Chat transcript 05/13/2005


Staff member
<bravesirrobbin> hey everyone set to start?
<dwayne> Ready here
<bravesirrobbin> OK, let me introduce Dwayne of Red Radio
<bravesirrobbin> thanks for being here dwayne
<bravesirrobbin> the chat is open format
<dwayne> That is me. My pleasure.
<dwayne> First, to get things started I have a little application for all of you to check out.
<bravesirrobbin> so do you have an opening info or anything you would like to say before we start d
<bravesirrobbin> ok
<dwayne> I have created a simple application to show what is possible with our single-gang LCD's. You can download it here (case sensitive)
<dwayne> I think this will give everyone a complete picture of how the product works, without even getting into the technology of it.
<bravesirrobbin> watching it now
<bravesirrobbin> cool demo
<bfisher> haha - love your choice of albums ;-)
<dwayne> Well, its not pretty because I am no graphic artist.....
<dwayne> But it gives you and idea
<bravesirrobbin> so basically you are just splitting the desktop and sending a piece of that desktop to each display
<bravesirrobbin> via your special video/driver card
<dwayne> Our video card has its own display chip. We take the pixels while they are in memory and stream them out to each of 8 channels.
<dwayne> The pixel stream is at 60 fps, so the small LCD's display the data just as quick as the desktop.
<dwayne> So pretty much anything you can design on the desktop would render on the displays.
<bravesirrobbin> What applications have you used with this then, pretty much anthing that is on the desktop can be used with your system then?
<dwayne> RedRadio is staying out of the application market right now. There are plenty of good HA programs out there, and we are looking for the HA software developers and support community to create the user interface and hooks into these systems.
<dwayne> At CES we had a star wars MPG movie running on each of the LCD's.
<bravesirrobbin> wow, I wish I had time to see you at CES
<dwayne> We have also run DOS programs (Neobook) and have just started looking into Lunix applications.
<dwayne> Everything that we do in user interface samples is available in source code. We just give that away.
<bravesirrobbin> I guess I'm a little confused as to setting something like this up, so in an application you would have to calculate where somehting is displayed on the desktop, or does one of your application/software let you see the overall picture somehoe
<dwayne> Its very simple, and we have sample applications on our support forum to demonstrate this. I will explain.
<dwayne> The desktop that the LCD's see is a total of 640x480 pixels, starting in the upper left.
<dwayne> The user interface is designed around 8 160x240 screen areas.
<dwayne> The video card replicates each of these 160x240 sections on the LCDs.
<dwayne> So as an example, if you wanted to create a browser user interface...
<dwayne> You a) use the browser in Kiosk mode--this removes the frames, menus, etc. B) load a frameset page with each of the 8 panels defined, and c) load any HTML page you want in each of the framesets.
<dwayne> There is an example of this on our support forum.
<bravesirrobbin> ah, so basically you need to create some sort of html page using frames
<dwayne> Or if you want to use Visual Basic, C++, C#, create an MDI window with 8 child windows, etc.
<bravesirrobbin> ah
<dwayne> But I expect that we will see some user interface applications appearing from the software developers around each HA product.
<bravesirrobbin> what about if you wanted to use an application such as Main Lobby that is not "web based"
<dwayne> Main Lobby should work just fine. The only limitation would be the color pallet used. Our small LCD's can only display 512 colors.
<bravesirrobbin> wow, that would be great as I can easily create "scenes" in Main Lobby ver quickly
<dwayne> Yes, and the point about the product is that we (the hardware) dont know anything about HA features. If Main Lobby can do it, for example, it will work with our small LCD's.
<bravesirrobbin> This sounds like a great setup, as most of us have dedicated "HA" computers
<dwayne> I have a LCD on my back deck with user interface screens to control all of my irrigation, including manual control, scheduling, and history.
<bfisher> these are weather resistant? or is it in a special enclosure?
<dwayne> They are not weather resistant.
<dwayne> The first version of the video card has a video chip that requires us to take over the desktop, and cannot work with multiple desktops. So if you have a headless HA box, this should work file. A future version will support multiple desktops.
