1 (edited by alireal 2008-08-06 16:19:02)

Topic: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

On 7/30 Chumby released the latest beta software (CP 2.7.15). Highlights include:

• An alarm wizard to simplify setting up custom alarms
• A backup alarm to make alarms more reliable
• Accelerometer-based widget navigation to simplify switching from one widget to the next
• A signal strength indicator to help assess your chumby’s wi-fi coverage
• NOAA Radio by Weather Underground, which can be used as a music and alarm source

Please try a few of the new beta features and let us know what you think by posting your thoughts in the “Beta Feedback” section on the forum or taking a short survey at http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB22854GWUAJL

For more info about these features, please refer to Duane’s release notes at the top of the Beta Feedback section: http://forum.chumby.com/viewforum.php?id=16


Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

What is this?

3 (edited by alireal 2008-08-07 08:00:18)

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

I guess I should have introduced myself, I'm Alison, a Product Manager at Chumby.

As you know, we announced CP 2.7.15 last Wednesday.  To date, we have received little feedback about the new features and enhancements. My postings were an attempt to solicit more feedback to see what our forum users like and dislike about the new control panel and to see what we can improve/clarify.

If you have any time to check out the new beta, let me know what you think! Would love to hear from you.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

Just submitted the survey.

I think this beta is great!

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

overall reaction is slightly underwhelmed - great that the alarms etc are improved. But am really disappointed that there is still no sleep function or method to listen to radio stations that URLs can be added to My Streams.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

I think the alarms were a major problem they were trying to get resolved so they can start adding/upgrading features..... In general I like the new control panel.. Was I hoping for a few more additions.. Yeah... Id like to see a more integrated "night" function similar to the night scripts people are writing and a way to listen to music for a set time before the chumby goes into night mode... But i think that the new firmware and the control panel have basically put in the scaffolding to add a slew of new features....

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

Don't use the Chumby as an alarm, so can't really say whether or not the new alarm functionality is improved. The accelerometer widget navigation doesn't feel intuitive like everything else with the Chumby does. It feels like more effort than it is worth, although I don't think there were many other options, considering that there are widgets which use the accelerometer themselves. The signal strength indicator could definitely be useful when moving the Chumby around. The NOAA Weather radio just seems like another good idea. Oh, and thanks for putting in the hotspot/clock easter eggs. Only question I have now is how to set the Eegg clock to give me 24 hour time. You might also want to consider an Eegg analog clock.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

Had no idea of the new functionality until now. Here are some thoughts, not all related to the current Beta.

1. On the first screen after pressing "Alarms" there are buttons for quick alarm and custom alarm, and an alarm volume slider. Maybe I have something not set right, but I couldn't see a way to cause the alarm sound to go off so that I could check on the volume. It seems so odd to have a slider volume switch with no way to hear the effect of that switch, that I think I must be overlooking something obvious. Am I? (And no, the "Mute" button is not on.)

2. After pressing Quick Alarm you get the screen that let's you specify the time and the alarm sound. Then at lower left is the Alarm OFF/ON button. The "off" and "on" indicators exemplify  a very common UI mistake: users can't tell whether they're coming or going. By which I mean that you can't tell whether "OFF" is a status indicator ("the current status of the alarm is OFF"), or whether it's a function button ("press me in order to turn the alarm OFF"). I've already gotten confused by that ambiguity once myself -- and I pay ATTENTION to user interfaces! Maybe adding some text, like "The alarm is [ON or OFF]" would do the trick.

3. On the main control panel screen is the button for "Music." You might consider whether that's becoming more and more misleading: with the NOAA weather radio channel, pod cast channels, and the ability to dial up Internet talk radio, etc., much of what's available from that button isn't "music" at all. I'd find a button that said "Audio" a useful alternative, but I'm not confident that most people would, so I don't know what to substitute for "Music." "Sound" just doesn't sound right to me. Now that I think about it, maybe "audio" is the only suitable option.

