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Author Topic: This software sucks!  (Read 66161 times)

David Mark

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This software sucks!
« on: December 20, 2006, 08:45:38 PM »

Hardware too if you want to run it away from the PC.  I finally decided to get them to send me another CM15a as I have to believe mine is defective.  All you have to do to make it go into a deep sleep is remove the PC connection.  Timers and macros will stop responding within 48 hours.  What a joke.

I carefully explained this hardware problem to their "level 2" (read slightly less incompetent) support and you know what their final advice was?  Sure you do.  Uninstall the software, re-download it, etc.  I cut them off in mid-sentence and carefully explained to them with painful precision that this is not a SOFTWARE PROBLEM!  Yeah, the software has problems, but this ain't one of them!  They are telemarketers reading from a script.

Anyway, as for the software, it is pathetic.  They keep layering plugins on top of this shaky base and the results are very predictable.  Sounds like Misterhouse to me, but this is a commercial package. (!)  Stop writing plugins.  Fix the main program!

Where to start on this thing?  They broke every Windows convention there is to break.  I remember complaining in 2004 that you couldn't maximize/restore the window by double-clicking the titlebar.  I guess they weren't listening.  What is with the endlessly opening/closing door at the top?  The thing doesn't even support doors sensors (at least not without a $50 plugin.)

And best of all, the software can be counted on to go dead now if you use the video snapshot thing (for God's sake don't use that stuff!)  You can't even change the folder where it stores the snapshots (program goes completely nuts, forgets how or where to save the images, etc.)  How about when you click the right arrow to go to the next snapshot and the images vanish and the date picker reverts to the middle ages.  They are clearly outsourcing these plugins to amateur VBers in third world countries.

So forget this software and its plugins.  The odd thing is that I never had these kinds of problems with simple PERL scripts calling their SDK.  These morons can't even use their own toolkit!  Yes, you read that right: their SDK works reliably, their apps (including the stupid command line thing) do not.

Will see how the replacement CM15a affects this murky mixture.  If it loses touch away from its tether like the first one then it will disprove a lot of the claims that X10 makes about this controller.  I thought the whole point was to remove it from the PC, plug it in wherever is optimal and forget it.  Instead, from reading countless other complaints about this system, it looks like X10 has created an army of users to service its wall warts (instead of the other way around.)  Think about that next time you go to unplug it from the wall.  Are you maximizing utility or futility?

Stay tuned...
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Billaban

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2006, 10:56:59 AM »

Greetings,

Well, the word on the SDK is encouraging.  I have just started to play with AHP and I am summarily unimpressed. 

Thanks for the info.
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Tuicemen

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2006, 03:45:30 PM »

Dave: you must be trying to run this on 98 or ME. as I don't have any of these issues on XP.
I did have All these issues on my machines running 98 and even more with ME. I can't speak for 2000 (never tried it on that) ;)
Since microsoft stopped supporting those OSs I can't see X10 working on AHP to be stable on them! :(
If the door opening and closing bothers you so much disable it!

As you stated the SDK does work reliably but they still need to work on it more!
Maybe with the next update a SDK update will be included to be able to use the security devices! ;) :D ;D

After reading your many posts I have to ask:
Is there any Home Automation software you would recommend that You CAN'T say something bad about?
If not why don't you try to create one? And not just an add to an existing program! ;) :D ;D
I know you know how! ;) :D ;D
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Billaban

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2006, 04:03:05 PM »

Interesting.  I'm running XP.  My expectations have just improved.  I presume I'll have my own opinion by next week sometime if I can get it downloaded soon.

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ajleduc

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2006, 09:01:45 PM »

I will say after a month of working with AHP and reading this and other forums. I have finally got a day where every thing worked as I wanted.  It took some creative thinking (much of which was picked up reading posts here).  AHP doesn't suck its just really really really hard to make work correctly.  Who would have though moving my macros from the rooms with the sensors to there own room would fix everything.
Now the only problem, we live in the woods, today was really windy, got 6GB of 3 minute video clips.  O Well as least I got the video!  I wasn't able to do that just the other day.
And by the way the lights turned on correctly when I got home tonight.

BANNER DAY!.

