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PC Based version for Dealers Only

Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated ProgrammerPosts: 1,917
I understand that a PC/Mac based version is probably not likely for end users, but how about something that is locked down to ACE certified programmers? (This could add more value to maintaining ACE Certs.) Something that would allow dealers using VPN connections on their computer to test out a system. It would also be nice for development and even better if the app supported all of the various touch panel models.

Just a thought,
Jeff
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Comments

  • the8thstthe8thst Junior Member Posts: 470
    Good idea.

    I also think it would be a great benefit for completing ACE certification and a very good development/troubleshooting tool.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    AMX apparently had this feature in G4 Panel Preview in its early stages of development, however marketing requested that it be removed for the obvious reasons.

    I'd like to see it not limited to ACE guys though if it were to come to fruition - why discriminate against those who think ACE certifications are a joke? A piece of paper doesn't make you any smarter (look at some of the posts here on the forum.) Quite frankly, I think it's a joke people even try to argue ACE maintenance is even valuable in the first place. It has its purpose the first time around - but maintaining it? That's like going to college for the rest of your life and being quizzed on the same stuff as last year thus learning nothing. Sorry - had to rant. Probably better for a different topic. Point is - I'd be very disappointed if TPC decided it was best for ACE only.
  • papadoukpapadouk Junior Member Posts: 58
    I am dreaming such an application for a long time now. The Dark side has a similar feature and is very handy when it comes to testing. Also it is produced directly out of their panel design software...

    Kostas
  • the8thstthe8thst Junior Member Posts: 470
    jjames wrote: »
    I'd like to see it not limited to ACE guys though if it were to come to fruition - why discriminate against those who think ACE certifications are a joke?

    I think you missed the whole point of suggesting it be ACE only. Like it or not AMX is going to hold on to ACE certs until their last breath, so it only benefits them to find ways to make that certification hold some perks for the dealers that go through the trouble to get certified.

    I don't see AMX releasing anything like this on the open market, but I do see them dipping into the training budget for some development costs if it will greatly increase the percentage of dealers that are certified.

    They need to try to add value to something that inherently doesn't have any value to begin with.
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,546
    I don't see motivation here for AMX to make such a thing for dealers only. You are better off without an emulation layer if testing and troubleshooting is the goal. Nothing beats a panel and a processor, if you want it on the PC, VNC to the panel, and know you are working on the right stuff.

    AMX wants ACE certification in order to have a better educated, lower support cost dealer base. Those who say it has no value didn't evaluate the statistics that AMX did before cutting dealers 2 years back. Uncertified dealers consumed a hugely disproportionate amount of support hours. While I question the curriculum, I understand their point.
  • the8thstthe8thst Junior Member Posts: 470
    John Nagy wrote: »
    AMX wants ACE certification in order to have a better educated, lower support cost dealer base. Those who say it has no value didn't evaluate the statistics that AMX did before cutting dealers 2 years back. Uncertified dealers consumed a hugely disproportionate amount of support hours. While I question the curriculum, I understand their point.

    Sorry for the confusion. I meant that ACE certification did not have a value for the dealer. I know that ACE has a value to AMX which is why I think they might be more open to creating a PC based program for testing panels and systems to create a reason for dealers to go through the ACE certification process.

    I think we were looking at the same coin, but from opposite sides.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,358
    Are we talking about a PC/Mac version of TPC? If so I see no reason not to have it and have it available to everyone. AMX isn't making scratch on UI's for the TPC app anyway so why should they care if the end customers is using a iPad, Droid, PC or MAC. Money in the bank is money in the bank and it really won't affect TP sales any more than the iPads and Droids already do.

