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Messages - Oceanwatcher

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Feature requests & roadmap / Re: MediaCenter for my grandmother
« on: April 23, 2007, 10:10:26 am »
I do not disagree that there are packages that do the separate things of Linux MCE already. But I have actually been looking for something like Linux MCE for some time and I am thrilled to see it happening.

Of course, I could install MythTV and live with that until Linux MCE comes of age. But I would rather see the mediacenter part of Linux MCE become rock solid and install that. And then grow with it.

Average Joe out there is hearing things about Windows MC and often likes what he hears. A big mix of telephone, home automation, MC et. is a little to much right now for him. But to get a CD he can install on a computer without any fuzz that give him the same as Win MC, but for free, would be a killer. And when you have him on board, you can feed the other stuff little by little.

This is what I mean by basic. Not the stuff that enthusiasts wants, but something that my mother and for that sake, my grandmother, would actually use...

My grandmother would never touch anything that looks like a computer accessory. But she already operates a TV remote. And one for the VCR. But that is all. As long as the interface is simple enough, I would not have any problem teaching her using Linux MCE for watching TV.

It should be like turn it on. Click OK to watch TV. Press UP or DOWN to choose channel. Left or Right to adjust volume. And no confusing graphics gimmicks happening. Press PAUSE to take a break. Press Play to resume watching.

And this needs to be rock solid. Really. No other options added should ever break this.

I know that people are different and some people would have other priorities. But to imply that Average Joe thinks about home and IP phones from his own server at the moment is to take it a bit far. He probably do not have much ideas of servers at all. But a box that looks like a VCR, stereo amplifier or DVD player, and operates like an advanced DVD player is definitely interesting. That is why we now see satellite receivers and DVD palyers with hard drives selling bigtime today.

First get people on board. Then start adding to the mix.

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: MediaCenter for my grandmother
« on: April 09, 2007, 12:52:42 am »
When I first saw this project, I really jumped in my chair. It is exactly what I have been waiting for. I have been playing with Vista Media Center and it works. Some things could be better, but it actually works. And it sets the standard that everyone else will be measured to. So anyone that make any attempt in this area will have to do the same things as Vista MC and do it well. And then some.

I really have no doubt that some day this project will do exactly this. And with an Ubuntu distro with Linux MCE already installed, this will be a real easy thing to set up. But the configuration should be kept to a minimum. Just as broadband routers are today. They usually work fine right out of the box. Sure, they might not be optimal, but then you just log on to the web interface and adjust the configuration.

And if this system is intended as a backoffice black box/server, there really is no need to do ANY configuration through an on-screen interface. A web interface is perfect.

Feature requests & roadmap / MediaCenter for my grandmother
« on: April 07, 2007, 03:02:23 am »
Here are the things I think would make a big difference:

1. Nice and tidy design

2. Nice and tidy design

3. The interface should be possible to simplify. Why not let it come preset as a barebones mediaplayer/center? Straight out of the box experience - Only the livingroom and one user. Then extra stuff can be added whenever the user feel like it. As of now, it seems to overwhelming with all features and possibilities. Simplify is actually a good thing here. I know a lot of people want to have all sorts of things, but all the basic stuff has to be covered before any attempt is done to cover the rest. I actually prefer something that does the basics really well over something that is more advanced, but really do not do it too well... Nuf said.

4. All but the most basic settings should be done through a web interface from a computer. NB! I am not thinking of LinuxMCE as a computer. It is a MediaCenter. In the same sense, I am not referring to a broadband router as a computer. But a lot of people these days are used to change settings on their broadband router through a browser. So having to configure LinuxMCE the same way is totally ok.

5. Completely control it through a normal looking IR remote - Logitech among others. NEVER having to move anything around on the screen in a mouselike way. Mouse is for computers. This is not a computer.

6. Pack everything into a nice ISO including the Linux distro. Do not wait for it to become Ubuntu compliant. Pack everything so anyone can just pop it into their PC and fire up the installer. This way there will be no loose ends.

7. Make a plug-in repository and a nice GUI system that allow you to add plug-ins at will from the web interface.

8. Don't compare yourself to the competition. They know they have been left in the dust when people all over the world start using LinuxMCE because it is easier to use and more powerful. No more bashing, please.

9. Nice and tidy design. Again. MythTV and Windows MCE actually has some nice things. And Apple has always been all about design. If I am going to have something on my 40 foot screen in the livingroom, it better look like a million dollars. So find a designer and do some real design work. I am sure there are designers out there that would LOVE to have a go. Why not make it a competition? Or ask people to make a mock-up in Photoshop with a couple of screens of their dream LinuxMCE design?

Some of these things might already be addressed. But the part about simplifying is really important. The first thing that is needed for people is to have a box that can show TV with full timeshift, play DVD's and MP3's and show pictures. Not only from the built-in HD, but from any server on the network. These features should be on top and require almost no configuration.

Could my grandmother use such a system? Sure. She can use a normal remote control for a tv. She can turn the TV on, she can press up and down keys for channel change and she can turn volume up and down. She can not do any programming. That is what grandchildren are for :-)

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