Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why ABQ's Most Frequent Feature Request Won't Be Built

Nice people frequently email me with feature requests for A Better Queue. The most frequent request asks to build a filter for Rotten Tomatoes' audience ratings. While I appreciate such a response to the site, this request doesn't fit ABQ's philosophy.

Audiences are smart, but we're not that smart. We miss what critics pick up. Critics watch much more than us and have a wider basis for judgement. Of course critics aren't correct all of the time, but that is the genius behind the Tomatometer. It gives an accurate reading of quality via aggregation, and brings us closer to objectivity.

Audience scores are certainly an indicator of something, but not one of quality. A person corresponding with me recently said that audience scores are good indicators of entertainment value. I think that's pretty accurate. But a movie's ability to entertain can only be part of the rubric. The intelligent and open viewer wants to be challenged by great films, not merely entertained by questionable ones.

I leave these contrasts between audiences and critics for your consideration:

Twilight Saga: New Moon


Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Colors

A Better Queue now has better colors and buttons. Big thanks to super amazing designer and girlfriend Allie Runnion for her input regarding the buttons. <3 <3 <3

The new features I promised are being worked on and will be here soon.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Better Queue will be open sourced

I'll also blog about developing new features with Behavior Driven Development.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Introducing A Better Queue


Welcome to A Better Blueueg, a blag for A Better Queue. Updates to will be posted here, among other things. This is my first development project, so I may write about code, too.

A Better Queue

A Better Queue let's you filter and browse Netflix instant movies by Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. Set your own threshold for quality via consensus of the critics. You also filter by years and genres. Simple.

Why this was made

First, I love Netflix.

Second, I want to help you find good movies faster.

Let's stop wading through shitty movies. Let's stop wasting time.

Quick story:

Every once and a while, the planets align. My friends' lovely wives will sometimes let them out to play, all at the same time. When this happens, we usually plan some sort of self-aware, stereotypically masculine "man nite" where bad food, good beer, N64 Goldeneye, and a Netflix movie are called for. We're picky when it comes to choosing movies. We don't want our time wasted with crap 'flix. We found the Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer to be a pretty reliable indicator of movie quality. So we'd have two tabs open on our browsers: Netflix and Rotten Tomatoes. We'd scour Netflix for something that looked good and then check out its Tomatometer on the other tab. Too much work. Too much time wasted looking for a good movie. The solution? Take Netflix's currently streaming movies that have a Tomatometer percentage and put them all in one place.

Thus, A Better Queue.

Why this is good

It's simple. Filter with your criteria. Browse. Click the Tomatometer % for the movie's Rotten Tomatoes page. Click the poster for the movie's Netflix page. Enjoy.

How it will be better

Strengthening the reliability of the Tomatometer

Tomatometer percentage is based on the ratio of positive to negative reviews for any given movie. Simple enough. However, lots of movies with a high Tomatometer don't have a lot of reviews. And some of those movies suck. In short, less reviews lead to a less reliable Tomatometer. A fix for this is in the works.

"Add to Instant Queue" button

Soon, each movie will have an "Add to Instant Queue" button. This will allow you to add movies to your instant queue without leaving the website.

Improved UI

Right now, the UI is stiff and unresponsive. This is because I wanted to get A Better Queue out the door as soon as possible. I'll be working to make this a more view-responsive app. Speaking of view-responsiveness...

Mobile UI

Right now this app doesn't work at all with touch-state for the reason described above. I plan on making this site usable in a mobile browser soon. In addition, I very much want an iOS app in your pocket as soon as possible. Stay tuned.

Thank you

I want to thank everybody who checked out A Better Queue while it was in beta. You had great input. Special thanks goes to my good friends Steve and Jonathan Pardo, whose input regarding design and user experience was invaluable. Super-duper thanks to my very smart friend, Brian Fitch, whose RoR knowledge guided my thinking about clean code and other under-the-hood things.

A Better Yueue

Keep yourself posted about updates to A Better Queue by following @_abq on Twitter.

Also, feel free to drop me a line at dave dot jachimiak at gmail dot com. I'd love to hear from you.

Edited for clarity: 12:43, 7:53 AM 05/05/12