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Topics - totallymaxed

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Dianemo Exposed is a series of posts that explore how Dianemo works and how its used by our customers all over the world;

Dianemo is a very flexible & customizable Smart Home system right 'out of the box' and our users are always impressing us with their ingenuity. But sometimes what they are trying to achieve is beyond their ability to customize the system or they simply don't have the time to do whatever the change is themselves. In these situations we can provide a service that will create new software or customize the system to suit your needs all for a fixed pre-agreed cost.

We were recently asked to implement a capability that would enable a customers Dianemo system to automatically switch ISP providers when a data-cap limit on the first ISP had expired. The customers primary ISP had a faster service but there was Data usage cap in place while his second ISP had no Data Cap but a slower speed connection. Our custom solution allows the system to use eth0 for its external connection to the Primary ISP and we monitor data usage on that NIC until we reach the Data Cap (we have a config setting so that we actually trigger the switch-over before the Data Cap is reached). When the Data Cap limit is reached our software switches to eth2 which connects to a second ISP without a Data Cap for the remainder of the current Month. At 00:01 on the 1st of the next month our software switches back to eth0 and starts monitoring data usage again.

The system basically continually swaps between the two ISP's automatically and transparently and therefore automating the switch-over of the ISP service in use. This is a great example of being able to shape Dianemo for a customer with a very specific need.

All the best

Andy

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Marketplace / Dianemo - The Perfect Holiday Gift
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:28:14 am »
If your looking for a great holiday home technology gift for your partner, family or other loved one then Dianemo is the perfect choice. Our special deal for the Holidays even includes 4 hours of remote configuration by one of our support team too, so it has never been easier to get started in home automation.

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221

To order simply contact us at; inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com or send a Forum PM to me here.

Orders accepted up to the 24th Dec for immediate delivery (although if you can order a little earlier we'd be your friends for life!)

Wishing everyone here a great Christmas.

Andy

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Marketplace / Dianemo Exposed - Building a super affordable Dianemo System
« on: December 12, 2014, 03:34:02 pm »
We're always interested to hear from customers about their experiences and projects they implement with Dianemo. Recently I spoke to a customer that had put together a system around an Intel NUC PC and several Raspberry Pi's and i thought that I would give you an overview of his system.

The Intel NUC this customer used is this one http://www.quietpc.com/int-nuc-de3815tykhe?gclid=Cj0KEQiAwaqkBRDHx6rzxMqAobgBEiQAxJazJ9ZrsIb5n_3kFicTc0I3m-b9KU8fEswtiMVNCvcHUggaAslN8P8HAQ

At just over £100 UKP this NUC PC makes for an incredibly affordable NerveCentre (our name for a Core). You need to add some memory, an SSD and a USB NIC to that but its still way affordable. The NUC is really tiny, just 190x116x40 mm in size, and it uses just 5w of energy when running which is incredibly low for an X86 based machine. The NUC is a completely fanless design and because you typically use an SSD with it there are no moving parts at all...and so it is truly silent in operation. This tiny, cold running & silent machine means you can basically locate it anywhere and it will not get in the way or make even a small bedroom buzz with fan noise.

Because this customers system was installed in a new, small 2 bedroom apartment it was decided that wifi was the way to go for all components of the system. Their are 4 Raspberry Pi's in this system - one is connected to the Living Room SmartTV for CEC control and audio and the others are used purely for audio streaming in the Kitchen/Bedrooms. All the Raspberry Pi's connect to the apartments Wifi network driven from the LAN side of the NC as usual. This system has a small NAS (not sure of the make) for streaming ripped video and iTunes via LMS - again nothing special there. There is also a sprinkling of ZWave devices in this system too - some lighting, PIR's and temp/humidity sensors.

The impressive thing about this system is that its doing all this on such affordable and energy efficient hardware and all over wifi too. Total cost of the hardware for this system was about £430 UKP (or about 675 USD) which is amazingly affordable.

For more information or questions pm me here or email me at inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com

All the best

Andy

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Marketplace / Dianemo Exposed - Why choose Dianemo?
« on: December 09, 2014, 04:35:12 pm »
How valuable is your time?

Why purchase Dianemo? Below we have gathered together some feedback from real customers about why they chose Dianemo;

"Because you want the most advanced, open and reliable Home Automation system available. A system that can be installed easily. A system that comes with support to get your system installed and working and also support that will be there in the future too, if and when you need it.
You also want a system that you can customise and expand yourself using whatever LinuxMCE skills you have - but also one that if you hit a problem you know that there will be expert help on hand to help you should you need it.
If you have a family you want a reliable working system right from the get go that they can use easily. You also want one that can be discretely installed and aesthetically pleasing too."


