Archive for August, 2009

Shion & Snow Leopard

August 29th, 2009

After a long day of backups and upgrades, I finally was able to test Shion on Snow Leopard last night. A few observations:

1. Nothing in the UI is broken and the application behaves as expected.

2. The USB system in Snow Leopard is quite a bit faster than those in Leopard and Tiger, so communication with the INSTEON powerline controller proceeds at a brisk pace. The pace is so brisk that the unit can become overloaded and internal firmware crashes. This can be fixed by resetting the unit, but the PLC will freeze again within a couple of hours. This is a known problem and is easily solved by having Shion better moderate the communication between the computer and the powerline controller.

3. Because of the timing issue above, you will notice some odd behavior if you’re using the latest beta – continuous device state report will fluctuate (“100%, 10%, 100%, 10%, …”). This is the result of an interaction between the USB code and new ramp rate code.

This is just a preliminary report and I’ll have some more details and updates available as I spend more time with the app under Snow Leopard. If you are using Shion for anything important, please hold off on running it under 10.6 until I release a compatibility update in the next couple of days.

Shion 2.1.0b1

August 20th, 2009

Shion 2.1.0b1 is now available.

This is a major beta update that addresses a variety of issues and includes the following new functionality:

Support for motion detector events

Support for setting lamp module ramp rates (INSTEON only, reset the modules to have changes take effect)

Support for XMPP

Shion: Sharing preferences

Regarding XMPP support: In this release, I am not limiting Shion to only talk to my own XMPP servers. If you want to run your own server, Shion can use that.

That said, I reserve the right to remove/restrict this feature at any point in the future. If you wish to avoid problems with a future restriction, please send an e-mail requesting an XMPP account on an Audacious Software server.

I’ll post more instructions on using the XMPP functionality later, but if you’d like to get started, some tips:

1. Shion needs its own XMPP account and the client needs an XMPP account.

2. Shion will not respond to commands from the client unless the client’s JID is in the Shion account’s roster.

3. Shion will transmit status updates via the user status field. These are the same messages conveyed using Growl.

4. To communicate with Shion, open a chat to its XMPP account and use the following commands:

[device name] on
[device name] off
set [device name] to 0-8
activate [snapshot name]
[device name] status
ring [chime name]
brighten [continuous device name]
dim [continuous device name]
set [themostat name] mode to [auto/cool/heat/off/etc.]
set [thermostat name] cool point to [degrees]
set [thermostat name] heat point to [degrees]
toggle [thermostat name] fan

Please report any problems that you have or any additional commands that you would like to see.

In terms of the Ad-Hoc commands, download Psi, log in, and right-click Shion in your buddy list to begin executing commands. Shion will only expose commands if it has devices that can respond to them.

Please post any feedback in the comments.

Shion 2.1 Updates

August 12th, 2009

XEP-0050 Support

Shion work is continuing and I’m getting close to releasing a 2.1 beta (probably sometime this weekend). Below the fold, updates on the following topics:

1. Shion XMPP support.

2. Shion online service.

3. Electric Meter.

Please keep reading.

Towards Shion 2.1 (feedback requested)

August 4th, 2009

The last two weeks have been quite exciting in terms of Shion development. During this time, the following has happened:

1. Added support for new device types: chimes, motion detectors.

2. Implemented the XMPP network infrastructure. (This is under active testing.)

3. Improved the AppleScript functionality.

4. Fixed a variety of bugs.

Rather than continue to use the 2.0.1 numbering scheme, the next non-beta release of Shion will be version 2.1. Beta testing will continue as I’m comfortable spinning off test releases.

Now given the frantic pace of recent Shion development, I’m currently trying to nail down the 2.1 feature set. The new devices and new network functionality open up a number of options, but I would like implement a manageable number of features so that 2.1 does make it out the door.

Here’s my “Must Implement” list for 2.1:

1. PowerLinc 1132U & PowerLinc 2414S support.

2. 2-way X10 support.

3. Full event and AppleScript support for motion detectors.

4. Fix outstanding memory leaks.

5. AppleScript commands for configuring thermostats.

6. XMPP events (server connected, server disconnected, remote command received, etc.)

This list will likely keep me busy for the greater part of the month of August. However, I also have the opportunity and equipment on hand to implement the following:

1. General sensor support: door sensors, I/OLinc-based sensors.

2. TiVo support: Remotely query Shion to see what’s on your TiVo DVR.

3. Sprinkler support.

4. RemoteBuddy support.

5. Simple voice command interface (using Apple’s built-in speech recognition)

6. Advanced voice command interface (using MacSpeech Dictate)

7. SmartLinc 2414N support.

Adding some of these to the 2.1 release will delay the ultimate non-beta release, but I know that some of you are interested in some of the features above. If you’re one of those who thinks that an item from the second list should be promoted to the first list, please let me know in the comments.