NOW TV issues

I recently signed up to a trial of NOW TV, it probably has the best film collection of any streaming service in the UK. Unfortunately I did not like the experience at all, and cancelled the month after the trial. My experience is below;

Setting up

Signed up for the trial, doesn’t work in Chrome then doesn’t work in Edge, ok lets use IE11 – ah don’t have silverlight, download, install, ready, crashes.

Not a great start, so installing Firefox I’m able to actually stream content on my laptop finally. The video quality was fine and it streamed well.

Next step, connect it to the TV. – Ok install the app on the WII U – there isn’t one.. Fine, install it on the iPad and plug that into HDMI. Oh HDMI output is disabled from the app.

Forced to plug in my laptop to the TV with HDMI, annoying. At least its simple to select a film and stream, can’t find how to enable subtitles have a google.. NOW TV doesn’t support subtitles. Amazing. I just assumed that everywhere under the sun supports subtitles, its a basic thing I take for granted. Its on their ‘Ideas Board’ people are requesting the ‘Idea’ of supporting subtitles..

Fine anyway. I can stream a film, from a device I don’t want to that’s inconvenient with no subtitles but it works. Until it doesn’t.

Broken

Now I did watch a few films successfully, but out of the blue, and just after the trial had expired and I paid a month of membership. It stops working.

I get the message;

(T6030) – There’s a problem with one of your connected audio or visual outputs.

Followed the help link, updated graphics drivers, reinstall Silerlight, I’m on a Laptop with nothing plugged in. Same error.

I try to send a support email;

They’re support system doesn’t allow + in the email address. But that’s what I signed up with and the site won’t let me change it. So I get a validation error on a form field I can’t edit.

They say talk to their live chat, it gets escalated to Email, after two days I get a reply. Capture

I was annoyed, luckily they responded with.

Eh?

I’m not Mervyn, and I have no idea where that name came from. I replied to the email, also stating this, and giving them my London based IP address, they never replied. Emailed again, never replied. I cancelled my account. I have no way of playing NOW TV on my TV.

Conclusion

NOW TV is shit.

  • Doesn’t work in Chrome
  • Doesn’t work in Edge
  • Crashes IE11
  • Needs Silverlight
  • HDMI out on iPad is disabled
  • No subtitles
  • Bad support
  • Doesn’t work. At. All. On my laptop.

Its a million miles away from Netflix in functionality, even if it has a better film catalogue. Its very annoying that NOW TV is considerably worse than illegal alternatives like Popcorn Time. In the future renting a film from Amazon Video will work out better, if they offer it. But it still is hard to legally rent a film.

Argos downtime

The Argos website was down for maintenance for about 12 hours.

Was it necessary to take the website offline for such a long time – even if they picked a low traffic time. A company the size of Argos should have been able to plan a catalogue update with no downtime. Its like the Glastonbury ticket sales always crashing, it can be done with no downtime, but they can’t really be bothered to do it.

Also Happy New Year!

The end of YUI

Yesterday 29/08/2014 Yahoo announced they would stop all new development of YUI, the once popular JavaScript framework. In their announcment they go into detail about how the web has changed since YUI first came about, and how its not the right product for the current JS world.

I agree with that, having used YUI back in the day, I wouldn’t have considered it in recent times. Even when YUI3 was released, it was too late, already on the decline. Back when jQuery didn’t have its dominance, you would always look at YUI, would it solve this particular problem, and it most cases it did. It did have many weaknesses, that led to its decline.

  • Verbose – remembering all the syntax, that should make DOM manipulation easier, were often longer than native..
  • Large – Both in file size and amount of features.
  • Dependencies – To use feature X you need to include Y and Z
  • Ugly
  • Strongly tied together – I for one would not use jQuery if it was tied into jQuery UI. Because jQuery UI is terrible.

This is one of the big reasons I believe jQuery came out so massively on top. It offered simple syntax for everyday tasks without dependencies. Keeping  jQuery UI very separate.

But at the time, it did a job. It could have done a better job if they really looked at making syntax developer friendly though. The documentation was good, the community was good, it existed at the right time. Its sad to see development end, but it’s definitely time.

