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Thread: My 2 Cents Worth

  1. #1
    Newbie FrmDrkSide's Avatar
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    My 2 Cents Worth

    First I want to say that I have been in the fortunate position try out every major front-end on the market (iMobilePC, Streetdeck, G-Net Digital Dash, Divesoft, RoadRunner, Etc). In my opinion Centrafuse has the best combination of stability, appearance and features. However there are a couple things that I think could be changed.

    So David, as hopefully, one of your future resellers. Iím going to take this opportunity to tell you what I think.

    First thing is that Audio/Video/DVD playback control should include a progress slider. This is standard on almost all media players. This could be simply added to the top of what I call the control bar, but itís the bar that contains the play, next, volume buttons etc. This could also solve the debate about ff/rw buttons. It is far more dangerous to take your hand off the wheel, and eyes of the road to press and hold down the next/previous buttons while watching the elapsed time to find the spot you want. With a progress bar you can easily guesstimate where in the song/video/DVD you want to be and jump around from there. It isnít as exact as dedicated ff/rr buttons but it does work, and requires much less focus.

    Second, in the DVD player, I think that a single click or mouse movement should bring up the control bar, rather than a double click. Also the control bar should pop-up on the bottom and the DVD menu/title/chapter bar should be on top. With them stacked on top of each other now, it blocks too much of the screen. Most new widescreen DVDís are in the 2.33 to 1 aspect ratio anyway. This leaves black bars top and bottom, even on widescreen tvs. The control/display bars would fit nicely without blocking much at all. If the picture was full screen losing a little bit top and bottom is better. Ideally, similar to Streetdeck, these would be semi-transparent.

    Third, in the media player when it is in full screen video or visualizations it should have a pop-up control bar with progress slider. It should come from single click or mouse movement, like what I described for the DVD player (minus the DVD menu/title/chapter bar obviously). Right now having to exit full screen mode to access the controls then re enter full screen mode is really bad. Also when browsing videos it should display thumbnail view preview.

    Lastly, this is the only feature that I really feel should be added and it may already be something you are working on, but gesture recognition is a must. If only for the wow factor! It could even make menu navigation easier, or it may not be all that useful, but regardless when customers see it they are blown away. It is one of those things that people love or hate! But if it isnít that hard to add, those that donít like it donít have to use it. And those that do will think they are that much cooler!

    I have been in the car audio industry for 15 years as an installer and now an owner; I know whatís out there and what we will have to sell your product against. I think that these changes would help us.

    If you agree or disagree, I would love to here what you all think about my suggestions.

  2. #2
    VENDOR - Centrafuse veetid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrmDrkSide
    First I want to say that I have been in the fortunate position try out every major front-end on the market (iMobilePC, Streetdeck, G-Net Digital Dash, Divesoft, RoadRunner, Etc). In my opinion Centrafuse has the best combination of stability, appearance and features. However there are a couple things that I think could be changed.

    So David, as hopefully, one of your future resellers. Iím going to take this opportunity to tell you what I think.

    First thing is that Audio/Video/DVD playback control should include a progress slider. This is standard on almost all media players. This could be simply added to the top of what I call the control bar, but itís the bar that contains the play, next, volume buttons etc. This could also solve the debate about ff/rw buttons. It is far more dangerous to take your hand off the wheel, and eyes of the road to press and hold down the next/previous buttons while watching the elapsed time to find the spot you want. With a progress bar you can easily guesstimate where in the song/video/DVD you want to be and jump around from there. It isnít as exact as dedicated ff/rr buttons but it does work, and requires much less focus.

    Second, in the DVD player, I think that a single click or mouse movement should bring up the control bar, rather than a double click. Also the control bar should pop-up on the bottom and the DVD menu/title/chapter bar should be on top. With them stacked on top of each other now, it blocks too much of the screen. Most new widescreen DVDís are in the 2.33 to 1 aspect ratio anyway. This leaves black bars top and bottom, even on widescreen tvs. The control/display bars would fit nicely without blocking much at all. If the picture was full screen losing a little bit top and bottom is better. Ideally, similar to Streetdeck, these would be semi-transparent.

    Third, in the media player when it is in full screen video or visualizations it should have a pop-up control bar with progress slider. It should come from single click or mouse movement, like what I described for the DVD player (minus the DVD menu/title/chapter bar obviously). Right now having to exit full screen mode to access the controls then re enter full screen mode is really bad. Also when browsing videos it should display thumbnail view preview.

    Lastly, this is the only feature that I really feel should be added and it may already be something you are working on, but gesture recognition is a must. If only for the wow factor! It could even make menu navigation easier, or it may not be all that useful, but regardless when customers see it they are blown away. It is one of those things that people love or hate! But if it isnít that hard to add, those that donít like it donít have to use it. And those that do will think they are that much cooler!

    I have been in the car audio industry for 15 years as an installer and now an owner; I know whatís out there and what we will have to sell your product against. I think that these changes would help us.

    If you agree or disagree, I would love to here what you all think about my suggestions.
    We plan to look into possibly adding a slider, but I somewhat lean towards it makes it more like a computer media player, not a car media player... but this is all just a matter of opinion...

    I did recently add slider/overlay similiar to the DVD one for fullscreen videos... so now you don't have to close fullscreen to access the play controls...

    The reason DVD is double click is because single click is used to navigate DVD menu's... I could detect when in the menu, then it would be double click, otherwise single click... but this would most likely just confuse users...

    We will take a look and see what the DVD info title bar looks like on the top. I might make an option for enhanced graphics mode eventually to allow for semi transparent overlays and dialogs... The main reason that is all taken out is for performance on these terrible M10000, which most distributors are using...

