Digital Home Server application

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Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:24 pm

I'm happy to announce the new version of my "Digital Home Server" (DHS). I announced the first version also on this forum about a year ago. It used to be a graphical interface for my 7" USB monitor, but now I completely rewrote the whole application.

It should become a mix between Home Automation and multimedia. Until now, a lot of focus has been on the multimedia part, but I'm getting more and more into home automation. I like to think that DHS has some unique features, notably that it's fully multi-monitor, and it can handle any size (from 7" up to whatever). Screens are specially designed for touchscreens.

The application itself consists of Widgets (small apps you can drag and resize) and modules (full screen applications). This is what I currently have released :

Widgets

- BE railway delay (I live in Belgium, if you wonder where this comes from)
- weather forecast
- rain radar (shows where rain is falling)
- MP3 remote control
- Time & date

Modules

- MP3 player
- Internet radio player (with radio station database)
- Photo slideshow (you can choose any monitor to send the slideshow to)
- Podcast player
- Shoppinglist (and use your iPhone to consult the list when shopping)
- Timer
- Video player (play anything for which a codec is installed, including HD and subtitles)
- Calendar (uses Google Calendar as backend)

In progress

- analog clock
- dvd player
- NL, DE and UK railway delays widgets
- Enymate integration

Still in "idea" phase

- too much to write down ;)

I use this application myself at home, but I make it available to everyone. It's free, no nag screen, no spyware, ... Website is http://www.digitalhomeserver.net. The only constraint is that you can not use it for commercial purposes.

I bought a few zwave devices, and will now integrate this functionality in DHS. If anybody would be interested to cooperate (not only for zwave, but for anything that might be useful) I would be more than happy to talk. I contacted a few people that are working on zwave (also on this forum) to see whether they would be interested to join the efforts, but no success until now. Which is a pity, because the DHS front-end combined with a good HA backend looks like a killer combination (at least to me :) ).

Hope you like it.

Soitjes.
My Digital Home Server - http://www.digitalhomeserver.net
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby Uriel » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:06 pm

I have tried it out for you and installed it, mainly to see it's homeautomation abillities. dowloading and installing goes fine but when I start the application it states that it misses the following file: apachecore.dll. The program starts after clicking ok, then I get the main screen and three buttons in the screen. When I the want to install a widget, it displays no widgets in the list to install. The credit button and the exit button work.
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:48 pm

Ok, is solved now. I had copied an old version of the installer.

Note that everything will be empty when you start it for the first time. You must go to http://localhost:9000 with your browser where you can install widgets and modules. Just follow the Getting started guide on the website. It only takes a minute to install the applications.

Soitjes.
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:01 am

I release a new version of the software. A new widget that shows train delay for the Dutch railways (http://www.ns.nl) and a few bug fixes. I know there are quite a few people from Holland on this forum, so this might be of interest to you.

Image

I'm a bit disappointed about my call for cooperation on the zwave part. No reaction, while I've seen several people doing something in this field. Well, I guess I have to write it myself...

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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby pbrand » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:54 pm

I guess everyone is writing something for himself 8)

I must say that your front end stuff looks very nice in the pictures. Thumbs up for that. I always found myself lacking on that part. Too bad its all in delphi, a language which I alas do not master.
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:28 pm

Delphi is object pascal.

Well it doesn't have to be in Delphi at all ! If you would have a zwave library (in whatever language) then we just need to agree on the interface. A very common way to do that is SOAP, and that is completely language independent. Plain HTTP would do as well if you don't know SOAP, or a DLL, or XML-RPC, or WinMessages, or.... Plenty of choice.

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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby pbrand » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:36 pm

I know what Delphi is. They still use it at my work :shock:

There is already something called Open Zwave. Why do you not use that?

http://code.google.com/p/open-zwave/
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:54 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on the Digital Home Server progress, and generally I only announce finished functionality, but as it’s a calme period I though I give a little update on what I’m doing at the moment.

First of all the DVD player. It’s ready and working, except that I don’t manage to get the Directshow decoding right, which means playback is done using low quality. It seems to be a problem with my Windows 7 codecs, but until I’ve found the root cause for this problem I can’t release it.

Another module which is ready for release is a scribble pad. Instead of leaving a note on the table I can leave a note on the screen for my wife. A very simple application. You can also save the image for later use. It works with touchscreens, but I added a text box for non-touchscreens, because writing text with a mouse is not very handy.

Inspired by this forum I started to work on a Paperless Home application, that allows to scan documents and to index the content. I sorted out the scanning code for Delphi, but I only have a scanner than can scan one page at the time. I wonder how it works with a multipage scanner, so I guess I will have to ask some volunteers to test it. On my scanner it works nicely, and you can specify the category. I couldn't find an OCR library for free but I noticed a few sites that offer a webservice that does the job as well. And I use NexusDB which is capable of indexing text files, so the search function will be easy.

