Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Mar 2012 20:42 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless A big day today for 20 million Android users out there: Samsung has started the process of updating the Galaxy SII to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Sadly, only a few European countries and South Korea will get it this week, although you can flash the official ROM yourself if you so desire (like I did today). Sadlier sadly, its TouchWiz is virtually identical to that of Gingerbread. Update: This is what HTC is doing to Ice Cream Sandwich. And I thought TouchWiz was bad. Please... Just - stop. Stop it. Stop doing this. Go away.
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flash a new rom
by weebnuts on Tue 13th Mar 2012 21:48 UTC
weebnuts
Member since:
2011-05-11

I'm sure if you went over to xda developers there are a few ICS roms there that will be mostly stock, so I suggest trying that. (just remember to do a nandroid backup first)!

Reply Score: 1

Truely sad
by unoengborg on Tue 13th Mar 2012 23:32 UTC
unoengborg
Member since:
2005-07-06

Samsung have thrown almost all Google efforts to improve the Android GUI out the window, and what's worse they are not alone. HTC also tries hold on to old look and feel in their new Sense 4 for their ICS update.

Many people complain that custom manufacturer specific interfaces delay the release of new Android versions, but from what we see from these Samsung and HTC updates, the effect may be even worse. They remove improvements in the GUI introduced by Google to be able to keep their old look and feel.

If it only were minor changes it would be OK, but when menus, taskhandlers, and notifications look very different it will create problems for developers that try to create well integrated apps.

If I was a Samsung SII owner I would definitively go for some custom ROM that is more true to the vanilla ICS look.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Truely sad
by patrix on Wed 14th Mar 2012 00:41 UTC in reply to "Truely sad"
patrix Member since:
2006-05-21

so let's say you don't read tech blogs and have no idea what ICS is, what stock ICS looks like, what Google released on the Nexus phones.. You use your Galaxy S II with TouchWiz, and the next day you get an update.

Everything changed colors, look, nothing is the same as before.

You'd be royally pissed off. Confused, Wouldn't know where things are or why Samsung ruined your phone.

That's probably why we'll see a more ICS look in the NEW phones coming out and not in the current phones being upgraded.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Truely sad
by blitze on Wed 14th Mar 2012 07:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Truely sad"
blitze Member since:
2006-09-15

Well, it's what Nokia did with Symbian Belle. Completely changed the interaction of the mobile OS with new menu structure and apps and desktop.

For my wife, it was a change but she has adjusted and I think the OS has vastly improved over previous implementations of Symbian OS on her N7. Takes a brave manufacturer to implement change for the better. If there is a problem, then the manufacturer can stress it as an optional update not a necessary update.

Reply Score: 3

Again, buy Nexus
by kragil on Wed 14th Mar 2012 00:29 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

Most Android phones come with a very specific Android version and UI. You decided to buy that specific version and the vendors (rightfully) expect that you want that, because you paid money to get it. Therefore they won't give you something different with an update. Most people would complain when an update just change their UI from stock Gingerbread to stock ICS.

Who really expected Samsung or HTC or Sony to ship vanilla ICS?

So get a Nexus phone and everything will be fine. (Or root and have patience) Only way to go IMO.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Again, buy Nexus
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 14th Mar 2012 00:40 UTC in reply to "Again, buy Nexus"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It's not about them adding stuff.

It's about them actively preventing us from changing it. Why can't I simply install the stock apps? What do they have to lose if a few geeks install the stock calendar and SMS app?

Reply Score: 4

v RE[2]: Again, buy Nexus
by Geekius Maximus on Wed 14th Mar 2012 04:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Again, buy Nexus"
RE[2]: Again, buy Nexus
by kragil on Wed 14th Mar 2012 10:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Again, buy Nexus"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

True,
btw I send a link to this article to my S2 owning friends and they are not OSnews regulars and I think the HTC update as is confuses people. It would be better to use something like italic or quotes or something so that people know where the update begins and ends otherwise it is hard to tell that the update was only for the front page snippet and the rest of the text still only speaks about the S2.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Wed 14th Mar 2012 02:31 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

All the reviews of ICS 4.0 have said that this is the first version of Android that doesn't need third party customisation. Let's assume the reviewers are correct then why the hell are handset vendors determined to ram down the collective throats of end users the customisations that are no longer required?

