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View Full Version : Main Menu needs a rework



NauticusLX
2006-12-30, 19:42
I am a new owner of the SqueezeBox 3, and explored the entire menu of the SqueezeBox, the one that’s used with the SqueezeNetwork, on 12/30/06 from about 11am-3pm, and would like to make a few comments that may benefit the entire SqueezeBox community:

There should be at most about 5 levels of organization. There are 10, that’s too complicated and takes the fun out of the Squeezebox.

There should be a diagram of all the Internet radio subgroups, is there?

Regarding the display, it typically shows “Now Playing” on the first line, and something like “http://dsl-64.....” on the second. None of this information is useful. It would be so useful to see something like “Smooth Jazz” on the first, line, followed by “Rippingtons – Celebrate” on the second. Even when I define the title of the url at SqueezeNetwork, it doesn’t always display when the show or song is playing. And “Now Playing” on the first line is never useful, it’s completely redundant. Why not just display the time instead? The Roku SoundBridge (another brand of internet radio) seems to have the right idea concerning this – their recent upgrade displays the time of day, rather than the elapsed time for that program (that displayed in the previous operating system).

Since talk radio is a very popular format, Talker’s 100 should be in the main menu, rather than buried 6 levels deep, which means that the 20 odd channels in this category are at the 7th level in. Good Grief! Let me recount. Yes, that’s 7 levels deep! “Talker’s 100” should be at level 1, not level 6, and all English Speaking talk or news shows should be included in Talker’s 100, because it’s easier to scroll through a single list than a tree structure that branches illogically. Rule of thumb: The fewer sublevels, the better!

Some elements of the outermost levels are poorly organized. Obviously, there’s something wrong with the logic of Talk/More Talk/Talk. In the outermost, main menu, you should have
1. Talker’s 100 (with would include all the personality driven talk shows, morning shows, current events, and issues oriented shows)
2. News (don’t break it down by local/national. People will locate what they want and put it in their favorites.) Don’t really need a “local news” subgroup, since people use their regular radios for that.
3. Special Interest (with subgroups like science, human interest, etc. The NASA TV channel would fit in here, along with subgroups on Police scanners, etc. It makes sense that this, and not “Talker’s 100”, would be deeply buried in some subgroup that few people are interested in.)
4. International (with subgroups for individual countries, such as Ireland for “Celtic Melt”).
5. Pandora
6. Actually 5-9, to include all 7 Internet Radio subgroups except for Live Music Archive (which is pointless) and the Radio Time header, which is integrated into the main menu. Even Slim Devices Picks seems pointless, because people want either live news, relevant talk, or their favorite tunes. I couldn’t even figure out what Slim Devices Picks was, since none of the channels worked. And please note that the reason they didn’t work is because the urls are defunct or experiencing host server problems – all my equipment is working perfectly.


Most of the channels in Talker’s 100 don’t work. Which brings up my next point: so many of the channels in the overly expansive directory don’t work. By getting rid of those channels that don’t work, and putting ALL talk shows in the Talker’s 100, you’d be killing 2 birds with 1 stone: removing at least 1 entire layer of the directory, and those layers that remain will have fewer extinct urls. In some subcategories, none of the channels are working! For example:
1. Talk/More Talk/Entertainment/Comedy has 44 channels, including Howard 100, Howard 101, and Sirius 104. Come on, Sirius wouldn’t be, and isn’t, giving these away for free. You also have Martha Stewart’s Sirius show listed under Self Development/Advice, and Sirius Left listed under More Talk/Politics/Liberal. Of course none of these Sirius channels work. Why are they even listed? Another show that did come in, the Mike Malloy show, also appeared to be a Sirius property, based on what the host and caller were saying, but I’m not sure.
2. Talk/More Talk/Talk/Entertainment/Film has 8 channels. None work. The film subcategory should therefore be removed. Your deceiving your customers by implying they have access to film reviews.
3. Talk/Magazine has 7 channels, none work.
4. Talk/Morning has 8 channels, only 1 worked 12/26/06 afternoon (should they only work Mon-Fri morning?) - and all of these should be under Talker’s 100 anyway. Why call it Talker’s 100 if it’s really Talker’s 3?
5. Talk/Special Interest has 2 channels, neither work. So this category can be removed entirely.
6. Talk/Truckers has 4 channels, none work, so this category can be removed also. (This seems strategically misplaced anyway, since the SqueezeBox is in homes and not trucks.)
7. Talk/Other has 244 channels and almost none work. Really, aren’t most radio stations either music or news/talk? Why not just classify those that do work under talk or music?
8. More Talk/Self Development has 9 channels but only 2 work.
9. Under Medical you have “Best of Dean Edell”, which doesn’t work. Is he dead?
10. More Talk/Technology/Internet has 6 channels. Only 1 worked, and it was…music. I would expect buyers of the SqueezeBox to be interested in these channels, so why do you tease us?
11. More Talk/Technology/Computers has 2 channels, neither works. I would expect users of the SqueezeBox to be interested in these channels, so why do you tease us?

