Bad bad Front Row

I made the big jump and joined the Leopard using Macheads group. I read all the reviews, all the problems, all the nuisances and of course, all the neat stuff in it. So I reached the conclusion that 10.5.2 is a good start.


Every detail of Leopard has been analyzed and scrutinized, so I don’t want to go in all that stuff. What I want to discuss is the new Front Row, of which all the reviews I read barely make a note of, and it’s about its new interface and version number.


I found the new Front Row to be deeply flawed, especially in comparison to the previous version. Some of the basic functionality that was there in the 1.0 version went missing in this new shiny Apple TV-esque reborn Front Row.


Let’s start with the beginning. Upon pressing the Menu button on the Apple remote, the old Front Row would push the desktop into the horizon and slide in the main media icons. I liked the effect, it was rather stunning, and anyone seeing it for the first time would let out a short gasp of surprise and amazement.


The new one? A simple fade out of the desktop, fade in to the Front Row. OK, this is much quicker and simpler. And I don’t miss the old transition but for its sheer factor of coolness and visual effect.


And now that I got the cosmetic stuff out of the way, on to the more substantial stuff, so I don’t look like a shallow fanboi, all about the bling.


Let’s imagine the following situation: you are working on something, let’s say a Textedit document. Meanwhile you are listening to some music in iTunes. Suddenly, some friends come over. So you grab the remote, step away from the computer, press menu, people gasp at the transition, navigate over to Music, and hit Now Playing to have the current track displayed. Drinks all around. During all this, the music never stopped. This happens when you are using the old Front Row.


Let’s repeat the same scenario using the new Front Row: Working in Textedit, listening to music in iTunes, ding dong! at the door, grab the remote, step away from the computer, press Menu on the remote, music stops. That’s right. The music stops when you enter Front Row now! OK then. Go over to Music, and, surprise! There is no “Playing Now” item! Because… well… there’s nothing playing now, remember? So, now fumble around the menus, and playlists and artists trying to get to the track that wasn’t supposed to stop in the first place! People getting cranky, they want their drinks!


I really hate this new behavior. Oh, I forgot to mention: let’s say you do find that track and start playing it in Front Row. Then decide to get to the desktop and IM or browse the web or something. Guess what! The music stops! Again! 


I was STUNNED! Why so much disconnect between Front Row and the desktop now? Especially when only a simple fade out is separating them. I loved the fact that I could switch between Front Row and the desktop in the old version, and the music never skipping a beat. I clearly remember thinking to myself how intuitive the whole thing was.


And now this. Front Row is no longer an extension to the desktop. It is now a replacement to whatever you were doing there. It’s like your computer is abruptly transformed in an Apple TV.


I was so baffled by that whole music interruptus, that I almost missed the other big issue with the new Front Row: it no longer offers the option to resume interrupted videos from the Movies folder. It does offer it for the Podcasts, and I presume for the rented movies. But not for anything else. Which is sad. The old one did treat any video material equally.


So, to sum up: I hate the new Front Row. Anyone has any ideas how to make the old Front Row work in Leopard?


3 responses to “Bad bad Front Row

  1. Hi,
    I like the way you are performing your work .. Its really amazing .. The topic is really brilliant and the way you have discussed is really fantastic!

  2. you can get a script from here
    that allows you to switch between the two versions of front row.

  3. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Gar.

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