We think they are all great reasons to choose Dianemo too!

For many the biggest single challenge is simply getting a Home Automation system initially configured working - this is true of all makes of system. Many here will know that from personal experience. Dianemo has been optimised to make initial installation as easy as possible - and now with our support team actively helping you built into the purchase price - it just got even easier.

LinuxMCE & Dianemo share common roots and much of the underlying technology is the same in both systems. So most of your LinuxMCE experience, knowledge and experience will be just as useful & relevant  with Dianemo. Everything in Dianemo is open to you to customise or adapt just as it is in LinuxMCE. We don't hide anything and all our source code is available to you too. So if customising your system is your thing then Dianemo is a great place to do that.

But if you just want to get your system installed and working, and that is your main objective then Dianemo is a great choice too.

Whatever your motivation for wanting a Home Automation system in your home, often the single biggest cost is a hidden one - your personal time. In very many cases this cost far exceeds the purchase cost of Dianemo in fact. but however you measure the value of your personal time, whether its monetarily or experientially, the less time you have to spend getting your system working the more time you will have to enjoy it in whichever way you choose.

For more information, or to purchase Dianemo contact us at inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com or
PM me here on the Forum.

All the best

Andy

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Marketplace / Need Help Configuring/Setting up your LinuxMCE System?
« on: December 03, 2014, 01:04:54 pm »
We are now offering support for LinuxMCE systems. Get help configuring/setting up/debugging your system from one of our support team (the team that support Dianemo systems). See below for details;

Between Dec 8 - Dec 15 if you purchase 2 Hours of support we will give you a 3rd Hour FREE OF CHARGE. This is a great deal and would make a great Christmas gift too! Order now and you can use your support hours at any time in the future.

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100609#msg100609

All the best

Andy

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Marketplace / Controlling a SmartTV using HDMI-CEC from your Dianemo System
« on: November 27, 2014, 01:41:13 pm »
Powerful HDMI-CEC Control without a Media Director

In this demo there is no Media Director being used. We simply have a SmartTV controlled by HDMI-CEC from the Dianemo Core with an Athena Orbiter running on a MacBook Pro (the Orbiter could be running on any device with a Web browser)

Here we show Dianemo being used to select a movie from the Movie Library, stream it to a SmartTV and then control the TV using HDMI-CEC control - notice how fast the UI is and how simple to use too;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KQAeGia26A&authuser=0

Powerful, simple control of your home with the minimum of hardware. Yes you can use Media Directors if you want to, or just use them in one or two rooms. But in the main family rooms we've found that using SmartTV's usually makes installing Dianemo more acceptable to the rest of the family - the rooms look just as they did before Dianemo was installed. Typically in most homes that's a big win!

All the best for the holidays.

Andy

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See "Selecting External Sources from a Denon AVR Receiver" here;

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100578#msg100578

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One of the major directions Dianemo has taken over the last few years has been a drive for simplicity & reliability. That focus led us to the realisation that we needed to rethink how systems were configured and at the same time add some new technologies & capabilities to the overall system to make the goal attainable.

We started to look at the whole Dianemo system, much of which at the time still relied on configurations, setup and processes that we'd inherited from the Pluto days. One of the first things that hit us was that in the area of media distribution and delivery we needed to make some big changes. At the time we still used Media Directors but the world around us had changed and increasingly the TV's we were connecting to our MD's were SmartTV's with their own IP connections & integrated UPnP media players. It quickly dawned on us that by configuring MD's on system we were relegating the SmartTV's to being...well just dumb TV's. We weren't utilizing all the great hardware capabilities in these TV's at all. The original reason MD's were developed in the Pluto days was because there were no low cost media players back then so the Pluto guys had to build their own from PC components. There were also no Touch based tablets back then either, well there were but they were super expensive 7-8,000 USD devices that came with Crestron systems, so the only cost effective way to put a UI into a room was to create one inside an MD and use the TV to display it to users. But now we had very affordable small touch based tablets & smartphones that could display a much better UI and we have great UPnP media players built directly into SmartTV's and for older TV's we could use low-cost stand-alone UPnP media players for video playback. So we could move the UI to the customers tablet and use the SmartTV directly for streaming and all of those activities could be orchestrated over IP & UPnP by Dianemo's NerveCentre. If we needed any other local control/sensors then we could locate other low power/cost dedicated devices wherever we needed them for that purpose all connected back to the NerveCentre by IP.