<dwayne> *should work fine
<dwayne> Most of our testing, and our reference kits, have used VIA mobos, such as the 800 Mhz EPIA. These are more than adequate for driving the LCD's.
<bravesirrobbin> for those that just joined us
<bravesirrobbin> we are talking with dwayne of redradio
<bravesirrobbin> about their new multiple display lcd products
<dwayne> download to see how this works.
<bravesirrobbin> can you announce any product availability? or current products now available
<GuyLavoie> hi to all
<bravesirrobbin> hi guy
<dwayne> We have been shipping Reference Kits. Reference kits are complete products, but designed for manufacturers and developers who wish to start creating products based on our technology. Anyone can order a reference kit.
<electron> That's a great demo dwayne!
<electron> hey GuyLavoie
<GuyLavoie> hi E, BSR
<electron> dwayne, have you decided yet what to do with the spare pair of wiring in the cat5 cable? You mentioned you were conisdering adding an IR sensor or something to the LCD's
<dwayne> Great question, let me explain.
<dwayne> Our plan is to provide this product to OEM's....companies that will take the product and add their own bells and whistles. There are two ways to do this:
<dwayne> Using the extra pair of CAT5 wire that we dont use, or through what is called an I2C interface. The I2C interface is a protocol that is good for small devices, such as temperature sensures, etc.
<dwayne> I dont think that RedRadio will offer product anytime soon with these features added--we would rather leave that up to OEM's to determine what is best suited for their version of the product.
<GuyLavoie> yes, I've use I2C (actually IIC) before in microcontroller projects
<SmarthomeJohn> Isn't the I@C bus limit by distance?
<GuyLavoie> you could also use the pair for a RS-485 link
<GuyLavoie> yes, I2C is TTL level signals, so distance is limited
<dwayne> We are including the I2C data wrapped up in our phy ethernet packets.
<dwayne> So it will work on the 330 ft. ethernet distance limitation.
<dwayne> Caveat: although we have included the I2C hardware, we havent built any software for it yet nor have we tested it. We will be releasing an API in the near future with an interface for I2C devices and other things too.
<joe> 8 per card?
<joe> lcds
<dwayne> Joe, we split a 640x480 desktop into 8 160x240 small LCDs.
<dwayne> Our video card has 8 RJ12 ports on it instead of a standard VGA port.
<dwayne> Each port goes to one of the LCDs
<joe> so i could have a total of 8 on one setup
<electron> are you still planning on releasing the larger LCD's by combining smaller ones?
<joe> nice
<joe> it would be nice to combine two
<dwayne> The product road map calls for 1/4 VGA LCD's next, then a larger desktop that supports 1/8th, 1/4, and VGA desktops all from one video card.
<dwayne> Mix and match...
<electron> pretty cool
<electron> have you run into any problems with using several LCD's at the same time (assuming the touchscreen emulates the mouse)
<dwayne> But that is a limitation of the overall architecture. Touches (clicks) arent a problem, because they generally take a few hundred milliseconds. If you are performing a DRAG operation on one LCD, like a volume slider, then we have to lock out the the touch on the other LCD's during the time of the drag.
<dwayne> Also, we publish the protocol of the touch packets, so you could fine tune the touch operation if you needed to.
<electron> do you have any idea what the pricing structure will be for regular users such as us? If I remember correctly, you mentioned that 1 LCD would be cheaper than i.e. a Zanware controller
<dwayne> We have set the initial MSRP at $295 for an LCD and $395 for the video card.
<dwayne> Those prices should drop as production increases.
<electron> but if you ever do release the bigger LCD's, we can still use that same video card , correct?
<dwayne> The current video card will, we believe, support the 1/4 VGA LCD but that is not guaranteed until we get the 1/4 VGA done.
<dwayne> The larger LCD's (VGA) will require Gigabit ethernet chips on the video card, so we would have to respin the video card at that time.
<SmarthomeJohn> Is the video card flash upgradeable by the user?
<dwayne> Not at this time.
<electron> oh, so you are using ethernet packets over cat5? I thought you were just using cat5 as a regular wire, interesting
<joe> what is the pixel count? of the lcds
<dwayne> We use ethernet at the physical layer...this means that they are eithernet packets, but they are our own packet format, not compatible with networking gear.
