Feedback and feature requests

Forum to discuss EventPhone iPhone/iPod Touch client for EventGhost

Feedback and feature requests

Postby sanssome » Tue May 26, 2009 11:50 am

Just downloaded EventPhone and I am less than overwhelmed. You'll find this woven into my app store review and I'm sorry to say it it was not favorable. I've come to expect a high level of quality with iPhone apps and EventGhost doesn't make the grade. What particularly bothers me:

- No customization. I saw your earlier post about this when another person requested it and I'm not as much concerned about "skinning" as I am just layout customization. This is necessary because the screen in portrait mode is far too busy with way too many buttons and that makes them much too small to be pushed effectively even 80% of the time. This is the only app of it's type I've purchased that doesn't give you the ability to do this, but I see all of your remote apps pretty much work that way. Why would I want or need 56 buttons on the screen at one time? Please accept this criticism constructively, but this is just lazy programming.
- No ability to control multiple EventGhost installations. Every other remote package I have supports this. Why do you have a Prefs panel if you are not going to support mulitple profiles?
- The fact I must start EG each time my iPhone times out and powers off is unique. It's the only app I've seen that doesn't automatically resume upon soft-start. Very annoying.
- The lack on any real server side support must be daunting for some, even for regular EG users. I know you have a plug-in, but other than receiving raw events, it's doesn't do much else for you. You still have to manually detect what each button sends by trapping it and then assigning it to a macro. There are no events pre-defined for these.

There is a lot of power in EventGhost, but little in the EventPhone app. I know you are an independent trying to make some money at this, but I had to even your question your $9.99 app price based on the above. I've paid for many apps anywhere from .99 to $3.99 that are far more functional and better programmed than this. While us iPhone users love the free apps, we are happy to pay for apps that deliver good things for the price. This app fell short.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Melloware » Tue May 26, 2009 12:08 pm

Thanks for your feedback. Let me reply if I may to each point.

sanssome wrote:- No customization. I saw your earlier post about this when another person requested it and I'm not as much concerned about "skinning" as I am just layout customization. This is necessary because the screen in portrait mode is far too busy with way too many buttons and that makes them much too small to be pushed effectively even 80% of the time. This is the only app of it's type I've purchased that doesn't give you the ability to do this, but I see all of your remote apps pretty much work that way. Why would I want or need 56 buttons on the screen at one time? Please accept this criticism constructively, but this is just lazy programming.


The buttons are 36x36 on Portrait and 64x64 on landscape. The iPhone keyboard keys are actually only 16x16 pixels, do you send Apple emails that their keyboard buttons are too small for your fingers when the portrait buttons are twice the size? I have no problem with the 36x36 buttons personally but I guess I am the developer so that doesn't count for much. I like all 56 buttons at once like I am using a real MCE remote. I don't want to have to page through buttons to get to the button I am looking for.

sanssome wrote:- No ability to control multiple EventGhost installations. Every other remote package I have supports this. Why do you have a Prefs panel if you are not going to support multiple profiles?

Fair enough, I figured 99% of EG users have a main HTPC they control with EG. Not multiple PC's running EG all over their house. It was the 80/20 rule.

sanssome wrote:- The fact I must start EG each time my iPhone times out and powers off is unique. It's the only app I've seen that doesn't automatically resume upon soft-start. Very annoying.

I am guessing most of those apps you are referring to are HTTP request response based apps not a TCP Socket communication app? Once the iPhone goes to sleep it breaks all WIFI connections therefore EG is disconnected from your phone. It was done to clean up resources properly, because when you are phone wakes back up it may take up to 10 seconds on some phones before it finds your WIFI connection. It was easier to clean up resources. It was a keep it simple decision vs answer tons of support questions about why someone's phone is not reconnecting to their network.

sanssome wrote:- The lack on any real server side support must be daunting for some, even for regular EG users. I know you have a plug-in, but other than receiving raw events, it's doesn't do much else for you. You still have to manually detect what each button sends by trapping it and then assigning it to a macro. There are no events pre-defined for these.

These events are actually based on default events from the MCE plugin, MediaMonkey, and other plugins AND is based on the Girder Netremote plugin? I am sure you are a power EG user and know that everything in EG is event based. Generating the events is the responsibility of EventPhone and consuming those Events is the responsibility of whatever you want in EG is it not? So when I send the "Play" event any of your plugins like MCE, MediaMonkey, Itunes etc all respond to that Play event properly. So why would I create a plugin that hardcoded the actions taken by the remote buttons when that is the WHOLE point of EventGhost. I wouldn't know that Play means "Spacebar" in Winamp and "CTRL+P" in Windows Media Player. That is the job of the Application based plugins and the whole basis of the architecture of EventGhost. Agree or no? This is how pretty much every other remote plugin in EG works, remote plugins generate events and application plugins respond to events.

sanssome wrote:There is a lot of power in EventGhost, but little in the EventPhone app. I know you are an independent trying to make some money at this, but I had to even your question your $9.99 app price based on the above. I've paid for many apps anywhere from .99 to $3.99 that are far more functional and better programmed than this. While us iPhone users love the free apps, we are happy to pay for apps that deliver good things for the price. This app fell short.