My kingdom for a well supported and design Android phone that runs vanilla Andoid ICS 4.0 and available in NZ on the XT Network.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by Soulbender on Wed 14th Mar 2012 12:54 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Let's assume the reviewers are correct then why the hell are handset vendors determined to ram down the collective throats of end users the customisations that are no longer required?


Because they have spent much time and large sums of money on creating those customizations and their customers are used to them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Wed 14th Mar 2012 14:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Because they have spent much time and large sums of money on creating those customizations and their customers are used to them.


Sorry to sound like a 'Debbie Downer' but I've yet to hear a person say, "wow, I really love TouchWiz!" and "Gee, without the phone would really suck!". It isn't something that end users want, it is something that handset vendors have rammed down the end users throats for the sake of differentiation - that apparently making sexy looking devices with good specifications isn't something end users want in a phone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by kaiwai
by Beta on Wed 14th Mar 2012 15:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Sorry to sound like a 'Debbie Downer' but I've yet to hear a person say, "wow, I really love TouchWiz!" and "Gee, without the phone would really suck!"

If they dont know that isn’t the default Android experience, how would they know to say that?

It isn't something that end users want

Citation Needed, no?

it is something that handset vendors have rammed down the end users throats for the sake of differentiation

They might learn from users that this is not the way to go, if they do not they might not have users left.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Thu 15th Mar 2012 14:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by kaiwai"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

If they dont know that isn’t the default Android experience, how would they know to say that?


Because eventually they'll come across a carrier branded phone that has NOT customisations and wonder why on earth their Android phone looks entirely different - why the cheaper carrier branded phone seems to be faster, better battery life and more reliable.

Citation Needed, no?


This isn't wikipedia - it is based on my own experiences talking to the average person. At best they'll get advice from a 'friend who is really good with computers' who happens to he a close relative of a 'friend who is really good with tools'.

They might learn from users that this is not the way to go, if they do not they might not have users left.


Why not give end users the option? allow those who want just the vanilla install to download and those who want to wait for the 'feature computer' to do so - you know, this wonderful idea of 'choice' that Android users love raving about?

Edited 2012-03-15 15:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by phoenix on Wed 14th Mar 2012 18:18 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

One (marketing) word: differentiation!!

:(

If everyone ran the same software, then the phone manufacturers would be forced to compete based on hardware, and actually make good, solid hardware. Maybe even only release a couple of great phones per year instead of a bazillion crappy ones. Can't have that!

By modifying the software, each vendor is now "unique" and "awesome" and "different" (which obviously means "better"). So now they can use crap hardware, and spam the market with a bazillion variations, all with their shiny software on top. "Look, all our phones work the same. Yay us!"

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by Neolander on Thu 15th Mar 2012 08:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

One (marketing) word: differentiation!!

:(

If everyone ran the same software, then the phone manufacturers would be forced to compete based on hardware, and actually make good, solid hardware. Maybe even only release a couple of great phones per year instead of a bazillion crappy ones. Can't have that!

By modifying the software, each vendor is now "unique" and "awesome" and "different" (which obviously means "better"). So now they can use crap hardware, and spam the market with a bazillion variations, all with their shiny software on top. "Look, all our phones work the same. Yay us!"

The problem with marketing is that sometimes it only works on marketing people ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Thu 15th Mar 2012 15:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

One (marketing) word: differentiation!!

;)

If everyone ran the same software, then the phone manufacturers would be forced to compete based on hardware, and actually make good, solid hardware. Maybe even only release a couple of great phones per year instead of a bazillion crappy ones. Can't have that!

By modifying the software, each vendor is now "unique" and "awesome" and "different" (which obviously means "better"). So now they can use crap hardware, and spam the market with a bazillion variations, all with their shiny software on top. "Look, all our phones work the same. Yay us!"


The third party enhancements made sense when Android suck giant rocks but almost every reviewer of the vanilla build of Android 4.0 note that the need for these third party changes ceased being a requirement now that Android 4.0 is a much more cohesive and consistent product for the end user. In other words the third party changes were required to add some much needed TLC for fit and finish but these days with the launch of ICS the requirement has gone since such polish has already been done.

I have an iPhone 4 but if an alternative came along such as a boot loader unlocked phone supporting the latest version of Android, constantly updated and vanilla builds plus available on the XT network I'd move to it in a heart beat but Android handset vendors seem to be hell bent on forcing me to choose the iPhone every time I'm in the market for a new phone.

