Archive for May, 2010

Shion 3.0α2

May 31st, 2010

Shion 3.0α2 is now available.

Please read the following release notes carefully.

This is the initial alpha release for Shion 3. This software is still very much under construction and has some very rough edges. In no particular order, some of the current major issues:

1. The AppleScript, RemoteBuddy, XMPP dialog, and other non-GUI interfaces remain unimplemented.

2. The DVR, Bluetooth, GPS, and camera devices have not yet been implemented.

3. The menu items leading to Shion web pages remain incomplete, pending the completion of the new Shion website.

4. Networked controller support (SmartLinc, EZServe) is not present in this release.

5. Sprinkler support is currently missing.

6. Changes in the device configuration from the preferences panel (modem & controllers) require an application restart to take effect.

7. You will need to reenter your devices, as the migration code is not yet complete.

This release introduces the following improvements:

1. Better support for Mac OS X 10.4 and PowerPC configurations.

2. Improved Shion Framework for hardware device communication.

4. Improved support for the new Shion Online service. (Beta testers, setup instructions will be arriving shortly.)

This alpha release is not intended for production use and is mainly intended to solicit feedback on the direction of the product. This release has been tested with the PowerLinc 2414U, PowerLinc 2412U/S, CM11A, and CM15A controllers.

Please submit any feedback in the comments below.

Update: I’m noticing some bugs in extended testing using the PowerLinc 2412S with a KeySpan adapter on PowerPC platforms (10.4 & 10.5). I’m working on a fix and should have an update out shortly.

Introducing Shion Touch & The Beta Test

May 30th, 2010

One of the main changes in Shion between versions 2 & 3 is the new support for mobile devices in version 3. Shion 3 now supports mobile interfaces on devices like the iPhone. The post below includes screenshots of the new mobile application. Before I get into the gritty details, I’d first like to invite users to join a closed beta test for Shion Touch.

Due to Apple’s restriction on pre-AppStore ad-hoc distribution, I will only be allowing fifty (50) users in this first set of tests. If you are interested in being part of this test, please e-mail me the following details:

  1. Your name & general location (US, UK, etc.)
  2. The controller you’re using with Shion 3. Please include the model number.
  3. A list of devices you are controlling with Shion 3. Please include model numbers of the modules you’re using.
  4. What device you’d like to use with Shion Touch (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad). Please include the generation of the device (Original, 3G, 3GS, etc.).
  5. Whether you’re using Shion 3 on a single computer or multiple computers to manage multiple sites.
  6. A username and initial password that you’d like to me to set up for use with the Shion online components. Please do not submit a password that you use elsewhere.
  7. The computer model (make & processor) of the computer running Shion as well as the operating system version (10.4, 10.6, etc.).

I don’t mean to be intrusive, but these details are necessary for me build a maximally diverse beta testing pool. After you e-mail me, I’ll be in touch about whether you have been selected to be in the test, and if so, the next steps.

Now, on to the app preview…

Answers to two questions received about Shion 3

May 25th, 2010

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to download and send me feedback on Shion 3. I’ve received a few questions about the application, which I answer in this post. The initial set of questions:

  1. How does Shion 3 compare to Shion 2 with respect to resource usage?
  2. Does Shion 3 support downloading programming to the controllers so that the system will work when the computer is off?

Read more for the detailed answers.

Shion 3.0α1

May 24th, 2010

Shion 3.0α1 is now available.

Please read the following release notes carefully.

This is the initial alpha release for Shion 3. This software is still very much under construction and has some very rough edges. In no particular order, some of the current major issues:

1. The AppleScript, RemoteBuddy, XMPP dialog, and other non-GUI interfaces remain unimplemented.

2. The DVR, Bluetooth, GPS, and camera devices have not yet been implemented.

3. The menu items leading to Shion web pages remain incomplete, pending the completion of the new Shion website.

4. Networked controller support (SmartLinc, EZServe) is not present in this release.

5. There are a variety of minor UI bugs in the device display and in general when running on 10.4 Tiger.

6. Sprinkler support is currently missing.

7. Changes in the device configuration from the preferences panel (modem & controllers) require an application restart to take effect.

8. You will need to reenter your devices, as the migration code is not yet complete.

That said, this release introduces the following improvements:

1. New, streamlined GUI.

2. Improved Shion Framework for hardware device communication.

3. Support for the PowerLinc 2412 USB & serial controllers. (USB users, please install the FTDI VCP 232R drivers before configuring in Shion.)

4. Support for the new Shion Online service.

This alpha release is not intended for production use and is mainly intended to solicit feedback on the direction of the product. This release has been tested with the PowerLinc 2414U, PowerLinc 2412U/S, CM11A, and CM15A controllers.

Please submit any feedback in the comments below. Two weeks from now, I am aiming to release the second alpha, which will address the issues present in this release.

Introducing Shion 3

May 24th, 2010

Several months ago, I began working on the Shion iPhone client for Shion 2. The original plan was to create an iPhone client using the XMPP infrastructure that I had been building and release it early this summer. During this process, I ran into a number of challenges that prompted me to return to the desktop Shion codebase and begin renovating the core application. What began as a simple minor update to the app quickly ballooned into a massive reworking of the core application. In retrospect, this was exactly the right move.

While I will describe the iPhone app in a future post, this post discusses the major changes from Shion 2 to Shion 3. Read more for the full details.