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Dean's Crispy Bloggette (avec Fromage)
#1
<This is not a discussion thread. It's just for me to maintain an ongoing stream of status, information, or delusional babble (as the situation dictates) leading up to the next release.>

Just a small one to start...

Someone pointed out that there was no installation video in the tutorial. I'd somehow forgotten to add it, so it started with installing drivers instead of with installing the product. So I got that fixed. Can't believe no one complained about that before, since it would have just dumped you into the product with explaination of what to install. Oh well... it's fixed now.
Dean Roddey
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#2
Well, it looks like my CQSL controller survived my attempt to destroy it with high voltage shock therapy. I got a new power supply (which Mark put some resistors in to slow the fans), and did a quick power on test and it powered on (no keyoard, mouse or video attached.) So I took my chances and put the whole thing back together, re-laid out the cables and tie-wrapped them and removed one of the rear fans (which was really close to the huge Arctic Cooler thingie which was blowing air into the rotating blades and making a pretty loud rushing air sound.)

Now, without the rattling power supply (the thing I was trying to fix when I blew it up), and without the rush of air, it's very quiet. So far, so good. But it did do a wierd thing and showed now video output the first time I turned it on. The second time, it showed none until it went into graphics mode. So I've got to figure that out.

But at least I didn't completely hose it and have to go pop for $800 worth of stuff to get it going again. And if it actually fully survives, it'll be a far better theater controller now that it's way quieter.
Dean Roddey
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#3
I may break some kind of record today, for consequtive hours without writing code in the last two decades. Today I've been on one of uber-equipment reorg binges. I really needed to take a step back and punt and rearrange things (for reasons soon to be revealed, not related to automation though) and really change everything around. With last nights re-work of the controller and working all day on this stuff, it's been about 24 hours since I've written any code I think.

I definitely have my ducks reordered in a much more linear fashion now though. Much neater and easer to get to things (relatively speaking anyway), and much less tangles of wires. Or at least they are very carefully tangled now at least, following al the internationally recognized wire entanglement standards and so forth.

I'm so sore I can barely move though. If I ever had to do real work for a living, fughetabowtit. Couldn't do it. And tomorrow is going to be worse.

For the last month, I've been eating just one meal a day, to help keep the weight under control. I have a muffin for breakfast, a banana or apple or something like that for lunch, and then eat a regular supper. Of course now I completely fetishize my suppers. And todays was so good I almost passed out because I was so hungry from working all day, and skipping the banana because I was so busy.

But, I've dropped 10 pounds so far. And hope to get myself back down under 200 at least (from 220.) Hopefully closer to 190. My one pair of pants I can still get into were originally loose fit jeans, which had become tight fight jeans, and now at least are back to normal fit jeans. Hoefully I can get them back to loose fit in another month. I guess I could just rearrange all my stuff every week or something.

Anyway, that was a completely OT post, but that's my status for today. I'll write a little code now, so that I can sleep with a clear conscience.
Dean Roddey
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#4
If any of you are still on any of the 2.0.x beta releases, you need to upgrade to 2.0.14 like now or sooner. It seems a lot of people are still on these beta versions that have all kinds of known issues that were fixed. So please get upgraded ASAP to avoid any issues. We can't spend time debugging issues on these beta versions, and it's not always obvious when someone is running one.
Dean Roddey
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#5
I got back on the Z-Wave driver today. Yesterday my token coding was to convert some more unit tests over to my test framework. I'm still working on the infrastructure of the driver, to get it ready to support the new features and functionality. But I think I'm seeing where it's going now, architecturally I mean, and it should be considerably simpler internally I think, while having more features.

Maybe like thursday or friday next week I'll have it up and going again, with a couple new unit types supported, but with it easy to add more going forward. I'm going to make motion detectors and thermos the first two new unit types.
Dean Roddey
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#6
Still banging on the Z-Wave driver and it's coming along. I'm moving over code from the old driver and updating it as I go. I've got the replication working with the Intermatic, and the basic on/off, level, ramp stuff working for units. Also for groups AFAIK, but I can't test that till I get the client driver back up and can configure some groups. I'll go back and add the old style replication probably tomorrow and get that happy.

It no longer gets group info from the remote control anymore, the controller just gets added to the network and looks for currently unconfigured units, and adds default entries for them.

I've had to do a bit of refining of my pluggable module type stuff as I've gotten more of it working. It definitely adds some extra complexity in some ways, but overall the driver is still considerably simpler now than before.
Dean Roddey
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#7
I have the Z-Wave driver semi-sorta working again. So it's more or less back up to where it was before, just on a better foundation now. So I'm moving on now to start making the improvements.
Dean Roddey
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#8
I've been banging out some serious code on the Z-Wave driver today. While I'm waiting for a build, and my rice to steam, I figured I'd update everyone on something... This is a personal, non-automation related thing.

You might have noticed that I was selling some stuff over the last few weeks. I was doing that to get a little extra bucks up, so that I could get myself set up with a small digital audio recording studio. I was a muscian long ago, a very serious one doing it professionally for a while and studing classical guitar in college) and I always have missed it. Instead of having my downtime being watchign movies all the time, a passive and probably mind rotting activity, I wanted something creative to do.

