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remote7

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What is all this software good for??!
« on: March 10, 2011, 10:00:32 AM »

Hi,

I am starting this thread in the hopes that we can dumb down all these techno details to the level of an "executive summary".  I've read all these postings with tons of techno details, but just can't find the simple answers as to what are the functions and capabilities of these pieces of software.  Here's some questions and some guesses at the answers. 

In being corrected, I may find enlightenment.

1.  What is PC Companion? (PCC)
  It's software to be called from Active Home Pro (AHP) using the command line option so that macros can speak messages, or even do things like announce the weather.  Right now, when I turn off the office lights, PCC announces the current weather forecast - that's pretty cool.   ;D
  It does a lot of other stuff too, but i'm not sure of the benefits.
 
  As last attempted, it's difficult to get PCC to speak a line of text that's included as a command line argument due to AHP not liking spaces nor quotes.  I tried the "slash" trick (please/speak/this/line/of/text) but the slashes were also spoken.  I hope to get PCC announcing messages without needing to create bat files and wav files.

2.  What is Alert Dialer and Alert Dialer Plus?  (ADP)
  From another thread, "ADP(AlertDialerPlus) does evey thing the standard version does and more.  Most noticable is Voice regognition." 

Whole house microphones are not in my current plans, and I am content with remotes. 

True of False?  IF you don't have a phone land line, and don't want voice recognition, then you don't want Alert Dialer Plus?

  Don't know for sure, but I suspect it's useless to me , and perhaps many others, as my phone land line has gone the way of the dinosaurs, in favor of a cell phone.

3.  What is x10 Dispatcher and why would I think of using it?
  From another thread, "X10Relayer is a simple relaying program hence the name. It currently links AlertDialerPlus, BlueWatch,and PcCompanion."  Still not understanding why someone would need this or how it would be used.  (Hey, I freely admit i am the dummy here asking dumb questions.)

4.  What is Bluewatch? 
  Is it detecting the presence of Bluetooth devices?  And tying those to macro triggers?  Like, "I've arrived home and now trigger those macros for MY arrival, which may be different from the macros for when my wife arrives home?"  Only useful if I keep bluetooth enabled on my phone?

5.  What is x10 BVC?  (Bills Voice Commander ?)
  Only mentioned because there's so many references around the forums to it.  Does PCC make BVC unneccessary and redundant?

Final ramblings:

I am not trying to belittle your software, just trying to understand it, and figure out how I can incorporate it. 

 `:)  I seriously applaud all the efforts you are making to expand the capabilities of X10 home automation  `:)
and thank you for sharing your hard work, and not keeping it to yourself.

For me, and probably others out there, I want to take my X10 system to the next level of practical and reliable convenience. 

I now have holes in my ceiling with wires to carry line level audio from my win xp pc to other areas of the house.  I am eager to get a few spoken announcements and a weather forecast.  Maybe when I open the garage service door I will hear the current local weather forecast (using a DS10A, AHP, PCC, and distributed audio(amplified pc speakers on an appliance module)).  Perhaps someday, if a MS10A detects motion in the workshop between the hours of 10pm and 8am, a voice in the bedroom will say "intruder alert in the workshop".

I am going to attempt to get my cameras working again, and try Mr. Puck's hardwiring solution using phone cable.  How does PCC help with the cameras?  Does it in any way?

I think it's time to give up on using any x10 motion sensors outdoors.  There's too many false alarms from falling leaves or changing breezes.  The Hawkeye works great indoors for turning on the utility room light, but outdoors, there's only so many false alarms before you start ignoring it.  It looks like the bunker Hill Driveway sensor is far more reliable, so I may have to do the modification to that device with a universal module.  Can PCC increase the reliability of the motion sensors (Hawkeyes and MS10As) with any creative macros or something?

My internet provider (Verizon broadband modem) does not provide a static Ip address.  Instead I've been focusing my efforts on using my networks WIFI connection.  What exactly is the trick to get AHP and/or PCC to send an email?  Is this best done with PCC?

Here's one little thing I can share perhaps to the benefit of someone reading.  If you have AHP installed, an interface, and home wifi, you can use your android phone to control yours lights.  I don't walk around my property with a palm pad, but my phone is always with me.  Download the app autom8, and install the server on your pc.  Define the modules you want to control from your droid on the server software.  It works beautifully and is free (and there's nada in it for me).  Here's the link if interested, http://autom8.clangen.org/.  Unlike some other apps, you can also dim the lights.

At this point, I'd be content if PCC would just let AHP make some text announcements, and weather forecasts.  Although, if PCC can tap into NOAA/NWS for tornado warnings using s.a.m.e., that would be really way cool and a possible life saver.  (but you probably don't have NOAA up in Canada).

