And yet when I see limitations like this I take it as a personal challenge to push the envelope, and decided to enhance my sample MX-950 configuration with a number of customized bitmaps: a more intuitive main menu layout with icons for commonly used devices, sound decoding format icons and television network logos. Since my attempts to automatically convert prepared artwork to this low resolution and color depth proved less than acceptable, I decided to use an old school technique and opted to create each icon manually, pixel-by-pixel. Some hours and over 10,000 mouse clicks later I was done: 63 completely legible images that offered more visual interest than plain text.
So, if you think that the Aurora's LCD resolution is too low for anything more useful than letters, you might be pleasantly surprised at exactly how much information can be conveyed with so few pixels! I even found it possible to comfortably fit two lines of text, in an identical font as the rest of the remote, in the space of a single button row. The Aurora may not be a graphics workhorse, but what it offers is rather effective.
7. Advanced Options
Programming stage number seven is a snap compared to the rest: just pick the backlight's auto-off time, which can range from 0 to 99 seconds in one second increments (incidentally you might want to avoid the 0 second setting). What could be quicker?
Well... if you really feel like a few other advanced options, there are several scattered around the program. The sound that plays every time a key is pressed can be disabled or customized, although this whole concept seems better suited to touchscreen remotes where there normally isn't any type of feedback in the first place.
Remember the multi-color LCD backlight we talked about earlier? Using the editor it's possible to customize this color on a device-by-device basis. So, every device could be a different color, or devices could have the backlight color classified according to the type of activity. Colors are set in a hierarchal fashion (the whole remote, all "Watch" or "Listen" devices, and then finally for individual devices), so if you merely want to make everything white you won't have to change each device individually.
The MX-950's on-remote programming capabilities can't be used to program an entire remote from scratch, instead they're more of an emergency quick-fix type affair. The programming menu is accessed by pressing both [Listen] and [Enter] buttons for several seconds. Four options are provided: "Text Edit", "Learn", "Erase" and "Factory Default".
Editing text is done the same way as it was on the MX-500 - select the button to change, use the arrow keys to pick a character, and then enter characters using the numerical keypad in a fashion similar to text entry on a cell phone. The learning option can be used to fix a bad command on-site, or use erase to delete learned commands on a button or for an entire device. Finally, the factory default option will completely wipe out the remote's programming as well as all user-configured options. Right-clicking over the "MX-950" listing in MX-950 Editor's tree view provides access to a "Settings" screen where it's possible to disable this on-remote programming menu completely.
What can't be removed is the on-remote settings menu, accessed by holding [Watch] and [Enter]. Screens here provide options for setting the clock (which is only used to tell time - there are no timers), changing how the backlight is activated, adjusting the screen's contrast and backlight brightness (as well as allowing a master color override), changing the volume level, turning the pickup sensor on or off, enabling or disabling the IR transmit, clock and battery icons, customizing the early low battery warning threshold, and displaying firmware revisions and free memory.