    I'm all for AMX certification and it allows AMX to track serious dealers and it provides dealers a sense of accomplishment. Of course after time that sense of accomplishment wanes but when you first get it you feel good. What I bitterly detest is the maintenance and the BS program but I think AMX achieved their goals and will be more civilized about maintenance going forward. At least that's what I hope!
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    For some reason I think that if TPC does do this, there will be a significant fee associated with it. That being said, if anyone is up to the challenge of writing the TP emulation side of things, I'd be willing to donate my ICSP library that I wrote from scratch. It was written with Monodevelop and have had it working in Linux and on a Mac as well as Windows. It supports encrypted ICSP too, it would just need some finishing touches to have it work with a panel.

    As long as the end product is free to dealers only, I'm throwing this out there.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • aaronandelinaaronandelin Junior Member Posts: 1
    jjames,
    I am working on a .Net virtual Panel for AMX. I've managed to decode the .tp4 file type and am now working on the page/sugpage object model as well as command interpreting. I was using the pclinkextra library for the communication side of things, but avoiding com interop libraries would be great if you would be willing to let me use your icsp library. I had started to write my own implementation based on what i could find from AMX patent documents. What methods did you use to determine the protocol specs?
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,546
    If we learn from history, we know that AMX frowns deeply on reverse engineering their protocols. They have a history of lawsuits against panel emulators of multiple kinds. Their first reaction to TPControl was to sue them, not to embrace them. It was only when many people prevailed on AMX to accept the inevitable and to partner with a quality product, that TPC was allowed to continue.

    A 15 year AMX veteran dealer was both threatened with a big dollar lawsuit AND cut off entirely from his AMX authorizations for making an emulator for a popular (now defunct) universal remote platform. He had to promise never to do anything like it again, never talk about it again, and then had to surrender all his source code, documentation, customer lists, and even his web domain to get his AMX dealership credential back.

    I'm just suggesting that you pause and consider how to proceed... before you find your months or years of efforts blocked off before your eyes. AMX doesn't have a sense of humor on this stuff.

    Your goal of a free dealer tool might be deemed a worthy exception. Certainly the past actions have been mostly around commercial projects that could be seen as potentially competing with the sales of AMX hardware.

    In my view, a safe plan would be to get written permission from an executive level company officer authorizing your project and agreeing to the scope and distribution model you plan, and then stick to it.... or you are rolling the dice that all others (but for one) have lost at. Blake Jackson, US VP of Residential Sales would be a good one to approach. He has been instrumental in both the blocking of several such efforts and the licensing of one.

    Or, lower your expectations, keep your head down, do it for yourself and try not to be noticed. But not sharing defeats the point of doing it at all...

    I already hear some of you asking "What about Iridium?"
    AMX is frequently on record as to their disapproval of the product and their belief that it is a derivative and reverse engineered product developed without permission, using proprietary AMX technology and protocols. Their company location (Russia) has made lawsuits impractical.

    Note that I am not defending or endorsing AMX's path on these projects. I'm just pointing out where alligators have chewed on all who tread there before...
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    I wonder what their stance is with the publicly available patent that details ICSP.
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,546
    Patents are public as a way of declaring exactly what you own. While the postings must be specific enough to describe the point of value, and thereby revealing clues to duplication or circumvention, those outcomes are specifically contemplated and legally punishable acts.

    By analogy, a wedding ring worn prominently is intended to declare the wearer off the market, not as proof that the wearer can be successfully courted. But some people like a challenge.
  • BrallenBrallen Junior Member Posts: 25
    John Nagy wrote: »
    I don't see motivation here for AMX to make such a thing for dealers only. You are better off without an emulation layer if testing and troubleshooting is the goal. Nothing beats a panel and a processor, if you want it on the PC, VNC to the panel, and know you are working on the right stuff.

