Flaky Firmware

From the large number of disparate problems cited in the Live Hub Issue Reporting section it would seem that, whilst the product is superb when it works, the darn thing has a lot of unresolved issues !

Perusing the FAQ section, there are even subjects ‘under investigation’ from last year still not reported as fixed.

The majority of reported troubles seem, not surprisingly, to centre around the video section and I suspect many of these have to do with difficulties surrounding VOB/VTS files and also MKV. I say ‘not surprisingly’ because it seems to me likely that is the principle reason for purchasing : watching TV episodes and movies without having to create DVD discs; and being able to store the files in a ‘library’ for easy access.

Most of my own troubles have to do with audio, rather than video files. I was delighted to discover, after purchase, that I could put lossless compressed files (flac, eg) and obtain really first rate sound. Alas, not without some frustrations : first track in a flac album frequently skips to track 2. I convert it to AIFF and it works fine ! MP3 files sometimes

exhibit similar (and other) paranoias ! Also the seemingly common effect of files disappearing (video files too) and then re-appearing after a power cycling.

It would seem that persistance pays off. By not giving up and trying everything - even things you know won’t make a difference (!) - I have eventually got what I wanted (well, so far!)

A common answer seems to be “switch off and power cycle” - my point is yes OK but I shouldn’t have to do that !! More than one user has reported ‘no sound’ after updating to latest firmware - worrying - will it happen to me ? There seem to be a horde of issues around networking, and as many around disappearing files.

OK, so I realise that sometimes it’s “pilot error” - and we all make mistakes - I wouldn’t mind betting the most common being not reading the blasted manual ! But really the number of troubles do indicate a fundamental flaw in the firmware’s ability to handle what it should handle. Responses to instructions via the remote control device (a good example of what a remote should be, by the way!) are slow and jerky. Things that work on most occasions don’t work on others. Album artwork is poorly presented. Some files  are ‘not playable’, when one knows perfectly well that they are not corrupted and are in an acceptable format. 

It is true that the software has a very complex job. It has to handle a large variety of inputs and processes arising therefrom. It has also to cope with the user doing something wrong. But fundamentally this is not rocket science.

It seems that the software industry as a whole is unique : it sells/licences a product and then uses you as a kind of unpaid beta tester to get things right !

Or not …

It seems the entire industry has problems with software. I dont know what the problem is but I feel part of the issues may be that not enough time is allowed to fully test the code that is written. Another aspect is the quality of WHAT is written and the problem may extend all the way to the ability of the programmers to write it. Not being “in the trade" I cant really be definate. I just know I have a lot of toys that dont function as they should and it puts me in a bad frame of mind when they act up because someone left a quote mark or something out of the code. :frowning:

It’s all about the market.

There’s an urgency to rush products to market in order to not “miss the boat.”  If something is too late, competition snaps up the marketplace. 

…and the fact that something isn’t fully tested only affects the portion of the market of people who do their homework before purchasing.

Yes, you are right to feel frustration. I used to program computers (mainframes, using COBOL & Assembler - yes, it was an aeon ago!) so the principles of testing and testing again are well known to me. Not allowing enough time is a good point. Even so eminent a company as Apple recently issued an iTunes upgrade that was a disaster and had to be re-issued promptly. I believe that some of the difficulties WD are facing has to do with ‘firmware’. This is different from software in that it is stored in flash memory. The consequences of changing it are sometimes more serious than if you merely alter software code. (and more difficult to test and put right !). However nowadays most mobile devices (music players, phones,etc.) support firmware upgrades so the procedures are widely used, albeit the firmware may not be as complex as that in the Hub. What is really galling here is that this product, when it works, is quite superb and is at a very competitive price. (1 terrabyte hard drives don’t cost much less, without all the bells and whistles we get with it.) It seems our learning curve is steep and unlikely to get less so any time soon. My school motto was Omnia vinces perseverando (perseverance conquers all). Boy, have I been using that one recently !!

Someone said it’s about speed to market. When did the Hub come out compared to other devices? I didn’t buy mine right off the bat. I kept looking around for a good deal with a lot of storage. I read reviews and it seems to get good reviews. I really couldn’t find anything else I liked. I could get stuff from little name companies, but then I worry about support and software compatibility of will it play all my files or not?