MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Discussion about anything that might be of interest to MediaMonkey users.

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sirandar
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:40 am

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by sirandar » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:46 pm

I don't really understand all this angst about how Media Monkey looks.

Yes some of the skins are godawful IMO but you can pick and choose which one you like. Dreadlau posted a few comments in this thread and his skins make MM3 look as good as anything out there IMO. Vision was a Masterpiece. I still use it.

Instead of fighting with him you should be working with him.

I am not really a fan of MM4 but may switch to it eventually.

If I had to choose where the devs efforts would go I would:

1) Suspend video development until it is a true on-line standard that doesn't involve piracy. Who knows about Blu Ray.
2) Would hard to find some quasi-legal way to have a lyrics database so I don't have to scour all the shady sites.
3) Build some automagic audio editing features into MM so it can automatically join multitrack recordings and automatically or semi automatically fade out tracks that end abruptly because they span more than one track
4) Improve these things on the interface
a) The rating stars are far far too hard to click and get the desired rating on the main screen
b) A better large text mode so I can see stuff across the room
c) A Windows 7 Media Center like mode that is beautiful and fills the whole screen that has now playing info and a few other things
5) A dedicated lyrics viewer that I can scale to any size and doesn't depend on Internet Explorer. Currently MM3 with Lyrics Viewer has worked well but I had many problems before

6) And above all and Android App .... All the available ones except vanilla are not usable IMO
Peace through music

Sebastian78
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:17 am

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by Sebastian78 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:30 am

Hmmm, I have to take a closer look at Foobar.

Now, you can skin the hell out of Mediamonkey, but it's like painting over inherent flaws. It's all in the details. My guess is that the MM team is "programmer oriented" and not "design oriented". They are a bunch of nerds (pardon my french) and the design bit is just something they have to do. IMO design is everything and it's a make or break function in everything. Look at the clothes we wear, the cars, our houses, even airplanes, bikes, computers, software. Good design equals good usability. Now if software is buggy, no matter how good the UI design is it will suck. If the software works, good UI design will make it a LOT better.

A better designed UI would make MM THE best media software out there.

EDIT:

I'm actually amazed at the level of customization that is available with Foobar..http://customize.org/foobar/skins/popular

Edit 2: For CHRISTS SAKE how hard should it be to customize a theme/skin!!!!! This is terrible......but it looks soooo goood aaarg
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r0k
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:13 am

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by r0k » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:45 am

sirandar wrote: Yes some of the skins are godawful IMO but you can pick and choose which one you like. Dreadlau posted a few comments in this thread and his skins make MM3 look as good as anything out there IMO. Vision was a Masterpiece. I still use it.
Instead of fighting with him you should be working with him.
Wasn't really fighting, i was just amazed how small details (the vertical bar in the menu) can be important to some people and totally superfluous to others. This doesn't even mean i think i'm right and he's wrong, we just have different points of view :)
If I had to choose where the devs efforts would go I would:
1) Suspend video development until it is a true on-line standard that doesn't involve piracy. Who knows about Blu Ray.
Here i fully disagrea. As someone who does some video myself with a camcorder, i really long for a good application to organize and preview my videos. I have Adobe CS5 design and while Adobe Bridge is great for organizing images, it sucks for videos. I really hope MMs video capabilities will grow.
4) Improve these things on the interface
a) The rating stars are far far too hard to click and get the desired rating on the main screen
b) A better large text mode so I can see stuff across the room
c) A Windows 7 Media Center like mode that is beautiful and fills the whole screen that has now playing info and a few other things
5) A dedicated lyrics viewer that I can scale to any size and doesn't depend on Internet Explorer. Currently MM3 with Lyrics Viewer has worked well but I had many problems before
Agreed on those. Stars suck (i use keyboard shortcuts all the time) and some MediaCenter mode would be great. I really miss a lyrics viewer with support for synced lyrics. I know i can use minilyrics but it's just buggy as hell with mediamonkey :-?

Actually i think most poeple here agree more or less on the fact the MMs interface can be improved. Most of the discussion came from some people seeing interface as more important than others. I'm not a typical user on that area as i still use some command line tools :lol:

Sebastian78
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:17 am

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by Sebastian78 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:21 am

Design is all in the little things you don't really see but somehow still manage to notice.

I agree with the suggestions above, it's a great start.

I've said it before, MM is great no AMAZING at editing and keeping my library in pristine condition. I can sit hours and "clean" my library even further. But it sucks as a mediaplayer I would like to have as a piece of living room "furniture". Try to use MM on your widescreen, think it looks good?

