This community…

Hello folks, your mild mannered community maintainer here.

I took over maintaining this community about four months ago and when I started I had some plans in mind to build up the community. I overhauled the info page to provide links to a number of resources for TiVo owners and added many keywords to help the community show up for people searching on interests. I started posting links to TiVo’s press releases and news items that relate to TiVo and the TiVo community – many of which I used to post in my own journal. And I started to mention the community in other TiVo groups – newsgroups, mailing lists, web forums, etc – and I’ve posted in community promo to raise awareness of the community. I wanted to make the community a place for everyone – TiVo die-hards, new TiVo owners, and people just curious about what TIVo is or thinking about taking the plunge.

It seems to be working – at this point the community has 158 members and 179 people watching it – and the growth rate has been increasing. We seem to add several new people each week, we had four new people join just since Saturday. It also seems like we’re getting a little bit of an uptick in threads started by someone other than myself. :-) Compare to replaytv with 19 members and 21 watchers – and some of those seem to be TiVo owners just curious. (Like myself…)

Keeping in mind trying to appeal to the spectrum of users, from the curious to the experienced, what do you want from this community? I was thinking of taking some of the TiVo FAQs and using them as a start for a community FAQ, but I’m not into being a despot so I’d like to try to respond to what people would like to see. I’ve run a number of mailing lists, newsgroups, and web forums over the years and I try to give all feedback serious consideration.

So leave a comment and voice your opinions. :-)

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • benclark

    Might I suggest some sort of Wiki? I love the idea of FAQs, but it’s not fair to make just one person update it. Just a suggestion. :)

  • megazone

    I need to look at Wiki some more – it is one of those things I know about but don’t know enough about to make an educated decision.

    Conveniently I’ll be hosting a server out of my home in the near future. The T1 line that Eyrie Productions currently lives on is going away at the end of the month and I already pay for a 1.5Mbps/768Kbps DSL line at my apartment so we’re going to rehome it there. That’d give me server already configured that I can experiment on a bit. And I have another box that I haven’t powered on since I moved in June 2002 that would make a fine server – AthlonXP 1600+, 1GB RAM, RAID… Certainly not bleeding edge anymore (heck, my laptop is an Athlon64 3200+) but more than enough for web serving. Heck, the EPU server is a PIII-550. Maybe it is time for a migration…

    ANYWAY, that’s a tangent. I’ll take another look at Wiki, I keep running into them so I’ve been meaning to sit down and look at the system for a while now anyway.

  • craigeagle

    How ’bout posting your list of requested features. I am just kidding, aside from being a rather long read I already know the very good reasons that you do not post it publicly. On that note however maybe we should start a thread on what people would like to see. It might help people understand the existing features better.
    – Craig

  • benclark

    Sorry to hear that you’re losing a T1…!

    Wiki is a neat little hack, really, that just allows people to make and edit web pages with ease. It would allow community members to put up their own answers to FAQs, or post their own questions.

    Other communities use the memories feature at LJ, but I find this terribly cumbersome. I suggested the Wiki because it could act as an interactive FAQ without duplicating the features LJ already offers (blog-like posts, discussions, etc.).

    I’ve never set up a Wiki before, but I hear it’s pretty easy. Let me know if I can help in any way.

  • isabella_

    I can tell you the reason I joined…I moved and decided not to get a phone line but instead have a wireless network. I am no computer person but I get by rather well and was able to hook up the network on my own (GO ME!) Anyway, I’m a SUPER UBER DUMB ASS and went right into completely rebooting my Tivo thinking my network was working. Yeah um no you have to configure first!!! SOOOO I try taking my Tivo to my parents house to use their phone because even after the ,#401 cheat I had no luck. Yeah I can’t configure the tivo with their cable boxes because they are COMPLETELY different and don’t even have a serial port. So I take it home and resort to spending $40 to have a phone line put in just to cancel it after this is set up.

    SOOOOOOOOOO to sumise my long ass story, I joined so I can see other people’s questions and hope to learn from them and be more informed about my Tivo. Maybe you could have a topic of the week for us non power users that don’t hack etc etc but would be amazed at feature xxx that we had no idea about? And even for the advanced users you could do something…The topics may seem DUH to some people but I’m an average Jane that has to read directions for everything.

    By the way I read back TONS of entries and was suprised at the different info! Thanks!

  • megazone

    Hmm, that’s an interesting idea – a kind of ‘Did you know…’ topic. Tips and Tricks, that kind of thing…

    As for the things you ran into, just in case anyone else does:

    Currently to go Guided Setup the TiVo *requires* a phone line, even if it used to be on a network. Yeah, I think that’s lame and annoying, but that’s how it is today.

    The exception is a backdoor in the 3.x and 4.x software (from some experiments it seems to be gone in 5.x on my Pioneer) that lets you use some wired Ethernet adapters. To use this you enter ,#401 as the dial prefix during phone setup. But this only works with *wired* Ethernet – no WiFi – and only with a subset of the officially supported adapters, not all of them. The backdoor is from the 3.x days before networking was offically supported, it is the same backdoor used to enable TurboNet cards on the old Series1 boxes.

