Archive for the ‘AppleTV’ category

Kick (bleep) AppleTV Feature Suggestion

April 4, 2014

My four kids are still young. They will be for a while longer. Their little ears don’t need to hear all the <bleeping> words some of these otherwise acceptable programs have.

AppleTV has replaced Cox Cable programming in our household. If it’s not on the AppleTV we don’t see it or even know it exists. I want the ability to CENSOR (gasp! I know) the audio content that comes through.

My iTunes Radio channels are censored at my request. But, what I’d really prefer is a simple audio cut-out at the moment so and so fires off a GD or an somesuch. Surely there’s a crowdsourced database out there that pegs the bad word at 1:10:05 and can be scrubbed out.

Dear Tim Cook: AppleTV + Spotlight-like Search Please?

January 3, 2014

AppleTV-SpotlightHaysoos Marimba Apple. Sheesh.

Is it too much to ask for a simple, unified search across all the discombobulated silos that make up AppleTV content?

I’ve worked with Lucene and I’ve worked with Nutch and Acrobat Indexes. This isn’t hard to do. Heck, hire me for a couple months. We’ll get this done PDQ.

It could go a long way to helping your CONTENT PARTNERS… It would go a helluva long way to making the user experience immensely better. Isn’t that what you claim to be all about? Or is your “hobby” exempt from your best efforts? Hullo!!

I wanted to watch something, anything… with Stephen Hawking. I didn’t care if it was iTunes content, or Netflix content, or Hulu content, or Smithsonian content, or PBS content. But, why in hell do I have to search 19 times?

Update your more-than-capable OS just this wee little bit, please? Or let us write and distribute the app necessary to get the job done. This is getting ridiculous.

Apple TV “Search” Needs Improving

May 20, 2013

It’s been on my mind lately and needs flogging again: Apple TV Search leaves a lot to be desired.

We jettisoned Cox Cable Television (kept internet, for now). The only content we subscribe to now is Hulu Plus and Netflix.

Unfortunately, Apple TV doesn’t make it easy to search ONE place for content across all my services. That’s just plain stupid and not at all EASY (as Apple would have us believe their stuff inherently “is”). Um, yeah. If I want to find a show I do NOT want to have to type that into the three different search screens to determine IF it’s even available on Apple TV.

Hell, Google’s figured that out. One search input for all their platforms (web, news, YouTube, etc). Imagine if Apple highlighted content available on the other services we weren’t already subscribed to… Hey, Apple… that’s called an “UPSELL”. Your retail guys have this one figured out nicely. Have your people talk to their people.

Meanwhile, you are rapidly wearing out your welcome in my living room due to missing intuitive ease-of-use features.

For instance, why the hell can I not control my Apple TV with my iPad. No, not AirPlay! I want to be able to type on my iPad to my Apple TV screen. If I **can** do this, I apologize for not being able to find it on the App Store. Heh! Funny. ME apologizing to Apple for not being able to find something on THEIR App Store. Sick.

There are other annoying things about Apple TV too. For instance, why can’t I consolidate my accounts directly on the device? I’ve somehow managed to create two accounts. Let me merge them and keep my content under the one I prefer. Why can’t I rent something on my iPad and play it through to my TV or the other way around?

It’s at points like this when a company so overextends itself and takes it’s CUSTOMERS for granted that the house of cards begins to wobble precipitously. Hate seeing that happen at such a neat and special place as Apple. But, we’ve seen it happen at places like Disney before. Heck, it’s happened at Apple before! Fortunately, “The Suck” doesn’t have to last forever.

Streaming Christmas Music (iTunes)

December 22, 2012

Apple could stand a better search interface for searching their “radio” streams in both iTunes and especially in AppleTV.

So, Merry Christmas from me to you… I’ve found a good number of the streams from within the various iTunes radio categories just for you conveniently linked below:

Snow FM Ireland (classic Christmas oldies, 128 kbps)
Classical 24/7 (classical instrumental Christmas muzak)
Big R Radio Christmas Classics (eclectic Christmas mix, 128 kbps)
Fresh Christmas (hodge podge of Christmas “hits”, 64 kbps)
Got Radio – Christmas Celebration (all-over-the-place XMas music, 64 kbps)
1.FM TM – Always Christmas (From around the world, 64 kbps)
Christmas – Sky.fm – (roll of the dice, ?? kbps)

These might work fine on iPhone and iPad (or not). I haven’t checked them yet. I have no clue how to get these “bookmarked” on AppleTV (don’t get me started on that line of griping). And, if I manage to get back to this post I may be able to add a few more before Santa’s big globe trotting spree.