Well, things have advanced a lot in the digital audio world. I've checked back in on it here and there. But finally it had become pretty affording to get a setup that would provide the level of performance I wanted. Though it was only that way because I already had some of the pieces in place that I'd bought back in the late 90s, namely a nice Les Paul guitar and some nice studio speakers. With the addition of the new computer a while back, all that really left was a couple pieces of hardware and some software.

So I decided to go ahead and do it. Here is a picture of what I've got set up now:

http://www.charmedquark.com/Web2/Downloa...tudios.jpg

This is in my bedroom. My bed is just to the left and my work desk is just to the right, so it's all fitted into a corner of the bedroom (leaving me now with like 12 square feet of floor space or so in the bedroom I think.) Oh well, best to put it to some use I guess.

I bought a second monitor, keyboard, and mouse and hooked them up to the computer (Windows can do multiple mice and keyboards and I already had a dual head DVI video card.) I put the monitors in clone mode. So I can just swing around over there and work on music, and back to the main desk to work on software. I bought a software package called SONAR, which turns a computer (with sufficient power) into a powerful digital audio workstation. And I got a pretty inexpensive MIDI keyboard to drive the software based synthesizers and drum machines and such on the computer. I also got a guitar/bass input box (the red box on the right of the table) that simulates various types of guitar and bass amplifiers and effects pedals and such, and outputs a high quality digital signal for recording. I also found a used bass at a very good price and grabbed it.

It's a very large and complex software system, plus the red box has a lot of options to learn and whatnot. So I'm just now starting to get my head around it, having spent about a week of nights messing with it. I've done a couple of rough pieces just for learning. I'll post some of it at some point once I get the tools down and get my playing back up to some reasonable level.

It doesn't look like much, but I can do some quite serious music with this setup. The software provides software based digital and analog synths, drums, compressors, parametric eq, reverb and delay and other effects, all kinds of MIDI and digital audio editing tools, an unlimited track mixing console, and on and on. It's really quite powerful.

* The keyboard and monitor on the top there is for my server. I had nowhere else to put it. There used to be two shelfs like that (the on on the right was removed, but the holder is still up there), which held a printer and some other stuff. I moved the printer to my main desk and moved the server keyboard, mouse and monitor up there.


So, anyway, that's the deal. Not to worry. It won't slow down development or anything. It's just that I'll be using my down time for something besides movie watching. Maybe I'll write a hit song and can use the proceeds to finance a company expansion or something.
Dean Roddey
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#9
Just for funzies, here's my first pretty realistic music piece I've got done. Well, it's the first part of one. It just trails off at the end. I'm just working out the idea so that I can go back and do something more expansive:

http://www.charmedquark.com/Web2/TmpAudio/Test5a.wma
Dean Roddey
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#10
OK, more good progress on the Z-Wave driver. I've got the fancier polling working now. You can enable or disable polling on each unit and set the poll time. What it does is keep a queue of all units whose time has come (so to speak.) And polls them in that queued order.

It provides a field now called PollingLoad, which is a percentage reflecting the ratio of available pollable modules to the number of units in the queue (i.e. those ready to poll.) 0 means that it's keeping up completely with polling schedule. 100 means it's running completely behind and every unit is waiting to be polled.

This should allow for some tuning of polling relative to Z-Wave network performance, and to catch/log/watch for issues that cause that number to start going up. So you could, for instance, put a VU meter or something like that on the interface that would provide a kind of 'at a glance Z-Wave network health' type of indicator. If it's normally in the green, but now it's up in the red, then probably some module doesn't have a good signal or is unplugged or something and it's backing up the polling schedule.

I also keep a 'lag time' for each unit, though it's not a field. It'll just be something available on the client interface, which is the time between when a unit last became ready to poll, and when the actual poll message was sent out. So you'll be able to see how far a particular unit is running behind the schedule you've set for it.

These things should provide considerably better diagnostic capabilities in the future of what's up with the Z-Wave network and individual modules.

Also now there's no group stuff gotten from the remote control. There will be an initial group, named AllOnOff, that is created for you and you cannot delete it or rename it. That one is used when you use the All On and Off commands of the driver, and controls which units are part of that operation. You can create other groups as desired and add units to them. There's a dialog box where you can move units into and out of a group by clicking right and left arrows between the lists.

And the unit list in the main window is now a multi-column list that can show a few bits of info about each unit, not just the name. It currently shows the poll time configuration, but I'll also add the lag time thing discussed above so that you can watch the lag times semi-live.

So anyway, there 'tis at this time. Good progress is being made still and I think it'll be a lot better. Maybe by late tomorrow or Sat I'll be ready to try to add the motion detector device type to the mix.

BTW, I just noticed that that mix of my little music piece above, though it sounded quite full and nice in my headphones, sounds like crap through regular speakers. I'm going to have to re-do that and post another version.
Dean Roddey
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