Censored by Apple: Front Row Critique

I posted this on Apple's Front Row board a few days ago, and it was pulled down, with not a word of notice or explanation. I posted a query on the same board, politely asking the Administrator why censorship had replaced responsiveness to customers as Apple's modus operandi. This, too, was yanked from the site. Following is the original. STrong words, sure, but everything is supported. And nothing was addressed by Apple. In the realm of life's priorities, remote clicking has to be way down there, but Apple's shoddy work and bunker mentality are still interesting.

I�ve lived with the Front Row software for a year now, and I wish to share some criticism. Frankly, I�m amazed that in the past year Apple hasn�t moved to fix it � I�m hoping someone at the company is reading this, and will address these issues. My use is strictly audio � my iMac G5 is a server for my stereo, and I have about 1,000 CDs in the iTunes library.

The big problem is that Front Row, running on one of the most sophisticated software platforms ever designed for consumers, can�t replicate the functionality of a $100 CD player. Here�s what I mean. (I listen to �albums.� I don�t know how this compares to �playlists� or other functions in Front Row.) Let�s say we�re listening to a track in an album. I hit �menu� on the remote to hop back up the menu tree to see the tracks in the album. First negative surprise: this is a static list. Unlike iTunes, the software doesn�t display what track you�re on. Not a huge problem, I suppose, but needlessly dumb.

Ok, so to get back to the �now playing� track, we hop up the menu twice, past the album list, and click on �now playing.� Now the real surprise � from �now playing,� if you again go back up the menu tree one hop to see the list of tracks, THE LIST IS GONE! The only way to recover the list of tracks is to scroll thru the big list of albums to find the album again. Crazy.

Other stupidities: Every time you call up your album list, you start at �A� and have to scroll down. There�s no high level selection that could jump you to �k� or �Z�. Hey, I know this isn�t rocket science. If someone at Apple pulls out their contact list on their cell phone, they�ll see what I mean. This omission is compounded by the fact that it is a one-way scroll � you can�t scroll up from �Z�. I have a Squeezebox network device driven by the same iTunes database that does so, so I know it�s possible.

I�m sorry for the sarcasm, but this is frutstratingly bad software, and it�s been out there for more than a year. Front Row works � it�ll play your tunes from the arm chair, as advertised. But it is an inelegant, clunkeroo of a product, shockingly out of place in the Apple environment.
Front Row was one of the main reasons I bought a Mac Mini, that and the ability to use iTunes without having kmixer get in the way like it does on a PC.

After getting quite a few CDs ripped it became obvious that Front Row was way to cumbersome for practical use with a large collection. It looks very slick but it is so difficult to get where you want to go by scrolling through all the titles that it easier to just get up, walk across the room to the PC, and select what you want.

I also bought an Altmann DAC that accepts an optical digital signal from an Airport Express. Going this route with iTunes and a PC bypasses kmixer, so I sold the MAC.
Herman -- Yes, my biggest surprise is that they haven't fixed it in the year + it's been live. An Apple rep mentioned to me some time ago that it was viewed a beta release. Salling Clicker makes software that converts cell phones and PDAs into remote controls, but after checking it out, I found out that it has no "browse by album" function. Anyway, as my post noted, it is depressing to see Apple, that great voice of freedom and individuality, censoring legitimate criticism.
iDisco ( an add on for salling clicker) will allow you to browse by album.

also, he now has an add on for front row that may address some of your issues with the software.
Brooks -- Thanks for the info. I'll check out the Snarb stuff. -- David
I have a wireless card in my mac mini. You can send your tracks from Itunes to an Airport Express connected to your audio system from wherever you sit....just move you Mac to a side table near where you sit...

Remotes for selecting/manipulating music = frustrating gimmicks, IMHO but a PC at your fingertips wow...you can use complex searches to find that tune or CD or artist you want and furthermore you can surf for details on the artists...G'luck
I don't use Front Row on my G5. However when I want to listen to a particular album in iTunes I go up to the little spyglass icon at the top right of my computer and I type 'Rocky' and I get the Rocky Horror CD as a hit.

Anyone tried this?
Brooks -- Thanks for your tip about iDisco/Snarb. For those of you as frustrated as I am w/ Front Row, it's a very cool/elegant solution. -- David