Author Topic: Establish KISS  (Read 2330 times)

los93sol

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 396
    • View Profile
Establish KISS
« on: June 23, 2008, 02:20:15 am »
I have been attempting to get LMCE running and integrated for about two months now and have gotten it installed, but that's about it.

TV:
I'm choosing to hold fire on setting up TV functionality for now as hardware limitations are a major concern of mine with quality.  I'm a DirecTV customer so I'm anticipating the release of the HDPC-20 and hoping that LMCE will be able to support it in the future.  That said I am also a cable subscriber and do not see any good hardware available for that at the moment either.  Sure there are QAM cards and some that will accept a cablecard, but you are still limited quite drastically from a conventional box.  There is also the other route of using a cap card with the box, but I have two issues with this setup, mainly HD is not really an option (yes I'm aware there are HD cap cards out there now, but they're few and far between).  The other issue I have with this is that you also end up with a double UI because most boxes won't let you turn off their UI so it will be displayed through the cap card along with LMCE's UI.  To be clear, this is not my gripe, I understand these limitations are hardware and until a proper hardware solution is available software can't fix the problems presented.

Phone:
If you use VOIP then setup is straightforward, but what about people who are using PSTN lines?  Is it not possible to have a built in option to just select a PSTN line without all the troublesome setup I still have yet to figure out?

Security:
There seems to be a general consensus amongst those with fully working setups (again, few and far between that have fully working setups...at least not many are documented).  There are several people wanting to integrate with their existing panels, and from what I've seen most people have the same unsupported panels, but they're told time and time again, just buy a GC-100 and do away with your existing panel.  I wouldn't exactly call that integrating the system, it's more like fixing something that isn't broke.  I've looked at and attempted to use the GSD setup, but it is complicated, not documented well, and makes perfect sense why NOBODY seems to have had any success integrating their existing panel.

Home Automation:
I haven't even attempted this area yet after failing miserably with the other categories.  I've decided before going any further I need to get my existing projects working, namely phone and security.  If those configurations have been any indication of what's to come I'd just be throwing money away investing in hardware anyway.

My Conclusions:
I decided to give LMCE a try because it seemed to me it was being targeted for the average end user, but after researching and attempting to get some things working, it is apparent I was gravely mistaken.  I've seen a few productive users here on the forums answering questions and trying to help, but for the most part I've seen a negative attitude and not many resolutions here on the boards.  I agree that what is done currently is probably more robust than an easier and simpler setup/configuration, but what good is robust if nobody can use it without months of work to get it going.  In my opinion the development track of LMCE should be re-thought, and should be put on a feature freeze until better hardware support can be implemented along with a more intuitive setup.  There is just so much custom work and admittedly so many variables that each user could possibly have that answers to questions almost come across as "code it yourself".  I guess my point is that from my experience I almost feel like you have to be a programmer to get it going, and this is coming from someone who's been working with 3 other IT experts who have been in the industry for over 15 years each.  Of that accumulated experience we have not been able to decipher or make heads or tails of half of what LMCE is supposed to be doing, it's just not clearcut.

That said, I am going to continue trying to get it working, but I would like to get other people's opinions on whether or not they think LMCE is on the right development track or if they should start adopting the KISS philosophy to attract and actually keep more users as it seems to me on a weekly basis people come and go from the boards, straying away from the complexity that is LMCE.

tschak909

  • LinuxMCE God
  • ****
  • Posts: 5495
  • DOES work for LinuxMCE.
    • View Profile
Re: Establish KISS
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2008, 05:58:26 am »
oh, don't i just LOVE drama...

okay, here goes...

TV... lots of things we have to do in this area...use the HD-PVR when we have it ready soon..

Phone...we need device templates for Digium's cards, as well as SIP to analog FXO adaptors. anyone willing to step up?

Security...I'm sure you're referring to my stance on this..Yes, I do believe that the panels are complete crap, especially compared to what we can do...but all the same, if there is RS-232, or an ethernet connector, a GSD driver can be written for these devices in a matter of an hour or two, provided the protocol information is available.... any takers? or are you guys just going to keep whining? waah waah???

