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Time Zone Bug

Created by dave. Last edited by dave, 14 years and 47 days ago. Viewed 3,473 times. #1
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(9 April 2006)

So this Scientific Atlanta PVR thing I've been raving about has demonstrated another weakness: it doesn't understand Daylight Savings Time.

Or rather, it understands Daylight Savings Time in only part of the program.

See what happened was that last night Jenn and I sat down for a nice warm episode of Battlestar Galactica, and it wasn't there. Battlestar Galactica is on Space at 8PM. It has been on Space at 8PM since the fall. The PVR has recorded Battlestar Galactica from Space on Saturdays at 8PM since it arrived in the house. So imagine our suprise when we check the rules for recording things, and it informs us that Battlestar Galactica is being recorded Saturdays at 9PM. Except that since the listed program "Aliens" is not "Battlestar Galactica", it didn't record anything.

Well, it took me a bit of figuring to get that it was a Daylight Savings Time problem. Clearly the box stores the times for its events in a Universal Coordinated Time offset, and it receives a time signal of some sort over the network (since when you plug it in it goes off and gets the correct time). And either the firmware or the network knows about Daylight Savings Time, because the clock set itself correctly to the changed time overnight last week without our intervention. But the program recording engine <em>doesn't</em> know about Daylight Savings Time, since the scheduled time changed with respect to the time zone, yet stayed fixed in terms of UTC.

You know, that simple, stupid, uses-tapes VCR always got this right once you changed the clock. The problem is that this box is smart enough to look smart, but it isn't really quite smart enough.

Update: 11 April 2006

So I did some digging, and it turns out that I'm not even the only one in the Ottawa area who is >>having a problem (that author has a 8000, we have the >>8300, but the problem is the same). There are a bunch of support venues where there are people who are complaining.

One of these venues had a post in which the author said Rogers support reps would claim that they were not getting many complaints on the issue and so they didn't feel it was necessary to actually do anything about the problem.

So just for giggles we called technical support tonight to complain about the problem. And guess what? The nice customer support representative said that she'd been working straight through the last ten days and I was the first complaint about the issue she'd got! And she even told me this _after_ I told her that the web forums warned me she'd say that! Fancy that.

Well I told her that I was a computer programmer and knew about dealing with time and offsets and programming, that I understood that the firmware version on the box was controlled by Rogers… and it might have spooked her that I knew more about the situation than her script did, so she put me on hold for a couple of minutes so she could talk to her upper level technical support.

When she came back, Jenn and I were laughing about Roger's _stupid_ phone tree (it's a voice recognition system; except in one menu in the middle where you have to push a one, two, three, or four to select the item -- I mean, if you are going to be stupid, at least be _consistantly_ stupid in _all_ the menus! It pretty much guarantees that anyone who started in a good mood will be annoyed by the time they get through) and she apologised for it, too.

So after all that, I have an actual DSR number, and someone will call me back within a couple of days about the issue. Odds are they will try to sugar-coat it the way the forums claim (it's a normal situation, it isn't a problem, no one else complained) but we'll wait and see. That DSR number is interesting, as we'll get a feel for how many DSRs they issue when we call back in the fall to complain that the problem is still there.

I suspected that the reason why Rogers didn't have a record of many complaints on this issue was because they didn't record the complaints, so getting a DSR was a real suprise. It means that they actually recorded the complaint (or at least faked recording the complaint).

The CSR also suggested getting in touch with Scientific Atlanta, however there's no way to load a firmware onto these things. Probably a waste of time, bu it might be worth trying just for giggles.

Update: 12 April 2006

So Jenn got a phone call from Roger's automated ticket system, where the recording cheerfully told her that the DSR ticket had been closed.

No explanation; no discussion. No indication if the problem had been solved. Just closed, have a nice day.

Now _that_ is more of the customer-hostile response is more in keeping with the Rogers service we have come to expect.

I checked the Scientific Atlanta site; there isn't any simple way to get in touch with the company, and I am not sure I am willing to pay long distance charges to entertain myself further.

So I guess the plan is now wait until the clocks change again this fall and then call to complain when it is _still_ broken.

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