    If you need to set it up on a different cable box temporarily remember you have the IR blasters. Or with most cable systems the lower number (< 100) channels are still analog cable, so you can plug the coax directly into the TiVo and use the built in cable-ready tuner for those channels.

    I’m hoping that TiVo adds the network option to Guided Setup in a coming release and completely eliminates the need for a phone line.

  • megazone

    Oh, my RFE list is available – it is linked from the bottom of the community info page. :-)

    I haven’t posted the list itself here mainly because it is WAY too fscking big and I figured I’d piss off people, even behind a cut. :-)

  • unteins

    Are you sure about this?

    I am 99.9999% certain I just did a guided setup using my WiFi network adapter……I even think I got the step by step from Tivo’s website…

    Ok, sorry you can REPEAT guided setup via a wifi network (which means you can set the Tivo up via the phone pretty much anywhere you can get a phone line then drag it home and do it for your local cable (you could even do the initial guided setup and tell Tivo you don’t have cable, just Antanae)

    Here’s the instructions for the repeat:

  • unteins

    Here are some of the things that interest me about Tivo potential.

    I’d really like to know how to hack my series 2 Tivo, if I could get video off it, that’d be cool, not because I am a video pirate, but just because there are a few tv shows I’d like to keep eternally, but whatever. (BitTorrent can supply me with video of most tv shows anyway, so getting from my Tivo is just for geekiness)

    Mostly I just want to be able to do silly stuff like run a website on my Tivo – because I can.

    Anyway, I am interested in the cool hacks and tricks. One thing I am dying to find is a way to bulk delete a folder of shows, so if you know how to do that, that’d be great.

    I am interested in hearing about people who actually USE home media options. So far I haven’t found a use for them at all. I don’t even use the remote scheduling, never play music through it nor do I look at pictures on my tv.

    Personally, the press relases are only of minor interest. I think the ones that actually tell me about a product they are offering are cool, but the partnership announcements and such aren’t worth a whole lot since they don’t contain anything directly applicable to my Tivo life.

    Since you do have a big RFE list, it might be interesting for us as a community to see if we can’t get some influence at Tivo since we are a community and adding members regularly.

  • megazone

    Yes – you can get video off of a Series2 unit. I haven’t bothered doing it myself, but I’ve read the guides out of curiousity. I have a few reasons for not messing with my units. :-)

    There are links to info in the community info page – but perhaps the best place to start is’s forums. They have several forums dedicated to hacking TiVo. Of course, later this year TiVo is supposed to be releasing TiVo To Go, which will allow you to move content to a PC without hacking – but that’ll probably be for a fee.

    As for running a website on the TiVo, etc – yep, you can do it. See the hacking links in the community info page. There is a LOT of stuff you can do. Some of it is useful, some of it is silly. :-)

    I believe TiVoWeb allows for bulk delete – or maybe one of the TiVoWeb plugins. I know I’ve seen it.

    I use HMO – I’ve purchased it 3 times now. My *main* use is moving shows between units. I have one unit with more space – I used to have one with 40GB and another with 160GB, but I replaced the latter with an 80GB Pioneer. Still, I watch most things on the unit in the living room and I use the one in the bedroom for conflicts. So I transfer things to the living room regularly.

    There is also the editing trick to save a small piece of a show – start transferring from a paused point then stop the transfer when you have what you want. You now have a show fragment you can move around. One of my LJ friends was on an episode of HBO’s Real Sex and I just kept her segment instead of the entire show eating my drive space.

    I don’t use photo viewing much at all, and only rarely online scheduling. That would be a LOT more useful to me if the TiVo uploaded more info – ANY info – so see on the web, like To Do, SP list, etc. Right now it is too much of a shot in the dark – I’d love to overhaul the TCO area of the website. :-) I use music playback on and off.

    Oh – and I encourage people to sign up to be beta testers. Of course, anyone who has been a beta tester is under NDA and therefore can’t say they’re a beta tester. :-) And there is at *least* one TiVo employee who is a community member lurking about. Perhaps more, I’ve only noticed the one. :-)

    Beta testers get direct input to the future of the product via their feedback and the direct channel to the developers it provides. They’re expected to put in some time though – homework assignments, logs, etc. In exchange you can get to try new software, even hardware, months before it hits the streets. The price is being forced to keep quiet when you want to tell everyone about the cool toys.

    You don’t have to be some kind of ubergeek to be a beta tester – in fact they look for a mix of people. After all, they aren’t trying to sell TiVos to just ubergeeks – but to everyone. So while they look for people who can provide technical feedback and can file detailed reports they also look for ‘average users’ who call tell them when the UI is confusing, etc. There is always some risk though – beta software is beta for a reason, and sometimes it doesn’t work right.

    If you have an RFE – evne if you just want to submit some of them from my list – use their suggestion form.

  • innocentbastard

    Something I have been looking for and all but given up on is trying to find someone with some programming skills to write a small program to help maximize season passes and be able to handle multiple Tivo’s. I have most of it worked out in my head but know squat about programming.