The annoying back button

Blogger has the most annoying mobile UX feature I have come across lately. The swipe and back action.

The back that doesn’t actually go back, but always to the list of all blog posts. So if you have a table that is larger than the screen size, you go right to view it, then back left.. and you’ve gone back to the home page…
Even when a page is properly formatted with no left or right scrolling, when would a swipe right to go back be good UX for a webpage? It’s not consistent across websites, I already have a back button on my mobile and there is no hint that swiping goes back, until you do it.

Screenshot_2014-07-26-11-19-20

This is an example, of an idea that seemed clever at the time, but actually damages the users experience.

mz-hosting.com is back up

mz-hosting.com is back up. Sorry for the inconvenience. You can continue download the Prestashop Amazon payments module free for European users.

What happened?
We were transferring registrars, and the transfer seemed to get stuck in no-mans land. It seems the domain was in a transfer out status, so no reminder emails were sent and the domain didn’t appear in the control panel.
I managed to get through to UK2 second line support and they swiftly sorted it out. If it happens again, know to ask for second line straight away.

Post2China Beta Signup available

I’ve just launched Post2China. Its online for beta customers now. If you’d like to be involved signup and you’ll get a login shortly.

Post2China is a service for UK based shops and ecommerce sites who’d like to post their items to China.  Cheap rates and no need to worry about the language, for more info head over to the site.

It’s built with Angular JS, Node.js and Express.js. You’ll only get to see the fancy cost calculator when you login, so you’ll have to signup or wait for the public launch.

 

MongoDB on CentOS

I started installing MongoDB on my CentOS virtual machine, following the tutorial at: http://docs.mongodb.org/manual/tutorial/install-mongodb-on-red-hat-centos-or-fedora-linux/

It came up with the error ‘No Package mongo-10gen available’, but I’ve already added the MongoDB repo to Yum? – Oh its because my virtual machine is 32bit and I’ve added the 64bit repo. A quick change, still not working, a quick ‘yum clean all’ sorts it and all is installed.

I’ve installed MongoVUE to access MongoDB, useful for listing out data and inserting quickly for testing, works well on Windows.  I’m using MongoDB with Node, the MongoDB Mongoose library is really good, allowing model schemas for a great MVC base. Out of MySQL, RethinkDB and MongoDB (The databases I’ve used with Node), I’d recommend MongoDB for the best supported database when developing with Node.js.

My development setup

I’ve been optimising and tweaking my development environment to try and get the most reliable and easy to use setup.

I use Windows, my main development machine is a Sony laptop, from experience trying to install Linux on a laptop will end in tears (especially this one where windows drivers only just work). If someone buys me a Macbook I’ll use it.

For development I’ve learnt a long time ago that windows is not great, missing dependencies, unreliable ports, annoying path problems. A virtual machine it is. I’ve always use CentOS for servers, so continued this for the virtual machine. No GUI needed, and its always good to have the same linux distro on dev and live.

I started by using VirtualBox shared folders to share files from windows. The problem with this is permissions and symlinks, the shared folder inherits the set permission and can’t have per-file or per-folder permissions. Symlinks just can’t exist with windows shared folders. Symlinks are really useful and losing them is a pain, the folder permissions cause problems when going into a live environment with proper permissions.

So I’ve switched to Samba network folders, so I can keep all the advantages of  the Linux file system whilst using windows as the development environment.
An important thing to do is map the network location to a drive, this greatly improves the performance of editing files on the virtual machine. Without the mapping there can be a couple of second delays randomly while editing a file in Sublime that can drive you crazy, map the location and all is well.

The Setup  For PHP, Node, Python and Go
Windows 8.1 Sony Laptop
VirtualBox CentOS Linux
Gulp
Sublime text 3

Centos of VirtualBox
CentOS on VirtualBox

 
I rarely shut down the computer, and so the virtual machine chugs along in the background happily. When I do need to reboot or properly shutdown I save the virtual machine state, so its always available instantly or a few seconds of resuming.
The best of both worlds, Linux development with Windows tools and software. I’m sure some people would say I’ve just described OSX. 😉