Well I'm just tickled pink to announce a new preview release of The Charmed Quark Controller, CQC for short. CQC is a distributed control and automation system for your home/home theater, based on off the shelf PC hardware and software. Actually, CQC is a general purposes distributed processing platform, but all of its current functionality is oriented towards control and automation tasks. CQC is still in the preview release phase at this point, though the beta phase is not too far off now. We really need to get a couple more people on board as preview testers, and I believe that this version will make that possible. Don't be frightened by the preview status, since CQC is actually quite stable, because it is based on a comprehensive and elegant C++ object framework, called the CIDLib C++ Frameworks (another Charmed Quark Software product), which has been around for quite a while. As with all of these preview releases, there is more of an emphasis on getting key architectural pieces of the puzzle into place, but there are some important new device drivers, as well as the usual big advances in internal and external architecture. The device support list in this version is: - Lexicon MC-1/DC-2 A/V processors - The 500 through 1600 line of Barco CRT projectors - Dwin HD-700/HD-500 CRT projectors - Focus Enhancements QuadScan Elite scaler - All Extron switchers that use the Extron SIS protocol - Kramer VS-2503 video switcher - The SmartHome PowerLinc/1132 X-10 controller In terms of major architectural improvements, the largest is probably the Macro Server. Up until now, macros were local files, hand edited. So they had to be copied to other machines where you wanted to run them, or shared via a Windows file share. The CQC Macro Server now stores all macros centrally, on the Master Server computer where all of the core servers run, so you now edit, delete, create, and run macros from the server. This means that they are immediately available to all other machines running CQC on the network, and that they can be invoked from back end servers, which will be important in upcoming releases. Another major improvement is that CQC now supports XP in addition to W2K. Its now been tested out on XP Pro, and should have no problems on XP Home. It will still look like a W2K application for the meantime, but it will run just fine. So those folks who have opted out of the preview program due to lack of XP support, you can now jump right in. The water should be fine. Many internal architectural improvements have also been made. You won't see them, but they greatly increase stability and performance, and very importantly, future flexibility. The following devices are 'on deck' and planned for the next release: - Denon 4800/5800 A/V recievers - IRMan IR receiver - CM11A X-10 Controller - All Extron scalers that support the Extron SIS protocol. The Denon flagship receivers are of course really key boxes to support, so I'm excited to be getting a chance to bring them under control. The IRMan reciever will allow you to associate CQC macros with remote control key presses. So you will be able to put an IRMan in any CQC machine, and from that machine use the remote to kick off CQC macros which can affect any CQC controlled device on the network. The CM11A is a widely used X-10 controller, so it makes good sense to get support for it into CQC. And for those of you who are looking at, or who have purchased, some of the nice new Extron scalers, e.g. the DVS-406, the Extron scaler driver will handle them, as long as they support the SIS protocol. So feel free to check out the web site at www.charmedquark.com, and also feel free to give any feedback you might have on the product as discussed, the web site, the concept in general, etc... If you are interested in being a preview tester, please let me know. There is a link on the bottom of the main page to the page that covers the preview program, and which provides a link to ask to join the preview program. It would be very nice to get some more testers online before the wider beta program kicks in. * There will still be text formatting problems with the site under some non-MS browsers. Sorry about that, but I've just not had time to deal with it. So, at least for this page, hold your nose and use that other browser if necessary. Sorry about the inconvenience.