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Frustrated with home automation software

Deane Johnson

Active Member
I've been using HA for a number of years, beginning with the Ocelot over a decade ago.  I then moved to Elve when John had it in BETA for months and it gave me a change to upgrade my knowledge.  I loved Elve and still do, but as most know, it's died with the departure of John to greener pastures.
 
I thought this weekend I'd try HomeSeer 3.0.  Mark had asked me to give 3.0 a try, so I thought I should spend some serious time with it.  Anyway, it's always flattering to get an invite from the head guy.  Well Mark, it was enough to cause one to kick their dog.  I had tried 2.0 a few years back and even refreshed my memory of it's structure with a couple of old tutorials.  I remember it going together easily and being reasonably logical to work with.  Things pretty much made sense with 2.0.  That's probably why it became so successful.  Yesterday, I downloaded HomeSeer 3.0.   I spent hours trying to get a fix on it conceptually and got no where.  Nothing about it makes any logical sense to me as HomeSeer 2.0 did previously.  With many hours over several days I never got anything much going.  Luckily, I don't have a dog around to bear the brunt of a kick.
 
Realizing I was never going to get anywhere with HomeSeer 3.0 and HSTouch, I decided to download the trial for CQC, which I know to be a well respected piece of software, albeit a bit complex to learn.  I know Dean Roddy is a well respected programmer and is doing a lot of work on it, so I thought it worthy of  spending a few days with.  Well guess what.  I can't even get it loaded into my computer running Windows 8.1.  It requires "administrator rights", which of course I have, but that didn't help.  I followed all of the instructions I could find on trying to get the Setup file into an Administrator Command Prompt window as Dean instructs, but to no avail.  You can't drag and drop it in, you can't copy and paste it in, you can't run the file as a "run as administrator" file.  Whatever happened to just having an "install" button while you sit back and have a fresh cup of coffee and maybe pet the dog.
 
Why am I posting this here?  Well, every once in awhile someone comes up with a good suggestion on some excellent software that I haven't thought of.  I've been spoiled by Elve.  Elegant, clean, stable, robust, manageable, and very well mannered,  John, why did you have to leave us?
 
So, it's close all of the browser windows I have open on 3 screens, restart Elve, re-enable all of the device drivers, and forget about the frustrations of this weekend of trying to find life after Elve.  At least the Nebraska Huskers won their game yesterday.
 

batwater

Active Member
For CQC did you try opening an administrative dos command prompt change directories to where CQC was extracted and type "cqcsetup" (without the quotes)?  I can appreciate that this is not drag and drop but it does work. Sorry to hear that you had challenges installing the software.  Before you bail on CQC, give it another shot, if you are still having challenges post something on the CQC forums, folks their are more than willing to help!
 
-Ben
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
The steps are:
 
1. Unzip the installer somewhere
2. Right click on Accessories -> Command Prompt in the start menu, and run it as Admin
3. Change to the directory you unzipped it into
4. Run the CQCSetup file
 
A common mistake is to try to run CQCInst.exe, which won't work. It's a hidden file for that reason, but sometimes, depending on how people unzip it, it may become visible.
 
The primary reason for doing it this way is that the installer itself needs a lot of DLLS. Due to the way Windows works, it can't just point itself to those DLLs on the fly. So CQCSetup does a small 'build' to create an installer environment. Otherwise, we'd have to have a lot of the DLLs in the installer twice, which would be pretty messy.
 
If you run CQCInst.exe, it will try to run it right there, and that won't work since the DLLs it needs won't be available to it.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
Oops not sure what happened there. I guess I can't say it enough...
 
EDIT by Work2Play: I hid the extra posts - although the follow up comments are amusing!
 

Deane Johnson

Active Member
[SIZE=14.3999996185303px]I trust the 3 posts are a result of my being [/SIZE]perceived[SIZE=14.3999996185303px] as a slow learner?[/SIZE]
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
I guess it's the old gospel preacher thing. If you want to really get it into their souls, say it three times.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
Oh, and the download page suggests that you go start through the tutorial videos, which take you through all of the installation stuff. That's typically the best way to get started, by just following along.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
I see what's going on. If someone else posts while you are posting, the Post button doesn't seem like it's doing anything, though it does.
 

batwater

Active Member
Sheesh...
 
Okay Dean, I did not do that to make you feel better.  For what it is worth the forum software has a smallish bug.  If you are trying to post and someone else posts in the same forum a popup will appear on your screen like "2 new posts <show me>".  If you hit the post button while this is on the screen it will not advance the screen indicating  that the message was posted.  Happened to me, I hit the post button three times thinking that something was amiss. 
 

pete_c

Guru
Here have been using Homeseer now since 1998. 
 
I have today split the automation between two Homeseer servers running on two Windows servers.
 
They are connected to some 20 plus pieces of hardware via one USB cable.
 
USB==> Digi USB Hub = = > USB devices (including two 8 port edgeports plus 3 Quatech serial servers).
 
I also utilize the Leviton HAI OPII panel. 
 
The Homeseer stuff covers many complex (a bit over the top) automation things.
 