Under More Talk/Technology/Other there are 4 channels, one of which is NASA TV, which works! This is buried about 10 (ten) levels in and will never be found by many people, unfortunately, because it’s kinda cool. Almost none of what appear to be other cool stations work, based on my exploration. And most of the stations buried deep in the menu system that did work were in Chinese or Latin.

You really have an obligation to get rid of stations that don’t work because people will keep coming back to these to see if they will work, not knowing that these shows may have become defunct years ago.

And some of the urls are strangely classified – “Jazz flight” is umpteen levels in under More Talk/Talk/Public Affairs. Public Affairs? And Don Imus isn't in Talker's 100 but some odd, deeply buried subgroup. Did I say "deeply buried"?

Other than that the device works fine!

Thanks for reading my letter, I hope some of it will be useful.

aubuti
2006-12-31, 14:46
After you've worked with the menu for more than 4 hours it might make a lot more sense to you, and you might see the thought that has gone into its evolution over the years. What is obvious for you (talk radio is important, LMA is "pointless") is the exact opposite for other users. Why would users in Ireland naturally think to look for Irish music under "International"?

I suggest that you make good use of the Favorites menu in both slimserver and SqueezeNetwork. It's a quick way to get at the stations you like most. Enjoy your new SB3.

aubuti
2007-01-01, 02:02
Sorry to bump my own reply, but in my earlier post I neglected to mention the obvious: many of the issues/suggestions seem to pertain to RadioTime, which Slim Devices has no control over. This certainly pertains to dead URLs, and quite possibly the menu structure as well. So it would make sense to share your observations with them (www.radiotime.com) if you haven't already.

NauticusLX
2007-01-01, 13:06
Actually, my complaints are based on well over 4 hours of working with the "SqueezeBox 3" menu and submenus. I think that’s obvious from my exhaustive review. Are any of the facts I described wrong? Do any of the urls I describe as non working actually work? Does anybody think it’s great that all the personality driven talk shows are scattered among half a dozen subsubsubgroups?

I have every right to expect Slim Devices to provide reliable content, either directly or through a chosen provider. Slim Devices should at least be aware that this problem exists, and I see it as a problem. You certainly haven’t convinced me that scattering “Personality driven talk shows” among half a dozen sub-sub-sub groups is in any way practical. I always think it’s strange that talk shows would be broken down by political ideology, because people just want interesting talk. It would make more sense to group radio talk shows based on headers like family oriented, slightly vulgar, very vulgar, etc, or the maturity level of the show. Because all talk shows present many points of view, and are ultimately for entertainment purposes anyway. Even most “political” talk shows are ultimately not really political, so the conservative/liberal or whatever labels are, ultimately, meaningless. And all talk shows are issues oriented, so it’s misguided to have a subsubsubcategory called “Issues”. It’s like having a subgroup called “Audio”, or “Vocal”. And frankly, it’s fraudulent to have entire subcategories for which there are no working urls. Aside from who’s to blame, don’t you agree that it’s fraudulent? At what point do you think it’s a problem? I simply think we’re at that point. Aside from who is to blame, the menu system at RadioTime is badly organized, at least in terms of usability with the SqueezeBox, which, obviously, is limited to a more linear presentation, unlike a website, where the eye can wander and see more. Evidently the RadioTime menu system doesn't lend itself to the SqueezeBox, maybe we can at least agree on this.