Edited 2012-03-15 15:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

they can't stop
by kristoph on Wed 14th Mar 2012 05:09 UTC
kristoph
Member since:
2006-01-01

You can't compete in the mobile space on speeds and feeds, you have to have a different look and how much different can you really make a smart phone?

So HTC et al has to resort to UI hackery to differentiate.

]{

PS. Your point about the preventing people from removing that shit is valid certainly.

Reply Score: 2

Rediculous!
by rfox on Wed 14th Mar 2012 07:51 UTC
rfox
Member since:
2009-08-20

I fail to understand why companies like Samsung or HTC are so blind to their customers. They have the right to sell their products with custom styles like TouchWiz or Sense - but they should at least offer the ability (especially for the tech savvy) to install a stock Android as well (like ICS) - worst case, they should at least support a site like XDA and supply the necessary hardware drivers so other community devs can create such an alternative. This would increase the appeal of their products dramatically!

Edited 2012-03-14 07:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Re:
by kurkosdr on Wed 14th Mar 2012 10:35 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

" So get a Nexus phone and everything will be fine."

You mean a phone like the Nexus S, which still has to officially get ICS? (it briefly got an upgrade to 4.0, then the update got pulled by Google after it was found to have problems, then nothing).

I am starting to get sick and tired of this upgrade brouhaha. The fiasco with the Nexus S made Google's excuses about "those evil OEMs" irrelevant, and showed Android's real problem, which is that each new version of Android has to be ported to each CPU out there. When Google "releases" the source for the new version, they just release code for whatever CPU the current Nexus is running, and it's all in the air about phones running other CPUs.

OEMs having to port their UIs is an extra, but as the Nexus S showed us, it's not the only issue,

If this thing isn't resolved, by having a list of phones "gurranteed to get upgrades for 2 years" (Google tried that with the upgrade alliance, but it was dead from day 1), I am moving to Windows Phone. You know, the OS from the evil company that supports existing customers well.

Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.2; el-gr; LG-P990 Build/FRG83G) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 MMS/LG-Android-MMS-V1.0/1.2

Reply Score: 1

Maybe we should start a petition?
by rfox on Wed 14th Mar 2012 10:42 UTC
rfox
Member since:
2009-08-20

If enough people signed a petition to the manufacturers to at least allow developers like XDA to have access to the drivers - so they could port clean ICS and future Android releases to the various phones out there.

Or they can offer to users the ability to download a clean ICS firmware (for those that want it) - it would increase the value and interest in many of the devices out there . . .

Reply Score: 1

ICS Custom ROM
by XenonXZ on Wed 14th Mar 2012 11:02 UTC
XenonXZ
Member since:
2011-05-25

I haven't used stock ROMS for ages, I like to say what I want installed on my phone, so I'm gona wait for a custom clean ICS stable ROM... Or if I get bored, learn how to make my own.

Reply Score: 1

RE: ICS Custom ROM
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 14th Mar 2012 11:04 UTC in reply to "ICS Custom ROM"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I haven't used stock ROMS for ages, I like to say what I want installed on my phone, so I'm gona wait for a custom clean ICS stable ROM... Or if I get bored, learn how to make my own.


Or wait for this to be done for the official ROM - should be tonight, according to its dev.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1334922

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: ICS Custom ROM
by XenonXZ on Wed 14th Mar 2012 11:15 UTC in reply to "RE: ICS Custom ROM"
XenonXZ Member since:
2011-05-25

Cool, cheers for that!

Reply Score: 1

stop whining start acting
by dsmogor on Wed 14th Mar 2012 11:43 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

Ok. Ladies and gentleman why don't you stop whining and start voting with your vallets?
If you want PC like env on your phones why don't you look what traditional PC companies have up in their sleeve? Lenovo Asus Acer have nice stock pure ICS devices. Add Chineese tigers like Huawei and ZTE to that and you have a preety good choice to select from.
Och they are not subsided, well do you now see where the problem lies?

Reply Score: 3

What's wrong with Sense?
by Soulbender on Wed 14th Mar 2012 12:15 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

According to the article the user experience in Sense is pretty much the same as before so what is this horrible thing that HTC is doing?

Reply Score: 2

RE: What's wrong with Sense?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 14th Mar 2012 12:33 UTC in reply to "What's wrong with Sense?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Sense was horrible to begin with, but compared to the elegance that is ICS it stands out even more.

