Archive for May, 2009

Shion 2.0 Release Candidate 2 (2.0b12)

May 30th, 2009

Shion 2.0b12 is now available.

This is a minor update that fixes a handful of problems in hardware error reporting as well as providing a visual indicator (the Shion icon in the menu bar turns red) when there has been a hardware problem.

Shion Recipe #2: Dealing With Failures

May 29th, 2009

Sometimes, even despite our best preparation and attention, things go awry:

Shion: Hardware Error

We’ve worked hard to make Shion as robust as possible, but despite our best efforts, there are a circumstances where Shion will fail and give you a message like the one above. Perhaps you have an overeager puppy who pulled the USB cable from a PowerLinc, you received a faulty controller from the factory, or we did not find a hidden bug in our code.

This recipe shows you how you can configure Shion to respond to these events by taking action to let you know what’s going on.

Shion 2.0 Release Candidate 1 (2.0b11)

May 25th, 2009

Shion 2.0b11 is now available.

This is the first feature-complete version of Shion and also the first 2.0 release candidate. If I find no problems in this version, I will release it as 2.0 proper next week. So, in the interest of robust code, please report any issues that you identify.


1. More robust thermostat support.

2. Sunrise and sunset events have been deprecated in favor of a more configurable “Solar Event”

Shion: Solar Events

3. Snapshots now work in remote mode.

Beta Licenses

This is the last release for which I will make available complimentary beta licenses. If you would like a free license for evaluating the software, you should e-mail me before I release Shion 2.0 next weekend.

Shion Environments: Audacious Software Office 2.0

May 25th, 2009

Audacious Software Office 2.0 This is the first in a series of posts highlighting how Shion users around the world use the system to automate their homes and other environments. If you are using Shion and would like to show off your setup, please send an e-mail to

Several months ago, I began working on Audacious Software as a full-time venture when I rented a small 7 foot by 9 foot space from my friends at The House Theatre of Chicago. It was a nice environment to bootstrap the development of the new version of Shion and it had the advantage of also becoming Audacious Software’s first live testing lab.

Last month, the theatre company and I relocated to a new space down the hall and I tripled my space in order to handle the growing amount of computers, test equipment, and other devices that this growing enterprise is generating. Along with the desks and computers, came the automation equipment as well. Once I hooked everything up, the new office became Testing Lab 2.0.

Shion Recipe #1: Lights Out

May 20th, 2009

Welcome to the inaugural recipe of the “Shion Cookbook”. Every week or so, I will post a short blog entry that describes how to use Shion to solve a problem.

I have a problem. Starting a business, wrapping up graduate school, keeping up with the family, and everything else in my life keeps my mind busy and I often overlook the simple and basic things. For example, on Monday, I retired to bed early in order to get a head start on the next day, while my wife chatted with an out-of-state friend on the phone. Since she was still up, I left three lights on in the living room, assuming that she would turn them out herself.

Now, my wife’s conversations with her friends can be somewhat lengthy, and when I awoke the next morning to find the living room lights still on. I hadn’t told her that I left them on, and she went to bed herself after wrapping up her conversation.

Given that I had three (3) 60 watt lamps on for an extra seven (7) hours that night, we consumed an unnecessary 1.26 kWH at a cost of at least $0.13 (rates derived from a Chicago Reporter article). While thirteen cents may not be a lot of money, over many months, it adds up. Furthermore this cost does not include related expenses such as the decreased lifespan of the bulbs, the power required to cool the room to offset the heat generated, an increased carbon footprint, and so on.

Using Shion, I made these forgetful moments a relic of the past using the simple technique described below.

Shion 2.0b10

May 16th, 2009

Shion 2.0b10 is now available. This release adds (beta) support for INSTEON thermostat devices as well as “Shion Remote” mode. I’ve also included a variety of bug fixes and UI tweaks that should provide a more enjoyable experience. Thermostat Support This release of Shion includes suppport for INSTEON-enabled thermostats. I’ve been testing with the Venstar […]

Shion: Two major new features

May 13th, 2009

A brief update on Shion progress: 1. As some of you have already noticed, the USB device performance is noticeably better in the latest version of Shion. A slight delay introduced to the communication between the Mac the PowerLinc USB solved the problem. 2. Thermostat support will be available in 2.0b10. I’ve been testing this […]

Shion 2.0b9

May 3rd, 2009

Shion 2.0b9 is now available. This release includes some reliability improvements to the INSTEON subsystem as well as some aesthetic changes to the icon and look and feel. I’ve also included a network health indicator that helps you stay apprised of the status of the local powerline network. If you have any questions or comments, […]

Cidney goes on hiatus

May 2nd, 2009

As you have seen, the new Audacious Software website is up and running. As some of you may have also noticed, there are no longer any links to Cidney, the Caller ID app that I put together some time ago. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to give that app the attention that it deserves […]