New hardware from Fiire


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Interesting solution - they are actually running open-source LinuxMCE software. Their remote with gyro looks much nice than ordinary u/d/r/w navigation with keys.

Found that one while looking at the LinuxMCE demo video - the guy shooting the demo used pre-production unit from Fiire which they call "Media Extender". Looks like it has low-power VIA CPU inside.

Anybody tried it already?
I could find zero details about the software on their website. Is it proprietary home-automation engine? It says they guarantee it will support all legacy devices, but don't you think they would detail as advertisement what kind of devices it supports? Is there any way they have drivers for every lighting system and not advertise it? This is a little suspect to me that I can find no technical details.
The remote is definately a Gyration Media Center remote. Works nice. I am using it with MainLobby "touchscreen" (that the Gyration is the mouse for) that is displayed on my Plasma's "PC" source. Have IR devices programmed in that send IR to my Cinemar USBIR6 IR transceiver for distribution of the IR to whole house.
But will it integrate into other HA solutions? Will mainlobby work with the fiire equipment. HUGE part of the decision on purchasing fiire. looks slick though.
I bought the gyration keyboard and gyroscopic mouse (the Media Center version). I did not like the keyboard (too small, keys were wierd, had to hit it a certain way (from my experience). The mouse was a cool idea, but in the end it is sitting on a shelf and I am using a Logitech wireless keyboard a 510 I think it was, which looks nice, and is very useable and the corresponding mouse is fine (the mouse could be better but it works).

Other people that tried it were hesitant and the wife did not like it either.

Not sure about integration with others, and I know some people love it. You might want to see if you can try one out, or be able to return it depending on your taste.
I used to have a gyration gyroscopic mouse, and the wife absolutely hated it. Plus in retrospect, the standard mouse has gained near-universal acceptance as a "remote control", where even my anti-techie family knows how to use it, indeed most of them put it on their pant leg to operate as we have no "table" nearby for it.

They'd have to learn a gyroscopic mouse all over again, and at least for my target audience, minimizing the amount of new/changed stuff helped gain rapid user acceptance.
As you are dating your wife's rating, I assume it is not with the Gyration that Fiire is using as it is a brand new model.

I too have several Gyration remote / keyboards, and the remote was a PITA due to range problems. this new MCE one is different (they have had two MCE versions, this is the later one).

Much better packaging with this remote / mouse than ever before.

Ranger, I don't think the hardware fiire is using is anything special. Just packaged up PC stuff. Nothing propietary here. I took a quick look, and couldn't figure it out, but I suspect the software is an integration of other Linux stuff too (may be wrong here, but that's my suspicion as this stuff doesn't just come out of no where but takes years of development).

What Fiire's main benefit may be is turn key integration of hardware / software. No small task to do well. but, since no one has any experience posted yet, no idea on how well this was done by Fiire.
I have used the system. Its so major and comprehensive its very hard to describe. The gyro is just a piece of the package. The gyro integration is good and the focus is simple manipulation of large data selections. For example the 2 wk TV guide listing is 10,000 items. Paging through that with a normal IR remote takes forever (try it on a Comcast box). Using the Gyro allows quick scrolling from end to end and within a small part of the list. Its also used that way to navigate from beginning to end of a video or to turn the lights up and down among other things.

You can download the whole OS package from and play with it. There is support for a number of peripherals including X10 and ZWave. And a lot more. The UI is integrated not an add-on.

One more detail on the Fiire version odf the remote- it enables a follow-me feaue so as you move from room to room you can have the video follow you with the remote. Each remote has some sort of ID that the system tracks.

I can describe more of it, just ask. And I'm not a developer of it, just an early user .
where is the support for the peripherals? in the OS itself? surely Linux MCE wasn't designed with Z-wave support! or does Fiire write their own drivers? Where is the documentation that says what peripherals it supports? If they expect me to buy this hardware with so little technical data, they're crazy.
I took a quick look, and couldn't figure it out, but I suspect the software is an integration of other Linux stuff too (may be wrong here, but that's my suspicion as this stuff doesn't just come out of no where but takes years of development).

Most of these apps have been around a while and are in pretty widespread use by themselves. LinuxMCE combines it's own innovative front-end with other opensource projects to provide the package shown in the video. The major players are MythTV (PVR), Asterisk(phone), and Pluto(HA, Lighting) MythTV provides advanced functionality and has been around a long time - I remember building a MythTV box about 5 years ago it seems. Same with Asterisk; if you have a VOIP provider, chances are you have been routed through at least one Asterisk box on your way. The zwave module has been in Pluto for a 1-2 years now. I haven't tried it since I use Insteon, but if I remember correctly it came along just before Monster started using Pluto.

As all of these are opensource, Linux based products; you can pretty much forget using them out of the box with your favorite HA app. (Unless your app happens to be Mr. House). However, the great thing about it is - because it's open - if you have the time, inclination, and ability; you can pretty much connect CQC, ML, Homeseer, Housebot or whatever to it. Most all of these LinuxMCE apps have some sort of listening server, whether it be XAP, XPL, telnet, or UDP that, providing your HA app can send/receive the same can be set up to communicate with it. As an example, I use HouseBot and am experimenting with controlling MythTV through it.


Perhaps the real strength of LinuxMCE is that you can download it for free, install in about 1/2 hour on a dedicated box and pretty much it's all setup and waiting. They have scripts for configuring almost everything. Including MythTV to your tuner and local TV sources, your TV's to the system, the lighting system (it doesn't support Insteon yet. . . but it does support RadioRa and other high end systems as well as X10 and ZWave) configures itself for your TV etc. I added a Grandstream ATA adapter and it found it and configured itself for the VOIP adapter. Same for a Panasonic security camera.

If you have a serious need to add other stuff its possible. But there is enough in it to keep anyone busy for months configuring it just the way you like.
i looked at this box and had some detailed discussions with their support people. my main concern is the lack of long term support. they sell an extra 60 day guarranty but thats it. after that you are on your own unless you want to pay an hourly rate. there is no true hdmi support either. you have to use a dvi to hdmi converter which means you have to run audio on a seperate line. for z-wave they have only tested modules shown on their accessories page. the signals do not support HDCP. it supports Raid 5, 1, 0. to copy things over via usb you have to switch to the OS and then go back in MCE. they have tested a power file r200 jukebox.