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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seriously bugs me that MS keeps such tight control on the Beta Testers with the NDA. I think that most of people in this forum have bought or are thinking of buying a UTV and to not inform us of the features they will be adding in the next release is a serious disservice to this community because we'd all like to know that we are playing a part in the kinds of features that are coming and not that we're being just dictated to.


Maybe the UTV division needs to rethink the policy and keep us, as serious core UTV users, informed of the kinds of features that we can expect and why we chose UTV to begin with.


Just my thoughts,

Trish
 

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I respectfully disagree with your opinion. Everyone is excited to see the new features of the product, but most companies will keep new features quiet, especially in a competitive market, until they are nearly ready for release. If UTV were the only game in town, MS would probably be more free with future plans for the product.


Lets say that MS had plans to enable feature x, say remote recording management (i.e. - you forgot to set UTV to record something, so you were able to call home and set it to record... and no, I have absolutely no clue if this is planned (I am not a Beta tester). If Tivo were to learn this, they might rush something similiar to market first.


This is a very common practice in many product upgrades in competitive marketplaces.


IMHO
 

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One reason firms do this is to avoid expectation problems. New beta feartures sometimes get pulled at the last minute. Once the cat is out of the bag, then they get complaints when expected things don't surface.


This is a competitive market. Releasing future feature lists may result in the loss of an advantage they might have over a competitor. NDAs have been around as long as the concept of a Beta release, and neither is going to change much any time soon.


Ed
 

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I don't buy the "trying to keep the information away from competitor's" argument. Any company that invites current users to beta their new software (like both UTV and Tivo do) has to be aware that some of those people will either work for or know someone that works for the competitors. I can almost guarantee you that both Tivo and ReplayTv know exactly what features are in the new UTV software, just like UTV and Replay knew what was in any new Tivo software in the past. It is a small industry and if you have to wait until the competitor officially announces their new features then you are doing your job very poorly and will not survive long term.
 

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i agree it isn't about the competition knowing, there are way too many ways for them to find out, especially with large betas...


i think the main reason, as stated before, is that they really don't know which features will survive through beta and do not want to promise something and then not deliver, irking customers. being a part of the beta program for awhile now, you can tell which features are becoming stable and shippable, and which features are kinda on the fence. i could see where publicly saying featureX will be available and then not delivery on featureX would really PO a lot of people, especially people on this board :)


[note: I have no knowledge of "featureX" making it into the system, I can neither confirm nor deny its existence :D]
 

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So we are down to the only reason is that some features will not make it through the Beta test? That seems to be pretty lame. It seems that this NDA stuff is a complete waste, probably started by some corporate legal department that had nothing better to do than tantalize and obfuscate their corporate customer base.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce M
probably started by some corporate legal department that had nothing better to do than tantalize and obfuscate their corporate customer base.
Heh. How many legal departments actually have something better to do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I thought about the fact that the reson that a company might not be willing to give an indication of the beta features because of changes from the beta to release might open the company up to legal problems.


Ok sure, but I do know the meaning of the term 'beta' and I do know that being a beta means that it is not finished code. I suspect that 99.9 percent of the people know that too.


I've already bought the product and any additional features that keep me from jumping ship and going to the open architecture of the Tivo are valuable to both me and to MS.


Also, allowing the person considering buying a PVR access to the information would give additional incentive for the purchase of a UTV system over a Tivo. Since as a user you should always have a current version of the OS there is no reason to speculate that someone might hold off and buy a UTV next year to get the features in the next release.


--T
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce M
So we are down to the only reason is that some features will not make it through the Beta test?
Bruce,


I work for a software company and this is a major reason why features/functionality are not released prior to a release going GA (generally available). We operate on a time based release schedule. Much like a train and its schedule. When the train leaves the station, all passengers that are ready and on board get to leave with it. Any passengers not ready get left behind. If you tout a new feature in your product and then it gets left out of the release due to a bug maybe that is found during the beta, then that is obviously a bad thing. You lose customer loyalty that way. Then again, Bruce, maybe you are right. What does Microsoft know about releasing software that you don't? :D


-NJJ
 

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Don't get me wrong when I say this, as ?I use MS products

every day.


But when has MS released anything BUG free...


Can anyone answer that?


So in reality we are all beta testing MS code ever day..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think maybe I'm thinking too much like a IT person here... I know the implications of Beta software. I'm not asking to have it on my UTV. All I want to know is what I can expect in the next and future releases. I hate being treated like an idiot where MS just hands me stuff and I have to take it! I don't like that kind of top down software mentality.


I bought UTV because it had features that I knew I wanted in a PVR. I was smart enough to make decisions like that, now why am I not given any respect with regard to the direction the software is going.. Maybe I'm expecting too much from a consumer grade product.


My UTV Manifesto

1. I know what beta software is and I know the implications of beta software.

2. I expect that my opinions are respected and that the software will be written that does what I need it to do (within reason)


--T.
 

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Quote:
Heh. How many legal departments actually have something better to do?
Actually, microsoft's leagle department has plenty to keep them busy. Or, have you not noticed.


as far as the beta thing goes. I think it would be to their interest to let a community like this one prevy to information. It would only do them good.:p
 

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It would be nice if that UTV and Microsoft provide a "UTV" chat channel every month like the "Charlie" chats and his tecnical chats. They may not be the greatest, but at least Charlie takes and answers questions.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sungrrl
Also, allowing the person considering buying a PVR access to the information would give additional incentive for the purchase of a UTV system over a Tivo. Since as a user you should always have a current version of the OS there is no reason to speculate that someone might hold off and buy a UTV next year to get the features in the next release.
And when someone actually made a buying decision based on a beta feature that ended up being removed, UTV would NEVER hear the end of it.


They really need to keep the experimental stuff secret in my opinion until it is a final released feature. Otherwise you'd have companies claiming all kinds of things, whether they ended up as finished features or not, and opening themselves up to lawsuits.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Madmardigan
as far as the beta thing goes. I think it would be to their interest to let a community like this one prevy to information. It would only do them good.:p
Many in this community are in the beta test. Just because they limit the number of testers doesn't mean they aren't listening to user feedback. I know for a fact that they are listening.
 

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I see no reason to keep "the experimental stuff" secret. This is a beta. That means that the features have gone beyond the experimental or alpha stage. The very valid point has already surfaced that the competition must have plants among the beta testers. So the only secret is being kept away from the general public. As a concerned group of users, I don't see why we can't be let in on the "secret."


Let's suppose that a great feature does fall out in the beta testing. We know it's a beta test, so we know that all features might not make it. What's the big deal? If this happens often from a particular company, then we know that the company has a bogus software development cycle and in the future we just won't believe the pre-announced features.
 

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I'd settle for knowing at least one beta feature. Is that so bad to want to know?
 
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