I for the life of me can't understand why people like GRADIENT-ALL-THE-THINGS Sense.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: What's wrong with Sense?
by Soulbender on Wed 14th Mar 2012 12:42 UTC in reply to "RE: What's wrong with Sense?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Well, a lot of people obviously like it and has gotten used to the Sense UI so HTC did the right thing by keeping the user experience pretty much the same.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: What's wrong with Sense?
by phoenix on Wed 14th Mar 2012 18:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: What's wrong with Sense?"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

"Accustomed to" and "like" are not synonyms. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: What's wrong with Sense?
by Soulbender on Thu 15th Mar 2012 03:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: What's wrong with Sense?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I bet that for the majority of people who aren't mobile gadget geeks "being accustomed to" is more important than not getting the "genuine" Android experience.

Reply Score: 2

Why do they even bother?
by gan17 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 12:22 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

The question is, why do companies like Samsung, Sony, HTC, etc even bother with all this "skinning" in the first place? Touchwiz and Sense seemed okay when Android was new and didn't really have a decent UI, but stock Gingerbread was pretty usable out of the box (not perfect, though) and ICS is supposedly better.

The manufacturers obviously have to spend money on this. Is it pressure from careers or something?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Why do they even bother?
by dsmogor on Wed 14th Mar 2012 13:55 UTC in reply to "Why do they even bother?"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

As moto CEO explained mostly bc carriers want that. Stores that feature rows of seemingly differing phones with identicall UIs just doesn't genrate sales. This is apparently proven by lackluster WP sales.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Why do they even bother?
by _Nine_ on Wed 14th Mar 2012 14:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Why do they even bother?"
_Nine_ Member since:
2010-10-13

As moto CEO explained mostly bc carriers want that. Stores that feature rows of seemingly differing phones with identicall UIs just doesn't genrate sales. This is apparently proven by lackluster WP sales.


Why doesn't the same logic follow with rows of PCs with identical UIs?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Why do they even bother?
by unoengborg on Wed 14th Mar 2012 17:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Why do they even bother?"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

As moto CEO explained mostly bc carriers want that. Stores that feature rows of seemingly differing phones with identicall UIs just doesn't genrate sales. This is apparently proven by lackluster WP sales.



Ths low WP7 sales have nothing to do with that all WP phones have the same technical spec, the same OS and the same look and feel. You could just as well try to prove the opposite by looking at Apple, all iPhones comes with the same OS, and still Apple is the leading brand in the smartphone market.

So my conlcusion would be that sales are not related to branded user interfaces customizations. If I need a phone I go and buy one phone, not two phones. If I have to chose from 20 dull models or 20 different models I will still leave the shop with just one phone. The differences in hardware will be enough for people to decide what phone to buy. If you don't beleive me, just look at the discussions on various forums on plastic Samsungs vs heavy metal unibody HTC.

Wouldn't it be much better to sell the phones with a vanilla OS and offer the customizatons as a luxury option. That way samsung could sell Touch Wiz to HTC, Motorola and Sony buyers for a price, the higher the better. A high prices would only point out the luxury value, and offer it for free if you bought a Samsung phone.

That way users that liked Touch Wiz would have an incentive to buy Samsung, and Samsung could still make profit from people that liked Touch Wiz but preferred non Samsung hardware, and finally they would not put off people that dislike Touch Wiz from buying Samsung phones.

They could also have a faster upgrade cycle for the software than for the phones. That way they could sell upgrades to none Samsung hardware owners, and once again give Samsung users an incentive to buy a new phone as the new phone of course always would give them the latest luxury Touch wiz.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Why do they even bother?
by dsmogor on Wed 14th Mar 2012 18:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why do they even bother?"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Apple is a phenomena unlike anything else on the market. Drawing generalizing conclusions from it is always risky.

Edited 2012-03-14 18:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Why do they even bother?
by unoengborg on Thu 15th Mar 2012 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why do they even bother?"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple is a phenomena unlike anything else on the market. Drawing generalizing conclusions from it is always risky.



