11-28-2011 06:45 AM - edited 11-28-2011 06:46 AM
I've just spent almost all sunny Sunday and moonlit night configuring a Harmony 880 PRO which replaced my 555. Doing a replacement, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I'm quite experienced user and my setup is not overly complex. Despite this, it was a nightmare!
I love the general principle of Harmony, the implemetation of Activity concept, the huge device database (no custom learning in my case). I like (more or less) the hardware. I can live with the cloud-like nature of the software (it has some advantages). But I find the user interface the worst of any software of any kind!!! And no significant change for at least 5 years I use Harmony remotes.
I know, the remote is not programmed every day. I can live with sort of compromise. I even understand that this kind of sw must be made in child colouring book style to attract masses. But I really hate completely unnecessary glitches, inconsistencies and the way it's all cripled.
1. There is absolutely no object orientation in the GUI, no context menus for example. Try to rename an Activity. This is one of the many absolutely inappropriate "wizards". 5 redundant clicks and miles of cursor movement instead of one right click (or even left click on Activity name). Is this kind of "workflow" considered appropriate to 21th century? Even command line would be more convenient...
2. There is no support for cloning or reusing of the configuration. For example I want to have Picture and Sound layouts shared in more than one activity. No way. I can print or note it and than use it. Very usable. very contemporary...
3. The buttons in the wizards are used inconsistently. Button which does essentially the same is once SAVE, other time NEXT, DONE etc.
4. The program window can't be enlarged/maximized. More technically, it can, but the working area keeps its (limited) size, the rest is pitch black. It's almost funny, having in mind that the UI is actually a html page. Very bitter fun though.
5. Countless other oddities. Try this task: in an Additional Buttons configuration full of custom buttons eliminate the first button and move the rest up. Or try to work with keyboard in Additional Buttons: I write the name of the Add. button and press TAB which moves focus to the device drop-down, ok. I simply choose a device and press TAB again. Another drop-down appears showing available commands. But the focus is in next row!
Again, I admit, the sw doesn't need to be made for everyday use. But what I (partly) described above is absolute decadence in gui design.
So, I propose: give up developing this SW and let somebody do it for you. Any IT high school student would do it better. Or open the proprietary protocols and code to the community. Simply do something, this is unbearable.
I know, there is many similar claims in the forum, but apparantly that hasn't changed anything for more than 5 years. My post will neither, but I simply had to express my feelings based on my recent sleepless experience.
12-16-2011 07:07 AM
I also write software for a living and I was getting ready to write a similar post. If I wrote software like this, I would be quickly unemployed.
In fact, the software is so terrible, I ended up returning my 1100 after spending 4 hours trying to get it working with a WD TV Live. I could not get the default buttons to work and had to create a 'Custom' activity and custom buttons to control all the functions. It takes longer to access the custom buttons then it does to locate the correct remote.
Great job on the hardware, but... you need to replace or outsouce your developers.
12-16-2011 03:11 PM
12-18-2011 05:45 AM - edited 12-18-2011 05:53 AM
I was going to write a post about this, but you beat me to it. Now I am not used to the Harmony system, and I appreciate a helping hand, but this software was actively working against me. Here is my story, in case you want to do something about it.
My situation is slightly non-standard, in that I use an energy saving power strip, and I lost the remote to my favorite DVB-T box. But neither should be to eccentric for the software to deal with.
1. I tried everything with the internet based software. The remote tells me to use one link, it sends me to another, and then yet another, then I have to set up an account, more clicking around, and it seems like I am getting somewhere. But installing the software fails, without any hint what to do. I think it was something about TEMP being non-standard (on drive D:, as it should be), but I only found that hint in the forum. So after ages I finally get this to "work" and sync the remote.
2. It does not work. It cannot deal with the energy saving power strip, which is kind of understandable. But the remote also fails to work with the DVB-T box. There is a help on the remote, which I can use to switch on the TV. There seems to be a separate kind of fixing routine, too, which kicks in after a while, but fails to solve the issue. A lot of back and forth with the PC also does not help. A forum post goes unanswered.
3. So I try the PC software option. It is clumsy (it combines the disadvantages of local software with the cloud - not too different from the internet based software actually), annoyingly gets in your way, but at least there is some logic to it. So I try to set up the power strip as a feature of my TV device, but that fails miserable. I am however able to configure it as part of the TV activity. Finally something that feels like progress.
