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Smart Home Consulting
Helping you plan, program & configure your Smart Home

Alongside my long-term involvement with CHT Ltd I have always run my own consulting firm too. My consulting spans a lot of areas - from helping companies understand how mobile technologies will impact their businesses to individuals who are looking for someone to guide them about turning their home into a Smart Home.

While most people come to the forum because they want to do much of the planning and installation of their Smart Home system themselves, some of you may still be looking for advice or guidance. Of course there is plenty of free help & guidance available here in the Forum from members, including me, who respond to posts. That may be all you need.

But sometimes you may need a more specific, detailed and personalised input or may need some programming or configuration help. This is often the case if you are attempting a renovation project or building a house for example. Sometimes simply having someone show you how something is achieved will allow you to take-over and complete the rest of the work. My advice can be about any aspect of Smart Home systems or installations including LinuxMCE, Dianemo, Control-4, Crestron, Ago and many others.

My consulting rate is $65 USD and hour for projects delivered remotely online,  I will always try to provide you with a fixed price if at all possible. A small apartment or house might only need an hour or two of my time on the planning side, so the costs can be small and the benefits large.

So whether you need some advice about how to plan your Smart Home installation or help in the programming or configuration get in contact and I'll try to help.

To get in contact if you need help or advice on a project;



Dianemo X86 for Ubuntu 14.04LTS
A new Era in Smart Home Technology

Get a full Dianemo X86 14.04LTS installation ready and configured for you to use for just $199 USD - this deal ends on Wed June 3rd. We'll add/Configure your existing IP cameras and configure your existing media drives for you to make sure your existing audio/video media are available on your new Dianemo system right from the start.

Configuration includes;
  • Your existing media drives can be configured & added to Dianemo for you
  • Up to 4x IP Cameras configured in Zoneminder for you
  • 2x Athena UI Orbiters configured and added for you
  • Assistance included for adding/configuring your iOS Devices as Orbiters

Your Dianemo X86 license also enables full Remote Assistance support capability if you need more detailed support from us in the future. Remote Assistance allows our support team to remotely configure & access your system with your permission - giving you peace of mind that one of our team is always available to help you if you need them.

Please contact us by PM here or by email at to order. Please make the subject of your email; "Confiiguration Offer" and include your full name & Paypal details in the body of the email and we will then send you a PayPal Payment request.

Best regards


PS Buy two Dianemo X86 licenses for just $179 USD each (both licenses must be purchased at the same time)

If you want assistance either updating your existing system, or you want to install from scratch on a new system, then we have slots available this weekend for you.

Contact me by PM here on the forum or via email at to book a slot or to get more information.



How to Manage Media Streams in Dianemo X86 14.04LTS
A New Era in Smart Home Technology

Dianemo X86 14.04LTS has some very powerful new features for managing Media streams in your home. You can simply move a stream from one room to another or add more rooms so that stream is heard in Sync all over you home when you are having a party say or a family gathering. Dianemo's X86 14.04LTS new Athena UI provides some incredibly simple but powerful tools for you to manage your media stream.

We can't teleport you to our demo system but we can do the next best thing and show you a small Gallery of screen capture images from our Athena iPad App that illustrates the simple ways to manage your media in Dianemo X86 14.04LTS;

If you have any questions about Dianemo X86 14.04LTS or would like a license then please either PM me here or drop an email too

All the best


This thread will gather together tip/suggestions relating to Dianemo's new ZoneMinder security camera functionality. If your thinking of upgrading your exisitng Dianemo X86 installation, purchasing a Dianemo X86 license or Dianemo-Rpi2 and Zoneminder is on your radar as one of features you are excitied about then this thread will be where I post useful information for you.

My first tip is about cameras; Zoneminder can use a wide range of cameras including analog, direct connect USB and IP models. The biggest hurdle you are faced when adding cameras to ZoneMinder is determining the url and options that the camera supports. For some reason camera manufacturers always seem to omit that crucual information from their documentation with the end result being a lot of experimentation and googling to find what url's and features are supported and what shape the url should take. A good place to look for the url for your camera is here;

We will be maintain a section of the wiki to provide a central place where Camera configuration details can be collected together (if you have any for specific camera models then please let me know). I will post information here about the Wiki section shortly.