<electron> makes sense, pretty smart!
<dwayne> The LCDs are 160 pixels wide by 240 pixels tall, 512 colors.
<GuyLavoie> So its ethernet, but not TCP/IP
<dwayne> Correct
<GuyLavoie> I guess you need the dedicated bandwidth too, right?
<electron> If these are ethernet compliant frames, could I use a switch/hub to drive more LCD's ?
<dwayne> We have to have the dedicated bandwidth to ensure that the LCD's perform at the desktop framerate.
<dwayne> You cannot use any other equipment between the video card and the LCD's.
<GuyLavoie> a hub would likely work, but a switch probably won't
<dwayne> You cannot use a hub, Guy. We also provide power over one of the pair. Its our power, not POE.
<electron> ah ok
<GuyLavoie> I see
<dwayne> You can, however, use passive CAT5 equipment, such as jacks and connecting blocks.
<electron> hmm so I finally have a use for that spare 48port patch panel I have laying around ;)
<dwayne> Sure, want to order 6 complete systems?
<electron> unless you accept monopoly money, not yet ;)
<dwayne> lol
<dwayne> As an idea, you could put these in the armrests of home theater seating.
<electron> not as crazy as what I am thinking about ;)
<dwayne> Seriously, I am thinking of mounting one in my desk at home, right next to the keyboard.
<electron> I would love one in my car ;)
<dwayne> A small VIA pc in your car would drive these just fine.
<electron> yeah I have a M10000 in my car
<electron> with a 7" touchscreen
<Treetop> evenin' all
<electron> hey Treetop
<GuyLavoie> hi
<Treetop> hey Guy, E. What's the topic?
<electron> erm
<electron> lol
<electron> check the front page ;)
<Treetop> oh no... hehe
<GuyLavoie> the rad/io screesn
<dwayne> download
<Treetop> one sec... let me read what I missed thus far
<david0126> Can you move the windows around according to what you want to display on each keypad or is the display areas fixed?
<bravesirrobbin> for those that just joined us, er um treetop, we are talking with dwayne with RedRadio as our special guest speaker tonight
<bravesirrobbin> good question david
<GuyLavoie> I just depends on how you write your app, right?
<Treetop> welcome dwayne! ... i know Im late (as always)
<dwayne> The LCD's are fixed to each of the 8 quadrants on the screen, that is they will display whatever pixels are in those quadrants. However, since what is displayed is just software, you could move windows around all you want.
<electron> "follow-me" displays should be really easy
<dwayne> For example, if you had one SECURITY screen, you could move that to any of the LCD's as it is needed.
<GuyLavoie> gotta go...
<electron> Have a good night Guy
<GuyLavoie> bye to all
<dwayne> In the LaunchDemo application, it was easy for me to create 8 instances of each panel, so that one panel could be displayed in all 8 at the same time if needed.
<dwayne> A panel being a particular user interface screen
<electron> can you control the brightness & on/off state of an LCD remotely?
<dwayne> With our first production of the LCD, we have set the brightness to 20% until it is touched, then 100% for a period of 15 seconds after the last touch. Blanking out the image (e.g. screensaver) is the job of the user interface program.
<dwayne> We can vary those %'s for any OEM production order.
<electron> The video card is fast enough to display a full screen video, correct?
<dwayne> Same as a desktop, correct. The LCD's however are limited to 512 colors. Video looks pretty reasonable, but not great.
<dwayne> We have put a network camera image in them, and you can see, say a front door image, pretty well.
<electron> that would be great, show a video signal when the door bell rings
<dwayne> And a button just above it that unlocks the gate
<bravesirrobbin> ah, very cool idea
<dwayne> The really cool thing about this product, I think, is that if you can think of it, and render it in a user interface program, then you have that feature on the wall.
<bravesirrobbin> dwayne, can you mention the other companies you are working with?
<bravesirrobbin> i.e. Cinemar, Homeseer, etc...
<dwayne> How about the most recent Coocontech news scrolling across each LCD.
<dwayne> I am working with many companies, many of which we are under some sort of NDA with.
