Archive for September, 2010

Shion 3.0α8

September 25th, 2010

Shion 3.0α8 is now available.

Please read the following release notes carefully.

This is an 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 RemoteBuddy interface remains 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. (Shion 2 Users) You will need to reenter your devices, as the migration code is not yet complete.

This release introduces the following improvements:

1. Updated Shion 3 icons.

2. Fixes for automatic updates.

This release has been tested with the PowerLinc 2414U, PowerLinc 2412U/S, CM11A, and CM15A controllers.

Please submit any feedback in the comments below.

Shion’s New Eyes

September 19th, 2010

Shion 3.0a7 introduced the new Camera device and I wanted to share some information about this new feature and how to use it.

The rationale behind including this device type is that in this day and age, it’s difficult to purchase a new Apple computer that doesn’t include a webcam of some sort and I thought that it might be useful to put these devices to work in the same way we use other kinds of sensors within Shion. It you happen to use multiple computers with cameras, we can put this mostly-neglected hardware to use with Shion. No home automation hardware is necessary to use this device.

Camera Device

In short, the camera interface consists of two main elements: the image list view and the preview window. Clicking “+” and “-” will capture and remove images from the device’s list, while clicking the magnifying glass icon will toggle a preview window that displays the selected item in the list. To look at other images, simply select them from the list and the window will update automatically.

Read more for details…

Shion 3.0α7

September 18th, 2010

Shion 3.0α7 is now available.

Please read the following release notes carefully.

This is an 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 RemoteBuddy interface remains 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. (Shion 2 Users) You will need to reenter your devices, as the migration code is not yet complete.

This release introduces the following improvements:

1. A variety of bug fixes & user interface improvements.

2. Support for mobile devices running the Shion Touch application.

3. Support for built-in cameras (e.g. iSight) for use as an image logging device.

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.

Awareness, Influence & Shion

September 13th, 2010

I recently received some feedback from an iPhone beta tester that I would like to address. While his comment was made with respect to the iPhone client, it’s also very relevant to the Shion 3 desktop client:

So really the only thing I could say is what impression the app makes when I’m using it. And I have to say that I’m a little confused by all the options I encounter. To me, it looks like a lot of more advanced options are immediately visible, while the most used one are hidden away. Turning on and off a light is about the only thing I would want to do (or activate an action). But to turn on a light I have to use a pull down menu to activate it. The whole graph page looks complicated (this one goes for the desktop application as well) and I’m not sure what it even means, let alone why I would need to see it – reasoning as an average consumer.

I want to preface this discussion with the admission that I agree with the comments and that the current iterations of Shion 3 and the iPhone app are a bit more complex from an interface perspective than it should ultimately be. I’m constantly working to make my interfaces more straightforward and fluid, but I still have a way to go. However, some of this added complexity is unavoidable and it reflects my plans for where I want to take Shion in the medium and long term.

Read on for the full explanation.