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CQC Version 4.0 Released
#1
Sept 1st, 2011 - CQC Version 4.0 Released

Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd. is proud to announce the release of version 4.0 of their CQC automation platform. This is a significant new release, with many improvements and new features, and also numerous plumbing improvements that will become the basis of even more significant steps in subsequent releases.

The more notable changes in this version are:

[INDENT]Interface Themes - There used to be a 'Theme' system in the Interface Designer long ago. But it was weak and was dropped. It has now been resurrected in a much more powerful form, and it makes the creation of nice looking user interfaces much easier and quicker. This is just the initial implementation, so it's not as powerful as it will become, but it should already be quite a boon to users looking to create nice looking interfaces. This initial version only supports two different themes.

Network - In the past CQC could be confused by some network configuration problems that can occur on occasion, such as routers putting the ISP's domain suffix on host names and so forth. For 4.0 CQC is now almost completely free of dependence on host to address lookups, which will make it both better performing and more robust in the face of network setup problems.

Graphing - You can now use the Logic Server to create graphs. The Logic Server will collect graph data over the last 1 to 8 hours and those graphs are available via a new graphing widget in the interface system so that you can view them.

User Logic Creation - A considerable number of very desirable improvements were made to the 'action editor', which is where users create their own custom logic. This has made it far quicker and easier to create and edit user actions.

Semantic Field Types - Device drivers can now mark their fields with a 'semantic type', which are things like light switch, dimmer, volume control, digital input, and so forth. This will allow for a lot of auto-magical functionality moving forward. The theme system above is the first major use of this capability. It will continue to be used more in the future.

Device Driver Pause/Resume and Reconfigure - This has been a long requested feature. You can now pause a device driver, which will shut it down but not unload it, so that you can later just start it back up again. You can also reconfigure a driver in place, without removing/re-adding it. These changes make system maintenance chores much easier and you don't lose any configuration associated with the driver as you would if you fully removed it.

Standard Driver Event Triggers - There are now standard event triggers that drivers can send out for lighting load on/off changes, security zone status changes, and motion detector start/stop changes. These are very commonly used to trigger automation activity, and they can now be automatically sent out by drivers without any user configuration.

Device Driver Selection - With the large number of device drivers CQC has now, finding the desired driver was getting to be a bit of a chore. There is now a new driver selection dialog that allows you to filter by type or manufacturer.

Text to Speech in Windows 7 - Changes in Windows over the years finally resulted in TTS not working in Windows 7 from the background (in things like scheduled/triggered events or IR driven actions which run in a background service.) This has been dealt with via a new Speech II driver that renders text to a WAV file then spools those files out via a DirectShow audio output. This also allows for more control over where speech goes, the ability to mute it, control volume, and so forth.

Text to Speech via the Interface Viewer - You can now also use any Interface Viewer clients you have running in the system as TTS servers, i.e. send them text to speak there locally where they are running. Since they are running in the foreground session, they are not affected by the above issue of TTS in the background.

Performance - Significant performance enhancements have been made, so that CQC runs smoother, uses less CPU, and should be more responsive at the same time. The network enhancements mentioned above also make for better performance as well, though that was not the primary goal, just a nice side benefit.

No More UAC Prompts - The client programs now store their configuration (last windows positions, GUI configuration options, etc...) outside of the Program Files area, so you no longer get a UAC prompt when you run them.

Installer Backup - The installer now supports an automatic backup feature, so it can do a backup for you in the context of the install process, creating a nice version and date/time stamped subdirectory for each backup it does. So you don't need to stop CQC first, do a backup, then start the installer. You can do it all in one pass.

Debugging - A lot of new tools were introduced to allow us to provide better in the field problem diagnosis. [/INDENT]


Try It

You can download the new version via the Try/Buy menu item above, and try it out for 40 days. So you can know for sure whether it meets your needs before you commit.

Existing customers covered under the maintenance system can upgrade at their convenience. Other customers can purchase an upgrade to the 4.0 version if desired, just contact us for information.

Use the Learn menu above to learn more about the product. Extensive video and text information is available to help you learn how CQC works and how to get the most out of it.
Dean Roddey
Software Geek Extraordinaire
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