<bravesirrobbin> ah, i understand
<bravesirrobbin> Dwayne, are there any other "install" issues you have come across, such as heat problems or anything like that
<bravesirrobbin> since these fit inside a regular "gang" switch it can be combined with light switches which heat up
<bravesirrobbin> or can't you mount them that way, with AC and all
<dwayne> The LCD's do not fit in a typical single gang outlet. We have created our own metal enclosure for them, but they do fit Behind a standard single gang wallplate.
<dwayne> There is a good reason why you dont want to mount them with a wall switch anyway....
<bravesirrobbin> yea 120 vac
<dwayne> Wallswitches work best at elbow height. An LCD touch screen works best near eye height.
<bravesirrobbin> ah, do these need to be in a box at all then?
<bravesirrobbin> how would you go about installing in existing drywall?
<dwayne> They do need to be in a box for certification purposes.
<dwayne> Let me clarify. RedRadio has made a metal enclosure and wallplate as a "base" product. But we expect that other manufacturers who OEM the product will want to do their own enclosure. That being said....
<dwayne> Our base enclosure is easy to mount. Cut a drywall hole to the right size and we use those spring-clamp screws to secure.
<dwayne> Sorry, dont know the name of the screws offhand.
<electron> I know what you are talking about
<electron> sounds easy
<bravesirrobbin> ah, i see
<dwayne> I have found that the only risk in mounting them is getting them slightly crooked. I learned to use a level real fast!!
<electron> I assume you don't have to take the LCD apart in order to mount it right
<dwayne> No, just take the wallplate off.
<electron> (just the frame I assume)
<electron> cool
<bravesirrobbin> so that is included with the LCD display then?
<dwayne> The back of the metal enclosure has one opening, for the RJ12 connector.
<dwayne> Yes, included.
<bravesirrobbin> very well thought out dwayne!
<dwayne> Hold on I will post a pic of the enclosure.
<bravesirrobbin> cool
<electron> cool
<bravesirrobbin> for those just joing us
<bravesirrobbin> we are talking with dwayne of redradio
<bravesirrobbin> as our guest speaker tonight
<electron> If Dwayne doesn't mind, we should post a link to that demo file in the RedRadio thread
<dwayne> These are old photos, but they show the wallplate and enclosure.
<electron> oh the jack is in the metal housing itself, great!
<electron> I thought maybe you had to run the wiring through the hole in the metal enclosure
<electron> these would probably make great night lights
<electron> change the black screensaver screen to a white screen when motion is detected in that area
<dwayne> I have a marketing minded friend that wants a disney character (nemo?) that swims from room to room.
<electron> yeah, I was actually at my wifes computer right now, to see what resolution her fishtank screensaver runs at
<electron> so realistic, would be great
<dwayne> The fish could swim to the front door when the doorbell rings, beating you to it.
<dwayne> lol
<electron> like some kind of virtual pet
<electron> great for the kids
<dwayne> Its all just PC software, whatever you want to do with the product.
<electron> I am thinking about creating a flash interface, so it can display full screen animates based on certain events
<dwayne> There are no proprietary commands, interfaces, etc.
<electron> i.e. an animated garage door when the door opens
<electron> a flying enveloppe when the mail arrives etc
<dwayne> No problem
<electron> when is the ETA again for the retail products?
<bravesirrobbin> very cool idea, a "panic" display on an alarm
<electron> I have so many events, dryer announcement, washer announcement, anything which needs your attention
<electron> I also would like to know about important messages in the morning when I get up for work, but without waking up the wife
<electron> would be great
<electron> animated trashcan to remind me of my weekly job
<electron> lol
<bravesirrobbin> flash pictures of callers
<dwayne> Right now we are seeking OEM's that will make larger quantities for the retail market. If that doesnt happen within the next 3 months, we may take it on ourselves.
<bravesirrobbin> based on caller id database
<electron> I can't imagine OEM's not being interested in this
<electron> I just hope the cost won't go up too much
<dwayne> All of these are just software features and have nothing to do with the LCD's. Its our approach to the technology that makes that possible.
<electron> right, but it's about what you can do with them
<electron> most people don't realize this
<bravesirrobbin> I am very excited to see how this would work with Main Lobby
<electron> yeah same here
<bravesirrobbin> I know others are as well, don't know if you look at Cinemars site or not dwayne
<electron> they would have to make some major changes I think
<bravesirrobbin> but people there have expressed interest in your product as well
<bravesirrobbin> What major changes?
