Pronto Neo prompts thoughts

Today I spent four hours programming the remote. Four freakin’ hours.

It’s a Philips Pronto Neo. One of those fancy ones with an LCD as well as regular buttons, where you can basically design whatever set of buttons you need or want to operate any concievable piece of equipment. It was expensive, and a pain to set up, but—and here’s the point—it has replaced nine other remotes. Hopefully it has replaced them completely, as I believe it handles all the functionality of the nine.

It occurs to me that this should not be necessary. There should be a standard protocol for operating home electronics, like there’s MIDI for musical instruments.

Furthermore, someone with a faint clue about user interface design should design the remotes. I took the opportunity to tidy things up. Now every device has the basic transport controls in the same layout… FF, REW, STOP, PLAY, PAUSE, REC, and the forward and backward track buttons. I also made the labels consistent. Finally, I set up some macro buttons to turn on four different boxes and set their inputs appropriately to (say) watch a DVD.