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Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80

DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."

Comment Good UI Example - Volkswagon 2012 GLI (Score 1) 233

I recently purchased a 2012 GLI with a SatNav package. I wasn't planning on paying the upgrade fee for the SatNav, but it was implemented so well that I decided it was worth it. While it does have a touch screen for the "fiddly bits", i.e. setting up navigation, searching your mp3 player, navigating your phonebook, etc, the screen is mostly used to display information. The climate controls are all nicely laid out buttons that you don't need to use the screen for, but when you make changes to the climate settings additional information is shown on the screen for a few seconds that confirms your changes. While the radio station presets are on the screen (in an easily usable format), the back and forward buttons for tuning (which are also context sensitive for CD and mp3 play) are discrete buttons just above the screen and replicated on the steering wheel. Likewise the volume control is a discrete knob that also doubles as the map zoom control while in nav mode. As an added bonus, information is replicated in a smaller panel inside the driver's gauge area for even less time spent with eyes off the road. In practice I've found that I'm much less likely to miss my turn due to that second info panel, as it is completely under the driver's direct control. All in all, it is one of the best modern car info system that I have seen. The stereo is co-branded with Fender, and per a 2 minute Google search, developed with Panasonic. They did a nice job.

Comment Material in Question Already Removed (Score 1) 437

The picture has already been removed from the "offending" blog post on Boing Boing. I don't know the exact timeline, but I would be willing to bet it was pulled within an hour of the story going live on Slashdot. My guess is asking politely would have had a similar effect, as some folks *do* respect the wishes of content creators without requiring invocation the litigation boogeyman.

Comment GPS is a tool that "helps" navigation. That's it. (Score 1) 242

GPS is only a tool for navigation. It will *probably* help you find a route, but ultimately it is your responsibility as a driver to use what it tells you safety and effectively. If your SatNav tells you to go down a remote mountain logging road during a snowstorm, you should probably not do that. Likewise, the smart traveler should probably decide on his/her route prior to getting in the car so that you don't have any nasty surprises. Even the crappiest SatNav or phone navigation program puts a lot of information at your fingertips, so by all means use them. Just use them with a grain of salt.

Now for my rant. I have a Tom Tom OneXL, and while I initially liked it, the more I use it the more I find in inadequate. Both the unit itself and the maps. While my map update is admittedly more than a year old, it frequently misses "new" roads that have been in place for 5-10 years. This is annoying but understandable. I was sold a product that was incomplete. Nothing new from technology companies :)

But what really bugs me is the TomTom One's poor GUI (map navigation is a nightmare and you can't set the zoom level while in 2-D mode) and terrible route time estimation. I travel a lot (both work and to visit far flung families and friends) and so spend a lot of time in the car. There have been several times when I have let my TomTom talk me into questionable routing that cost me many miles and not a few hours. That is because it has really, really bad route estimation settings that you can't change in the head unit. It normally doubles estimate vs. the actual time for 2 lane/rural travel and will therefore drive you WAY out of you way to use the interstate rather than just drive a more direct route. I don't know how many times more that this will happen before I can no longer restrain the urge to disassemble it into the finest pieces with a hammer and mail it back to TomTom in a shoebox. But I already have the note planned: "Dear TomTom. This is not a warranty issue ..."

Comment Re:Why can't he sell it back? (Score 1) 730

I like your ideas, but I think they are not as scalable as your arguments seem to imply. Distributed power generation only works when you have a distributed population. I.e., you might be able to coat every roof of every house in the burbs with solar cells, and fill the country-sides with wind turbines, but this still won't provide enough power for the CITIES. Especially when you are talking about cities in northern latitudes or countryside in gentle climes. For that you need concentrated energy generation capacity (ideally nuclear for base load with gas for peak capacity). This type of concentrated capacity necessitates high capital investments, either private or government. So while I very much like the idea of the Utopian aggrarian/distributed model, it is simply not realistic. At least not for our current society. Maybe in a couple hundred years as the draw of cities slowly wains and technology allows us to experiment with different social models. But not in the short term. Not even in the medium term. We have too many other things to spend our funds on. (BTW, I think that we should absolutely switch as much of our power generation to solar and wind as possible. Once the nanotube / multicolor absobtion based solar cells hits the market at reasonable buy-back costs it will make a lot more sense and the Pickens Plan is a great if expensive idea for reducing the importation of oil and reduction in pollution)

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