MainLobby for Android Tablets

MainLobby Web App running on Android Tablets
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MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby CinemarDave » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:30 pm

If you have or are thinking about getting an Android Tablet then we welcome you to give our MainLobby web app a try. Android users can download and start using this application immediately. The only requirement, other than a supported Android Tablet, is that you are running MLServer version 4 or higher. You'll find links to the application installer in the Cinemar Installation Assistant. The app was designed using an Asus Eee Pad as the tablet. This tablet supports a native resolution of 1280x800 and all the scenes are designed for that resolution.

You should follow the wiki instructions so that the application gets properly installed. You want to make sure that you run this application fullscreen by launching it from a desktop shortcut. The wiki will show you how to do this. You should use your tablet in landscape mode while running this application.

In this release we are featuring the most widely used Cinemar applications. You will find menu options for controlling
Movies - DVDlobby 4
Music - Musiclobby 4
Satellite Radio - MLSatRadio V3.99
Netflix - Netflix 4
Internet Radio - Internet Radio 4
Pandora - Pandora App
DirecTV - MLDirecTVIP
Cable TV - MLGC100
Climate - V4 Client Family
Weather - Weather 4
Security - Security Family
Cameras - MLIPCamera
Lighting - Sample Lighting
Energy - Energy Family
Caller ID - CallerID 4
Recipes - RecipeLobby
RSS News - RSS 4
Russound - MLCAV66

You will find that 99% of these applications will work without any modifications. We tried to make this as turnkey as possible. Making any modifications to these scenes requires an entry level knowledge of HTML, CSS3 and Javascript. You should be able to copy and paste to make a lot of your changes. You also have the option of purchasing professional services hours and have us make the customizations for you.

This is a continuing development effort. The whole framework is under development. This web app is designed solely for Android tablets running at least Android 3.0. While this is not a "native" application I think you'll be hard pressed to know that it isn't once you are running it.

Kick the tires. Let us know any issues and comments you may have. Please treat this as a work in progress. Before you spend a lot of time making customizations tell us what we missed. What doesn't work? What is not intuitive? What would you like to see added? The goal here is to make a turn-key application that anyone can install and use and not worry about making tons of edits before anything will work.

Here is a small sample of what you can expect to see when running the application.

Android - Step 5.png


Android - Step 6.png
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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby Oronomus » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:22 pm

Been on the look out for release of the ASUS Transformer Prime tablet. Rumors swirling about delays in the 12/19 release date. Newegg shows eta of 12/27. Best Buy replaced the preorder option with a "Coming Soon" notice. If anyone sees availability anywhere, please post. Look forward to trying out the Android scenes..

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby DavidL » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:03 pm

Installed, and pages loaded fine.
Loaded internet radio stations and then started browsing music.
Went to change zone.
Then saw MLServer4 crash.
On reboot, now see <<### Internal error, cannot load engine Number 1 due to error 193>>
Cancelled that message twice, MLServer continued to load.
MusicLobby for MLServer window open and I see tabs but nothing on the Events tab (blank screen).
Internet Radio and MusicLobby showing as Not loaded (Error) on server apps screen.

Note that I am viewing server via RDP connection and no real audio drivers are loaded in windows.

On restart, log show:
Error loading applets Internet Radio (and MusicLobby), - Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation.

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby CinemarDave » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:50 pm

Sounds like you are running MLServer on a PC without a sound card. Bad times will prevail under those circumstances.

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby DavidL » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:02 pm

When will MLServer / musiclobby support remote audio cards?
I thought I saw the means to setup Internet radio via Remote zone (ClientSvc required)?

I can't open the plugins now to do any setup even if they do support remote zones.

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby ronsatter » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:36 am

Dave,

Followed wiki instructions. Install went very smoothly. Here are some screen shots from my Samsung Galaxy 10 inch tablet:

Home:
SC20111215-235534.jpg

Weather:
SC20111215-233822.jpg

Lighting:
SC20111215-235012.jpg

Music:
SC20111215-233236.jpg

Netflix:
SC20111215-234711.jpg

News:
SC20111215-234042.jpg

First test run ...

Solid navigation to all scenes
Lag time for item selections, scene changes, searches and updates all very tolerable. Slight lag on hilighting of buttons and text items.
Strong background tasking. Code processing and execution very good.

I don't have all of the applets installed, but my installed apps all worked without error. Some minor display problems which I will post later, but for first run ... ML 4 server and client both working out of the box on my Android tablet. I'm running Android 3.2

Congratulations. Excellent work! =D>

I did have one small problem:

No sound on my tablet when playing music. Would that be an MusicLobby applet setting?

Ron
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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby DavidL » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:13 am

Ron, the sound on the Droid device is another extension beyond my question to DaveP ie: when will Remote devices be supported as sound devices.
My expectation is that this would be delivered by leveraging the ClientSvc app on a PC as first remote device delivery. Getting the sound to the Droid device would require a different technical solution like a Streaming service that doesn't exist today in mainLobby suite since the MLMediaStream plugin years ago that never left Alpha development stage.

Would love for a better answer from DaveP ;)

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby CinemarDave » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:47 pm

Ron - very good to hear. Let me know if anything crops up. It's the initial release so there will be some changes down the road. I was hoping that all Android tablets should be pretty much equal. Sounds like they are. With the exception of the Kindle Fire that is. Amazon could not have created a more brain-dead web browser. Hopefully the Kindle update in the pipeline will address this major shortcoming.