Before, when I was an "echt geek", I played my mp3's in my bedroom on my computer while surfing the web. Now, I want to sit in my living room and LISTEN to music without doing anything else. For this, Mediamonkey is terrible. It's "too geeky" in a situation like this, too many options, not polished enought. For this, I want something visually pleasing either on my wall mounted widescreen tv or a small standalone LCD screen connected to a media-pc.

Mediamonkey should have a "Two Faced Interface"
- One should be like it is now, EVERYTHING available. That way it would satisfy the "traditionalists" who doesn't want it to change AND it would satisfy me who want this view for backend library editing and maintenance
- Second view should be a polished mediaplayer view, where no MP3 tag editing or anything else should be visable. Your library, album cover, song rating, playlists etc.
- It should be tabbed

In my livingrooom I use my iPad in a dock, AirPlay and Spotify. It just works......
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Lowlander
Posts: 46093
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Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by Lowlander » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:17 pm

Acually MediaMonkey 4 has proven great for playing music all around the house thanks to DLNA.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

plexicrunch
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 6:54 am

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by plexicrunch » Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:41 pm

Media Monkey, MonkeyTunes and an iPad w/ Remote is one of the slickest ways to play back music ever. I do agree that as a pure music player, the MM UI takes a backseat to apps like WMP, but some of the Autoplaylist and other functions offer so much power that I'll stick with the MM/MT/iPad approach.

DJSigma
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:12 pm

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by DJSigma » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:29 pm

I installed MM4 today. My first impressions were not good at all. It took over all file associations for audio and video without asking. The user interface is, to be honest, bloody awful - ugly and over-complicated. Also, only about a fifth of the music from my library was showing. I usually browse by genre and I have 34 different genres, but MM4 listed 5 and it also had a ton of music listed under "unknown" and "misc". All of my music was tagged with MP3Tag and the tags are detected 100% correctly by MM3.

I was really disappointed, because I expected a fresh new look that's more in line with the Windows 7 look. I'm not one of those people that just go "it's different and therefore I don't like it!", lol. I really do think this is a step back and now that I've used it I can see where this review was coming from. I'm back on MM3 now.

Lowlander
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Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by Lowlander » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:48 pm

1) Well, you allowed MediaMonkey 4 to associate itself and thus it did. Your prompted to set this up on first run or can change this afterwards under Tools > Options > OS Integration.

2) MediaMonkey 4 has moved things around a bit from MediaMonkey 3, but you can reorder everything back the way it was in MediaMonkey 3. Just enable the Titlebar for the different window elements and drag & drop them back to were you'd like them.

3) MediaMonkey 4 uses Collections instead of Filters and uses Type to define what fits in what default Collection. You can enable the Entire Library Collection (same as the unfiltered Library node in MediaMonkey 3) to see all files or create/customize existing Collections (MediaMonkey 3's Filters) based on your needs (Gold feature). Furthermore on upgrade your MediaMonkey 3 database will be converted so all tags will be intact.

Anybody that is set in their ways will find things not to like, I really dislike the Properties dialog rearrangement, but it seems this is a hasty conclusion. You'll need a bit more time to explore MediaMonkey 4 as several things have been changed. You might even need some time to have it grow on you (just see the huge amount of negative feedback on each Facebook update, yet pretty much everybody still uses it and likes it) if you're a long time 3.x user, but many things can be resolved by asking questions.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

DJSigma
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:12 pm

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by DJSigma » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:08 pm

There was no prompt to set file associations when running the installer for MM4. When I reinstalled MM3, there was and I could check individual boxes for each file type.

As for the other things you mentioned, that leaves me with no incentive at all to upgrade. When I started using MM3 I assumed that it was fairly old software (even though I know it's been updated quite recently - but the core of it I mean) and that MM4 would be a slick, more modern version. It really isn't. It looks like a piece of software from 10 years ago on a default install, the skin choice doesn't really improve that all that much, and your average user will take one look at the UI and think "forget it" and go back to iTunes or whatever they were using before.

When I installed MM3, I liked the default skin, I did minimal tweaking to the toolbars and button layout, and adding my entire collection of music led to it being perfectly sorted in MM just as I wanted it. That's why I paid for a lifetime license. I thought that version 3 of the software was slick, functional, easy to use (but with lots of advanced features if you look under the hood) but a little dated in terms of the UI. Look at your explanation of how 4 organises music for instance: -
MediaMonkey 4 uses Collections instead of Filters and uses Type to define what fits in what default Collection.
What does that even mean? It seems like change for change sake, when what should have been improved (the UI) has taken a step back.

Lowlander
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Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by Lowlander » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:15 pm

DJSigma wrote:There was no prompt to set file associations when running the installer for MM4.
When you first run MediaMonkey a shortened version of the Options opens up that allows you to set initial settings including file associations.