Ok -- those are my quick thoughts.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

I have been traveling and haven't been keeping up with Chumby -- but not that things have settled down.

I like all of the new featuers, but I really want to be able to change the volume on an individual alarm.  Right now, I have my Chumby set to go into night mode at 10:00 pm, but I really want it to play music very softly too. 

On the other hand, when I wake up, I want a really loud alarm.

I also want to be able to manipulate alarms from the web, but could live without that.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

I've just spent an hour or so playing with the new control panel. Here's my feedback:

1) It took me several days to even realize there WAS a new control panel. A thread in the Software forum mentioned that it was coming about 7/31, but there was no further comment about it. Maybe it's just me, 'cause I don't happen to read the Beta Feedback forum normally, but I suspect the announcement of this beta CP could have been more prominent.

2) The easter eggs are awesome. THIS is the single most important thing you've done since the Chumby's release, in my opinion. The ability to control the widget player from software opens lots of doors, and will allow me to use the Chumby for whole categories of new things, beyond a passive display and an alarm clock.

3) I tested the backup alarm. When I dismissed the backup alarm, the Chumby rebooted. I was able to reproduce this.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

By "reboot", do you mean it did a full reboot (with the little "bloop bloop" chumby animation), or did the Control Panel restart ("ie "Initializing...", "Authorizing...", etc)?

If the latter, that's what's supposed to happen - the backup alarm operates at such a low level that it has to restart the Control Panel when it's done, since it hijacks some of the device drivers (touchscreen and audio).

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

What I saw, then, was just a control panel restart. Part of the reason it looked like a bug was because I had configured the alarm to change to a different channel. When the control panel restarted, the Chumby stayed on the channel that was running before the alarm went off.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

The channel switch happens when the alarm is actively dismissed via the Control Panel.  Since you didn't actively dismiss it, the backup alarm triggered and shut down the Control Panel, and thus the channel change action did not occur.  The dismissal that you see with backup alarms (ie. "Tap the screen...") is happening at the underlying operating system, and the Control Panel is completely dead and buried at that point.

That's the tradeoff of backup alarms - the goal of backup alarms is to reliably wake you up, but not necessarily be pretty about it.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

Yep, makes perfect sense, thanks.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

One note about the clock overlay...

In night mode, I now have two clocks, the main one and the overlay.  The overlay has taken the place of the "next alarm" notice.

In night mode, I'd much prefer to see what the next alarm is, so that before I go to bed I know the clock will be waking me up at the right time.

But other than that, GREAT!  smile  I now feel like my clock is a clock!  big_smile

Vice President of Duane's Chumby Buddies Inc, Pro-Clock faction                       Clocks are life; we all expire sometime.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

The switching to the backup alarm bit me badly. I have my chumby configured to use a streaming radio station to wake me up in the morning, and then another alarm an hour later to turn it off. However, if the stream gets interrupted for long enough, then the backup alarm kicks in -- and it is difficult to cancel. I leave the screen in night mode (because that shows you the clock) and trying to find how to shut the alarm off is difficult. Normally this doesn't matter as we can cope with the news playing in the background.

Configuring the alarm is certainly harder than it was before (there are more options), and I find it counter-intuitive that I have to have an alarm to turn off the radio that is set an hour after the alarm that turns the radio on.

I would like that the button on the top would bring up a 'snooze' / 'cancel alarm' / 'go to control panel' whenever a sound/stream was being played that was started by an alarm. Currently this does not appear to be the case.

Re: We’d like your feedback on the beta software!

You're probably not actually hearing the backup alarm, since that alarm *always* comes up with a dismissal screen.

What you're probably hearing is the "fallback alarm", which is what the Control Panel plays when a network audio source fails.  As you discovered, you turn that off by going to the music screen, just as you would have for the music source itself, if you had disabled the "stop/snooze" screen.