Looking forward to the next PCC software release.
BTW, if I understood this software better, I would have volunteered to help with the beta testing, but figured my limited understanding would be of little use to you.














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Tuicemen

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 09:56:47 PM »

Okay I'll try to explain/answer your questions.
1:
PCC (PcCompanion) does the things you discribed and this is basicaly where the program started out.
it will take that weather information you get and you can trigger X10 event from the weather info.
you can schedual it to check the weather at different intervals.
There are alot of options in PCC and for me to try to explain them in one post would be to long.
It doesn't need AHP to work.
Since this is a very new forum all the info is yet to be added to help explain all the options.
the latest update to PCC fixes the / issue for  TTS and you may also use a under score "_" instead
2:
Alertdialer and the Plus version are phone programs an modem is needed for them so in your case they are of no value
3:
 x10Dispatcher was/is software which unfortunately the author has stop supporting
x10relayer is a server program so if you have AH software on other machines you only need on X10 interface on one of the machines it will relay the info to the others
4:
BlueWatch originaly was only Bluetooth and only good if you left bluetooth enabled.
However you can now ping one device and the bluetooth doesn't need to be in discovery if it is paired to windows.
There also is a wifi version now out which may be of use to you has the same options as the bluetooth version but uses wifi.
5:
Yes BVC is Bills Voce Commander. PCC doesn't make it redundant it complements it.
Depending on what OS you use for your HA setup and what you use BVC for I guess PCC could replace it, how ever I would never suggest it.

PCC may help with cameras as some have said they weren't satisfied with the way AHP handled the cameras.
Most of the options in PCC are from user suggestions
Sending email from PCC is most likely more reliable then AHP. AHP switches back and forth from your smtp settings to its server.
If you want to tap into NOAA I think X10dispatcher would do that.
althought if you setup the weather forcast option to check every hour it could act as a early warning too.
Finaly, I happy to see users like you taking the time to air your questions as so many wait for someone else to ask.
The idea be hide putting this forum together was to share info.
So stay tuned as I will post more info!
Hopefuly others will post as well to save my fingers! (RoFL)
 (Chr)
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remote7

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2011, 07:22:09 AM »

Thanks Tuicemen for the explanations - and sorry to make you respond to such a long post.

This is a big help in putting all the software pieces into perspective.

Your release notes for the new version look very promising.  I'll be checking it our soon.
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Tuicemen

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 07:38:36 AM »

no problem I'll try to go a little more in depth in my explanations later! maybe in the FAQ
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Tuicemen

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2011, 04:20:10 PM »

What is all this good for?
Well it is true that many over lap there possibilities.
The AlertDialers were created when cell phones could only place a phone call and when modems were common place in a PC. they could alert you of things at home which you could respond to using a button press or voice if using the Plus version
Most users have converted to Voip (using internet) Although it is still possible to create a program to do this the driver cost is out of my reach. :(

Most of the software on this forum are my creations other then those in the open source section.
These are no longer supported by the author but they still have some valuable options for Home Automation

BlueWatch was created solely because users  requested it I never even had a bluetooth phone when I started with these.
True many use these with Phones to detect when they have arrived home or when they leave thus starting or stopping things in the home with X10 or PC control.
BlueWatch now has a wifi version which I hope will work better with phones equiped with wifi.

PcCompanion (PCC) is the power house I currently support and develope.
Originaly designed to work as a addon for AHP it no longer needs it running for most things.
What you can do with this you have only scratched the surface of.
True you may only use 1 part of all that it is capable of but do experiment with its options.
It doesn't have Voice recognition (VR) its self.(as of version 4 it does)
However if you run Vista or Win 7 it can be made to respond to voice control commands.
As this program keeps growing(with user input) you'll find the possibilities for this program only limited by your imagination.

I've created threads for each program which end users may show case what they have each doing.
Since forum is new and the member numbers low right now it may take some time for these to expand with info.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 06:36:27 AM by Tuicemen »
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loveheart

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2011, 03:39:26 PM »

Thanks tuicemen for the explanations.

 :)!  (GJ)
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donaldclem

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2013, 12:38:19 AM »

I am just checking if I can respond
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Dave X10

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 11:39:10 PM »

I didn't realize that BlueWatch now works with a wifi. Is my login for my original BlueWatch good for a DL of that?
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Tuicemen

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 07:11:50 AM »

I didn't realize that BlueWatch now works with a wifi. Is my login for my original BlueWatch good for a DL of that?
when you click Update from in side BlueWatch it will grab both versions.
Unlock (login) info is the same for both.
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RiptMetal

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Re: What is all this software good for??!
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2015, 02:21:32 PM »

Very nice thread ...with lots of information. I'm looking forward to experimenting with some of these apps.
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