It means that instead of having to go into a menu to switch Filters you now can easily in one click change which Collection you're using. This is much faster, thus I would say improved.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

pmh
Posts: 16
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Location: France

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by pmh » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:27 pm

MediaMonkey 4 uses Collections instead of Filters and uses Type to define what fits in what default Collection.
What does that even mean? It seems like change for change sake, when what should have been improved (the UI) has taken a step back.
The MM4 UI is different because MM4 at last lives up to it's name and manages/plays "media" & not just music. Some changes were necessary to manage videos. It's not better or even worse, it's just somewhat different to the way MM3 did some things. I got used to the MM4 UI pretty quickly without having a hissy fit in public just because it changed & while there are a few things I'd like changed, I'll wait for a guide to skinning MM4 comes out to adjust them.

It is clear is that you are unwilling to explore MM4 and are not technically proficient enough to understand how it can be easily adapted to taste.

It took me all of 30 seconds to look up what collections are in MM4 and to begin to understand how they expand MM4's possibilities. Did you even try looking through the different screens in tools=>Options? Probably not, It's too hard for you. You're too set in your ways. It's probably useless to even try to explain any changes because you equate different with worse. Stick with MM3. Everyone will waste less time.

DJSigma
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:12 pm

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by DJSigma » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:00 pm

pmh wrote:It is clear is that you are unwilling to explore MM4 and are not technically proficient enough to understand how it can be easily adapted to taste.

It took me all of 30 seconds to look up what collections are in MM4 and to begin to understand how they expand MM4's possibilities. Did you even try looking through the different screens in tools=>Options? Probably not, It's too hard for you. You're too set in your ways. It's probably useless to even try to explain any changes because you equate different with worse. Stick with MM3. Everyone will waste less time.
What utter nonsense. I suppose it's easier to attack the character of the person making criticisms than attack their points though, right?
Lowlander wrote:When you first run MediaMonkey a shortened version of the Options opens up that allows you to set initial settings including file associations.
Nope, I didn't get that either. I would rather an application NOT assume that I want it to take over all file associations associated with media files, then have to go into the options to uncheck them because then they still have to be re-associated with the applications I was using previously. It's not good design.
Lowlander wrote:You can enable the Entire Library Collection (same as the unfiltered Library node in MediaMonkey 3) to see all files or create/customize existing Collections (MediaMonkey 3's Filters) based on your needs (Gold feature).
I've just enabled this view. Instead of the 34 genres of music I have, I get these: -

Unknown
Electro
Hip-Hop
misc
unclass

Loads of my music doesn't show up. Some of it that's tagged as hip-hop appears under "misc", while some of it appears under "Hip-Hop".

If I choose "change to Microplayer", MM4 just disappears completely. The toolbar is enabled when I right-click the Windows taskbar, but it just doesn't show up. I have to close MM4 via Task Manager.

Even just trying to drag the toolbar items around is a ball ache. For instance, try and move the search box to the middle of the screen. It doesn't work unless you place it on a row all to itself, because the Context toolbar is deemed to take up the whole width of the screen, even though the buttons on that toolbar don't even take up a fifth of the width of the screen.

I regret buying a lifetime license for this now. It is butt ugly and broken.

Lowlander
Posts: 46093
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Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by Lowlander » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:06 pm

It would seem you installed as Portable Install and didn't do an upgrade. Thus your MediaMonkey 3 database isn't used.

To resolve just replace the portable MM.DB with the MediaMonkey 3 database and start MediaMonkey. For locations see: http://www.mediamonkey.com/support/inde ... ticleid=17

This would also explain the missing microplayer as the Portable Install can't modify files on the host which is required for enabling the microplayer.

As for file association, MediaMonkey behaves the same as other media applications. During install or first launch the media application defaults to selecting file types to be associated with and gives the user the option to unassociated. If you'd had done an upgrade of MediaMonkey 3 it should've remembered your previous file associations for music files (I'm assuming as I've only done a Portable Install like you so far).
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

DJSigma
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:12 pm

Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by DJSigma » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:18 pm

Lowlander wrote:It would seem you installed as Portable Install and didn't do an upgrade. Thus your MediaMonkey 3 database isn't used.
The box to install as portable was left unchecked. Thanks for the tips on fixing it, but I'm just going to wait until a few versions down the line and then try it again.
Lowlander wrote:As for file association, MediaMonkey behaves the same as other media applications.
Apart from MediaMonkey 3, which asks you which file types you'd like to associate on install. :D

Before switching to MM I used Winamp, which also asks which file types you want to associate on install. Windows Media Player also asks when you first set it up. I wouldn't say it's the norm to hijack all audio/video file associations.

Lowlander
Posts: 46093
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Re: MM4 review: "From great to terrible?"

Post by Lowlander » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:37 pm

And MediaMonkey 4 does asks as well.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

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