Sunday, October 08, 2006

Letter to Logitech

After trying to set up my Harmony 520 again, I got pretty mad at how horrible the software is. I wrote and sent this to Logitech:

Now, I understand that you're mainly a hardware company, and that's fine. I'm happy with your hardware, and I'm happy with the remote I'm writing to complain about right now. The remote itself is fine, and the only bad part is that it took several hours to set up, and right now I am unable to modify its behavior.

The setup software is the absolute worst thing I've ever had to use, and there's no way around it, as far as I know, if I want to be able to use the product. It would be more usable if you gave us a sheet describing the I/O protocols that are used over the USB connection to the device, and told us to write our own software.

Please, fire whoever came up with the brilliant idea to make a half assed HTML/javascript interface to a remote control setup program. Fire the developer who thought it would be a good idea to put a list of 9 million companies in a dropdown, and fire the guy on the business side who thought that they could somehow profit from forcing a web connection every time you want to do anything. That's too monumentally stupid to have come from anyone who's ever written a line of code that would compile, so I assume it was a management call. Fire that guy (or girl).

Right now, I can't modify the behavior of my remote, since it won't let me do something like say "hey, when I'm playing a video game, the volume buttons should be doing something, like controlling the volume." I don't know if my cable modem (which works at around 500 KB/s for downloads, upload should be irrelevant unless you're stealing some personal information that you hope I have) isn't fast enough, or what. I think the script is just so terrible that it's looping infinitely.

How hard would it be to just download the information for each device once, and then allow the user to modify behaviors to their heart's content. There's no good reason to demand a network login to change what the buttons do. None at all, unless someone over at Logitech gets to laugh an evil giggle whenever they hear about someone else not being able to make their hardware do anything. Not only did I pay over $100 for a remote control, I can't even set the thing up.

So pretty please with sugar on top, de-hire every software person that you have who worked on this at any level (from the guy who thought that this sort of usage was a good idea, to the retard who did the implementation) and hire a random homeless guy to interview replacements. Fire the business guy who wanted logins and constant network activity to set up a remote control, and don't replace him. He's obviously not doing anything worthwhile.

You'll end up with far better software in the future, and I won't be afraid to buy your excellent hardware for fear of needing to use your ridiculous software to make it usable.

Here's what I got so far:

Your Question has been Submitted
The reference number for your question is '061009-000074'


Brute Force said...

Keep us up to date on this... that's one hell of a bitchy e-mail letter you wrote. Would be great if you got free shit out of it, given the tone.

Anonymous said...

Well done. I have to agree with you on the fact that the remote software is totally crap. A better (and more sane) method would be to store the database on the web and only have the software connect to the net IF the user wants to set up a standard device.

The biggest problem I found (apart from being on dialup) is that I could not have a "blank" device. So I can have just the IR functions I want. For example, I have a simple 5.1 amp, the software gave me one selection (which I was forced to select) that had over 100 IR functions. My devices had volume functions for each channel, plus master volume and bass settings.

Generally, I hate this software. A blind monkey with nothing more than a stick could create something better.

It took me over 5 hours to set up the remote to a point I was satisfied with it. I almost took it back.