I am sorry you feel this way, I have about 400 satisfied EG users of EventPhone and I have received about 5 reviews similar to yours. I think most of the EG crowd understands EG and how Events work and are quite satisfied with EventPhone.

There is an iPhone based web application for EG that you could try which a lot of people like but I think you will find its support for Long Button Presses and slow HTTP Response times lacking....

http://www.eventghost.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=996

There is also Remote Jr which looks really pretty but you might find it lacking also...

http://www.remotejr.com/pc/
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Melloware » Tue May 26, 2009 12:32 pm

sanssome wrote:Please accept this criticism constructively, but this is just lazy programming.


Are you an iPhone programmer? Are you interested in helping improve the code?

I have gotten feature requests for other of my apps and the people were actual developers interested in helping improve the code. Just checking to see if you are in a similar situation. I work fulltime and just do this in my spare time, so please excuse the "laziness" of the programming as I don't have unlimited time dedicated to each of these apps.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby sanssome » Sat May 30, 2009 12:13 pm

Melloware wrote:Thanks for your feedback. Let me reply if I may to each point.

sanssome wrote:- No customization. I saw your earlier post about this when another person requested it and I'm not as much concerned about "skinning" as I am just layout customization. This is necessary because the screen in portrait mode is far too busy with way too many buttons and that makes them much too small to be pushed effectively even 80% of the time. This is the only app of it's type I've purchased that doesn't give you the ability to do this, but I see all of your remote apps pretty much work that way. Why would I want or need 56 buttons on the screen at one time? Please accept this criticism constructively, but this is just lazy programming.


The buttons are 36x36 on Portrait and 64x64 on landscape. The iPhone keyboard keys are actually only 16x16 pixels, do you send Apple emails that their keyboard buttons are too small for your fingers when the portrait buttons are twice the size? I have no problem with the 36x36 buttons personally but I guess I am the developer so that doesn't count for much. I like all 56 buttons at once like I am using a real MCE remote. I don't want to have to page through buttons to get to the button I am looking for.

I just find it overly busy. Size is one issue, but with 56 buttons there just finding one can be challenging. The iphone keyboard is also easier because it's letter based (no symbols to decipher,) it's all white on black, and uses a layout (qwerty) that's familiar to anyone who's used a computer.

sanssome wrote:- No ability to control multiple EventGhost installations. Every other remote package I have supports this. Why do you have a Prefs panel if you are not going to support multiple profiles?

Fair enough, I figured 99% of EG users have a main HTPC they control with EG. Not multiple PC's running EG all over their house. It was the 80/20 rule.

I have a both a family room and bedroom HTPC.

sanssome wrote:- The fact I must start EG each time my iPhone times out and powers off is unique. It's the only app I've seen that doesn't automatically resume upon soft-start. Very annoying.

I am guessing most of those apps you are referring to are HTTP request response based apps not a TCP Socket communication app? Once the iPhone goes to sleep it breaks all WIFI connections therefore EG is disconnected from your phone. It was done to clean up resources properly, because when you are phone wakes back up it may take up to 10 seconds on some phones before it finds your WIFI connection. It was easier to clean up resources. It was a keep it simple decision vs answer tons of support questions about why someone's phone is not reconnecting to their network.

Ahh, okay, I see the problem. Yes, I was thinking primarily about XBMC and Boxee remotes and they are HTTP based.

sanssome wrote:- The lack on any real server side support must be daunting for some, even for regular EG users. I know you have a plug-in, but other than receiving raw events, it's doesn't do much else for you. You still have to manually detect what each button sends by trapping it and then assigning it to a macro. There are no events pre-defined for these.

These events are actually based on default events from the MCE plugin, MediaMonkey, and other plugins AND is based on the Girder Netremote plugin? I am sure you are a power EG user and know that everything in EG is event based. Generating the events is the responsibility of EventPhone and consuming those Events is the responsibility of whatever you want in EG is it not? So when I send the "Play" event any of your plugins like MCE, MediaMonkey, Itunes etc all respond to that Play event properly. So why would I create a plugin that hardcoded the actions taken by the remote buttons when that is the WHOLE point of EventGhost. I wouldn't know that Play means "Spacebar" in Winamp and "CTRL+P" in Windows Media Player. That is the job of the Application based plugins and the whole basis of the architecture of EventGhost. Agree or no? This is how pretty much every other remote plugin in EG works, remote plugins generate events and application plugins respond to events.