    I couldn't disagree more. Nothing is more inconvenient than a panel when testing is the goal. I don't want touch panels taking up every open inch of space in my office every day. I don't want to have to have a 17 inch panel sitting around just in case my next project has one and I have to test a UI before the equipment for the project is ordered. I want to spend X-hundred on a third monitor instead of X-thousand on a touch panel that isn't useful to me half of the time. I want windows on my desktop that I can minimize and move. I want freedom from worrying about the resolution of my testing panel vs the resolution of the panels in my current projects. I end up with VNC windows all over my desktop anyway, the touch panel is just a waste of space 99% of the time. I think the monetary benefit to AMX of forcing panel purchases is pretty obvious, but I think they are ignoring the (IMO larger) benefit of making programmer's lives easier. Every time I am inconvenienced by something AMX doesn't do but that the other guys do, at least 3 other people in the office hear about it.


    ps: I do agree it is pretty ballsy to say you are creating something based on patent documents in a forum run by the patent holder. Might wanna tone that down a bit ;)
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    C'mon - if AMX isn't going to support their dealers, people need to step it up. For example, the IRIS was released 15+ years ago? They need a USB version . . . they're years behind. I have no problem in admitting that I'm trying to fill a void that AMX has purposefully avoided for whatever reason. TPC had no problem with it . . . the only ones who have a problem with innovation on their stuff is AMX. They're just now starting to catch up - but are still behind. The end result from AMX is that their stuff can only be as good as the tools they provide to the people who make the magic happen. NS3 - subpar. TDP4 - subpar. KPDesign - do I dare go there? They continually introduce new bugs and miss out on important features.
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,546
    Brallen wrote: »
    Nothing is more inconvenient than a panel when testing is the goal.

    Depends on what you are testing. AMX offers a G4 preview app for this purpose. Why isn't it enough? Because it isn't real. Same reason an emulation isn't. You end up measuring with a bent ruler. If you are testing a panel project, your end product has to be right ON A PANEL, not conforming to the new issues introduced by an emulation, which will be an imperfect match for reality.

    If you are just banging on a system and need it to do things as you exercise new code or hardware, a PC/MAC client of relative competence would be sufficient and useful.

    But all arguments as to usefulness or desirability are wasted on the readers here, who will all agree we'd like it (me too). We aren't the one who has the legal ability and the history of stopping such efforts. If you want to pass a gate, you'll sooner or later need to talk to the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper does not visit the forums looking for projects to authorize.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    John Nagy wrote: »
    Depends on what you are testing. AMX offers a G4 preview app for this purpose. Why isn't it enough?
    Not to argue, but there are many, probably including Cinetouch, who page-flip in code exclusively. And yeah - that could start a whole new argument, but for the sake of understanding, that's my stance as to why a virtual panel would be helpful for testing. You are correct in saying that it's not a native touch panel - but neither is an iPad, it's also an emulator.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,358
    Brallen wrote: »
    I couldn't disagree more.
    Well I swing the complete opposite direction and agree with JN's statement,
    I don't see motivation here for AMX to make such a thing for dealers only.
    in that it shouldn't "only" be for dealers. iRidium makes a PC/MAC version and so should TPC. Dealers should be given a license for free and a for fee version available for customers too. As I said earlier AMX isn't making scratch on iPhone/iPads anyway so why not provide a PC/MAC version of TPC and sell more App licenses. I can't see it really affecting the TP market anymore than the iPhone/iPads already have. They can still require dealers to own at least one TP for testing and development.

    With the PC/MAC abilities and the "Ultimate" license that iRidium offers it's geting really hard to justify loyalty to TPC and AMX. They sure don't make it easy on us that's for sure and sometimes I think they intentionally push loyal dealers away which really blows my mind.
  • jweatherjweather Junior Member Posts: 320
    Brallen wrote: »
    I couldn't disagree more. Nothing is more inconvenient than a panel when testing is the goal.

    So get a TPI-PRO and VNC into it. I used to rescale everything to a CV7 for testing, now I just have a TPI tucked away in a cabinet.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    I'm really confused on the "If I don't need it, it shouldn't exist" philosophy. Shouldn't it really be "if I don't need it - I won't use it" ?
  • BrallenBrallen Junior Member Posts: 25
    jweather wrote: »
    So get a TPI-PRO and VNC into it. I used to rescale everything to a CV7 for testing, now I just have a TPI tucked away in a cabinet.

