[mythtv-users] 3-D UI for Myth, PNP installation, new LinuxMCE

Paul Huber paul2004x at gmail.com
Sun Aug 12 15:16:27 UTC 2007

> I have to ask, do you use the UI on a television from across the room?

Yes, the size of the text is the about the same as the text in MythTV's
EPG.  I mentioned I first saw it at CES in Monster Cable's exhibit.  It was
on, I think, a 50" Plasma, and there was a room of something like 40 people,
and in the middle of the room I was probably 20' away.  I could read the
text without a problem, and at least in my demo, nobody seemed to complain
about it.  Monster got a lot of press about it (google: Monster Einstein),
and none of the reviewers  mentioned readability as an issue.

What I really want to do, though, to improve the readability is make it like
the program bar at the bottom of Mac OS X where as you highlight an option,
that option becomes 2x bigger and the other stuff smoothly glides to the
side.  If that could be done everywhere, like on the main menu, in the EPG,
etc., and that anything on the screen would grow when you highlight it, then
I think it would not only be nice to look at, but very practical as well.  I
think most people like the way that OS X bar works since you get a lot of
stuff in a small space but without sacrificing usability.

As far as integrating it in MythTV...  My goal, which admittedly is an
ambitious one, is to make it a desktop, so any media app can use it.  Right
now for 2' UI we have this commonality amongst menu and GUI objects.  I
don't think there's hardly anybody out there that thinks this is a bad thing
and wants to go back to the old days, before Mac/Windows/X11, where every
single app had it's own completely different UI and different menu, and some
used F keys, others Ctrl keys, etc.  Having one common UI really helps.  A
user can browse the web in Firefox, or type a document in OpenOffice, and
have a basic idea how to navigate the app and where to find the commands (ie
pull-down menus), etc.  And the software is better too since coders worry
about the functionality and not the UI.  And it leads to a better UI since
everybody across all projects contributes ideas for how to make the UI

That doesn't exist for the media / 10' UI.  It's a free for all, like it was
15 years ago with desktop apps.  Everybody does their own UI.  On the 2' UI
there is one common method that all apps share for letting the user pick a
file to open.  Nobody writes their own, you just call up the standard 'open
file' dialog.  This is good for both the coder (less work) and the user
(consistent).  I think that as the PC becomes more commonly used in a 10'
setting it's a natural evolution that this same thing should happen there

That's why I like merging LinuxMCE into the KDE project, because that's
really what I would like to see LinuxMCE become some day.  A common set of
UI's and widgets that was integrated into the desktop, and that any media
application, like MythTV or MPlayer, could use that UI rather than each
writing their own.

I'm not saying the current LinuxMCE UI is 'the one'.  Pluto didn't design it
as a desktop environment, but rather as a closed system.  And the GUI,
Orbiter, doesn't have the design tools and isn't integrated into an IDE or
desktop.  But hopefully if other people like the idea of offering standard
UI tools for the 10' UI like we do for the 2' then a lot of great minds
would contribute ideas for the UI paradigm and come up with one with
universal appeal.  And then all the 10' apps would have the option of using
the 'stock' UI like the 2' apps do, and if someone comes up with a great
skin/theme/UI, a user could pick that and then have all their 10' apps
appear with that theme.

Anyway, this is not to suggest LinuxMCE is that destination, or that the
current UI is the right one.  But conceptually I think it's the only project
out there that attempts to offer one common UI that works for Myth, Xine,
Asterisk, and any other apps used on the home 10' UI.
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