Enjoy!

iOS 7 Better Have…

December 13, 2012

There are some things iOS7 had better have before I consider shelling out the bucks for the next new iPhone. Here’s my iOS bucket list:

  • I need a way to import a high quality greeting to my voicemail. Hardline dialing and recording a new greeting is NOT Apple-worthy. I don’t mind recoding to the Voice Memo app or on my Mac. I just ought to be able to import a sound file as my greeting dangit!
  • I expect a way to SEND my voicemails to my iCloud account as email attachments. Or create a rule that does it automatically.
  • I expect a way to FORWARD voicemails to other iOS devices as messages. I can send a picture/video via MMS… Why not a voicemail attachment?
  • I expect a heckuva LOT more out of Siri. It’s more useless than the Maps app right now.
  • Maps is borked. Now that Google Maps app is on the App Store… I’m going back to what works. Still love you Apple. Just need excellent Maps when I need a map.
  • Something’s still not quite right about Contact sync between iPhone, Mac laptop and iCloud. I have duplicates of many contacts in the order of 19 to upwards of 30 of the same person. There needs to be a super easy way to purge duplicates. Contact management shouldn’t be this nasty a chore.
  • Speaking of chores… Apple got the Notes app sync PERFECTLY across devices. It’s not broke. Don’t fix it. ;) Replicate it’s success for the other devices.
  • Facetime is such a great idea. I’ve tried and tried and tried to Facetime on our local wireless LAN. Each time it rings once (so I know the call is coming through) and then indicates I’m busy to the other devices. Needs to be easier.
  • The new messaging works pretty swank too. Not sure how they’d improve it just now.
  • Can we PLEASE just sync up our phones to Time Machine? Pretty please?
  • Passbook is freakin awesome! A killer, kick ass kind of awesome. The world is ready (it just doesn’t know it yet).
  • Airplay = way awesome.
  • Safari “Reader Mode” is slick. Wish there was a way to make Siri read the content while I’m driving or otherwise occupied. That’s one thing I love about Alex on my Mac.
  • Photo streams to my AppleTV is not quite as straight forward an intuitive as I would expect from Apple. Needs Improvement.
  • Newsstand is a useless icon on my phone deck. Please, let me delete it or file it in another folder.
  • Faxing from my phone should be a no brainer easier than anything to do.
  • Finally, PRINTING. Guys. C’mon. Really? Printing is right up there with copy and paste. We’ve been doing this a long time. Why can’t we seem to get this right?

iOS is a super platform. So good in fact that in our household we’re getting device confused. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve swiped our fingers across the screen of the laptop or the iMac. It’s silly really that we’ve become so accustomed to iOS that is’s bleeding over into how we interact with the other computers around us.

 

 

The New Apple TV Project

December 12, 2012

Apple’s always working to where “the puck is GOING to be” and so it should be no surprise they feel TV is next.

The iPhone wasn’t fully formed at birth. I don’t think we should expect the next-gen TV experience from Apple to be any different. So, when Engadget’s Lawler contemplates his navel over HDTV content deals… I can’t help but chuckle. We’ve been here before. He’ll, AC/DC is only just now joining iTunes. The Beatles didn’t come on until recently. Who the hell cares if Moonves is on board right this moment? Seriously!

We are very much headed toward a more tailored entertainment era. One where I can subscribe ala carte to whatever I want to consume. Radio. Books. Games. Video. I build what I see value in and then… Voila!

We’ve already chucked out Cox Cable. We are a purely AppleTV household. Apple, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube are our primary content portals now. We haven’t missed a beat. If anything we’re enjoying MORE of what we like in a time shifted kind of way. I don’t miss DVR. I don’t miss the cable bill and all the dumb ass fees that came along with.

My kids will never know a rotary phone or a tape based answering machine. They WILL think back on the day when we had that little box attached to the TV dad used to cuss at occasionally as a relic of days gone by. A simpler time. Funny to think in those terms.

They won’t give a rat’s behind if CBS was on board or not. There’s no shortage of content and its only going to get more crowded.

Where the problem is going to come is easily searching across all the available “streams”. It’s a serious pain in the ass to simultaneously search across Apple, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube on an Apple TV. I think it’s not possible today. So, to hear Jobs say, “We’ve nailed it.” Gives me hope their next big iteration of the interface addresses that sort of thing.