Hi all,

We are looking for some intrepid existing Dianemo X86 users to help us test the Upgrade/Update process from Dianemo X86 12.04LTS. The testing will be around the update process itself - we have working systems that have been updated manually. Your testing will be focused on helping us debug the final issues in the installer. Zoneminder currently does not get automatically installed and will need some manual intervention. Also initially we will not be installing an updated motion_wrapper - but we do intend to have an update shortly for that.

This process still has some issues (which is why we need your involvement) and there will be bumps in the road. Don't expect a smooth ride! So please only volunteer if you are happy to loose access to your system for a period of time, hopefully only a few hours! Wrecking your system completely is pretty unlikely (we haven't managed that internally yet!) but I would backup your current config in Web Admin and download it to another system, and you might want to do an image backup of your main drive as a precaution too.

We will be on hand via Remote Assistance for anyone who volunteers, so that we can do some forensics on any failures or issues you experience and we will fix those for you as they occur.

So please PM me here if you are interested in helping out and i will get back to you with the information you need and the procedure we will need you to follow.

Thanks in advance to anyone who volunteers - we appreciate it greatly.

All the best


Marketplace / Dianemo-Rpi2 will be supported on Ubuntu 14.04LTS
« on: April 30, 2015, 12:38:57 pm »
Dianemo-Rpi2 for Ubuntu 14.04LTS
A new Era in Smart Home Technology

Many of you have asked about Ubuntu support for Dianemo-Rpi2 recently. I can now confirm that Dianemo-Rpi2 will be available on Ubuntu 14.04LTS.

All the best


Dianemo X86 Update to Ubuntu 14.04LTS
A new Era in Smart Home Technology

The a preliminary Updater for our new Dianemo X86 release for Ubuntu 14.04LTS is available now. The major changes in the 14.04LTS release are around security cameras and the overall hardware compatibility of the new kernel. Dianemo will be transitioning to Zoneminder + Cassandra for its IP security camera functionality (we suggest any existing users should familiarise themselves with Zoneminder in preparation).

The update will be free for existing Dianemo license holders - as usual. However new Dianemo 14.04 licenses will undergo a price increase once we ship 14.04 - to purchase at the existing price please order Dianemo x86 licenses now (you can then update to 14.04 for free).

Please contact; if you have any questions or wish to place an order.



Marketplace / Dianemo-Rpi2 - How will Licensing Work After Launch?
« on: April 17, 2015, 04:22:32 pm »
Dianemo-Rpi2 for Raspberry-Pi2 Licensing
A new Era in Smart Home Technology
--Preview License Holders Get Free 'Lifetime' Subscriptions--

Here is how licensing will broadly work after launch:

We're still very much in the planning phase on licensing, but our current sense is that we may go with a license that works something like this:

  • Dianemo-Rpi2 Base (License GPL)- This is the base Dianemo-Rpi2 software that will be downloadable for free by anyone. Includes access to our online user manual
  • Dianemo-Rpi2 Developer Subscription (around $8 USD per month) - Your subscription will include access to our  Developer Support Forum, Developer Support Services, ability to add Media Directors to your installations, access to our exclusive Plugin Extensions and updates + remote support capability to your customers systems (if you have any of course). You will receive a license key with your subscription. This is targeted at Plugin developers, Smart Home Consultants and anyone customising Dianemo-Rpi2 for end users
Essentially the Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview is equivalent to the Dianemo-Rpi2 Base software + 'Developer' subscription level above. So after launch anyone can download the basic system for free. Think of it like downloading Wordpress and installing it on your own hardware. Those that want our direct technical support, access to our special Dianemo Plugin library (which will grow over time) and remote access capability can pay an annual subscription (anyone can subscribe but the target audience is primarily developers, Smart Home installers etc - pricing is still being decided but will work out to less than $8 USD per month.).

We think this subscription model will work well for anyone involved in the Dianemo-Rpi2 community. Anyone can get a basic system setup for just the hardware costs and a free download, which is the DIY type of user. If a DIY type users want's access to the subscription service then they can subscribe for a year while they get their system into shape, then cancel their subscription - their system will continue to work as is and will receive our base system updates. But a DIY type user could also find a Dianemo-Rpi2 installer or consultant and have them configure and setup their system for them too.