4. And I finally manage to solve the problem with my DVB-T box. It is clearly labeled DS700, but the provided codes for a DS700 do not work. I have to use the codes for DS700T instead, and that solves the problem.
5. One button is wrong (Guide should be linked to TvGuide), but I manage to fix that, too. Setting up favorite channels seems like a nice touch. (But you could provide a list to work from - 10 Million DVB-T users here all have the same channel list.)
So what should have been a simple exercise turned into hours of work. And the main problem is the software, its awkward user interface, and the lack of documentation.
You need to decide whether you want technically savvy users, casual users, or both. At the moment you cater for neither: out of the box it does not work, and you fail to provide a way for technically minded people to understand and change what the software is doing. As it is, I will not recommend this system to anybody: novices are going to overwhelmed, and technically minded people are much better using a tablet with Android and a decent app.
12-22-2011 12:00 AM
No, this criticism isn't taken seriously since there has been no significant change in the software for years (and off course I'm not the first to complain).
Generally, I can say I can solve pretty much every task with the software but the process is terrible, horrible and awful.
Logitech, what about learning from your Squeezebox department? Squeezebox software is far from beeing perfect but in comparison with Harmony it's nicely usable. At least community seems to be listened to and have some influence...
12-24-2011 11:49 PM
There is some excellent information in this thread. Unfortunately if Logitech paid any attention to threads like this one, years later we wouldn't still be subjected to putrid harmony software version 1.02.
One of the absolute simpliest things they could do to improve the software would be to clarify the language used in the wizards. So much of it is inadequate, misleading, inconsistent or redundant. It must result in a nightmare for their support staff. But I'm sure they aren't the ones calling the shots.
12-25-2011 02:43 PM
12-26-2011 05:12 AM
I totally agree!!!
And I hope every single Harmony customer chooses to add their support to this thread as it is the only way we can express our frustration and hope for the better. Logitech programmers live in a different decade than the rest of us. They must have all flunked the GUI class.
The only next step is to return the (dis)Harmony for a warranty claim.
12-27-2011 07:28 PM
The complaints about cumbersome GUI, while certainly correct, are frankly WAY down on my priority list. I just want the software and software / hardware interface to WORK. Based on experience now with both the Harmony 900 and Harmony 1, the software (7.7.0) does all of the following: it hangs on "save" requiring restart (and loss of your programming work); it kicks you out with "expired session" when you try to execute a save, with no warning (and loss of programming); it hangs on update of the remote, usually so that the remote is unusable until a full update can be completed; it takes many minutes and usually 3 tries to upload a favorites image/logo; if the Logitech server is busy, you can't log in or do anything to fix a remote that is made non-functional by an incomplete/ corrupted update. Every "save" is an adventure--sometimes it completes instantly, sometimes never, and by the way, in some cases your session will expire while you are waiting for a save to execute.
For such an excellent architectural concept as this product has, it just makes you cry that the software implementation is so fragile and full of bugs. So I agree that the software is killing Harmony products (at least the 2 I've tried), but in my view, the problems are much more fundamental than the problems with GUI ease of use. A long conversation with support confirmed that my understanding of the software and hardware functions and operations is correct, and not the origin of the problems. Support literally begged me to make an issue of the quality problems with Harmony products in feedback, based on a belief that management gets summaries of customer feedback and pay some attention to it, but they pretty much ignore the reports from applications techs. Best Buy techs reported that a disproportionate number of the Harmony devices come back within their 30 day return period, and that nearly all of their $40 "protection" agreements on Harmony remotes get exercised within their 2 year term. Most of the boxes on the rack were discounted and marked "open box".
So I've wasted enormous amounts of time trying to get these devices to work, and I came to this forum to make a decision within 30 days whether to drop back to what appears to be the nearest competing product (Phillips). The architecture is not as elegant or satisfying, they are not programmed from a computer, and they don't have built-in RF, but many people say they come up quickly, and within their limits actually work.
12-28-2011 10:38 AM
Since those listing the details of their bad experiences (I too have the issue described) has fallen on deaf ears, let's try this:
Logitech.. What is wrong with you! Your software is a JOKE. It's horrendously bad. I'd be laughing if I hadn't spent so much time and money on your product. I'm beyond angry. I have little faith that my remote will function as expected if ever do get it
I don't know whether to cut my losses and move on or not.
I will spend one more day (that's a full day, mind you) trying to get this thing working. If I fail, I will never buy another Logitech product again (like you care).