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Version 2.4 Released
#1
July 1, 2008 - CQC Version 2.4 has now been posted for download. This is a theoretically minor release, following up on the 2.3 series, but it contains almost 150 new features, fixes and improvements, so taken as a whole it's a huge new release. A number of significant architectural changes were made internally in this release. You won't see them directly, but they make the product better and more flexible and some of them are setting the stage for significant new features in 2.5.

A Salebratory Deal!

To celebrate the release of 2.4, we are having a sale for the month of July, so take advantage of the sale and the new release to get a better product for a lower price. Use the Try/Buy menu item from the web site (http://www.charmedquark.com) for the details, and download/purchase links.


Give it a Try

The product is available in demo form for 30 days, completely unencumbered. It is very safe to install, since it does not change any system files or install any files in any system directories, so it can be completely removed without worries if you decide not to use it. If you do, you can just license your demo version if you wish, and not lose any of the work you've done.


Changes Since 2.3

The most important new features of this release are:

[INDENT]Encrypted Drivers

CQC's drivers are mostly written in our own proprietary CML and PDL languages. These drivers are shipped as source in the product and compiled on the fly as used. However, some companies will not allow us to distribute drivers like this so we've not been able to support or fully support their products. To deal with this we now allow for the creation of encrypted CML driver packs, which can be used to distribute these types of drivers. They cannot be shipped in the product still, but can be made available as separately downloadable driver packs that can be imported into CQC.

Interface Based Events

Previously, only the Event Server could be configured to respond to the events sent out by those fields marked as triggers changed their values (so that the Event Server can do something on response to the change.) This has been extended to the Interface Viewer now, so that touch screen interfaces can also react to such events in useful ways. This feature will be further elaborated on in subsequent releases.

Playlist Management

Previously, some of our media renderer drivers allowed the target device to manage the playlist of files queued up on them. But this made for some inconsistencies since they would sometimes not support the features that other of our drivers provided (those that managed the playlist themselves.) They have all been changed now to manage the playlist in the driver and just feed files to the players one at a time. This way all of them can be consistent in playlist management features and interface. IT also means that you can now queue up movie files, where before you could only queue up songs. This allows for easy implementation of previews and shorts before a main feature.

Progress Bar Widget

A new user interface widget has been provided, the Progress Bar. This is a very flexible and powerful widget that can display progress of various types of operations in many different graphical ways. Often used for song playback progress, tank level indicators, thermometers, and so forth.

Media Architecture

Substantial internal changes were made to the media architecture, to set the stage in the next release for support of Media Center and iPods as standard CQC media repositories. Some immediately useful changes are support for searching by artist, which was not previously possible. And the addition of year information in the displayed text when sorting by year, and improvements in sorting of titles.

New/Improved Drivers

A number of new drivers are available in this release, including the Advantage Air, Nuvo T2, Brightan CAN, Cinema11, Centralite, XMRadio, Tandberg MXP, Denon blu-ray players. The upgraded drivers are Russound RNet, Radience XD, Barco CRT, J.River, Lexicon MC-1, Extron Crosspoint, File Tag repository, iTunes, Grand Concerto and Essentia, Zoom Player, TheaterTek, Barix ExStreamer, Lutron Homeworks, JVC HD2K, and the Weather Channel driver.

The Elk and Omni Drivers have received significant improvements in this release. There is a new driver for Omnis with the 2.16 or later firmware, which uses TCP/IP instead of UDP connections and provides more functionality via the control protocol. The old Omni driver was not replaced, so it will still be there for those who haven't upgraded their Omnis. Instead a new driver was created for the new protocol.

The RTI RP6 driver was basically a generic driver for responding to incoming ASCII strings and invoking a CQC action. So it was actually made fully generic and able to accept incoming strings from either serial port or socket connections. This allows you to train CQC to respond to any device that puts out ASCII strings, where a full fledged driver for that device isn't warranted. The RP6 driver is now just implemented in terms of this more generic driver.

Driver Initialization

Previously, in certain failure scenarios during system startup, a driver could fail to initialize, usually because some other system service it required wasn't started yet (the drivers run in a service and load early in the overall system startup.) This could cause the driver to be dropped from the list. This has been fixed and now driver initialization is like any other driver activity and is retried until it succeeds.[/INDENT]
Dean Roddey
Explorans limites defectum
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