I do have one question, I also find the door at the top of the page well... I can ignore it.
Quote
If the door opening and closing bothers you so much disable it!
I looked around but couldn't find an option to disable it, is there an easy way?

Anyway - Thanks to everyone here that has contributed to the forums its been a great deal of help!
Especially thanks to Tuicemen, Puck and KDR - Please don't get to frustrated with us newbies!.

Half the fun is in getting there and beating the system!
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JMac

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2006, 09:30:43 PM »

Tools and preferences to stop automated icons.............
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Tuicemen

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2006, 03:05:06 PM »

ajleduc :   Thanks! I do find my self getting frustrated some times with newbies but then I sit back and  and remind myself I was once one!
many times my replies to a newbie are short but with a link to get them started I find if I give to much info all at once something gets losts it tne translation! ;) :D ;D
As for the door thingy follow  JMac's advice!
Probably the best advice I can give a newbie or even long time member is read my post Topic: Having X10 AHP Problems? Please Read This First!  (Read 10701 times) even if your not having problems or don't have the CM15A or AHP.
There are many good links I've put together from many different users.Follow their advice and you'll have a reliable system! ;) :D ;D
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David Mark

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2006, 04:49:04 PM »

Tuicemen,

Sorry if I didn't make myself clear on the software angle, but I was busy at the time.  My primary focus was to find out if this hardware and/or software had improved since 2004 (when I first ran it.)

As for saying something nice about this software, forget it.  And I run all XP Pro boxes.  Some of the complaints:

  • 1.) Resizes crazily for no good reason (even with a single monitor.)  Sporadic, but irritating as hell as they broke that.

  • 2.) Can't double-click the stupid title bar to restore/maximize.

  • 3.) Keyboard shortcuts are short-circuited all over the place.

  • 4.) Stalls, crashes, etc.  Not too often (seems better than before), but still unforgivable for an automation tool.

  • 5.) That ridiculous "tree" (what the hell was wrong with the native Windows tree control?)

  • 6.) Asks if you want to exit every time (like some sort of popup ad!)  No checkbox to shut it up.

  • 7.) Never heard of scenes?!  Smarthome modules (I understand that one as this is an X10 catalog app.)

  • 8.) I could go on and on, but who cares?  The software is crap.

As for the hardware.  I got my replacement CM15a, but haven't unpacked it.  Amazingly, the old one suddenly started behaving.  I downloaded timers and macros three days ago and closed AHP.  Nothing bad has happened since.  The only other variable changed was that I connected the USB tether to a PCI card instead of a hub.  Admittedly USB hubs suck, but it is hard to figure how the USB connection would affect the retention of timers and macros.  Who knows?  I am glad that the stupid thing is staying programmed.

Let me try to un-muddle the state of automation software as I see it.

AHP sucks badly (as we've seen.)  There's no saving grace here.  It just sucks.

MH was a disaster when I downloaded it a year and a half ago.  My experiences with AHP/CM15a had soured me on this controller, so I wanted an app written for the older CM11a.  Unfortunately, MH didn't work worth a crap with the CM11a.  Looking at the script for this controller in MH (which prints out to about a page and a half double-spaced), it was clear what the problem was.  So I fixed that.  Then I spent a year away from the MHers customizing my own version with a better Web interface, scene support, etc.  When I checked back, I couldn't believe how little progress had been made.  It was still the same mess.  600+ programmers claimed to be part of the project and it wasn't even budging.  So, I contacted the author about renovating the thing and he agreed.  That was last Spring.  So I uploaded a ton of updates to the test version.  Lots of devices that never worked properly started to work.  Windows users were no longer cursed by mixer problems, the GUI went from zero to pretty cool in about three days.  And then, the whiners crawled out of their parents basements to protest.  Why?  Because they wanna read about their ingenious updates.  Every time I fixed something it implied that it was broken (which it was!)  The vast majority of MH users/developers could not stomach that as they had been singing its praises in this isolated little backwater discussion group for years!

