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xbmc OPENS as a FAIL
#1
Let me invite you all to join the real world, where Geeks are not the guy next to you. Not a geek universe and experience where a long lineage of betas has led you to finally get it right with this version of xbmc.

When it installs, it is a sweet install. When it launches, it is a frakking nightmare. The entire screen is covered with the program. There are no buttons or menus readily available to help the user figure all of this crap out, the man-pages don't exist and how the frak do I get rid of this monster that ate my computer?

The opening of the xbmc program needs a really big change to allow the ungeek user to adapt it to something usable.

Please note, I have experienced software since I used an IBM s/360 in the 70's, this is observation and experience and NOT a request for support.

The first impression is important and the FI of the xbmc software is it will "take over my computer."

Ungeek it and make it ready for prime time, or go the route of Slackware, Great, but pretty much unknown and unusable outside of geek circles.
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#2
it's not really for your computer its for your tv and you use your remote to navigate - my wife is far from being a geek and she can use it. If you want a 'program' us vlc or something. In terms of documentation - there is a wiki and there are these forums. The thing about these forums is that the developers look at them and do respond where applicable. XBMC as far as I am concerned is one of the best bits of software I have ever used and also one of the best supported.

And - I nearly forgot it is FREE!
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#3
XBMC will use several standard OS ways to quit the application in the event you cannot find the exit button.

Also, what matpol said. XBMC is created for use with TVs and the 10-foot interface (wiki) (navigable from a remote, and viable from 10-feet/couch). It is not a normal PC application, nor is it meant to be.

As far as being ready for "prime time", XBMC has been used by millions of users and is even used in/by several commercial products/companies.
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#4
That being said, we do know that XBMC's initial setup is an area for improvement. There's things we see ourselves and want to improve, and are working towards making those things easier. However, if you'd like to give us good feedback on XBMC (which we always welcome) then you might want to be more specific than "ungeek it".
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#5
Ok, points to consider in ungeeking the program.

FWIW I use 4 monitors on my system which is far beyond the norm.

It would be nice if the app were in a windowed mode rather than fullscreen during the initial setup.

Make a how-to guide prominent in the menus. Whenever there is a problem, a common response by tech types is the read the manpages. Make them easy to use and easy to find locally, and not just online.

It would be nice to choose the primary XBMC display during an initial setup for those that don't want to commit a computer to a singular use of being a media center. It would be nice if the option was obvious for selecting a display option where more than one is available. If you were to offer a standard default try to make it the hdmi output, but still offer a choice at the initial setup. I can find the choices as I drill through the settings.

Create a simple checklist that walks the user through selecting media sources that may be on the network. NAS media may be clear and easy to access by the program by default, but media on other computers may require password access and configuration.

Add that and IMO you pretty much have it covered.

Just consider that to be useful it should be pretty much an appliance, which you have really well done, but the initial meaning very first use of the appliance should be a no brainier. Design for both a dedicated use system and also for a shared use system.



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#6
point to think about: what kind of non geek would actually be using 4 monitors.
And if you start it windowed you will get the non geeks on your neck because they can't find the full screen button
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#7
I think a better idea would be some videos. People won't sit there and read for 10 minutes but they'll happily watch a video for longer. A getting started video guide covering separate aspects (initial setup, movies (picking a scrapper etc.), music, plugins etc.). You can search youtube for xbmc tutorial and I see there are some but it would be better if there were some official ones linked under support on the main page. Each video would also have links to the relevant wiki pages etc.
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#8
OK. When I installed this I was offered a setup. I do not recall any options to select the type of use at all. Here is a set of screenshots of the setup process.

I find that for some this would lead to the confusion at the setup completion on the first start because the end user may or may not have the same expectations you have when installing.

steelhoof .biz/xbmc/xmbc-firstscreen.png

Feel free to use the image if it helps.
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#9
type of use?

Flirc now has a forum: forum.flirc.tv
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#10
Yup. As an app on a computer or a a primary media solution for TV or...

I base that comment on this from earlier in the thread:

"XBMC is created for use with TVs and the 10-foot interface (navigable from a remote,
and viable from 10-feet/couch). It is not a normal PC application, nor is it meant to be."

And this from ABOUT:

"While XBMC functions very well as a standard media player application for your computer, it has been designed to be the perfect companion for your HTPC. Supporting an almost endless range of remote controls, and combined with its beautiful interface and powerful skinning engine, XBMC feels very natural to use from the couch and is the ideal solution for your home theater."
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#11
Quote:While XBMC functions very well as a standard media player application for your computer

distinct from: "XBMC is a standard media playing application for your computer"

The paragraph then goes on to say:
"While XBMC functions very well as a standard media player application for your computer, it has been designed to be the perfect companion for your HTPC."
Maybe XBMC's just not for you.

Some will like it, some won't.

Flirc now has a forum: forum.flirc.tv
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#12
(2012-04-09, 18:42)steelhoof Wrote: When it installs, it is a sweet install. When it launches, it is a frakking nightmare. The entire screen is covered with the program. There are no buttons or menus readily available to help the user figure all of this crap out, the man-pages don't exist and how the frak do I get rid of this monster that ate my computer?

Yup. Main reason of your disappointment is that you expected windowed program and this is HTPC system (like Apple TV, Windows MC etc..).

However, XBMC never quite took a clear stance on this - you can go from full screen to windowed mode, you see mouse pointer and for the most part can actually use mouse.
(2012-04-09, 23:10)steelhoof Wrote: Yup. As an app on a computer or a a primary media solution for TV or...

I base that comment on this from earlier in the thread:

"XBMC is created for use with TVs and the 10-foot interface (navigable from a remote,
and viable from 10-feet/couch). It is not a normal PC application, nor is it meant to be."

And this from ABOUT:

"While XBMC functions very well as a standard media player application for your computer, it has been designed to be the perfect companion for your HTPC. Supporting an almost endless range of remote controls, and combined with its beautiful interface and powerful skinning engine, XBMC feels very natural to use from the couch and is the ideal solution for your home theater."

So you have read that already but still ended up surprised by home page?
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#13
Surprise? No. I do lots for my clients, which are geeks to grannies, As such I look at it from the dumbest point of view. I am offering a perspective. My opinion is you have good to great, but not quite killer. You must know that many people will just install it hoping it will work.

The user might be thinking... "OK, but how about a bit of help during the setup to see what might be a best setup for me."

Help the user get there. easier.

That is all
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#14
Tbh, if someone is at the stage where they can't even find an exit button without having their hand held then there's no point even trying, they should just walk away. It doesn't matter how easy you make it because there's always something that's going to trip them up.
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#15
I like the set-up, where the only option is to opt-out garbage languages.

I do not want to have a guide & videos bloated download of several gigabytes to get a usefull software product contained of some megabytes of code and some more of skin backgrounds...

leaner is better, if you need more, go to youtube or read the oline wiki - btw I read those stuff usually before I install software ;-)
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