    Not much for gesture recognition, if you mean that stylus recognition similiar to streetdeck... Out use case tests show that most ordinary users, non technical, find is useless, confusing, and dangerous...

    thanks for the feedback!

    david
    __________________
    CENTRAFUSE http://www.centrafuse.com
    01 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4x4 Installed
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  3. #3
    FLAC
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    Guino added gesture capability to RR and I couldn't wait to disable it. To each his own I guess.

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate
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    just want to chime in that I agree with all the points posted above. Couldn't care less about gestures, but that's just me.

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate
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    I completely agree. Gestures are a bad idea.

    1. Its dangerous enough to have to function the controls with no tactile feedback. So the user will commonly look away from the road quickly to check what they are pushing or what changed.
    2. You'd have to have either a "gesture area" or another button that youd have to fumble for to activate gesture mode. If these werent implemented the user would prob just end up hitting buttons they didnt intend to.
    3. Driving on rough roads would make gesturing difficult.

    IMO the only feasable form of alternate UI would be voice. CF already has support for voice commands so its well on its way. The only draw back right now is the amount of time that it takes to train the computer to hear what you said correctly. Though I anticipate in coming years the base accuracy of these systems will see improvment.
    2003 Subaru Impreza TS
    Staus: Done.. too lazy to make pictures lol.

  6. #6
    FLAC
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    When I had gestures enabled in RR, I got the sense that it used significantly more processing power. That may be a problem for those using less powerful systems. Also, I've read somewhere that consistent dragging on a touchscreen is not particulary good for it; I don't know if that's true or not.

  7. #7
    Newbie FrmDrkSide's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses! I think that I was a bit unclear with my point about gesture recognition (it was very late and that was the last part and I was ready for bed). For the most part I agree with all of your points regarding the real usability of gesture recognition. Especially on a daily basis. But what I said was

    ďbut gesture recognition is a must. If only for the wow factor! It could even make menu navigation easier, or it may not be all that useful, but regardless when customers see it they are blown away

    My assumption here is that at some point the business plan for centrafuse includes commercial retail distribution (although I have heard reference to OEM partners so I could be completely wrong). That means that just like every other cd player or navigation system, a salesman is going to have to sell it to a customer along with hardware. And the software sells the hardware.

    My sole point about gesture recognition is that it is purely a flashy, wow feature. They may never use it! Until they want to show there friend how cool the new carputer system they have is. Let me give you an example.

    One of the best cd players ever made was a nakamichi cd-45z. This unit had an 18 bit D\A converter, most or all other cd players use 1 bit D\A converters. It had an audiophile grade pre-amp section and an amazingly flat response. But this was one of the simplest head units you would ever see. Classic blocky lcd display, no subwoofer level control, about the only thing it had was bass,mid,treble adjustments. It was super easy to use, with a total of maybe 6 buttons not including preset buttons. It also had no equal when it came to sound quality, especially at a 399.00 price. Now at the same time my store also carried a pioneer unit at the 399.00 price point. This was a nice unit, but there was no comparison when it came to how these units sounded. However, what this unit did have was pioneers new OEL display, which was big and bright with animated dolphins swimming across the screen and cars racing through a city etc. Almost 100% of 18-35 year old males and females choose the pioneer unit. Why, not because it sounded better. Not because it was easy to use, in fact pioneers are generally difficult to navigate for the average customer. Because, WOW it has cars racing across the screenÖthatís cool. And females used to come in and ask for the dolphin radioÖ.and Iím not kidding. It is literally like a plague, there friend shows them, then they show there other friend, and in the end everyone has it.

    My point is simple, functionality and quality sometimes take a back seat to the wow factor, especially in consumer electronics. I would imagine that in test groups, just like those that responded to this post, using gesture recognition consistently to navigate around would be annoying or dangerous. But was the test group asked if they thought it was cool when it was demonstrated, before they used it? Very much like the Streetdeck video did to me. Man it looked cool, but once I used it eehhh! I could live without it. But the WOW factor got me at first.

    I have received a very favorable response from the customers that I have shown gesture recognition in action, and for some, it was the difference of I donít need a carputer, to I got to have it. These guys are mostly car show types that are always looking for the gadgetiest stuff. Not a one of them has actually played with it, but to them that doesnít matter. The fact that it looks impressive is what counts. One of whose truck happens to be on the cover of Truckin magazine this month featuring my very impressive install. (PLUG FOR ME )

    What this really boils down to is sell ability, Centrafuse will have to compete for customers. It will compete with all the front ends that I mentioned in the first post. And within that the Wow factor must be considered. Personally I am banking on Centrafuse, once the commercial version is available I will cease to sell the software I am currently, and sell centrafuse. Regardless of if it has gesture recognition or not.
    That is if David still wants to do business with me after this post!

    On a separate note, David, my partner spoke to you on the phone a couple weeks ago when you where working late, you said we should send an email to eric in sales to get our relationship started. We sent the email but have not heard back, so I was wondering if it was a case of you guys are just swamped or if maybe you didnít get it?

  8. #8
    Newbie FrmDrkSide's Avatar
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    I think the slider making it fell like a computer media player is a good thing. I think it is an added feature over what a customer would find in the average touchscreen/am/fm/dvd/navigation head units dvd player interface. But again that is pure opinion. With regards to the double click DVD, that makes perfect sense with the single click in dvd menu.
    What is the possibility to change it from clicking all together and pick up mouse movement? This could be in both the dvd and media player, in media player double click could be used to drop out of full screen and back to media manager, and the x in the control bar would still close the DVD player. What do you think?

    P.S. I think that it is very funny that every software developer that i have ever spoken with HATES the via boards. So you are not alone.

    We do not use via boards!

  9. #9
    FLAC
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    Excellent post at #7, FDS.

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