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Full Version: CQC Version 4.5 released
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July 7, 2014 - CQC Version 4.5 Released

Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd. is proud to announce the release of version 4.5 of their CQC automation platform. This is one of the largest releases we have ever put out, with fundamental improvements, the results of which will continue to be important for subsequent releases.

In order to really take the product up a number of notches, it was necessary to make some changes that may require a small amount of attention on the part of existing customers to adjust for, and there are new features that existing customers might wish to familiarize themselves with. So we have written an upgrade guide. It is highly recommended that existing customers read it before upgrading.

4.5 Upgrade Guide

The more notable changes in this version are:

Gestures. The most visible difference in 4.5 is that we have finally completed our move to a fully modern, gesture based user interface system. Our interface engine now fully supports the standard 'inertial dragging' scheme that users have come to expect these days. This was a very extensive change, partially implemented in the 4.4 version, and now fully realized. CQC now goes to great lengths to provide a responsive, natural feeling gesture based experience.

Driver Standardization. Another major change, also begun in 4.4 but now finally building up to full steam, is the definition of standard interfaces for many types of functionality that drivers might provide, such as audio, security, analog or digital I/O, lighting, etc... We have now created a considerable number of such well defined interfaces and have begun the process of converting drivers over to work via these new 'device classes', as they are called in CQC-speak. Driver conversion will continue for some time, and all new drivers should be written to this new 'V2 driver architecture' standard, where that is applicable

Auto-Generation. The benefits of this driver standardization are considerable, and one key beneficiary is our new auto-generation system, which replaces the previous implementation. This one is significantly better, both visually in that it is a much more attractive design, and because it both takes full advantage of the new gesture based capabilities of CQC and because it works purely in terms of V2 compatible device drivers. Post 4.5 we will continue adding features to the auto-generation system as well, taking full advantage of the continuing growth of driver standardization.

Template Pre-scaling. CQC now also supports template pre-scaling. Supporting multiple screen resolutions has always been an issue with CQC, but the ability to create one set of templates and pre-scale them to various resolutions goes a long way to dealing with that problem. Both the images and the template contents can be scaled to multiple arbitrary resolutions. This capability is available in the new auto-generation system, but also can be applied to your own custom built user interfaces as well.

Media Metadata Caching. Another enormous change is that all media metadata is now pre-downloaded to each client. There is a new 'client service' that runs on all CQC enabled machines. Unlike the main 'application shell' service, this one will not prevent sleeping of the machine, as it serves only local CQC programs. Though it will likely have other uses in the future, currently its job is to watch for changes in media metadata and to download the data locally and cache it.

CQC programs then access the metadata via that local cache so that it is immediately available. This also means that the cover art browser is no longer paged based, but can use the new gesture based drag/fling scheme and you can just arbitrarily move through the available titles and collections. The speed is also vastly improved for both browsing and preview of media data. The Tray Monitor program has been updated to support the new client service as well.

Try It

You can download the new version via the Try/Buy menu item on the web site, 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 4.4 version if desired, just contact us for information.

Use the web site's Learn menu 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.
Just a small note of caution about something not foreseen. The caching of media locally is a great addition, but if you have any embedded systems they might not have sufficient storage available. If so, you won't have media access on those machines and it could fill up your available storage trying to download the data, and failing to do so due to lack of storage, and starting over again.

If you don't need media on those machines, then for now just disable the CQC Client Service and it won't try to download any more information. We will work on some options on this front for the inevitable follow-up release, possibly to only download metadata but not cover art. You could still use text list based media browsing on those machines in that way.

If you really need media on those machines, you could always run the Windows based RIVA client. On a wired network the performance will be quite good. You will lose the nice inertial scrolling capabilities, but you will have access to media again.