    Yeah that works, not having any TP hardware works a lot better for me though. Especially when you consider the pretty common need to have multiple panels going at the same time when writing.
    jjames wrote: »
    I'm really confused on the "If I don't need it, it shouldn't exist" philosophy. Shouldn't it really be "if I don't need it - I won't use it" ?

    I blame/credit computers for that. If I don't need something, I click the X and it doesn't exist. Clicking the X on a piece of hardware is a lot more effort(re-box it, find a cart, take it to the warehouse/where ever).

    And my problem with this case is that I can't just say I won't use it, there is no other option. If I need to see what happens on 4 panels when XYZ happens I HAVE to have 4 panels. So now I'm at the mercy of when the equipment arrives, I'm wasting time setting it up, and I'm wasting time getting it out of my office. Knowing that there is a method(xpanel) that suites me better but that isn't available is frustrating.
  • jimmywjimmyw Junior Member Posts: 112
    There is a pc solution available NOW

    I hate to rain on the blame party BUT, there is a solution available NOW that I use
    I have a VM that runs android, inside of that android VM I have tpcontrol installed. I can at any point reboot the VM with any resolution I specify to load a specific panel and see how it looks, I even scripted it the reboot based on the panel I want to load.
    Pros: Full tpcontrol, with code based flips, tptransfer sends it to the virtual panel in about 2-3 seconds(no real bottleneck), Code based flips work, booting the VM takes about 5 seconds on my laptop, and seems to be instant on my desktop, the android image file is hosted on our server so any domain PC can run the VM!

    Cons: My desktop needs a touchscreen overlay just like my laptop to make it feel more real :)

    Its pretty easy to set up, and just sell one tablet android license and you have a free panel for 180 days!

    James

    OT: Now we just need a command line version to tptransfer so I can script that!
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    Details? I probably won't go to the extent you did - but it's always nice to know.

    Gonna look into a CLI to TPTransfer [NO LUCK HERE!]
  • John NagyJohn Nagy CineTouch Product Manager Posts: 1,546
    Though a bit complex, this solution must also be totally legal from the AMX view. Even if they didn't intend it... no violations of anything I can see. It's a start...
  • jimmywjimmyw Junior Member Posts: 112
    Here is a way to get up and running quickly(sort of):

    link-> forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=529170

    I got it to run with the signed-dream_devphone_userdebug-img-14721.zip image from HTC for the developer phone.

    link-> developer.htc.com/adp.html

    I replaced the android-sdk-windows\add-ons\google_apis-4_r02\images\system.img with the one from the signed-dream_devphone_userdebug-img-14721.zip
    (you should backup the original system.ini)

    I then used the Android SDK GUI interface to create a Google API Level 4 machine.

    I did not need to install the marketenabler.apk, as described in the original thread.

    It boots up like a new Dev Phone, it behaves like there is a valid SIM and working data connection.

    CTRL-F11 rotates the screen (slide out keyboard).

    its 1.6, but that doesnt really matter for our purposes, we are just loading 1 app, Install TPC Lockout version and set it to autoboot, WIN

    If anyone else wants more instructions or is more interested I may make a complete image file all packed up nice and tidy and host it somewhere.
  • jimmywjimmyw Junior Member Posts: 112
    Oh, I forgot to mention, you can also make a new virtualbox Machine image, and boot it mounting this ISO (non usb image) http://android-x86.moonman.dk/index.php?folder=Z2VuZXJpYw==
    which is what I ended up doing after playing with the other AVM quite a bit
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    As stated earlier by others: Iridium is a hack job most likely done by decompiling / decrypting information. It'll most likely never be supported. I would be very disappointed if AMX did support.

    Plus - buying from them is like buying Cuban cigars.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,358
    jjames wrote: »
    Plus - buying from them is like buying Cuban cigars.
    The best product available in the category?

    Good move on editing out that other comment, it was a bit over the top.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    vining wrote: »
    The best product available in the category?
    I'll stick with the best legal and supported product while supporting AMX.
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