I am into weather and use it with my 1-wire network et al.
 
I am though biased here having run it for so long and becoming familiar with it.
 
I did purchase the Homeseer Zee when it was first introduced because it ran Linux.
 
I also purchased Homeseer 3 Pro and currently only running it on Linux Ubuntu 14.04 64 bit.
 
I am still very much in learning mode with Homeseer 3 and playing much but not utilizing it in "production"
 
It runs better for me in Linux than Windows.  But that is my personal opinion.
 
Once that I migrate totally to Homeseer for Linux; I will not be utilizing Windows except for maybe my consoles.
 
I am testing HSTouch in Linux, Windows and Android.  All run OK for me.
 
Really though if I am only looking schedule my lighting, HVAC, audio zones; then the Leviton HAI OPII panel does what I need.
 
Home automation here though is more hobby than anything these days (use UPB and X10 mainly and play with Z-Wave, Zigbee and Insteon.
 
Over the years too have had both hardware and software failures with my Homeseer box.  At one time built duplicate failover boxes (2X2).
 
Here its been a pleasant journey while sometimes frustrating using Homeseer. 
 
Just keeps my mind ticking sometimes and that alone makes it enjoyable.
 

Deane Johnson

Active Member
This episode has served to remind me of why HA software doesn't go mainstream, but remains the province of computer skilled tech types for the most part.  Design tends to be done from the software out, not from the end user back.  Think of where Apple would be if Steve Jobs had thought that way.
 
One of my favorite commentaries in the Steve Jobs book described how, at the end of one of his frightful meetings, the engineers said "what you want done Steve can't be done, it is impossible to do".  Steve's response was "well then, you'd better get started".
 

NeverDie

Senior Member
Deane Johnson said:
I've been using HA for a number of years, beginning with the Ocelot over a decade ago.  I then moved to Elve when John had it in BETA for months and it gave me a change to upgrade my knowledge.  I loved Elve and still do, but as most know, it's died with the departure of John to greener pastures.
 
I thought this weekend I'd try HomeSeer 3.0.  Mark had asked me to give 3.0 a try, so I thought I should spend some serious time with it.  Anyway, it's always flattering to get an invite from the head guy.  Well Mark, it was enough to cause one to kick their dog.  I had tried 2.0 a few years back and even refreshed my memory of it's structure with a couple of old tutorials.  I remember it going together easily and being reasonably logical to work with.  Things pretty much made sense with 2.0.  That's probably why it became so successful.  Yesterday, I downloaded HomeSeer 3.0.   I spent hours trying to get a fix on it conceptually and got no where.  Nothing about it makes any logical sense to me as HomeSeer 2.0 did previously.  With many hours over several days I never got anything much going.  Luckily, I don't have a dog around to bear the brunt of a kick.
 
Realizing I was never going to get anywhere with HomeSeer 3.0 and HSTouch...
Thanks for sharing.  Wow.  I'd had read similar reviews of 3.0 a year ago, and then I stopped tracking it.  I'm shocked to read that essentially the same issues still aren't adequately addressed.  
 
Maybe the answer is to roll-your-own home automation software on an arduino, a pi, a beaglebone black, or some such?  That seems to be the direction I'm drifting toward, although not because I want to!  It would be nice to leverage a solid open source platform, though, even if it was just the bare essentials.
 
Google recently acquired Revolver, to add to its earlier Nest acquisition. I would think that Google must have some sort of roadmap for home automation software for it to keep investing in the space....
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
Deane Johnson said:
One of my favorite commentaries in the Steve Jobs book described how, at the end of one of his frightful meetings, the engineers said "what you want done Steve can't be done, it is impossible to do".  Steve's response was "well then, you'd better get started".
I used to run a few DevOps teams, in particular one of which was for homegrown software for our industry for our own use internally... we had to have our own dev team simply because what was demanded had nearly zero flexibility and was way beyond what was reasonably doable at the time.  We were always developing with beta and prerelease components because there was no mainstream way to do what we were doing - mainly related to data analytics and visual presentation.  Long ago my answer to "can this be done?" became "anything can be done with enough time and money".
 
Back to the topic at hand - I'm glad I'm not alone.  I heard so many people talk about HomeSeer and I heard of a few key features that I thought "it can't be that bad - lets go for it!" - especially following the death of Elve.  I bought the pro version during their sale and dumped several hundred bucks into it... stupidly, without doing the trial because it was the last day of the sale and I didn't have time...  well, I loaded it up and I *hated* it - especially coming from the clean logical design of Elve.  I never got anywhere with it and decided I didn't want to waste another dollar on it... and I was ecstatic to hear the latest news that John kept Elve alive and released it to the community.  I dumped the entire HS box and built up a new one for Elve that's now running smoothly doing the more advanced automation that's beyond what the Elk can do internally.
 
 
We're so close to being able to do great things but there's no unity and no driving force large enough to make something happen and do it right (not kludge together crap from your local big-box just to have an app to control a light)...  One of these days someone big is going to enter the market with a vengeance and this is going to turn into something exciting.  I can't wait - as long as they don't expect me to pay $49.95/month for the privilege.
 
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