Home Automation... one of the most stable aspects of the system. I use a combination of Z-Wave, GC-100, and soon Insteon devices seamlessly.

Please stop trying to create drama from your own frustrations...The problem is that often the forum becomes both the asking ground for new individuals, and the dumping ground for frustrated people. So you never hear about the successful setups (of which there are many.) ... I literally have one of everything in my setup, and while I do know the code base inside and out, it was not required for me to be able to install these things in an efficient manner...

While I do agree that there is so much that needs to be improved...what is here DOES work, and I make no apologies for my strong recommendations when I tell someone to trash something, most of the time, it's straight from my own experience, and am trying to save someone from similar pain...

...of course, well.. you can do whatever you want... i'm not stopping you... but please... work with us... talk with us on the chat room if you have to...

-Thom


I have been attempting to get LMCE running and integrated for about two months now and have gotten it installed, but that's about it.

TV:
I'm choosing to hold fire on setting up TV functionality for now as hardware limitations are a major concern of mine with quality.  I'm a DirecTV customer so I'm anticipating the release of the HDPC-20 and hoping that LMCE will be able to support it in the future.  That said I am also a cable subscriber and do not see any good hardware available for that at the moment either.  Sure there are QAM cards and some that will accept a cablecard, but you are still limited quite drastically from a conventional box.  There is also the other route of using a cap card with the box, but I have two issues with this setup, mainly HD is not really an option (yes I'm aware there are HD cap cards out there now, but they're few and far between).  The other issue I have with this is that you also end up with a double UI because most boxes won't let you turn off their UI so it will be displayed through the cap card along with LMCE's UI.  To be clear, this is not my gripe, I understand these limitations are hardware and until a proper hardware solution is available software can't fix the problems presented.

Phone:
If you use VOIP then setup is straightforward, but what about people who are using PSTN lines?  Is it not possible to have a built in option to just select a PSTN line without all the troublesome setup I still have yet to figure out?

Security:
There seems to be a general consensus amongst those with fully working setups (again, few and far between that have fully working setups...at least not many are documented).  There are several people wanting to integrate with their existing panels, and from what I've seen most people have the same unsupported panels, but they're told time and time again, just buy a GC-100 and do away with your existing panel.  I wouldn't exactly call that integrating the system, it's more like fixing something that isn't broke.  I've looked at and attempted to use the GSD setup, but it is complicated, not documented well, and makes perfect sense why NOBODY seems to have had any success integrating their existing panel.

Home Automation:
I haven't even attempted this area yet after failing miserably with the other categories.  I've decided before going any further I need to get my existing projects working, namely phone and security.  If those configurations have been any indication of what's to come I'd just be throwing money away investing in hardware anyway.

My Conclusions:
I decided to give LMCE a try because it seemed to me it was being targeted for the average end user, but after researching and attempting to get some things working, it is apparent I was gravely mistaken.  I've seen a few productive users here on the forums answering questions and trying to help, but for the most part I've seen a negative attitude and not many resolutions here on the boards.  I agree that what is done currently is probably more robust than an easier and simpler setup/configuration, but what good is robust if nobody can use it without months of work to get it going.  In my opinion the development track of LMCE should be re-thought, and should be put on a feature freeze until better hardware support can be implemented along with a more intuitive setup.  There is just so much custom work and admittedly so many variables that each user could possibly have that answers to questions almost come across as "code it yourself".  I guess my point is that from my experience I almost feel like you have to be a programmer to get it going, and this is coming from someone who's been working with 3 other IT experts who have been in the industry for over 15 years each.  Of that accumulated experience we have not been able to decipher or make heads or tails of half of what LMCE is supposed to be doing, it's just not clearcut.

That said, I am going to continue trying to get it working, but I would like to get other people's opinions on whether or not they think LMCE is on the right development track or if they should start adopting the KISS philosophy to attract and actually keep more users as it seems to me on a weekly basis people come and go from the boards, straying away from the complexity that is LMCE.

