Thursday, April 13, 2006

Slashdot and Insteon mis-information

Looks like Insteon made Slashdot (no link this time as it's a lot of noise vs. signal) and there is a lot of bad info from the participants on Slashdot. First listed under the pros for Insteon is that it doesn't rely on the powerline. That's wrong, it does. Insteon has support for RF but I haven't seen any addition products other than the SignaLincs (RF phase amplified couplers). Another person says it doesn't work any better than X10. While it may be true that someone had a lot of trouble with Insteon the rest of the detailed reports I've heard say it works well. My experience has been that Insteon signals work better much into 'black holes' (areas around devices that suck X10's down to near 0v). I added an amplified X10 phase coupler and that improved my X10. The Insteon signals are still stronger to the same areas. The Insteon protocol is more complex so for developers it tougher to deal with than X10. I think the software will take care of that and hid that issue. That's what i need to work on for Linux (so far I just have the X10 compatibility working). The complexity is there to deal with the reliability problems of X10 and it does a good job of it. Smarthome does have an issue that needs to be addressed (I'll start bugging them again once the book is done, honest). The current license isn't open source friendly (at least not the way it's worded) but I've dealt directly with Insteon on this and my code is Open Source and they don't have a problem with that. They just won't let me use the trademark Insteon in the name of my code (that really is fair enough). Don't start harassing Insteon about this issue. Work with them, I think they're just having a hard time of allowing the Open Source but still protecting their investment. That's a fine line to walk and they've been very helpful and friendly on the subject (unlike some other vendors who won't be named).The last remark I want to comment is someone's comment that the developer kit cost $99 (US) while X10's is free. I've tried to develop for X10's CM15A and you can't get the development kit so there's no comparison. Oh the CM15A is cheaper (~$50 US) but it is quite a bit more limited is some of it's capabilities and it doesn't support Insteon. The Insteon PLC supports Insteon and X10. That seems worth the price difference, especially with the added reliability and ACK/NAK/LAK response..


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