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Version 1.2 is now posted
#1
Charmed Quark Software is proud to announce the 1.2 release of CQC (The Charmed Quark Controller), its Windows based, distributed control and automation software suite. CQC provides a secure, network distributed, highly integrated, control and automation solution, including an extensive backend architecture, powerful user drawn interface system, user based security, object oriented macro and driver development language with graphical IDE, supporting X-10, IR, socket, serial, and USB devices, as wellas software applications.


What's New in 1.2

This is a 'minor' upgrade of the 1.1.3 in that no existing functionality has changed in a major way, but it does offer a major new optional feature, some new drivers, and a number of useful new fixes and improvements. The most noteable changes are:

  • Application Control. The major new feature in this release is the ability to control applications. New classes have been added to the CML language runtime, which allow CML drivers to control applications and make them look just like any other device to the CQC system. A new application control server program is now provided which runs on any machines where you want to control applications, and drivers communicate with this server to manage those applications.

  • SmartHome 1132U USB X-10 Controller. The driver for this device has been much improved. SmartHome has refused to provide documentation on this device, so companies such as Charmed Quark have to figure it out by trial and error unfortunately. In this release, much trial and error was done to get the driver solid.

  • User Drawn Interface Enhancements. There are a number of nice enhancements to the user drawn interface system, including the ability to execute applications (which allows user interfaces to act as 'front ends' that can invoke other applications), the ability to invoke an action after a new overlay is loaded, significant performance improvements for interfaces that use lots of transparent images, and support for 'Marquee' style display in static and dynamic text widgets.

  • Direct TV Set Top Box Many DirecTV set top boxes are serially controllable, and this driver should provide control for both standard and HD models that suport the standard serial protocol.

  • Sony VPL-W10HT Driver. A new driver for the Sony 10HT projector is in this version. The documentation is somewhat lacking, and the driver acts strange when polled in certain circumstances, so this first release of the driver is a write-only driver and doesn't provide any feedback. We will continue to try to figure this issue out and provide two way control.

  • Zektor HDS4.2 Video Switcher. A new driver for the Zektor HD-capable HDS4.2 video switcher is in this release. It should provide full, two-way control of this device.

  • DVI Link DS-41R DVI Switcher. A new driver for the DVI Link 4x DVI video switcher is in this release.

  • Update of HD Leeza Driver. The HD Leeza driver has been updated to work with the latest (as of this release) firmware release, 5.5.74.

  • Application Drivers. The first software application drivers are for the WinDVD4, TheaterTek 1.5, and Media Player 9 software players.

See the release notes in the CQC distribution for a full list of bugs and features new to this release.



What's Coming Up

The major feature in the next non-patch version, which will be 1.3, is very likely going to be a 'scheduled events' server, which will allow you to schedule events to be automatically invoked at specific times, e.g. once a day, every other day, first day of the week, etc... This capability is an important part of the 'automation' part of control and automation, and will allow you to create a much more autonomous home. And following that will be the first steps into media management.

There are some drivers that appear likely to show up in the next release at this point. They will be released as driver packs as they become available, and the formally included in the 1.3 release when it arrives.

  • Lutron RadioRA A popular Lutron lighting controller.
  • DVDO iScanHD The iScanHD's next firmware release should include support for control via the serial port, and we'll get a driver out for that as soon as it is available.
  • Applications A number of drivers for applications, making use of the application control system introduced in this release, will likely show up soon.
As always, if you do a good driver for CQC, and let us ship it with the product, we'll give you a free copy of CQC, with those optional features required for the driver. And if you keep it updated in future releases (which mostly will just be a matter of verifying it's still happy), we'll give you the upgrades for free as well.

If you really want to use CQC, but need drivers for your devices and cannot do them yourself, please consider shipping us the device for a few days so that we can do the driver for you and return the device. We want to support as many devices as possible and want to do whatever we can to make CQC a useful tool for your automation needs. We will do the driver for free in return for getting access to the device.



Test Drive It

CQC comes with a 30 day trial period. So just download the Zip file (Download link on the left of the main web page), unzip it, read the release notes, look at the Get Started section of the web site which will give you an overview of how CQC works and want it can do for you, and then install it and use it unencumbered for 30 days. At any time during that period you can purchase a license and upgrade your trial version to a licensed version without any interruption.

CQC is a networked product, so the license is for your network, and only applies to the machine on which you run the CQC Master Server. You can run as many other clients or servers as you need and your network capacity allows. So give it a spin and see what it's like.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail us at support@charmedquark.com, or better yet sign up with our support forums (link is at that bottom of the main web page), and start a discussion of your issues and questions. This way, other users can benefit from the discussion, and other old timers can help you out if I'm not immediately available. We look forward to your feedback, whether happy or brutal, since it's the only way we can understand what works for you.
Dean Roddey
Explorans limites defectum
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