Sunday, January 09, 2011

XBMC vs Boxee vs file browsers

I ditched Boxee the other day. I was sick of it eating far too many resources, never quite keeping up with my mouse, fighting me with strange user interface metaphors; ignoring some files it would never recognize and providing me with not much enjoyment.

I installed XMBC and got rid of boxee. That was before I realized how good I had it: Boxee's scraper doesn't work off regexp and demand you do crazy things to your filesystem.

What I am struggling to understand is why I can't simply have a damned metadata layer and scraper for my desktop which plugs easily into the file browser.

All that both Boxee and XBMC are really doing is scrape, fetch, and organise. XBMC does it better with a few widgets like "recently discovered espisodes"; but even then; how hard is it?

I advocate the semantic web stack just because this is the very problem those tools should be able to solve in a trivial fashion; but I don't understand why this has not been achieved by anyone else in the last decade.

It's not like web scraping is mind bogglingly hard, nor matching little bits of string against certain sources. Musicbrainz solved the problem for mp3s some time ago: if the same can't be done for video content, I would be surprised. Additionally, it's not like relational databases are a new thing: they have been around for a bit, and that's all you really need: schema, inserts, and the web scraper organising it all.

So it really, really pains me when the Boxee/XBMC/Gnome world can't get it right. Why does Gnome/Gnautilus still treat media basically like this:

Whilst your original design might have been GUI filesystem explorer, what I actually want from you is GUI-like-XBMC-Metadata-displayer.
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