Blackhat

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: Establish KISS
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2008, 06:44:17 am »
I'll step up!  Who's gonna buy me the devices so I can work on them?  ;D

If you're wondering why everything isn't supported by LMCE, it's because the devs don't own everything.

Cylon7

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
    • Apollo Smart Homes
Patience
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2008, 06:52:30 am »
I started using Pluto Home, the predecessor to LMCE, in late 2006. At the time I was a Linux newbie. The basic guidelines of using this system still apply to newbies, whether they be total Linux newbies, or just new to LMCE. Buy the exact hardware specified. The functions that work, work really well, once set up according to the provided instructions. Be patient, especially if you're trying to add support for unsupported hardware - in which case you may need to know a little about programming and/or databases.

What Pluto Home gave us, for free, is basically a very powerful framework. You might think of it in terms of an actual house. The roof is on and the walls are up, and you can live there using an air mattress on the floor and a toaster oven - but it's not the best-looking house, most luxurious in the world just yet. We are still trying to improve the software, so that anyone without computer experience can just 'buy the house' (install LMCE) and 'move in' (start using it with recommended hardware from a large list of widely available stuff). In the meantime, if you're a programmer, you can make it do whatever you want. And we appreciate it when people pitch in and do that. At this point, we have the most powerful home automation framework available in the world - paid or otherwise. It just happens to by very DIY at this time, just as Ubuntu was very DIY a few years ago. In a few years, when you can buy an Ethernet port or wi-fi as an option on everything in your home from an oven to a bathtub, LMCE will be immediately ready to support it, at a lower cost-of-ownership (both short and long term) than any other system.

TV: The entertainment industry does not want *ANYONE* to have a PC-based HD PVR right now, *especially* in the US. Period. Windows and ATI showed a 'demo' model in the spring of '07, and we have yet to see it hit the shelves. The closest thing available, is a USB Hauppauge box that's component (Y-Pb-Pr) capture and about $250 US. We plan to have support for this box in 6 months, once support is added to MythTV. You would hook your cablebox up to this box, and control your cablebox using a USBUIRT. In the meantime, we have support for many of the same SD tuners, and OTA HD tuners, that are supported on other platforms. You can check the wiki or come to the chat room for more info on this. I use a Hauppauge card to record SD cable directly, and to watch my HD cablebox over SVideo through LMCE. I control the cablebox, my amp, and my TV with a USBUIRT, so that I can watch the cablebox HD directly on the TV, and still use LMCE to control everything seamlessly. All of this is well-documented in the forums, and many people in the chatroom have this setup.

Phone: You can easily flash a VOIP router, like the ones that Vonage gives away, and use PSTN with LMCE. There is plenty of information in the Asterisk forums on how to do this. LMCE wraps a lot of other projects; Asterisk is one of them. (MythTV is another.) There is plenty of support available for these projects that we wrap, both from us, and from the projects themselves. One of the regulars in the chat room runs his own VOIP company, and is happy to help with this. There are also multiple people in the chat room who have done the PSTN service by flashing a Vonage router.

Security: Pluto Home (the LMCE predecessor) built in support for basically two security panels - a specific RS-232 adapter for certain DSC panels, and a specific line of Honeywell security panels. The DSC Panel works, with some manual setup and tweaking, and you get most of the functionality available in LMCE. (It's inexpensive but requires some manual setup.) The Honeywell panel works *great*, it's totally plug and play, and you get all the functionality available, including "Entertaining" mode. (It's a fairly expensive panel.) If your panel's not supported and you are familiar with basic programming, please help us add support for it. People with only basic programming skills are adding support for their own devices every day using the GSD framework. Otherwise - yes, the consensus among our high-level developers (like TSCHAK) is that you don't really need a separate security panel. The LMCE system is much smarter than the $2000 Honeywell security system.

