foxtel agreed to re-activate my old IQ-HD box for 6 months at no cost until the issues were ironed out (I feel it is only fair to now let the community know) they also agreed to refund the full cost of install and the IQ3 (not all has been applied to my account yet).

The questions I ask of Foxtel are:

  1. Why have we gone just shy of 60 days since release with no update? Bundling everything into one will only likely cause new bugs rather than logical, incremental fixes with time to test in between.
  2. Why has senior management not addressed the Foxtel community yet?
  3. What will be done to compensate those that have suffered had crippled iQ3 boxes for two months (and counting)?
  4. What is being done to review your user acceptance testing plans and procedures? As has become apparent, the testing that the iQ3 was put through has failed to reveal an embarrassing number of issues.
  5. What plans are being put in place (if any) to put in place a sufficient beta testing program including real life users to test real world scenarios of future updates (to better put them through their paces)?

So feel free to vent and/or add your comments below is there anything I have currently missed from the below?

Cheers,
Stuart

My current outstanding list of bugs include:

User Interface Issues:

In some ways it has been a step backwards as well:

Overall less than spectacular operations during release:

Posts that say it all:

Pinentry and Pinentry-Curses on Mac OSX Backspace Issues

So this is going to be short and sweet… for those of you that are looking to use pinentry or pinentry-curses (at least in my case installed with Homebrew) that are having problems with the backspace character not working properly… this might just be up your alley.

Recently while using the LastPass CLI (for writing an integration with Alfred) on OSX Yosemite, I had an issue where pinentry-curses was registering the backspace character as a new character… not a backspace.

The fix was rather simple in the end… just execute the following in your terminal before the related command:

TERM=linux-vt

That seems to be enough for it to look correct (which if you just use linux the pinentry box looks very wrong as some characters are not recognised) and the backspace character now works correctly. It is a win win 😀

Hope that helps someone else!

Stuart

Office 2016 for Mac – A plea for add-ins functionality!

Office for Mac Website
With the release today of the first preview of Office 2016 for Mac (which has been a LONG LONG time coming as you will all know), I want to put forward the following plea to Microsoft. Thus far, on brief inspection, I have not seen any indications that add-ins will be supported in the new version of Outlook, or the rest of Office.

As many of you will know this has been something that is sorely lacking from the Mac version and therefore when vendor’s offer Outlook plugins (the ones that I personally would like to use the most), we Mac users get left high and dry.

Therefore I ask that everyone click the little smiley in the preview version of Office for Mac (top right hand corner) and echo this plea for Microsoft to include such functionality in the new release.

The feedback I left was along the following lines (I will admit this is a cleaner version as I lost the copy-paste version I took to post here):

Hi Team,
One thing that I have not seen thus far in the preview, on initial inspection, is the lack of any add-ins functionality like the Windows version of Office has had for many years. When I think of useful add-ins I think of those from vendors such as Evernote, Bananatag, Any of the anti-spam software companies all the way up to enterprise level add-ins for interacting with email archiving appliances and enterprise anti-spam solutions.

With the complete overhaul that is being worked on so diligently by Microsoft, I feel it is essential that focus is given to allowing vendors to extend the functionality of Outlook (as the highest priority) and the remaining Office applications as a secondary component.

While we are many months away from release I think this is the best time to raise this and I hope Microsoft will hear our pleas to provide a feature comparable version to that of Microsoft Windows users.

Kind Regards,
Stuart

Let me know what your thoughts are, and if you send Microsoft some feedback, please leave a comment here and let me know.

Cheers,
Stuart