Less visible, I added the capability to control DHS by HTTP, Email or SMS. You can send commands by email (or http or SMS), and you get a reply with the result. Of limited use at this moment, but it surely will become much more useful when I get those home automation modules ready. Sending and receiving SMS turned out to be quite simple, although there are a few pitfalls. If somebody is interested in the code let me know (easy to convert in any language).

I also bought a new nice 21,5” touchscreen from Medion, for only 160 euro. I actually thought there had to be something wrong with it at that price, but it’s actually a very nice screen. My application looks very nice on it !!

Finally, and the most exciting part, is that I’m working with a guy from Paris to convert his xPL library from Lazarus to Delphi. That will open up a lot of possibilities in the home automation world. Conversion has been done, we have now entered the testing phase, which will take some time. Some people argue that Lazarus and Delphi are 98% compatible. I would estimate compatibility a low lower, we had quite some work adapting the code. But much faster than rewriting any C++ library. And I hope that eventually it will give me a path to zwave integration.

I won’t do any release before September, hopefully I get the issue with the DVD player solved, otherwise it will be the Scribble Pad.

Soitjes.
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:32 am

I just released version 2.0.3.1 of the Digital Home Server. New is the DVD Player. It plays DVDs from the DVD Player or DVDs copied to hard disk.

Image

Like the video player, the DVD player supports multiple monitors, so you can control the DVD playing on one monitor from the other monitor.

Enough multimedia for now : just received my RFXCOM with xPL. Some home automation work to do :)

Soitjes.
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:01 pm

Release 2.0.4.1 is available now. A new module : Scribble Pad, to be used to leave behind a message for other family members.

Image

A lot of work is going on behind the scenes, in preparation of the next releases. You will be able to control DHS via HTTP, email and SMS. For that purpose, I created a mechanism with commands and triggers, that allow to control every module and widget. xPL integration is going smoothly, and I will then connect xPL to the commands and triggers, which means DHS can be controlled using xPL. That should become interesting :)

Soitjes.
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:32 pm

Just released a new version. Version 2.0.5.4 contains a wakeup module. I tried to imitate a flipclock, and a number of minutes before wakeup time music can be played.

Image

xPL development is ongoing, I will release at least one more module before I release the application that can managed xPL-enabled devices.

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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:52 pm

Hi all,

I published a prototype of what will become the Home Automation module of my Digital Home Server. It's based on xPL and is specifically aimed at the RFXCOM (with xPL firmware, obviously), although it should perfectly work without. It can handle switches, sensors and security devices (implemented schemas are x10.security, x10.basic, sensor.basic and ac.basic, for those who know xPL).

Image

For those who would like to give it a try : you can download the prototype here (one executable, doesn't install or pollute your system, short manual is included). Let me know how it turns out.

There will be a few more releases of other modules before I integrate this prototype in DHS. Next one is a slideshow module with Picasa, and then comes a "paperless home" module that scans and archives documents. And inspired by Airox and Digit I will implement a "Notify My Android" module on request of my wife (she has the power to change priorities :P )

I received a few questions on where I am heading with this mix of multimedia and home automation, so I wrote a blog entry "The Vision behind the Digital Home Server". You can comment here or on the blog, but if you do have a comment don't hesitate !

Soitjes.
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:21 pm

I released version 2.0.6.0, which contains the Picasa Slideshow module :

Image

It's a very simple module, because all content management is done in the Picasa Web albums. Just like the photo module, you can send the slideshow to any monitor connected to your system.

Next will be the "paperless home" module, which scans and archives documents, and that keeps track of unpaid invoices. One of the biggest modules I've written until now. I will probably throw in the "Notify My Android" module, as it's already finished, and I have an unpatient customer (=wife).

If somebody would know an easy way to send a notification back from Android to DHS please let me know. I couldn't find an easy way yet, except for SMS. But that's not for free :|

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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:45 pm

Update of the home automation prototype :

Now sensor values are stored in a database and you can make some nice charts out of the data. Here are screenshots of the hour and month charts (with test data) :

Image

Image

As you can see, it looks nice :) You can change the chart type, zoom in/out, track values at the crosshair, and load/save the chart setup. I tried to keep it simple, and not to present a huge amount of options which would make it difficult to use. I updated the manual as well, which is included in the download.

I'm still looking for somebody with security devices who could try out the prototype. It's the only part that has not been tested until now.

Download link : http://www.digitalhomeserver.net/haproto1.zip

Soitjes.
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Re: Digital Home Server application

Postby soitjes » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:43 pm

By coincidence I stumbled upon a very interesting piece of hardware : the O2 Joggler. It's an atom based all-in-one little PC with touchscreen :

Image

Used to have it's own operating system (based on Linux) but several other OS have been packaged to run on the Joggler. One of those OS builds is Windows xp, and people even succeeded to install the Digital Home Server on a Joggler :) , as you can see :

Image

Here is the the discussion in the Joggler forum : jogglerwiki.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2 ... t=60#p7825

They don't build those Jogglers anymore, but I hope I can find a second hand one. :P I've seen some between 60 to 80 euros.

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