Isn't anyone using EG effectively a power user? :) Doing just about anything with it requires advanced configuration, though it does come with WinAmp and other program definitions out of the box.

sanssome wrote:There is a lot of power in EventGhost, but little in the EventPhone app. I know you are an independent trying to make some money at this, but I had to even your question your $9.99 app price based on the above. I've paid for many apps anywhere from .99 to $3.99 that are far more functional and better programmed than this. While us iPhone users love the free apps, we are happy to pay for apps that deliver good things for the price. This app fell short.


I am sorry you feel this way, I have about 400 satisfied EG users of EventPhone and I have received about 5 reviews similar to yours. I think most of the EG crowd understands EG and how Events work and are quite satisfied with EventPhone.

There is an iPhone based web application for EG that you could try which a lot of people like but I think you will find its support for Long Button Presses and slow HTTP Response times lacking....

http://www.eventghost.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=996

There is also Remote Jr which looks really pretty but you might find it lacking also...

http://www.remotejr.com/pc/


Just speaking my mind as a customer, and a cheap one at that! Obviously it is up to you as the developer/distributor of the software to determine what you think the market will bear. In my opinion however the higher the price, the fewer copies you will sell. A lower price is less of an entry barrier. This can be a blessing and a curse though, increasing your support load. At $1.99 or $3.99 you'll sell thousands of copies, but many will be people thinking they purchased a general IR remote product and gripe when it doesn't work on their TV. I noticed several comments like that in the itunes reviews already. There are many VERY interesting and functional iphone programs including both games and utilities that sell for $3.99.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby sanssome » Sat May 30, 2009 12:19 pm

Melloware wrote:
sanssome wrote:Please accept this criticism constructively, but this is just lazy programming.


Are you an iPhone programmer? Are you interested in helping improve the code?

I have gotten feature requests for other of my apps and the people were actual developers interested in helping improve the code. Just checking to see if you are in a similar situation. I work fulltime and just do this in my spare time, so please excuse the "laziness" of the programming as I don't have unlimited time dedicated to each of these apps.


I have the iphone SDK, but no license. I've played with it a bit, but I'll be the first to admit I'm not a patient programmer. Was a programmer years ago and turned to IT/SysAdmin. These days most of my programming is shell script/perl and a bit of java now and then. There may be existing public domain iphone programs you can capitalize on for button layout handling.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Melloware » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:51 am

sanssome wrote:Just speaking my mind as a customer, and a cheap one at that! Obviously it is up to you as the developer/distributor of the software to determine what you think the market will bear. In my opinion however the higher the price, the fewer copies you will sell. A lower price is less of an entry barrier. This can be a blessing and a curse though, increasing your support load. At $1.99 or $3.99 you'll sell thousands of copies, but many will be people thinking they purchased a general IR remote product and gripe when it doesn't work on their TV. I noticed several comments like that in the itunes reviews already. There are many VERY interesting and functional iphone programs including both games and utilities that sell for $3.99.


I totally agree with you normally, however EventGhost is a unique scenario as I have described to other users. The difference between 3.99 and 9.99 won't matter much to an EG user for the following reasons.

Anyone can sell iFart for £0.99 because out of 30 million iPhone/iPods out there they can sell to all 30 million of them and if they sell 100,000 copies they make $70,000!!! Now, with EventGhost that pool of 30 million goes down to probably about 5,000-10,000 total potential customers. Because you need...

A) to be a PC user (cuts the pool by at least half or more from Mac fans)
B) to be an EventGhost user and understand EG (cuts the pool by pretty much everyone else)
C) own an iPod Touch or iPhone

So realistically my pool of potential customers is extremely small and for $9.99 you are talking about the price of two pints of beer at the bar to be able to control your HTPC anywhere in your house without line of sight. Yes, it is expensive relative to other apps on the AppStore, but this is not iFart or a SupaFan app. So expensive is all relative.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Pratik » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:47 am

Melloware wrote:There is also Remote Jr which looks really pretty but you might find it lacking also...

http://www.remotejr.com/pc/


Some facts about Remote Jr:
1. It costs $4.99
2. It uses standard Network Event Receiver plugin
3. Remote Jr also offers sample configurations for volume control, spotify and sling player
4. Even though Remote Jr has fewer buttons, it lets you use button down, button up, button held and button double clicked for each button. These are enough for most users.
5. Users do not need to enter their IP address and port to connect. The new version automatically finds your PC on the network (if PortMapper is installed and running besides EventGhost).
6. Remote Jr, with help of PortMap can also automatically configure your Internet router for access over 3G, EDGE, GPRS
7. Remote Jr Lite will offer all these features for $.99 and will be release shortly
8. Users who bought the full version will get feature upgrades shortly
9. Remote Jr also works with a Mac
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Melloware » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:03 am

Pratik,

I love your TCP Port Mapper stuff. My biggest headache is IP addresses. I am assuming you used these project to accomplish that?