Anyway, a couple of them started sidling up to me to ask if they could help with the upgrade.  I threw them a couple of bones and kept going.  There was no doubt in my mind it could be a killer app in six months.  If you are not familiar with MH, it is nothing like AHP.  You can ask your house over IM what the temperature is in a certain room and it replies to you.  You can tell it to check your stock quotes, forecast the weather, program your VCR (useless today), control stereo equipment, virtual (and real) PA zones, multi-zone audio, etc.  Sounds great huh?  Sounded good to me when I downloaded it and then I saw that most of it was wishful thinking.  The best way to see the before/after is to look at any version prior to 2.103.  That's another thing with these dolts: they don't understand versioning.  2.102 is a disaster with much improved CM11a support and anything prior to that is just a disaster (as you would expect with 600 users all patching the code at once.)  How could people struggle for years on end with something like this?  Mass hysteria is my guess.  Finally, a couple of the dorks started bitching that they were going to leave the project (happy trails to you!)  These crying little girls managed to get the source code locked so they can catch up.  It's been months since then and they haven't caught up.  One of them is over there crying right now about how he can't track down a memory leak.  What a shame.

The bad news with MH is that these knuckleheads closed the door on the source right in the middle of a massive update.  Yes, really.  I uploaded 200+ PERL scripts over the course of a couple weeks and then found myself arguing with some dork about whether it is a good idea to lock them down before they have even entered wide-spread testing.  So over the summer and into the fall, I finished what I started while this dolt presided over a time capsule of MH Pro Beta circa June 2006.  Yes, really.  They didn't learn at all, despite the fact that any child could see the difference between the two versions (one blows, one does not.)  Can't vouch for anything they have done to it since (hence my constant disclaimers.)

So I have already written my own.  And it co-exists with Activehome Pro perfectly (as long as the #$%@ controller behaves!)  I am just undecided as to how I want to market it.  I had discussions long ago with the author about the GNU licensing and it seems I can release my version as an overlay and get away with it.  God knows I wouldn't try to sell the time capsule version!

Here are some of the balls fumbled over the last six months:

  • 1.) CM15a support (they claim to have it, but the CPAN module is not close to finished.)

  • 2.) USB-UIRT (they admit theirs does not work.)  For those who don't know, this allows IR control of your house and allows the house to control your home theater equipment.

  • 3.) Vonage support (speed dialer, etc.)

  • 4.) XML News (they just have my AP News module)

  • 5.) A real Web interface (without framesets!)

  • 6.) A finished GUI w/ skins (they have the alpha version of my tk interface from June with zero forward progress since.)

  • 7.) Competent X10 parsing.  The old parser is brain-dead.  That's right.  The nerve center of the whole app needed a rewrite!

  • 8.) Controls Ninja cameras, etc.  Their old w800RF module is a bit of an unfinished mess (a recurring theme with this app)

  • 9.) Has an MSI for Windows users (install/uninstall/repair, etc.)  Theirs unzips into a folder with no spaces in it. (!)

  • 10.) Support for X10 cameras (all kinds and better than AHP's brain-dead implementation), chimes, sirens, thermostats, etc.

  • 11.) Competent POP3 email support.  Christ on a crutch, you should see theirs!  And they built modules on top of it too!

  • 12.) Documentation that doesn't hurt your eyes from all of the spelling mistakes.  Boy have I heard some crying for that piece.  Those jackasses actually want my documentation now.  Good luck losers.  You shouldn't have locked the repository or you would have everything right now.  Duh.

This stuff will all be documented better on an upcoming feature comparison page.  The main idea is that the app is friendly to non-geeks.  Their slogan is "It's fun, it's geeky, etc."  I say: "It's geeky, but it doesn't have to be!"  Better yet: "It's stupid, but it doesn't have to be!"  If you are going to turn your home into a giant robot, who wants it to be a stupid one?!

So the answer to the question is: I already did, but I didn't start from complete scratch.  Damned near though.  This thing was as close to nothing as you can get.  Most of the "features" were just wishful thinking.  AFAIK, if it doesn't work, it doesn't count (covers most of the old MH.)

Maybe I will cut out the rest of the MH code as it becomes less significant to the whole.  Maybe I will make it a Windows-only app (the current version is cross-platform.)  I can only vouch that it works well on Windows (XP specifically.)  I have reports that it works on several flavors of Linux and on the new Macs, but I can't confirm this at all.  It seems most of the people having problems run Linux.  As I stated before, I ran it for thirty days at a time on XP without a hint of trouble (of course that is my version, not the "official" pinched-off 2.103 release from a few months back.)