For those who want to develop plugins, or build a consulting business around Dianemo-Rpi2, they can pay for a yearly subscription that will allow them to get support from us through the Forum, develop their own Plugins to extend the base system,  access to our exclusive Plugin Extensions and Remote Access capability to any customer systems they install or advise on (and they can install our exclusive Plugin Extensions on their customer systems at no additional cost either).

The great news is to say thank you to all Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview license holders they will get the developer subscription service for free once it launches, for as long as we make it available - we think this is an incredible deal!

All the best


Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview Release for Raspberry Pi2
A new Era in Smart Home Technology
Add a second license for just $49.50 USD

Before we stop registrations for the Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview we'd like to encourage additional signups from you guys (or someone you may know). We're looking for the following kinds of people to join the preview ;

- Anyone with a 2nd home (we want to have some of you to test linking home automation in two homes together)

- Anyone with a family member living in another location. That family member should ideally be not too technical (again we want to test linking your home to theirs so that you can remotely access some of their system features remotely - allows you to help the other person with the system remotely)

- In addition we would like to test how easy it is for non-technical people to setup the basic Dianemo-Rpi2 system. You would be our local eyes and ears and would report back any issues to us that they hit during setup. There would not be any kind of onerous commitment from you fo this - minimally we want to know how easy the non-technical person found setup.

So if you already have a Preview licence, or are new to the Preview and don't have a license yet - but have a family member who would like to get involved too then please get in touch. We would greatly appreciate your help making the system as simple to setup & use as possible.

In each case the 2nd license would cost just $49.50 USD and this is based on you already having a Dianemo-Rpi2 license obviously. If you don't own a license yet then you can buy one for $99 USD and add the 2nd one for $49.50 USD (but we would ask you to use the 2nd license to assist us with at least some aspect of the above tests)

To order licenses please send an email to with 'Dianemo-RPi2 Preview' in the subject line. Please indicate that you want to purchase an ARM only license, and or a 2nd license, in the body of your email and also include you Paypal details.

Best regards


Marketplace / Dianemo - System Checkups
« on: April 11, 2015, 12:54:32 pm »
Dianemo System Checkup
Get your system checked over for a fixed cost

Dianemo System Checkup is a service where one of our Support Engineers remotely connects to your Dianemo NC and gives it a 'health check' to make sure all the basics are setup and working as they should. It also allows you to report any issues your experiencing and have us look into them for you (the checkup lasts 90 minutes and will cover the basics + anything that can be put right inside that time) - we will either fix them for you or explain what the problem is so you can fix them. Our System Checkup service costs a flat $50 USD.

We've been offering this service to Pro-installers for some time as an add-on they can offer their customers - and it's been incredibly well received.

To book a System Checkup simply email or PM me here on the Forum mentioning 'System Checkup' and with your PayPal details.

All the best


Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview Release for Raspberry Pi2
A new Era in Smart Home Technology

As part of the Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview we are looking for people who are thinking about, or are interested in starting or expanding into the Home Automation installation business. You don't need to have any previous Home Automation experience or any familiarity with either Dianemo or LinuxMCE to take part in the preview. If you take part in the preview as a prospective new Home Automation installer then we will continue to ask for your feedback after Dianemo-Rpi2 launches and invite you to preview new features and options before they are released.

See our announcement on how licensing will work after we launch and what a great deal the Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview is here;

With Dianemo-Rpi2 we aim to make setting up, configuring and customising Home Automation solutions many times easier than its been in the past. By bringing together super affordable hardware with powerful, simple to configure and customise software we believe we can provide a platform that can enable a new wave of consulting and Smart Home installation businesses.

In the past complex software and expensive PC based hardware were the big limiting factors to being able to build a Home Automation business. The other factor was that the market for Home Automation was small and limited to the wealthy few. But Moores law, and an overwhelming change in the level of awareness, and acceptance of the Internet of Things has opened up the market. Now the time is right for an affordable platform that can be customised, adapted and installed easily. We believe there is a market for this kind of Home Automation product, a product that can be installed at around the same cost as a professionally installed security alarm system. We like to think of Dianemo-Rpi2 as the Wordpress of Home Automation platforms - flexible, infinitely extendable and customisable with plugins and UI themes.