Home Automation: This is where 80% of LMCE's power comes from. It's about 20% Media Center, and 80% automation. Of a whole score of things - lights, home entertainment equipment, appliances, sprinklers, pool heaters, etc.
,
As far as KISS - I'll return to the analogy of the house. The construction of a well-made home that conserves energy, looks good, and lasts for centuries  is not a simple task. LMCE will be the virtual framework for the literal 'house of tomorrow' - it will be conserving the home's energy, controlling entertainment equipment, and providing total home automation, for a low cost.

As technology controls our lives more and more, I feel that open-source becomes as important as an open judicial system - especially with something like LMCE, that can control many aspects of your home life. I like to think of the project as a virtual 'Habitat for Humanity'. Right now the home we're offering requires that you buy very specific hardware. Some day soon it will help change peoples' quality of life - by offering low-cost lighting control to people with mobility issues, amongst many other things. We need help now, and we'll need help then. If you know even a little bit about how to program, you can help build the house of tomorrow. In the meantime, if you follow the instructions, and ask for help, you can have much of the functionality that you're complaining about.
“True words aren't charming,
   Charming words aren't true.
People who know aren't learned,
   Learned people don't know."
--Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, 81

Zaerc

  • Alumni
  • LinuxMCE God
  • *
  • Posts: 2256
  • Department of Redundancy Department.
    • View Profile
Re: Establish KISS
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2008, 03:49:00 pm »
I have been attempting to get LMCE running and integrated for about two months now and have gotten it installed, but that's about it.

TV:
I'm choosing to hold fire on setting up TV functionality for now as hardware limitations are a major concern of mine with quality.  I'm a DirecTV customer so I'm anticipating the release of the HDPC-20 and hoping that LMCE will be able to support it in the future.  That said I am also a cable subscriber and do not see any good hardware available for that at the moment either.  Sure there are QAM cards and some that will accept a cablecard, but you are still limited quite drastically from a conventional box.  There is also the other route of using a cap card with the box, but I have two issues with this setup, mainly HD is not really an option (yes I'm aware there are HD cap cards out there now, but they're few and far between).  The other issue I have with this is that you also end up with a double UI because most boxes won't let you turn off their UI so it will be displayed through the cap card along with LMCE's UI.  To be clear, this is not my gripe, I understand these limitations are hardware and until a proper hardware solution is available software can't fix the problems presented.

Phone:
If you use VOIP then setup is straightforward, but what about people who are using PSTN lines?  Is it not possible to have a built in option to just select a PSTN line without all the troublesome setup I still have yet to figure out?

Security:
There seems to be a general consensus amongst those with fully working setups (again, few and far between that have fully working setups...at least not many are documented).  There are several people wanting to integrate with their existing panels, and from what I've seen most people have the same unsupported panels, but they're told time and time again, just buy a GC-100 and do away with your existing panel.  I wouldn't exactly call that integrating the system, it's more like fixing something that isn't broke.  I've looked at and attempted to use the GSD setup, but it is complicated, not documented well, and makes perfect sense why NOBODY seems to have had any success integrating their existing panel.

Home Automation:
I haven't even attempted this area yet after failing miserably with the other categories.  I've decided before going any further I need to get my existing projects working, namely phone and security.  If those configurations have been any indication of what's to come I'd just be throwing money away investing in hardware anyway.

My Conclusions:
I decided to give LMCE a try because it seemed to me it was being targeted for the average end user, but after researching and attempting to get some things working, it is apparent I was gravely mistaken.  I've seen a few productive users here on the forums answering questions and trying to help, but for the most part I've seen a negative attitude and not many resolutions here on the boards.  I agree that what is done currently is probably more robust than an easier and simpler setup/configuration, but what good is robust if nobody can use it without months of work to get it going.  In my opinion the development track of LMCE should be re-thought, and should be put on a feature freeze until better hardware support can be implemented along with a more intuitive setup.  There is just so much custom work and admittedly so many variables that each user could possibly have that answers to questions almost come across as "code it yourself".  I guess my point is that from my experience I almost feel like you have to be a programmer to get it going, and this is coming from someone who's been working with 3 other IT experts who have been in the industry for over 15 years each.  Of that accumulated experience we have not been able to decipher or make heads or tails of half of what LMCE is supposed to be doing, it's just not clearcut.