http://code.google.com/p/dotnetportmapper/

And the in your iPhone app you use this code?

http://code.google.com/p/tcmportmapper/
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Pratik » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:15 pm

Melloware wrote:Pratik,

I love your TCP Port Mapper stuff. My biggest headache is IP addresses. I am assuming you used these project to accomplish that?

http://code.google.com/p/dotnetportmapper/

And the in your iPhone app you use this code?

http://code.google.com/p/tcmportmapper/



Yes it is basically a dotnetportmapper + zeroconfignetservices like services merged into one application.
So no ip address or configuration of Internet router needed.

http://code.google.com/p/zeroconfignetservices/

The only difference is that Zeroconfignetservices does not work on vista-64bit while my portmapper does.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Melloware » Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:11 pm

Pratik wrote:
Yes it is basically a dotnetportmapper + zeroconfignetservices like services merged into one application.
So no ip address or configuration of Internet router needed.

http://code.google.com/p/zeroconfignetservices/

The only difference is that Zeroconfignetservices does not work on vista-64bit while my portmapper does.


The only bummer about this is that it is a wrapper around the Bonjour libraries which means you have to install Itunes on the machines you want to use it on right? I don't install Itunes on ANY of my Windows PC's, it is a bloated monster.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Pratik » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:53 am

Melloware wrote:The only bummer about this is that it is a wrapper around the Bonjour libraries which means you have to install Itunes on the machines you want to use it on right? I don't install Itunes on ANY of my Windows PC's, it is a bloated monster.


Yes it needs Bonjour services installed on the users machine, which get automatically installed with iTunes.
Most users with iPhone or iPod touch have iTunes installed on their machines.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Melloware » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:59 am

Pratik wrote:Yes it needs Bonjour services installed on the users machine, which get automatically installed with iTunes.
Most users with iPhone or iPod touch have iTunes installed on their machines.


You might be right, but I find that a Home Theater PC users that use products like EventGhost don't put Itunes anywhere near their Home Theater PC. For me I just have Itunes installed on one computer and use all my iPhone iPod stuff from it and don't pollute my other 3 PC's with Itunes. I know about a dozen other users than do the same thing. Apple has gotten ridiculous with what it installs with Itunes including Safari, Quicktime, etc.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby jsmain » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:36 am

I have to agree with all the feedback provided at this point.

It appears that you are more willing to back your stances than to please customers and code it to their needs.

This is not how you recieve high ratings, and sell product.

I'm very dissappointed in the fact that I actually purchased this product no knowing it was a $5.99 app, and I paid $9.99 for it.

My biggest gripe is the fact that after the ipod goes to sleep mode, I lose connection (understandably), but when it wakes, it doesn't automatically reconnect. Instead, I have to either close the app and restart it, or disable sleep mode in the apps settings, and burn up battery.

Why is it you don't detect wake, and reconnect automatically if connection is possible?

I like the bigger buttons of the landscape mode, as my fingers are too big to comfortably manipulate the portrait buttons, but I have to ask... Why not use a page interface similar to that of the iphone interface.... Swipe between pages of buttons??? And why not allow page configuration as well, so we can add or remove buttons as necessary?

I'd love to be able to program this myself, but alas, I'm a PC user, not Mac. I may have to research eventghost further and determine if it's capable to host an browser page I can view in the iphone/ipod's safari browser instead.
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby Melloware » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:50 am

jsmain wrote:I'm very dissappointed in the fact that I actually purchased this product no knowing it was a $5.99 app, and I paid $9.99 for it.


Sorry for the confusion it is 9.99 in the US but 5.99 in British Pounds. Apple does the conversion at the different AppStores in different countries. You did not pay more than anyone else.

jsmain wrote:My biggest gripe is the fact that after the ipod goes to sleep mode, I lose connection (understandably), but when it wakes, it doesn't automatically reconnect. Instead, I have to either close the app and restart it, or disable sleep mode in the apps settings, and burn up battery.

Why is it you don't detect wake, and reconnect automatically if connection is possible?


I am going to add a reconnect button so you can reconnect after sleep. You can also use the new "Proximity Detection Enabled" with Disable Auto Sleep so you can just turn the device face down or put your finger over the earpiece and the screen turns off to save battery but leaves the application running and connected. (At least until 10 minutes goes by and Apple automatically disconnects your WIFI connection if you don't touch the screen at least once).
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Re: Feedback and feature requests

Postby jsmain » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:51 am

Thanks for that, but now comes the question.... When do you expect to complete this button?

Does the ipod/iphone not report back to the interface that it has been sleeping? I would think it should be easy enough to code it so a button wouldn't be necessary, and you could detect, the sleep state, and therefore command the reconnect without user need to do so.

as I don't have a mac, I can't use the SDK, and really have no visability to what it's capable of.
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