[mythtv-users] Linux MCE project

Stroller linux.luser at myrealbox.com
Sat Mar 24 15:46:55 UTC 2007

On 24 Mar 2007, at 12:22, Adolfo R. Brandes wrote:
> ...
>   Which brings me to what I think will be the long lasting
> contribution of the LinuxMCE project: the user interface.  More
> specifically, the fact that it was constructed with a 3-button gyro
> mouse in mind, as opposed to a 30-button IR remote.  Was it only me,
> or did "wiimote" pop into your brains immediately?
> ...
> Gripe 1. Searching and klunky text input from the remote:
>    I realize this is not necessarily a problem with MythTV, but a very
> general one that involves available hardware (the ubiquitous IR
> remote) and the known text input methods.  But the fact remains that
> I've always hated typing text messages from a dialpad, and thus I hate
> doing it on the remote.  The onscreen keyboard is a step in the right
> direction, but it still seems as tough as entering your name on an
> 80's videogame console.  This makes the wife growl every time she has
> to search for something by it's name.
>   Which is why I immediately loved LinuxMCE's solution, which involves
> matching an onscreen keyboard with gyro mouse.  You can bee-line to
> the letter you want as fast as your personal dexterity will allow.
> Naturally the ideal solution would involve a working wiimote pointer
> driver (not just gyro), given a gyroscope's limitations on accuracy.
> But given the Wii's popularity, surely this will come in time.

Have you used a Wii, at all? It's great for selecting menu items &  
shooting baddies, but text input is still quite slow. I'd have  
thought that if you were searching for "star wars" then "sta-SEARCH"  
would do the job - I can't see that this would be any harder or  
slower with T9 input than with the Wiimote. As for sending messages &  
emails, entering the names of websites & replying to forum threads -  
it _feels_ fine on the Wii, but you quickly realise it's not fast.

As I said before, I'm yet a talker, not a doer, with MythTV, but I  
understood that Myth _can_ be controller using a regular mouse. In  
this case the gyro-mouse should surely just plug straight in & work  
to your current system - I don't think there's much innovative in  
Linux MCE's use of it.

> ...  Not only is the layout on
> remote controls not standardized, the more functions a device has, the
> more keys it needs.  Take MythTV and the grey Hauppauge remote, for
> example.  I have mapped every single button on that thing and I'd need
> more if I were to use all of MythTV's functions (many of which are not
> on easily accessible menus), even given the fact that the same button
> can do different things on different screens (which is of course a BAD
> thing).  Not to mention all the work that goes into configuring the
> whole shebang.
>   To sum it up: if you can pull it off with just 3 buttons and an
> (admittedly) brilliant UI, why 30? Apple, Nintendo and now LinuxMCE
> have already caught up on it.

I entirely agree with you here, although I have yet to see how I'll  
feel about a 30-button remote in practice. Since we monkeys learn so  
quickly maybe that won't be as bad as I expect it to be, as we  
monkeys learn quickly, but the Apple remote seems great to me.

I should be able to free up a little cash for a MythTV box in the  
next couple of weeks, but in the meantime I'm watching DVDs through  
my MacBook and the 6-button remote is great. Apple's "Front Row"  
software doesn't seem to work perfectly with an external screen  
connected to my MacBook - it seems to be optimised for a iMac or  
MacBook with a single screen - but the remote is ideal for pausing &  

My ideal would be to use the Apple remote with MythTV, so that when  
you press the pause/play button it pauses the movie & pops up an on- 
screen display menu with "skip backward 5 minutes", "skip backward 1  
minute", "play", "skip backward 1 minute" "skip forward 5 minutes"  
options. Default would be to "play", so that pressing the pause/play  
button twice pauses the movies & starts playing it again, just like  
you'd expect. I guess a couple more options (like "up to next menu  
level") could be added to make fuller use of the left-right-up-down  

There's also a 6th "menu" button on the Apple remote, so I'd like to  
be able to access all Myth's other functions through use of that &  
the left-right-up-down buttons. I guess minimal button-mashing could  
be achieved if, when the menu button was pressed during playback, a 3  
x 3 box was displayed on the screen; left-right-up-down navigates,  
play/pause selects & menu returns to the movie?

I have no idea how well the above could work with MythTV - I'm  
planning to see how I feel about remotes once I get Myth up & running  
with the one supplied with the Silverstone case I intend to buy. So  
it may be that everything I describe is already implemented, however  
it  seems to me a little unlikely that it'll all "just work" as I  
describe, considering how many more buttons the average remote has  
over the Apple one.

I think you're right that a wiimote could be very good indeed for  
MythTV use - just because I think it's rubbish for text input doesn't  
mean I don't agree with you otherwise. The barrier to wiimote usage  
here is that I'd likely have to have two wiimotes sitting on the sofa  
- one for playing games & the other for watching MythTV - and that  
would bug the hell out of me. The only other alternative I can think  
of would be to have the bluetooth dongle in the Myth box do bluetooth  
spoofing and passthrough when I want to use the wiimote for Wii play,  
but I think that's perhaps non-trivial. I don't want to have to  
constantly pair my wiimote to whichever box I happen to be using  
right now - especially if I watch TV & play games more than once the  
same day.


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