If you’re a regular user of the RadioTime website, you would, of course, have an advantage when perusing the same groups on the Squeezebox. And this is good to know! SlimDesign should provide this advice in their user manual – that is the least they can do. If there is some insight that can be provided, tips, for using the various options of the menu system, these should be included in the SqueezeBox user manual, or SlimDesign’s website – they do not do this – such information is not readily available, and it should be. It is not sufficient that I discover such things, by accident, months after investing in a SlimDevices audio device. Certainly SlimDevices is neglectful in this regard. Imagine buying a car, and long after it’s been parked in a garage, discovering that it can be “driven”.

And clearly the menu system at RadioTime hasn’t evolved intelligently. It’s as if the initial designer left the company and their replacement created a new category for some new talk show, rather than add it to the existing, appropriate category (too many chefs in the kitchen), so the intelligent design of the menu system is definitely, obviously, questionable. This is clearly demonstrated by Don Imus’s show being off in his own subsubsubcategory, and also by the existence of not 1 but about 6 Sirius satellite radio stations, which is fraudulent. It’s as if the menu designer took home his laptop and his kids started adding stations as a goof - did this happen? This clearly demonstrates an obvious lack of integrity to the menu system, and Slim Design should at least be aware of this “serious problem”, and are, to a degree, responsible. All urls in the menu system should work, or at least be "valid". That only about 5-10% work is indefensible.

totoro
2007-01-01, 13:18
Actually, my complaints are based on well over 4 hours of working with the "SqueezeBox 3" menu and submenus. I think that’s obvious from my exhaustive review. Are any of the facts I described wrong? Do any of the urls I describe as non working actually work? Does anybody think it’s great that all the personality driven talk shows are scattered among half a dozen subsubsubgroups?

I have every right to expect Slim Devices to provide reliable content, either directly or through a chosen provider. Slim Devices should at least be aware that this problem exists, and I see it as a problem. You certainly haven’t convinced me that scattering “Personality driven talk shows” among half a dozen sub-sub-sub groups is in any way practical. I always think it’s strange that talk shows would be broken down by political ideology, because people just want interesting talk. It would make more sense to group radio talk shows based on headers like family oriented, slightly vulgar, very vulgar, etc, or the maturity level of the show. Because all talk shows present many points of view, and are ultimately for entertainment purposes anyway. Even most “political” talk shows are ultimately not really political, so the conservative/liberal or whatever labels are, ultimately, meaningless. And all talk shows are issues oriented, so it’s misguided to have a subsubsubcategory called “Issues”. It’s like having a subgroup called “Audio”, or “Vocal”. And frankly, it’s fraudulent to have entire subcategories for which there are no working urls. Aside from who’s to blame, don’t you agree that it’s fraudulent? At what point do you think it’s a problem? I simply think we’re at that point. Aside from who is to blame, the menu system at RadioTime is badly organized, at least in terms of usability with the SqueezeBox, which, obviously, is limited to a more linear presentation, unlike a website, where the eye can wander and see more. Evidently the RadioTime menu system doesn't lend itself to the SqueezeBox, maybe we can at least agree on this.

If you’re a regular user of the RadioTime website, you would, of course, have an advantage when perusing the same groups on the Squeezebox. And this is good to know! SlimDesign should provide this advice in their user manual – that is the least they can do. If there is some insight that can be provided, tips, for using the various options of the menu system, these should be included in the SqueezeBox user manual, or SlimDesign’s website – they do not do this – such information is not readily available, and it should be. It is not sufficient that I discover such things, by accident, months after investing in a SlimDevices audio device. Certainly SlimDevices is neglectful in this regard. Imagine buying a car, and long after it’s been parked in a garage, discovering that it can be “driven”.

And clearly the menu system at RadioTime hasn’t evolved intelligently. It’s as if the initial designer left the company and their replacement created a new category for some new talk show, rather than add it to the existing, appropriate category (too many chefs in the kitchen), so the intelligent design of the menu system is definitely, obviously, questionable. This is clearly demonstrated by Don Imus’s show being off in his own subsubsubcategory, and also by the existence of not 1 but about 6 Sirius satellite radio stations, which is fraudulent. It’s as if the menu designer took home his laptop and his kids started adding stations as a goof - did this happen? This clearly demonstrates an obvious lack of integrity to the menu system, and Slim Design should at least be aware of this “serious problem”, and are, to a degree, responsible. All urls in the menu system should work, or at least be "valid". That only about 5-10% work is indefensible.

