Dave Noderer's Blog

September 2005 Entries

Tuesday night BOFs at 9:00 PM and 10:15 PM..

I know there are a lot of activities this evening but don't forget about the Birds of a Feather Sessions hosted by INETA (the International .NET Association).

BOF Sessions are fun, informal and interactive, refreshing after a day of listening to presentations.

At 9:00 PM there will be sessions on Managing Programmers (John Moody), Software Factories (Gunther Lenz), Writing Secure Code (Keith Brown), DotNetNuke (Shaun Walker), .NET vs. Java (Leo Shuster), Distributed Atomic Transcations (William Tay) and Avalon Extreme (Michale Latta).

Then at 10:15 PM the sessions are Designing for Service Orientation (Erik Johnson), INETA Today and Tommorrow (Damir Tomicic), Tablet PC, If you build it will they come? (Julie Lerman), .NET Code Protection (Gabriel Torok) and the Future of the Deep Coder (Doug Adams).

Unlike last night, the conference people assure us the buses will be running until 12:15 AM so there will not be a need to cut sessions short!


INETA PDC 2005 Badge Inserts

Don't forget to pick up your “INETA” badge insert at the INETA table in the foyer overlooking the south lobby. Just look for the high quality plastic palm trees! We will also be having drawings for two windows media players this week.

If you have any questions about user groups in general or user groups in your area please ask any of the INETA people at the table.


Florida .NET User Group - Boca - 2005-09-06

 Roul Salazar, Ph.D.

JHL Technologies, Inc.


Home Automation using .NET and Flash

  • Using .NET, asp.net to control X10 devices
  • Using Flash as a front end with .NET
  • Good business as people doing it (electricians, builders), not programers
  • Flash is nice to make "cool" interfaces.
  • VB.NET nice but C# can also be deployed using MONO on Linux.


Control anything

  • Lighting, blinds, windows, 97 different types, alarm, video, hvac, etc…


Multiple technologies


  • X10 - www.x10.com
    • Older, 256 devices
    • Uses AC wires
    • Classic X10 is one way but bi-directional version enabling status messages sent back to the user.
    • There is a wireless version of X10 is also populare.
    • Starter kits include a wireless tranceiver and remote control. Pro - $49.99
  • UPB - www.pcslighting.com
    • Universal Powerline Bus, 65k devices
    • Now bi directional
    • Need to get rid of surge protectors inside, put it on the input to the house
  • Z-Wave - www.zen-sys.com
    • Very nice, wireless unless you have a neighbor with the same code
  • Wthernet/Wi-Fi
    • Different vendors
  • Proprietary Home Automation
    • DON’T DO IT… just throwing money out the window


Sites to fine products and other information


X10 will be used for the demos

  • Starter kit
    • Radio frequency remote control
    • Tranceiver that plugs into an AC wall outlet
    • Lamp / appliance control modules
  • There is almost any x10 device that you can think of! We spent a LONG time talking about all the different types and versions of these devices.
  • Most devices between $10 and $30
  • Specialized devices can rise to over $100


X10 System

  • Has 2 basic components
    • One or more modules  that receives signals
    • A transceiver to send commands
  • Each device has a house code and a unit code
    • Make sure you write them down
    • Normally all local devices have the same house code
    • House code - A-P - 4 bits
    • Unit codes - 1-16 - 4 bits
    • To make a 8 bit codes
    • House codes might be used to divide into zones, bedroom, living room, etc..
    • If you make identical codes on two devices, they will both be controlled at the same time. Say two lamps would both go on and off.


  • Transmission
    • At every zero point crossing of the AC waveform, there is 200 msec during which X10 can send a 120khz 5 volt signal.
    • Pulse coded to carry unit codes and commands
    • Surge suppressors interfere with the xt10 modules
    • Suggest getting a house wide surge suppressor, ends up being cheaper than purchasing separate suppressors.


  • API's - Some of them suck!
    • Raul has written a few for different standards to make a nicer interface


  • Protocol
    • There are a set of fairly simple commands
    • Serial parameters, max rate is 4800 bps, no parity, 8 bits, stop bits
    • 2 bytes Header: code
      • 0-22 dims amount
      • Bit 2 always 1
      • Defines if following byte is function (1) or address (0)
      • E/S if following byte is extended transmission (1) or standard (0)
    • Function only operates for the house code


  • 1 byte checksum
  • 1 byte Acknowledge
  • 1 byte interface ready to receive
    • X55 says it is ready


  • ASP.net
    • Just select address, command on web page, post back and send codes from server when page is posted back.
    • Sample app turns the light in front on and off. Unfortunately the dimmer (brighter / dimmer) was hard wired to a different device for this presentation.


  • Firecracker Class
    • Shows a firecracker class with a 30 msec delay between commands (this is not a "speedy gonzales" protocol.
    • Implements a singleton
    • He used a RS232 class written by Corrado Cavalli, see www.itworks.it, Raul likes this, it is not perfect but pretty close! Note that .net 2.0 will have a serial class built in.
    • Simple sequence of  opening serial port, send commands, sleep for 30 msec, etc..
  • Used in simple console application
    • Console app
    • Create class, get an instance
    • Use the class to send a "turn on" command for example
    • Uses console app to run and turn on program and turn off program in same directory as the communcation.dll and the x10unified.dll (firecracker)


  • Flash implementation
    • Use the same communication and x10unified dll's
    • Fscommand and fscommand2 in flash to invoke these
    • Fscommand <name of program to execute>
    • Cannot look at flash code because license expired. Will send us the code….
    • Must add commands in fscommand subdirectory (for execution security)











A great effort by the developer community to collect, clean and make searchable, all the data related to people trying to find each other.


From Joe Healy: http://www.devfish.net/FullBlogItemView.aspx?BlogId=129

From Julie Lerman: http://www.thedatafarm.com/blog/PermaLink.aspx?guid=bfc8b8d2-f725-4c24-a60e-89a4fc83c0ea

Content from Julie:

by way of Rocky Lhotka's blog where he is also passing on the information:
We're a few local (ATL) ASP.NET programmers who have created a central datastore, collection web interfaces, and processing system for missing/safe person data on people affected by hurricane katrina.
The idea caught on quick... we've only got 2 guys working on this full time and a third helping out when he can. Since going online we've ben contacted by LOTS of groups who want to work with us. We're overwhelmed and need help... we've got plans for a mobile device interface to our data, and are working with a callcenter fielding calls from disaster victims (the callcenter needs some special enhancements to the interface we can't get to fast enough.). We're being listed as the central survivors database on the emergency web terminals being deployed in disaster zones ( http://www.publicwebstations.com/ )
We've got people on the ground at shelters trying to gather lists and transmit them to our datastore electronically. We're also contacting almost 50 other websites which have lists or data collection systems... they are starting to use our MSP file spec and transmit data to us.
If you could get the word out that we are looking for volunteer programmers who can hit the ground running and take ownership of some of the special projects we have WE WOULD APPRECIATE IT.. but there are people out there looking for loved ones who would appreciate it even more.
Current experience we need:
  • .net mobile framework using our data classes to collect and process data
  • string data parsing experience... there's a lot of data in forum posts we can't use but could triple our data if we could parse into useful fields
  • Mass emailing system... as our system processes incoming bulk data, it makes matches between searchers and safe persons, flagging them as needed contact via email. We need a system to read from a database table containing these contact requests and send them out
  • any general ASP.NET (we're using VB) experience to help build special lookups and interfaces
I hate to make such a request on a holiday weekend, but we are swamped.
Please spread the word if you can.
Developer, The Katrina Data Project

email: john at katrinadataproject dot com