Selling my AppleTV, Airport Extreme… +

April 9, 2008

That’s right… I’m selling the following by sun down Sunday night:

  • 1 AppleTV (+ several extra HDMI doodads)
  • 1 Original used iSight Camera
  • 1 iPod (third gen, Mac + Firewire)
  • 1 Video iPod (fifth gen, USB)
  • 1 Airport Extreme
  • 1 Final Cut Studio Pro 2 (not my HD version)
  • 2 Maxtor Maxline Plus II drives
  • 1 Adesso Flexible Full-sized Keyboard (PS2 + USB)

I’m not going to be too proud about any of this stuff. All have seen very light – light use. Make me a fair offer (anticipating I’ll ship however you prefer factored into our agreed upon price). Paypal transactions preferred.

This Content Requires HDCP For Playback

February 14, 2008

Yesterday, if you’ll recall, I rented “Transformers” in HD via the interface on the AppleTV. So, yeah, ok it took a while to download (all day). No problem. It was done by end of the day and rather than stay up late to watch it I thought I’d see what the quality was like this morning.

Hop onto the AppleTV and as expected Transformers tells me there are 29 days left in which to watch it. Cool. Click “Play” and guess what appears on my screen:

HDCP HDMI

“This content requires HDCP for playback.

HDCP isn’t supported by your HDMI connection.
Use the component video connection to watch this content.”

OK, who’s the asshat who did THAT!? Why does the rental of a video require me to have component video? Two things here… my cinema display, you know… the APPLE one… won’t play back an APPLE rented video via the HDMI connection on the back of the APPLE tv (emphasis mine). Hello. McFly! There’s no component video option on this APPLE Cinema Display.

This is the kind of crap that’s going to keep NetFlix, Blockbuster and Joe’s Online Video Rental (if there is such a thing) way ahead of Apple. Sure, some folks will just shrug and say… “Okie dokie, component cables here we go.” I can’t do that with my cinema display. Now I’m going on a tear to see where it says on iTunes I can’t play this stuff back over HDMI. Looks like I’m not the only one either. (link to Apple Support forum)
APPLE… get your shit together! This is precisely the reason people are going to buy the Apple mini over the AppleTV.

(I’m going to try and sync AppleTV to iTunes on the laptop. Maybe the laptop will be able to play it to the Cinema Display. Ya think!?… EDIT: If I’m reading this right, due to the DRM of HDCP it will not sync FROM my AppleTV to my iTunes. I call “Bullshitake”)

Upgraded AppleTV to 2.0. “WOW!” (pics)

February 13, 2008

AppleTV

The update process is finished and all I can utter is “WOW!”

Apple’s onto something here. They have a healthy array of content available and it’s all nicely integrated into .Mac and iTunes (of course) and the HD stuff… OMG! It’s about frickin’ time Apple! But, I’m so glad I waited and so VERY glad I didn’t have to buy yet another piece of hardware just to enjoy what should have been there in the first place.

The HD podcasts are awesome. I’m a nature nut having spent half of my formative years camping in all kinds of conditions with the Boy Scouts. So, all the outdoor HD content is just making me tickled happy.

Just rented Transformers in HD just because… well, I want to see how good a modern film in HD will look on the newly updated Apple TV, how long it will take to download and what the user experience turns out to be like. Will post more once I have something worthwhile to relay. I can already say it’s slow going at 1% after 10 minutes of dowload time already. Really wish they’d buy into a Bittorrent or Akamai solution to pump this stuff down faster. Maybe that’s being held in reserve for AppleTV 3.0…?

AppleTV

(oh, and btw fwiw, the desktop pic on the laptop is from Robert Scoble’s recent trip to Davos… how’s that for attribution Mr. Scoble? Thanks for open-sourcing your photos!)

AppleTV. How’d I Do THAT!?

October 16, 2007

I’ve had the AppleTV disconnected now for… a couple months. Reconfigured the home entertainment system at the time and it just never made it back into rotation.

Enter the iPhone. As you know, I’ve been Handbraking our kids’ videos so they can watch them in the car. So, now we have quite a library of ‘on-demand’ entertainment and it is helping tip me back in the direction to hook up the AppleTV.

Enter much head scratching. Last night I brought all the AppleTV components (or so I thought) back to the entertainment cabinet for a quick redeploy. Wrong: Our TV is like so many others out there… RCA jacks for video, L and R and a cable input. That’s it. Same on our DVD Player and VCR. No HDMI inputs. No optical audio. No component video.

Now, how the hell did I get this working before? It was working some moons ago and I want it back without having to shell out any dough for a new TV.

Someone jog my memory. (I should have blogged the config or written a diagram… But, Oh No. I’m too smart for THAT!)

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