As we worked through the ramifications of this though process we realised that moving away from MD's, together with some other related changes, meant that we could actually reduce the kind of hardware we needed in the NerveCentre because it was being asked to do far less heavy lifting. All of this meant we ended up with a far simpler more reliable overall system with a much lower energy burn. We could now deliver a good level of performance in smaller Homes using a low end Atom based NerveCentre. A typical small apartment/small house system would now be essentially a small compact Atom based NerveCentre, network switch + Wifi router, Some SmartTV's, Squeezebox devices for audio all controlled from a handheld touch based UI on a tablet. In functional terms this system could do everything the previous generation of systems had done but with possibly 60+ % less hardware and more than a 50% reduction in complexity and at least a 40% reduction in energy burn too.

The only real loss in this approach was the on screen TV UI. We didn't feel this was a great loss - it was only there through expediency and a quirk of circumstance that went back to the very limted hardware we had available in the early days. In fact over-hauling the UI was something we'd wanted to do for some time, and now we were free of the so called '10 foot' UI we could think about a new approach to UI's, and that was really the moment that our, soon to be released, Athena HTML5 UI was born.

So today yes we still have some older installations that use MD's and we still have some new customers who wan't to stick with MD's still too. But the vast majority of our installations, 80% or more, are now MD free and use SmartTV's or media players instead. That means more affordable & reliable systems with lower complexity too.

See here our current offers;
http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221

All the best

Andy

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Users / Raspberry Pi Model A+ Experiences
« on: November 24, 2014, 03:48:52 pm »
I've been testing some Raspberry Pi Model A+'s over the last few days and wondered if anyone else had been too?

The Model A+ is about half the size of previous Raspberry Pi's but has the same mounting holes (at the same centres) as the earlier models. It lacks the the LAN port, only has a single usb port and only 256mb of RAM. But in all other ways is totally compatible with the earlier models - I could boot a test Raspian SD card from a Model B on the A+ without modifications.

The Model A+ uses the same Application Processor as earlier models, has 40 GPIO pins, far better audio quality (uses a separate low-noice power supply) which is great for SqueezeLite applications, power consumption is about 25% less than the Model A. Then there's the very low price - $20 USD + Tax & shipping.

I've been testing the Model A+ with a usb wifi adapter to get it connected and this works really well - again just like previous Rpi's. The only area where the Model A+ falls short is running something like XBMC where the 256mb of RAM is a little on the light side. But for SqueezeLite its pretty much perfect and for everything else the Model A+ is a great choice.

Anyone else got a Model A+? Any feedback, experiences or views on it yet?

All the best

Andy

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Marketplace / Dianemo Exposed - Is Dianemo 'Dumbed' Down?
« on: November 24, 2014, 03:16:01 pm »
I often get asked whether we 'dumb' down Dianemo or restrict what users can do with their systems. Of course the answer is no on both counts!

Our focus for the last several years has certainly been to make Dianemo as simple as possible to setup, configure and get working. In parallel with that effort we've also tried to make the whole Dianemo system more reliable and robust too. But neither of those objectives are in any way about 'dumbing' down or restricting what users can do with their systems at all. We don't stop you or get in your way if you want to do deep customisation of your Dianemo system - all the customisability is there for you.

What we have focused on is making sure that you can get to a working system as easily as possible 'right out of the box' so to speak. We've realised that in many situations there are other people - family members, boyfriends/girlfriends/partners who possibly aren't as 'sold' on Home Automation as you, and their sensitivities & concerns need to be addressed to. Making sure the system you install works without much fuss, and also importantly doesn't look like a jumble of cables in the corner of the room is important!

If you don't need to take other people into consideration before installing your system then making sure it simple to get your system initially installed (with direct support from our support team if needed) is still an important factor in considering what system your install. Of course ongoing support is also important and we provide that for free via the Forums here and if you need more personalised or hands on support then we're also provide a paid for remote assistance service too that you can always call on if you need some deeper help for example.

So whether your system is something you just want to setup & configure right away and just use, or whether its something you want to continue to customize and develop, Dianemo offers a great platform for you to do that on.