We would like feedback from you on how well the configuration & set-up process works from the perspective of setting up Dianemo-Rpi2 for a customer. We're looking for honest feedback on how easy, or hard you found configuring the system for use. We'd also like to hear about any suggestions you have for improving the set-up experience.

If your excited by Home Automation and you've been thinking about converting your hobby into a business then please sign up for our Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview using the link below and be one of the first of a new wave of Home Automation installers;
(**Please mention that you are a potential commercial installer when contacting us **)

All the best


Marketplace / Dianemo-Rpi2 for ARM FAQ
« on: March 27, 2015, 02:37:47 pm »
I've had many people ask in recent days whether there is an FAQ for Dianemo-Rpi2 for ARM - there is one here;

If the FAQ doesn't answer your question then please either post the question to the thread or email me at

All the best


Users / Raspberry Pi2 Bencharked Against other Sub 2w Boards
« on: March 26, 2015, 01:21:42 pm »
David Hunt Benchmarks the Rpi2 against; Rpi1 B+, Beaglebone Black, Intel Edison, Imagination MIPS Creator C120;

Interestingly the Intel Atom based Edison is not that far ahead of the Rpi2 in performance terms on any of the benchmarks but is at least 3x more expensive because of the requirement to add a Baseboard to the main Edison board, and of course it has no community/eco system at all.

Raspberry Pi Foundation have announced that they had shipped around 4.5million Rpi's just prior to announcing the Raspberry Pi2 in late Jan and have since announced that they are manufacturing (& selling) 20,000 Rpi2's a day currently which means that by April they will certainly have shipped over 6 million Rpi's.

All the best


Marketplace / Dianemo Revealed - Why Dianemo-Rpi2 ?
« on: March 18, 2015, 02:26:14 pm »
Dianemo Revealed - Dianemo-Rpi2 for ARM v7
A New Era in Smart Home Technology

We've been looking at lower cost, small form factor & low energy hardware for Dianemo for a number of years now. In the very early days we looked at hardware based around VIA processors/chipsets which were early attempts at low-cost/low-energy hardware and then the Intel Atom processor arrived and of course a whole host of new small form factor hardware arrived built around it. But although these platforms represented big improvements over what we had before they were still not ideal and still often ran very hot.

Meanwhile the mobile world was evolving around ARM based processors and SOC's which were incredibly power efficient and ran without getting overly hot and delivered ever increasing amounts of computing power. Apart from desktop PC's and laptops everything else around us today has evolved around small low power processors and that means mostly ARM based hardware.

Out of this wave of tiny low power hardware has emerged the phenomenon that is Raspberry Pi (Rpi). The Rpi has sold millions of units and the hardware ecosystem and developer community that has evolved around it is now worldwide and incredibly vibrant. The release of the new Raspberry Pi2 (Rpi2) at the beginning of 2015 was a turning point, as for the first time we had enough performance and memory to envisage running a Dianemo NC software stack on a Rpi.

We see the Rpi2 as the perfect embodiment of what we have in the X86 PC driven world shrunk down to ARM footprint/cost; we have incredibly vibrant hardware add-on communities built around the Rpi architecture (and Rpi2 is backwardly compatible with almost all the Rpi hardware out there) and we also have an equally vibrant and dedicated software community too. So in Rpi2 we have not just an ARM based piece of hardware that for the first time has the performance we have been looking for, but we also have a ready built ecosystem too. Having that ecosystem is incredibly important when you analyse it because it means that we are not 'swimming' alone and can leverage the work going on in other parts of the Rpi community to amplify and extend our efforts and enjoyment. The 'our' in the last sentence applies to both Dianemo the company and to our software customers in equal amounts. There are other ARMv7 based boards out there that would also have the performance we are looking for but none of those hardware platforms have ecosystems like the Rpi. In the end you need a critical mass of other people, most of whom are not interested in Home Automation, but who all share a common enjoyment, commitment and love of a common hardware platform. Joining this community collectively benefits everyone in it too.

So here we are. I'm not going to talk about the specifics of what Dianemo-Rpi2 is or will be here today. That's for the future. But I am sure that ARM based hardware is where we need to be and that Dianemo-Rpi2 is going to be a very exciting platform for all of us to build around.

I'd encourage anyone with an interest in low cost/energy home automation that leverage’s the Rpi hardware/software ecosystem to get signed up for our Dianemo-Rpi2 Preview here;



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