That said, I am going to continue trying to get it working, but I would like to get other people's opinions on whether or not they think LMCE is on the right development track or if they should start adopting the KISS philosophy to attract and actually keep more users as it seems to me on a weekly basis people come and go from the boards, straying away from the complexity that is LMCE.

Just what we need, yet another "visionary" that would like to tell everybody what needs to be done to solve his problems, as he's obviously to clueless to figure some things out himself. 

My opinion... let's see now: 
You can either roll up your sleeves and get to work like the rest of us, or go pout in the corner quietly... because nobody here likes a whiner.

"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
-- Anonymous


los93sol

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 396
    • View Profile
Re: Establish KISS
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2008, 07:43:15 pm »
Quote
You can easily flash a VOIP router, like the ones that Vonage gives away, and use PSTN with LMCE. There is plenty of information in the Asterisk forums on how to do this.

Can you point me in the right direction, I searched "flash router pstn" and could not find anything like that, but it sounds like something good

los93sol

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 396
    • View Profile
Re: Establish KISS
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2008, 12:13:39 am »
I've been thinking about this and as I said I was not able to make heads or tails of how the current system works, but as far as creating templates, it would be nice if the internal actions of LMCE were all listed in one place that could be referenced by people quickly and easily when creating templates.  Possibly extending and changing the functionality of the templates slightly so that the user can check a box or something to share their custom templates to a central point where other users could then retrieve them thus eliminating the need to have them in the main trunk.  For something like this to work and be efficient I'd imagine the templates would need to be tagged in some structural format like:

Category: (limited to Automation, Security, Media, Phone or something)
Device Model:
Template Name: (500ft. 200MPH name to give an idea what the template does)
Description: detailed description so users can decide if it is what they are looking for

Is there some screencasts for Ruby in the GSD available for the complete Ruby noob like Thom has put together for HADesigner?

As I understand it the actions in LMCE are mapped with numerical ID's which is quite cryptic, I might be missing something, but wouldn't it be easier to have them setup similar to how XBMC is using them in a single table where the actions are created and accessed so they could be accessible in a very streamlined fashion from HADesigner, any custom scripts, and the rest of the source?  I'm sure it's probably not an easy change at this point if it's not handled similarly at all to that method currently, but on the flip side the more the code grows the harder it will be to change later.

Just a few thoughts I had...any input?

Enigmus

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 132
    • View Profile
Re: Establish KISS
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2008, 03:44:40 pm »
A nice workflow interface like Apple's 'Automator' would be good for setting up Scenarios.  There has been talk about about developing one for linux.  However, having one built into the LinuxMCE admin site would really help out.

tschak909

  • LinuxMCE God
  • ****
  • Posts: 5495
  • DOES work for LinuxMCE.
    • View Profile
Re: Establish KISS
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2008, 04:17:17 pm »
i'm all for it, and I could write it, but I've already got so much on my plate for this project.. could someone else please step up?

please?

PLEASE?!

-Thom

Techstyle

  • Addicted
  • *
  • Posts: 674
    • View Profile
    • Techstyle UK Ltd.
Re: Establish KISS
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2008, 07:49:04 pm »
Tschak909, Zaerc, Pluto Guys and all the other developers thanks for your great work!!

I am a Newbie to Linux and installed Linux MCE about 3 months ago as an alternative to Windows MCE and MControl.  I also have a number of things that I either cannot get to work (RS232 control of my TV, NVidia 8600GT, IR Blaster, Tesco VOIP) or do not work correctly (SB Audigy 2ZS DTS passthrough, Disapearing NTFS drive, Router crashes, One particular DVD that would not play) but I am separating my issues up, prioritising them, researching them (posting questions - sometimes) and then in most cases fixing them (then posting the method) - This is how to Keep something as powerful and complex as LMCE as simple as possible

Keep up the good work!!