Announce: CQC 0.9.2 available for evaluation

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Dean Roddey, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey Agent

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    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.
     
  2. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey Agent

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    BTW, I'm looking for some folks to do some device drivers. If you are comfortable with Java/C++/C# type languages, and would be interested in making a little money on the side, e-mail me at droddey@charmedquark.com. If you are interested in using CQC, if it just supported your device, and it's one of the simpler ones, I'll give you a copy of CQC in return for the driver. If you aren't interested in CQC, but would like some bucks, or you are but the device you are interested in is particularly complex and just getting CQC for free isn't enough to incentivize you to do the driver, I may be interested in paying you for it, or adding a little extra above and beyond the free CQC license.
     
  3. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey Agent

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    A date of most auspicious auspiciousness has been reached today, in which CQC version 0.9.3 was posted to the Charmed Quark web site, and the pre-purchase program was begun. Version 0.9.3 enables the licensing system, so that you purchase a license and upload it to CQC to turn your trial mode version into a licensed version. And the online purchase form has been enabled and connected to VeriSign so you can now purchase CQC licenses online.

    CQC comes with a 30 day trial period, and you are encouraged to download it and give it a spin to insure that it works for you and serves your needs. The trial mode is not limited in any way, so you will have a full featured CQC installation to evaluate. At some point before the end of the 30 day period, if you decide that CQC is for you, you will need to buy a license and enable your system so that you can continue to log on.
     
  4. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey Agent

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    Just wanted to let everyone know that I've posted version 0.10.0 of CQC. This is really version 1.0, but the pre-purchase period doesn't expire until around the 15th of this month. So, if you've been thinking of using CQC, you have a couple more weeks to check it out and take advantage of the 25% discount available in the pre-purchase period. This new version is the 1.0 version you will be buying, so there should be no suprises for you.

    The major difference in this version is that takes care of some GUI issues that kept CQC from cleanly integrating into the Wonderful World of Windows. Those issues are now taken care of and CQC now integrates into the desktop in the way you would expect a standard Windows application to.

    It also gets the XML Gateway Server up to speed and all of it's documentation updated. The XML Gateway provides a simple XML over sockets interface via which third party client applications can access CQC information and invoke CQC events.

    As to coming features immediately after 1.0, they include:

    1. An HD Leeza driver, in addition to the current Digital Leeza support.
    2. Global cache driver (an ethernet based multi-function box with zoned IR, contact closures, and serial ports.)
    3. USB version of the Powerlinc X-10 controller (CQC currently supports the serial version.)
    4. First cut of a Lexicon MC-12 driver, being done by Eric Bariaux, to supplement the current MC-1 support.
    5. RedRat3 driver (CQC currently supports the RedRat2.)
    6. A new optional subsystem for controlling GUI applications, for those HTPC folks who want to control software apps in addition to the external applications that CQC currently specializes in.
    7. A scheduled event server to allow you to schedule periodic, one time, or event triggered CQC actions.
     
  5. Dean Roddey

    Dean Roddey Agent

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    Just a reminder that the pre-purchase period is ending in about 7 days, either this coming friday or saturday, when the 1.0 version is released. So if you want to take advantage of the pre-purchase 25% discount, you only have a week left.

    I've just about got the HD Leeza driver done, though I want to wait for them to release the 5.4.39 software before I release it. If they get that out before the 1.0 release, then the HD Leeza driver will go out in the 1.0 release, else as soon afterwards as they get the new software out.

    I've also got the Global Cache box set up and I've been playing around with it, and getting started on that driver. It'll definitely be slightly post 1.0 befause it requires a slight change in the internal IR architecture because of it's support for zoned IR. But it should be out shortly after the 1.0 release, and then CQC will have support for those folks who need individual IR channels because they are using multiple identical devices and need to control them separately.

    A first cut of the MC-1 driver is going to be in the 1.0 release, for evaluation and feedback. It should include control of the stuff you'd want for day to day control.
     

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