Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting Rid of the “beep” in Viera Cast

The other day I was at Costco and saw that they had the Panasonic DMP-BD655 on sale for $130 ($30 off).  I normally buy my electronics online, but that was a decent price, and it meant I could have it now.

I don’t know that I’ll be watching BluRays anytime soon, but having Netflix on a dedicated box so I don’t have to hook my laptop up to my TV every night?  AWESOME.

I debated on getting a more expensive model with wireless built in, but I want the speed of a dedicated CAT6 cable anyway, so saving the extra hundred bucks or so to forego the wireless was the right choice for me.

First of all, let me say that the difference in quality between the browser version of Netflix and the Viera Cast (Panasonic’s interface for the online content) version of Netflix are night and day.  I’m watching shows in full HD (the indicator bars almost always go all the way to the right and light up the “HD” like that carnival game where you use the giant hammer to smash the lever that rings the bell way up in the air), and the content looks amazing.  Not to mention I can scan forward and reverse, even if it’s a choppy excuse for the feature, which you can’t do at all in the browser version.  The online community seems to be up-in-arms about not being able to edit their Netflix queue content in Viera Cast, but I don’t mind so much that I can’t add and remove titles.  However, it’s a MAJOR pain in the butt that the only way you can view and select from your instant queue titles is one-by-one (in a horizontal line).  Why in the hell can’t they at least put the titles in a grid so you can view multiple titles at once?  That’s just STUPID.  I’ve got like 70 movies in my instant queue.  Scrolling to number 55 one-by-one is not a viable solution.  You’d think Panasonic could figure out something this obvious.

Which brings me to the “ding” that happens every time you move the cursor in Viera Cast.  I searched for hours trying to figure out how to disable it (both online and in the BluRay player’s settings) before giving up and just using “mute” when navigating the content.  However, last night I stumbled upon the solution!

The settings specifically for Viera Cast (not the BluRay player itself) are hidden on the last page of the Viera Cast content grid; why there isn’t simply a dedicated “settings” button on every page I cannot fathom.  However, in the center of the Viera Cast interface are arrows that allow you to navigate to “deeper” screens (a total of three screens).  On the third screen, all by its lonesome, is the Holy Grail.  You can turn off the navigation audio chime, and as an added bonus you can rearrange the order of the content panels (so you can move Pandora to the first screen, and Twitter to the last –who in the hell Twitters on their TV?).


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Facebook Functionality Complaint and Wishlist

There are SO MANY things that drive me crazy about Facebook, so many ways it falls short.  Some of the things I realize are very personal, but quite a few of them are no-brainers that should be FIXED.  This is my list.

  • It’s ASININE that you can’t CC someone on a Facebook message that’s been sent to you.  I.E.: I receive a message.  I respond, but I want to CC a friend.  Not possible.

    Are you freaking kidding me?!
  • It’s incredibly stupid that when you “like” a movie (or band, book, etc.), it’s added to your profile favorites.  SERIOUSLY?  Just because you like a movie, it’s automatically your FAVORITE movie?!

    As someone with a Facebook Movie Page, I point out that this is SERIOUSLY DETRIMENTAL to our “like” numbers, as people will “unlike” your movie because they don’t want it showing up in their profile “favorites.”  And I totally agree… just because you like my movie doesn’t mean it has to be your favorite.
  • You can’t convert a page.  A lot of people have created musician pages and other things of that ilk (movie pages, book pages, etc.), only to find out later that there was a better category (Facebook’s page creation page SUCKS).  If you’ve made a bunch of fans (now “likers”), you don’t want to simply start a new page and lose all those fans, so you’d need to convert your page to a new category.  Tough sh*t.  You can’t.
  • You can’t get help.  I realize FB is a free service with millions (probably billions) of users, but if you need something legitimate addressed… tough sh*t!  I had to file a copyright infringement form to get a human from FB to contact me, and even then the help was extremely limited.

There are a million more.  I’ll keep adding them over time.  Facebook has finally added a suggestion link, but I’m betting nobody really reads the suggestions.