4 hours is hardly a great deal of time. People who've been using it for a long time have times in the thousands, or even 10s of thousands.

Slim devices is simply not responsible for the state of others' content-- as far as I can see, the slim stuff is pretty much a passthrough for that stuff.

They _do_ have commercial deals (with, eg, pandora), and I would expect the interfaces related to those to work better.

As far as those being "serious issues", here we are coming to the crux of the matter. Slim is (or at least was) a small company trying to cater to a large and diverse customer community.

There are probably as many (or more) people like me who couldn't care less about where some talk radio show comes up in a menu, but would be interested in faster scanning, integration of a room control system, and any number of other enhancements and bug-fixes than there are people who care where imus is.

azinck3
2007-01-01, 13:18
I hope you're complaining just as loudly to Microsoft, Opera, and Mozilla for creating browsers which also let you access such "fraudulent" content.

Let's not get too crazy here. Remember, Squeezenetwork is a FREE service, the primary purpose of which is to let you access your favorite internet radio stations without having to have a computer running. It does this pretty well. Just because slimdevices allows you access to many great services out there doesn't mean they have a responsibility to write a complete user manual on how to use those services, or fix all of their flaws. I'm just thankful that someone took the time to write a radiotime parser so that I can use it at all. Is there another device out there that does this?

Ben Sandee
2007-01-01, 13:22
On 1/1/07, NauticusLX <
NauticusLX.2jqzqn1167682201 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
>
> Actually, my complaints are based on well over 4 hours of working with
> the "SqueezeBox 3" menu and submenus. I think that's obvious from my
> exhaustive review. Are any of the facts I described wrong? Do any of
> the urls I describe as non working actually work? Does anybody think
> it's great that all the personality driven talk shows are scattered
> among half a dozen subsubsubgroups?


The key word in your message is exhaustive. I think you need to learn to be
a bit more succinct in your suggestions. While you may feel you are being
thorough and well-reasoned, I simply skipped over your message because I
don't have ten minutes to devote to it. The SlimDevices team may or may not
read each message posted to the forums. If you want them to read your
messages (rather than the enthusiasts on this group), then you should
probably send it directly to the company.

Happy new year,
Ben

snarlydwarf
2007-01-01, 13:36
Actually, my complaints are based on well over 4 hours of working with the "SqueezeBox 3" menu and submenus. I think that’s obvious from my exhaustive review. Are any of the facts I described wrong? Do any of the urls I describe as non working actually work? Does anybody think it’s great that all the personality driven talk shows are scattered among half a dozen subsubsubgroups?

The only talk show I listen to is Car Talk... so no clue what others would want.



I have every right to expect Slim Devices to provide reliable content, either directly or through a chosen provider.

You can expect whatever you want: whether that is a realistic or fair expectation is another matter.



Slim Devices should at least be aware that this problem exists, and I see it as a problem.


So the problem is "I don't like how RadioTime works"... since all of this is directed at the organizition of RadioTime.

See, IMHO, Slim does a couple good things with -any- link they provide in their software: they provide free PR to whoever they link to and they provide More Choice to listeners. The PR provides traffic to the site which (if they have any sort of business model at all) brings them closer to whatever their model is and will allow for growth. The choice to listeners is always good, it encourages competition between start ups.

Internet Radio is still a very niche market and has no stable listing of what is available: ie, there is no Google-for-net-radio. There will have to be something at some point .. a sort of generalized interface for finding radio, but would you want to find it based on Geography ("I grew up listening to X105! I miss that station") or format (ohh, and that is gonna be fun.. what exactly is "rock" and "aor" and "top40" and "pop"... Did I mention I get annoyed whenever I choose "Soul," expecting James Brown or Otis Redding and end up with DJ Somebody?)