PS.  I think the AHP software's biggest problem is the camera plugin (what a ripoff!)  After I stopped using it, the software stopped screwing up so much.  And to the poster in the woords, if you have to move macros around to overcome bugs, the software is automating you!  What will you do when some drooling imbecile at X10 hunches over his/her keyboard and breaks your workaround?


[TTA Edit: Formatted for improved readability.]
« Last Edit: April 05, 2007, 06:25:03 PM by TakeTheActive »
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mattt33

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Disappointment
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2007, 02:33:27 AM »

 A newbie also, have had Active Home for about 3 years with moderate success, put together a new home media computer to network the house, and create a stable infrastructure for the rest of my remodel, so I figuired I would get the new software, PRO, even it's own personal usb, what a disappointment, what's with the Herb Tarlick everywhere, a stray click and I'm shopping for new modules, it's like a used car lot, even on the module icon?, really?, I bought everything without having the software just fine before, and I know were to find it if needed. So in our quest to make a modern home responsible, we put fluorescent lights wherever we could, what was I thinking, no big deal, X10 makes a switch, right?, didn't know it was such clunky piece of garbage, and some of the staunch threaders out there said they have multiples of these, serious?, do they wake the nieghbors?, do they have console TV's with twist knobs like my parents had, hello 21st century, but in the meantime I have to listen to Igor throw the switch on ol' Frankie at dusk, unfortunatly I'm stuck with these untill I get back from holiday, but I will look for a better product whatever the cost, after all I waisted my time and that is expense enough, the company should consider taking alittle bit out of it's marketing budget and make a product that speaks a little more for itself, TRULY DISAPPOINTED.
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dave w

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2007, 10:49:58 AM »

what?
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Dan Lawrence

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This software does NOT suck!
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2007, 10:18:56 PM »

AHP works fine for me.  I have no problems addressing modules, timers run when they are supposed to, and my single keypress macro performs correctly every time. I have no phase problems, a 99 cent capacitor solved the phase problem.

I have  8 different .ahx files for certain times of the year and all work as they should.
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I don't SELL this stuff... BUT I sure do ENJOY using it!!!

dave w

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2007, 11:32:16 AM »

David Mark & mattt33

I know AHP has it's problems, and I'm not trying to justify or rationalize AHPs problems, I gave up on well over a year ago.

But, one can purchase the CM15A hardware , and AHP, and all four add-in modules for fifty bucks.

Mister House is equally cheap (and apparently as problematic).

Flawless operation will cost more.

You might check out "Homeseer 2.x" which invokes far fewer "epistles", but starts at $200.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 11:37:46 AM by dave w »
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tom j

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2007, 10:10:02 PM »

David Mark & mattt33

I know AHP has it's problems, and I'm not trying to justify or rationalize AHPs problems, I gave up on well over a year ago.

But, one can purchase the CM15A hardware , and AHP, and all four add-in modules for fifty bucks.

Mister House is equally cheap (and apparently as problematic).

Flawless operation will cost more.

You might check out "Homeseer 2.x" which invokes far fewer "epistles", but starts at $200.



This product has so much promise!!! but x10 dropped the ball with really poor programing and the obvious design flaw of the range, but with the capability to accept all house codes this thing really could of really been something, hopefully they will wake up and give this product the respect it deserves, also a SD card would be nice so that you would not have these memory restraint problems they should let me run this company for a few months I would really clean house and hire some quality people and move some of the products manufacturing to Taiwan, and give the customer what they want QUALITY!!

Tom j
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 02:27:34 AM by tom j »
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tom j

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2007, 01:39:57 AM »

Partial Quote Dave Wrote..
Anyway, as for the software, it is pathetic.  They keep layering plugins on top of this shaky base and the results are very predictable.  Sounds like Misterhouse to me, but this is a commercial package. (!)  Stop writing plugins.  Fix the main program!

Amen Brother, what's pathetic is the programing x10 cuts corners every way they can and this really shows in the programmers they hire, imagine if all software was this shaky, anyway I just couldn't have said it better, this thing would be incredible if it really worked but you can't build a decent foundation on a pile of sand!!

Tom j
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devedsmith

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Re: This software sucks!
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2009, 03:59:40 AM »

Awesome post David Mark. I concur with all said.
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