All the best

Andy

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RaspCEC-Pi now supports all of the currently implemented/working CEC device types & all CEC command types;

- TV
Command/Query examples; Standby ON/OFF, Power State, EPG Language, Cursor Control, Vendor ID
- Recorder1, Recorder2, Recorder3
Command/Query examples; Standby ON/OFF, Play/Pause/FF/RW, Record, Status, Vendor ID
- Tuner1, Tuner2, Tuner3, Tuner4
Command/Query examples; Analogue/Digital Service Select, Status, Record, Vendor ID
- Playback1, Playback2, Playback3
Command/Query examples; Standby ON/OFF, Play/Pause/FF/RW, Status, Vendor ID
- Audio System
Command/Query examples; Standby ON/OFF, Input Select, Vol UP/Down, Mute, Status, Vendor ID
- “Unregistered” if it’s the initiator address, “Broadcast” if it’s the follower address.

For LinuxMCE users you will need to create a custom GSD device to provide access to CEC control on your system. We provide details of how to create one yourself with each license. We are also working on a CEC GSD device that we will provide as part of your license that you can add to your system. The RaspCEC-Pi LinuxMCE GSD device should be available shortly and will be made available to all customers a no cost.

Install our RaspCEC-Pi firmware on a new Raspberry Pi Model A+ with a usb wifi adapter and use a spare usb port on your TV to power it.  No power adapter or CAT5 cables to run. Get full control of all the devices attached to your TV's HDMI ports anywhere in your home without needing to run any cables at all.

Any questions please contact me here by PM or email me here; inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com

All the best

Andy

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Marketplace / Dianemo Exposed - Using Wifi for Audio/Video & Control
« on: November 24, 2014, 12:29:44 pm »
A Series Highlighting How to Configure your Dianemo System

With the availability of good quality Wifi 802.11g/n routers & devices in recent years using wifi to connect your devices to your Core/NC has become a reliable solution. There are many situations where running new CAT5 cables in a property is not possible. It might be because the property has been recently re-decorated, the property might be rented or it might simply be that you just don't have CAT5 in the right places. In all these situations and many more too using Wifi is a viable solution in the vast majority of cases.

In smaller properties, or apartments, a single wifi router may be all that is required to get good signal coverage. But in larger properties you may need to consider using wifi extenders to extend the range of your wifi LAN to more distant locations. Wifi extenders are readily available now if you need them and are very affordable too.

The main advantage of using wifi is that you can locate your wifi device wherever you have a power outlet. Below a TV or Audio Amplifier for example or in the case of devices like Raspberry Pi's tucked behind the equipment you need to send audio to or control is possible too.

As a company we have a lot of experience with wifi in installations through both our professional installers and software license customers. I have several Raspberry Pi's around my home and they are all connected over Wifi. In my case i'm using wifi connected Raspberry Pi's for  CEC control, XBMC video and SqueezeLite audio. We have customers who also have SmartTV's connected over Wifi too.

Clearly if you've invested in CAT5 to each room then use it. But if you haven't or if you forgot to run that now very important last run of CAT5 to a guest room then go with Wifi for sure.

If you have any questions about wifi in general, Dianemo, Raspbmc-CEC, RaspSqueeze-CEC or RaspCEC-Pi then please just PM me here or contact me at; inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com

Andy


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The new Raspberry Pi Model A+ combined with our RaspSqueeze-CEC or RaspCEC-Pi firmware is perfect for discretely tucking away where you don't have any CAT5. Simply add a usb wifi adapter and you have the smallest most energy efficient audio/CEC control solution there is. See below for more details;

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100541#msg100541

All the best

Andy

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A Series Highlighting How to Configure your Dianemo System

Configuring controllable AV amplifiers is very easy in Dianemo. This section of the Dianemo Wiki page explains how to configure your Denon AVR amplifiers for control by Dianemo;

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Dianemo_S#Configuring_a_Denon_AVR_or_Similar_Controllable_Amplifier

All the best

Andy

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Dianemo delivers high quality multi-room, synchronised music to every room in your home, with real-time playlist updates & complete control from any Orbiter.

Getting your Music library working with Dianemo is super easy. Dianemo uses Logitech Media Server (LMS) as its streaming music server and we've built tight integration with LMS directly into our software. Wherever your Music comes from LMS will index and stream it for you - even iTunes. You Music library can be on your Core's hardrive, on your laptop/PC's hard drive, on a NAS or on Spotify. We leverage all the capabilities of LMS to manage your Music, provide you with sophisticated PlayList support including dynamically updated iTunes Playlists, integrated Internet radio station presets, support for multi-source Spotify streaming (paid Spotify account required) and full support for the thousands of great LMS plugins too.

Simply follow our LMS setup guide below to get your music wherever you want it in your Home;

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Dianemo_S#Configuring_Logitech_Media_Server

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