There are several sites trying with various levels of success to organize radio. Not just RadioTime, there is Shoutcast and Live365 and PublicRadioFan... ironically PublicRadioFan is my favorite. But the others may at some point get more consistent in their reliability and formatting. RadioTime seems to be doing the most work in their categorizing.

At any rate: this sort of work is not the forte of Slim: it is the forte of some other startup that wants to be the Google of Netradio -- not selling hardware or software, but making money on the service of matching listeners to content.


Imagine buying a car, and long after it’s been parked in a garage, discovering that it can be “driven”.

No, imagine buing a car, and long after it's been parked in a garage, discovering that it has all sorts of parks on the GPS unit... and you can.. drive to them for a picnic.

If you want to use odd analogies, be consistent. If Slim is selling you a car, and the service is a GPS.... then the -destination- is someone else's problem. It's not GM's fault that some parks charge for parking or that some gang decided it would be a fun place to tag or that the homeless now occupy it...


This clearly demonstrates an obvious lack of integrity to the menu system, and Slim Design should at least be aware of this “serious problem”, and are, to a degree, responsible. All urls in the menu system should work, or at least be "valid". That only about 5-10% work is indefensible.

... i hope you mean "integrity" as in Quality Assurance and Reliability, not fraud. It is hardly fraudulent to link to a site that happens to link to a site that has since died. As far as QA goes, alas, on the 'net sites coming and going is far too common. Validating them routinely is very difficult. Google keeps dead links around for ages.

Just disable the menu item if it annoys you that much.

Did I mention that it sucks when my GPS system tells me where a restaurant is, and I find out that the owners of the restaurant are lunatics and keep the most nonsensical hours ever?

aubuti
2007-01-01, 21:05
Actually, my complaints are based on well over 4 hours of working with the "SqueezeBox 3" menu and submenus. I think that’s obvious from my exhaustive review.
exhausting != exhaustive


Are any of the facts I described wrong? Do any of the urls I describe as non working actually work?
I did not, and will not, try to verify any of your claims. For my listening habits (which are fairly diverse) I've never really seen the value added of RealTime, and your review just confirms that. As I suggested, take the complaints/suggestions to RadioTime. They are the ones who can do something about it, not the Slim Devices users' forum.


Does anybody think it’s great that all the personality driven talk shows are scattered among half a dozen subsubsubgroups?
Couldn't care less, and again, it's RadioTime's problem. As others have commented, it's like blaming Google for dead links every obscure un-maintained website out there. As for scattered personality-driven talk radio like Martha & Howard, if you don't like the way they're scattered, put the ones you want in your Favorites list, and group them in some sensible way. It's really pretty easy.

NauticusLX
2007-01-03, 18:21
SnarlyDwarf, thanks for your response. You did recommend something that may be useful to me and others. Specifically, how can I disable a menu item in RadioTime? I didn't know this was possible.

Also, rather than a Google for radio stations, a much simpler strategy, to address the RadioTime "maze" problem, would be to simply rearrange the menu items as they appear in the SqueezeBox - I would expect a tool to do this would appear before a Google for radio.

snarlydwarf
2007-01-03, 18:35
SnarlyDwarf, thanks for your response. You did recommend something that may be useful to me and others. Specifically, how can I disable a menu item in RadioTime? I didn't know this was possible.

You can't any more than you can disable something in Yahoo's Directory or the Open Directory Project.... you can just remove your bookmark to RadioTime if you don't like it.

All the stuff you see under the RadioTime menu is what is on http://www.radiotime.com, the -exact- same layout... why? Because, as you move through the menu, that is fetched from their site. Your Squeezebox becomes a very simple web browser....

Which is exactly why I say that if you don't like what RadioTime has to offer, why go there? I dislike http://directory.google.com/ ... so I don't use it. I don't have it my Bookmark menu, so I just don't see it.



Also, rather than a Google for radio stations, a much simpler strategy, to address the RadioTime "maze" problem, would be to simply rearrange the menu items as they appear in the SqueezeBox - I would expect a tool to do this would appear before a Google for radio.

...

Rearranging is for RadioTime to do. Again, what you see in the SB is just a stripped down version of their web page. Slimdevices can't change the Radiotime web page. They merely link to it.