Charmed Quark Software is proud to announce the 0.9.2 release of The Charmed Quark Controller (CQC for short), it's network distributed, Windows based control and automation system. Version 0.9.2 is now available for general download and evaulation. This is the "1.0 plus bugs" release, meaning that this is basically the 1.0 version, and as soon as it is judged stable and bug free by users it will 'go golden.' CQC allows you to get your serial, IR, X-10, ethernet, and USB devices under control from your computer, to coordinate them with powerful macros, and control and monitor them via IR remote, user drawn screens, or hot keys. It also allows you to fully utilize a PC network to create a distributed control system which is secure and user account based. In a week or so, Charmed Quark will begin accepting pre-orders for the 1.0 release, which will allow you to get a %25 discount over the eventual official 1.0 release. An announcement will be forthcoming when the pre-order system is in place. In the meantime, CQC provides a 30 day trial mode during which you can try it out without any limitations, to see if it serves your purposes. If so, you can pre-purchase to get the discount, or wait and purchase after the 1.0 release. Either way, you will just convert your existing version to a fully licenses system without any interruption. If you decide not to use it, just run the uninstaller to remove it. CQC is very non-instrusive. It only makes a small registry entry and installs a service. It does not install or modify any system files, so it is quite safe to try out. For those of you unfamiliar with the product, CQC provides the following broad areas of functionality: Distributed Control. CQC is fully network distributed from the ground up. It is not a pretty face onto which an afterthought backend or distributed model is attached. You can fully configure and manage CQC from any machine on your network. Every machine can control devices, every machine can run control and management interfaces, and all devices under CQC control in the network are available to any other CQC application. Because it is based on powerful distributed object technologies, CQC can scale from a single computer installation up to a fully networked home. Read about the architecture for more details. Integrated Development Tools. CQC provides it's own integrated development language, CML, which is a simple but powerful object oriented language. It is used both to write control macros and to develop device drivers. CML is based on Charmed Quark's own virtual machine and compiler technologies, and comes with it's own integrated graphical IDE for development. So you can write and fully test your macros and device drivers in powerful visual environment, then deploy them immediately. You don't need to purchase or learn complicated third party development tools, and understand which versions of what tools are ok for you to use. The development tools fully support CQC's distributed architecture, so you can develop macros from any machine and they immediately become available to any machine on the network. Device Control. CQC supports IR blasting and receiving functionality, supports X-10 , comes with a growing collection of device drivers for useful devices, and allows you to create your own device drivers for serial or socket based devices in it's CML language. Supporting device drivers via it's own built in, general purpose language means that CQC can support very complex devices which could never be fully managed with the simple send/receive strings used by many systems. You have all of the power of a general purpose language available to you, but without all of the extra confusion and expense of requiring external development tools. And CQC's device driver model, which is more akin to a process control system, is inherently designed to provide scalable control of devices when many clients are accessing them simultaneously. If you do a device driver and allow us to distribute it with the product, you'll get a free CQC license. User Drawn Interfaces. CQC's user drawn interface system allows you to create visually and functionally powerful custom interfaces via which you can control your system. The new interface system in this release allows for heavy use of bitmapped images to create very visually rich interfaces, limited only by your imagination. You can create sets of linked interfaces, to provide your users with an easy to use, condensed view of the systems under control. The image above is an example of such an interface. All the design is done in a purely visual, drag and drop manner using the CQC Interface Designer. Since CQC is fully distributed, the interfaces you create are immediately available to all CQC enabled computers in your network, and since it is secure you can set the privilege required to access each interface. It has no fixed set of images, and just allows you to upload any images you wish to use, setting desired transparency attributes. Smart image caching is done by client interface applications to minimize the overhead of such heavily image oriented interfaces. Security. CQC has security built into it at a fundamental level. It is account based and every user has an account which gives them a particular privilege level. As always, user account management is fully distributed, so any user can log onto any machine in the network, and user management can be done from any machine. Administrators can create Power User accounts for advanced users who can assist with limited system administrative activities for less privileged users. CQC's server based security cannot be bypassed by hacking the client tools, so if you physically secure your Master Server and administrative account passwords, Jr. Hackers in the household cannot bypass the security system.