And so is WP7. It is a brand new OS on a highly competitive market. On top of that WP7 have less features than both Android and iOS. Did they really expect that to sell well. This doesn't mean that WP7 can't be a success some time in the future, but it will take some feature development, time and marketing. iOS was far from feature complete when it was first released, but look at it now.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Why do they even bother?
by dsmogor on Thu 15th Mar 2012 13:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Why do they even bother?"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

You seem to agree with me. Apple could get away with missing features, MS couldn't. Their following that is radiating recommendations on every direction is something that no other company has in any industry.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Why do they even bother?
by dsmogor on Wed 14th Mar 2012 18:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why do they even bother?"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Samsung android Touch Wiz is (visually) compatible with Samsung Bada TW, Samsung WM TW and Samsung feature phones TW.
That's how Samsung cares about its loyal customers, providing them an easy upgrade path. Apparently the strategy works for them.
Not only switching GUIs would be hard to grasp for most of their customers but supporting 2 variants (TW and vanilla) cost money. They will sooner drop Android than the TW.
For people consciously choosing plain ICS experience Samsung has created Galaxy Nexus.
Same goes for HTC.
If one doesn't like TW the competition on Android HW market (including products of companies I've mentioned in my previous post) is more than enough.

Edited 2012-03-14 18:51 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Why do they even bother?
by unoengborg on Thu 15th Mar 2012 12:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Why do they even bother?"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

It's not as simple as, if you prefer vanilla, you buy a Nexus.

When companies upgrade their products to Android 4 but remove features, or make major changes to their function it poses a problem to app developers. If some big brand deside to make notifikations or menus very different from the standard, developers will have to avoid features that use these features, and these features will then be absent not just on Samsung phones, but on all phones, just like features that clash with e.g. HTC sense will be absent on Samsung phones even if they had worked perfectly on Samsung. That way too much customization is a problem for all Android users, and buying a Nexus won't solve that problem.

I have no problem with Samsung making changes to their look and feel, but if they decide to do such changes it should be an addition to the standard behavior.

Reply Score: 2

Re:
by kurkosdr on Wed 14th Mar 2012 14:11 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

Ok. Ladies and gentleman why don't you stop whining and start voting with your vallets? If you want PC like env on your phones why don't you look what traditional PC companies have up in their sleeve? Lenovo Asus Acer have nice stock pure ICS devices. Add Chineese tigers like Huawei and ZTE to that and you have a preety good choice to select from."

And what makes you think those manufacturers will push updates in time (or at least in reasonable time)? There is no guarantee. Just look at Nexus S. It runs stock Android (no UI to be ported) and still no ICS.

CustomUIs are not a problem, it's something you can decide if you like it or not at the time of purchase. Upgrades are a problem. There is no way to know how your phone will do regarding upgrades. Even judging OEMs based on past performance may lead you to a wrong choice. Purposely selecting a phone running stock or near stock Android may lead you to a wrong choice (see Nexus or the first Motorola Droid). It's all luck. You can try to increase your chances, but in the end, it's all luck. Windows Phone upgrades are not luck, they are a certainity (even the Omnia eventually got all upgrades) and i am starting to like that.

Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.2; el-gr; LG-P990 Build/FRG83G) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 MMS/LG-Android-MMS-V1.0/1.2

Reply Score: 2

RE: Re:
by dsmogor on Thu 15th Mar 2012 08:19 UTC in reply to "Re:"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Last gen WM6 phones didn't gey the upgrade despite frequently being perfectly capable tp handle that (thank god xda is here with Anxfoid builds).
As for WP we'll talk again when Apollo is released.
First shipped versions of WP were absurdly underfeatured and MS knew they couldn't have gotten away with upgrade problems. Now that the platform matured they seem to hint app compatibility preservation only.

Reply Score: 2

Why I'm holding off
by Chrispynutt on Wed 14th Mar 2012 14:46 UTC
Chrispynutt
Member since:
2012-03-14

One of the nice things about my Acer Liquid with 2.2 was the option to switch UIs and switch keyboards to vanilla.

I was also impressed with the Transformer Prime level of branding, really just some nice extra apps, widgets and extensions. No other crap.

Worth noting even Huawei and ZTE are busy mucking up ICS when they had previously kept most things vanilla Android.

Aside from the Galaxy Nexus the Asus Padfone is the least branded of the new ICS phones.

Reply Score: 1

hmm
by siimo on Fri 16th Mar 2012 21:58 UTC
siimo
Member since:
2006-06-22

So I went to a store with my dad and he had a play around with the Galaxy Nexus and to him it was difficult to use compared to an HTC phone I think the Velocity 4G. I think ICS needs to get more user friendly unfortunately.

Reply Score: 2