View Full Version : My thoughts on the Jive Harware

Patrick Dixon
2007-09-29, 08:29
I've used it for a few days now, so these are more 'considered' than 'initial'.

First off, I like it more than I expected to, as I'm actually pretty used to and happy with the existing remote.

However, I feel there are a few issues that haven't already been mentioned, that need addressing;

1) Multi-player use.

Since the Jive HW can control multiple players, I think it need to be much more explicit about which one it's currently controlling. Otherwise there is a danger that in a multi-SB system, someone picks up a handset and controls a player that they weren't expecting too. This is particularly a problem if for example it's in a room where someone is sleeping or doing something quietly, or if there is no audible feedback so that the person doesn't even realise that they are playing something somewhere else in the house (eg big house).

I think the solution to this is to add to (or replace) the 'Now Playing / My Music' type headings with the player name.

I think it would also be more useful for the default player name to be slightly more friendly that the ip address. Maybe instead of it could be SB3 103 for example?

As a secondary consideration, there needs to be the ability to restrict each remote to which players it can control.

2) Now Playing screen

There seem to be two Now Playing screens and one I like and one I don't. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to access the one I like because it only seems to pop up as a screensaver!

The other 'Now Playing' screen, is really a 'Current Playlist' screen, and for people like me, who predominantly play albums rather than random play or other playlists, it's rather horrid - because the album artwork is unnecessarily repeated all the way down the screen. There should be a option to either not do this, or some intelligence that recognised where successive tracks where the same album.

3) Volume control is too coarse and not very controllable.

4) In search, the alpha characters are too small to be easily readable - can't they be capitals, and do you really need all those non-alpha chars?

The other issues that have already been mentioned by other people:

1) Switch-off button hold too long.
2) Click volume too loud (my wife really hated it).
3) Buttons/UI not responsive enough, which makes navigation hard without overshoots.
4) Sleep/power on/off modes need sorting.

... and most importantly

5) Music library navigation impractical.

I have over 2000 albums on my server, and finding one using the current system is just far too time-consuming. My suggestion would be to use a search type approach, with the first letter being highlighted and selectable using the scroll wheel, a centre click highlighting the next letter for selection (out of those available) and perhaps a double click dropping into the current scroll mode at any point.

The only other comment I've got for now, is that I'm not sure about having the 'play' button where it is. I'd be happier if it was grouped with the other 'transport buttons', and at times I was confused about whether I should be pressing the centre button or the play button to progress through the menus - especially as the graphic has an > char not unlike the play button label!

I think I'd prefer the buttons round the scroll wheel to be 'mode' buttons - to quickly switch between 'music selection', 'current playlist' and 'players' for example - and use a centre button double click for 'add'.

I hope that all makes sense and is useful ... and that someone bothers to read it!

2007-09-30, 04:29
I've had similar thoughts to Patrick in a number of these areas (including the clicking noise: I was accused of messing around with a Geiger counter!). So, this resolves my dilemma of whether to start a new thread or add to one of the other "Initial thoughts" threads: I'll post here. So, some of my other thoughts are:

1. As Patrick notes, navigating to Now Playing actually gets you to the current playlist rather than what's actually playing, but more than that, it is always the first track in the playlist that is highlighted rather than the one playing so (short of looking at the SB screen!) you can't tell which track is actually playing unless you wait for the "screensaver" Now Playing to kick in.

2. I have also found the difference between the centre button and the play button a little confusing, particularly since the play button, given it's placement, can be mistaken for a "forward" arrow to match the "back" arrow. On a number of occasions I have tried, in the Now Playing playlist section, to see the details of the track and by pressing combinations of play and the centre button (what should I call that one??) too rapidly I've ended up clearing the playlist and starting to play the selected track in a playlist by itself.

3. The old remote has a "Now Playing" button. While I understand the aim of minimising button clutter on the JHB, it would be got to have a way of see what it now is playing with a single click on the remote, rather than navigating a number of clicks.

4. I have a couple of SC7 compliant plugins (or should I say "extras") installed: LastFM/SlimScrobbler and Biography. Although they are working fine, Biography do not appear under Extras on the new JHB remote and LastFM does not appear under Internet Radio (they are in the on-screen SB menu when you use the old remote). Of course, this could be something the plug-in developers need to address.

5. When the Now Playing screensaver is showing, there is a track-progress meter showing. It is very tempting, iPod-style, to use the scroll-wheel to try to ffwd/rev along the track, but this doesn't work and you jump back to the playlist.

6. The Settings > Controller Settings > Advanced section seems like an odd place to get to "Set Up Squeezebox". Also, at the moment going into Set Up Squeezebox either freezes the JHB (as it just did as I type) or gets to a screen that suggests there should be a list of players that is empty (a bit like the choose Players section before I upgraded SC) and a message saying "Choose the Squeezebox you want to set up. If you don't see it here, press and hold the button on the front until it flashes". I'm not sure what button to press.

Anyway, that's a start.

2007-09-30, 04:38
> 4. I have a couple of SC7 compliant plugins (or should I say "extras")
> installed: LastFM/SlimScrobbler and Biography. Although they are
> working fine, Biography do not appear under Extras on the new JHB

Please note that plugins need additional work to be done to show up on Jive - but this hasn't been done in the case of Biography.


2007-09-30, 04:53
Please note that plugins need additional work to be done to show up on Jive - but this hasn't been done in the case of Biography.

I suspected as much and, given that the JHB is a beta squared (in some loose sense), I would not expect dealing with it to be a particularly high priority for plugin authors.

EDIT: omitted a crucial *not* first time around!

2007-09-30, 06:34
Patrick has articulated much of what I was thinking, so has saved me the bother.

I've discovered what appears to be a problem with the 'nicer' Now Playing screen. I kicked off a random mix using the standard remote (as Random Mix hasn't been ported to Jive yet) and after every 4 or five tracks, the Now Playing screensaver progress bar would fall behind real time playback and the screen would then stick with the artwork and information of that track after the playlist moved on. Only a battery removal would fix it each time.

Patrick Dixon
2007-10-02, 04:15
A couple of supplementary observations:

1) I'm not at all keen on the 'Play All' item that's at the top of every list. It seems unnecessary (and slightly dangerous), as you could always press Play at the ALbum or Artist level to get the same result - as with the existing SB3/IR UI.

2) I don't like to see all the odd VA albums when I navigate to an artist, so it would be good if there was an option to control this - or at least put them at the bottom of the list.