<dwayne> It should work as is. I have done a little with it.
<bravesirrobbin> scaling would be a problem, but after you had that worked out
<dwayne> Just make the panels smaller, and run multiple instances of the panels, each with a startup position.
<electron> well ifyou want access to the same panel on each screen, with independent control, wouldn't that require seperate instances of mainlobby?
<bravesirrobbin> ah, good point
<dwayne> Shouldnt be hard to test
<dwayne> I think that Mario said it could be done.
<dwayne> We should issue some sort of application note on it.
<dwayne> I think the only real problem is with colors. Our LCD's support 512 colors, and Main Lobby has such rich color interfaces. You would have to scale it back.
<bravesirrobbin> true, but the ease of creating multiple scenes would be great
<bravesirrobbin> as you can easily scale the library buttons in Main Lobby
<electron> dwayne, sorry if I asked this before, I don't remember the answer ;) How high of a priority is the new video card which would allow you to use it as a second card/desktop?
<dwayne> Its a high priority but just a matter of time and resources. We have prototype cards now, but they require more work.
<electron> that's understandable
<dwayne> For now, the product needs a small, dedicated PC, such as a VIA-EPIA based system to work most efficiently. We plan to offer a small box for this purpose.
<dwayne> Its called the G1 and there is some info on our site.
<dwayne> The G1 is 7"x7"x3" and fits in a wiring can.
<electron> requiring a dedicated pc is definitely going to be an issue
<electron> but I assume this is just for OEMs right
<dwayne> Do most of you have a dedicated HA PC now, and use its primary display for a touch screen?
<dwayne> Or do you want to use your working desktop to drive these LCD's as well?
<electron> dedicated to HA, yes, as for the touchscreen part, it's either the primary screen, or people use tablets etc
<dwayne> I would like to understand the requirement better.
<electron> well I personally don't use my HA machine for anything but HA
<electron> the only time I log in is to do maintenance
<electron> I would think that my setup is a typical setup
<dwayne> Does it have a PCI slot?
<electron> yea, several
<dwayne> Our video card has a VGA port (external cable) that displays the same desktop image that you see on all 8 LCD's, so you can actually use it for things like maintenance. You would just have to stop the running UI while you do maintenance.
<dwayne> You could also RDP into the host machine and use it without affecting the LCD desktop.
<electron> yeah I personally wouldn't have a problem with it
<electron> hey smee
<smee> 'lo, sorry I'm late.
<bravesirrobbin> hey smee
<electron> np
<bravesirrobbin> we are talking with dwayne of red radio as our special guest speaker
<smee> transcript tomorrow so I can catch up?
<electron> yep
<electron> dwayne, do you have any pictures of the mini-itx box installed in a panel?
<dwayne> Let me look
<electron> hi Brian
<dwayne> not in a panel, but here is the proto box
<brian> Hey guys just hooked up my TED
<electron> TED?
<electron> that looks pretty sharp dwayne
<dwayne> You can see the video card installed in it.
<Treetop> i concur
<dwayne> Thank you
<electron> feel free to post that picture in the redradio thread when you get a chance
<dwayne> ok
<electron> brian, url doesn't work
<electron> cool, can you interface it?
<brian> yep thats the plan
<Treetop> how much energy does the TED use? :p
<Treetop> j/k
<electron> how do you interface it, don't see any references
<dwayne> Use our LCD's to show from any room the current energy usage rate.
<Treetop> zing!
<Treetop> sorry if this has aready been covered, but when will the units be sold individually? And when will the 4-port card be available?
<smee> Q: Are there any other versions of TED? . An enhanced version that will communicate with your PC to allow more sophisticated load shedding and graphing of historical data.
<electron> yea just read that too
<dwayne> Its hard to say right now. We are hoping to get an OEM to do larger scale production by the end of the summer.
<electron> was looking in the wrong section
<Treetop> fair enough
<brian> look around page 5 this will answer alot of questions
<electron> dwayne, do you know if the pci card will put a big strain on a pc power supply?
<electron> since it drives 8 LCDs
<brian> for hook up it has a rj15 jack on the reader I think I can use a cm11a cable
<bfisher> i'm dropping off. Thanks for your information Dwayne. Very interesting and I'm definitely interested once these become more readily available.
<electron> nite bfisher
<dwayne> I am running a VIA mobo system right now with all 8 LCDs and using an external 9watt PS.
<electron> I hope you mean 90
<Treetop> 9!? wow
<dwayne> 9 amp
<dwayne> sorry
<electron> ah
<electron> the power comes from those ports on the PCI card right
<electron> or is there a seperate adapter
<dwayne> PCI + 1 floppy style power connector.
<electron> cool
<dwayne> a 5 amp, 80 wall PS will work with 4, but not all 8.
<dwayne> thats about the smallest power supply you can get
<dwayne> 9 amp 200 watt will power it all. We include this with the reference kit and also with the G1.
<electron> I guess when it comes to the installer market, installing that G1 box would be the ideal solution
<electron> more worried about the DIY HA'er which might be pushing his power supply to the max already
<dwayne> Yes, thats the idea of the G1.
<dwayne> Turn it on and they work.
<electron> what OS did you go with
<electron> linux ?
<dwayne> None, we are leaving that up to others. We will ship a reference kit with any OS that you want.
<pauL> isnt a 9 amp power supply 990 watts?
<pauL> 110v * 9A = 990w
<electron> 12V
<pauL> rgr
<electron> I think
<electron> lol
<dwayne> Sorry, let me look....not my strong point.
<pauL> E * I = P
<dwayne> 12V 8.5 amp 110 Watt
<electron> sounds about right
<electron> I have a 90W in my car
<pauL> dwayne is the guest speaker i assume?
<dwayne> Here are the two products we use on the reference kit and G1:
<electron> yep
<pauL> i wish i had the money for one of those setups
<pauL> was looking at them yesterday
<dwayne> I am thinking of having a contest, with a free set for the winner.
<pauL> but then i remembered that i could buy a truck for that and i need a truck a bit more
<pauL> rrrrrrrrreally
<pauL> did i mention I can build anything?
<electron> That would be really cool dwayne
<Cocooner14> j
<electron> hi Cocooner14
<Treetop> not sure whats happening here
<pauL> whats up treetop
<Treetop> good things...
<pauL> dan did you see my story about the morning from hell earlier?
<electron> no, but tell me about it later, we still have dwayne here ;)
<pauL> haha
<dwayne> I will stay tonight as long as there are questions
<pauL> dwayne do you guys have your own software for those systems, or are they meant to be used with stuff like netremote and girder?
<dwayne> We are not planning on having our own software. We are, however, providing user interface samples, more from a technical how-to perpsective. There are plenty of great HA software packages and user interface programs out there. Many of them are developing for RAD-I/O now.
<electron> Does this mean you are no longer dealing with that touch screen designer software you showed me?
<dwayne> TouchBuilder was our UI program based on an OEM from NeoSoftware (NeoBook). NeoBook has upgraded to a new version, NeoBook 5, and we decided to just support NeoBook 5 directly rather than our own version.
<electron> makes sense
<dwayne> There are other programs too listed on our 3rd party software page.
<electron> back sorry
<electron> wife was calling for help
<electron> dwayne, I am going to have to call it a night, we appreciate you taking the time to talk about the Rad-IO product tho
<Treetop> me too.
<dwayne> My pleasure. I will make it to the Friday chat as often as I can.
<electron> I look forward to having a setup like that in my house someday
<electron> great!
<Treetop> me too :)
<Treetop> lightswitches are a thing of the past
<electron> yep
<bravesirrobbin> yes, very gracious of you chatting with us dwayne
<bravesirrobbin> thanks
<dwayne> you are welcome
<bravesirrobbin> and my compliments on your product, it should do well
<Treetop> yes. Thank you dwanye, for taking time out to talk to us.
<Treetop> I look forward to learning (and using) your product
<Treetop> now get me that 4-port card! .. hehe
<dwayne> goodnight everyone
<Treetop> nite d.
<Treetop> this and the Elk... Id be in heaven