As for sound on your tablet. MLServer 4 has the capability to stream audio and video but those features have not been enabled because of the time required to test the functionality. But it would be nice to play your music or watch a movie on your tablet. Hmmm, watch this space...

DavidL - The MusicLobby, InternetRadio, SatRadio and Pandora apps require some valid sound driver installed on the MLServer PC. This is because those apps are compiled to use the sound control dlls. Without a valid sound driver the apps will not load because they cannot load the internal sound controls. There are pseudo device drivers available. Perhaps you could install a pseudo audio driver that will trick the apps into thinking you have a sound card?

As for the legacy ClientSvc app. This is being phased out and being replaced by a new universal "A/V Agent" that will replace ALL the other agents. The new A/V Agent will have the capability of controlling four unique audio zones for MusicLobby, InternetRadio, SatRadio and Pandora along with controlling the various movie players (Arcsoft TMT, PowerDVD, VLC, Media Player Classic Home Cinema and Netflix). You'll only have to configure one agent instead of 9. Much easier. The new A/V Agent should be released in a couple of weeks.

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby DavidL » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:54 pm

The server does have a real sound card...My assumption is the problem is I am remoted in via RDP and having fits trying to keep the sound local to the server. Win 2003 Home Server OS.

I assume a reboot will address it if I don't remote in.

Will you be putting in some smarts to look for a local soundcard during mlserver load and "tell" each driver that no local sound card exists for when you are supporting remote PC / streaming sound? ie: there may not be a local MLServer sound card.

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby CinemarDave » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:58 pm

>>> Will you be putting in some smarts to look for a local soundcard during mlserver load and "tell" each driver that no local sound card exists for when you are supporting remote PC / streaming sound? ie: there may not be a local MLServer sound card.

We'll see. It's a function of when the embedded sound controls have to load. I'll have to test.

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby EUROTECH » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:19 pm

I have the same issue when I RDP into my MLServer from any other machine to make tweeks. The sound card doesn't get used and you now get audio over RDP, or something like that. If I need to do major changes on the server, then I will RDP in and restart the server completely. If minor changes need to be made, I just use Teamviewer to log into the machine and make the changes. TV does not change the audio as does RDP, but TV is very laggy compared. Restarting MLServer while using RDP, will not load properly due to sound cards not being visable.

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby Fonceur » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:54 am

I've connected to DavidL system from my cheap tablet and it works nicely. Though I did notice that while the scenes themselves are loading great, if they make use of DVD Lobby or such, the images are being requested from the local network (192.168.x.y) instead of through the original address. I'm not sure if the local address is hardcoded in DavidL's scenes, his MLServer configuration, if it's an issue with the plugin or the image server...
MLComDevice: Control serial/TCP device (ASCII/hex) - MLSchedule: Alternative to MLScheduler
MLBeyondTV and MLSageTV: PVR support - TChanger: Sony BDP-CX7000ES 400 disc Bluray changer
TRadio: Sirius/HD/XM radio - TChart: Chart from variable Wiki

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby indecision » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:43 am

Great work Dave! Two questions for you....I haven't settled on a tablet yet but am leaning towards Android. In another post you mentioned that your iPad 1 beats out your other tablets in terms of functionality and performance. With regards to current and future ML functionality, do you see one tablet/operating system being preferred over the other (Android or Apple)?

Assuming I replace my 3 Airpanels with 3 Android tablets, will I be able to run 3 separate instances of Mainlobby for Android or will all 3 see the same thing? Or is 3 even possible at this point?

Thanks,
Davis

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby CinemarDave » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:52 am

Thanks and good questions. I think that Apple has the lead now simply because it was first out of the gate and its A4 and A5 chipsets are a generation or two ahead of the current Android hardware. The new quad code Tegra chipsets coming in the new Android tablets should go a long way to leveling the playing field. Also, the Android OS is catching up quick. iOS 5 has had a long time to mature and become optimized. A lot of tablets are still running Android 2.3 and that version of the OS simply is not that mature. New generation Android tablets will be targeting Android OS 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and when that happens I think you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between an iPad and an Android tablet (performance wise). As I've said in other posts I think your choice of tablets will be based on what else you want to do with it. If your tablet is solely going to be for automation control then the cheaper Android option will most likely be the best choice.

So should you wait? Nah, grab a current generation tablet and experiment. I've just recently made some changes to the MLServer 4 web servers and web apps that increase the performance of page loading and I am very satisfied with performance on all my test devices.

You can run as many web clients concurrently as you have licenses for MainLobby clients. Like the traditional flash clients they all run independently of each other. When you start using the web clients you will see server variables with strange names in them like w192.168.1.123. That is the unique client name that is created when the web client connects to the server. On any given day I have 3 tablets always connected to my server (iPad, Eee Pad and Kindle Fire). Every now and then an iPhone and iPod Touch hit the server too. So far everything has been working just fine.

Keep in mind that you cannot use the current MainLobby designer to modify any of these web apps. Modifications require changes to html, JavaScript or css code. So you have to be comfortable with editing html or ask us to make the changes for you. It will not always be this way. It is just the way it is now.

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Re: MainLobby for Android Tablets

Postby indecision » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:09 pm

Thanks Dave. I appreciate the detailed response. I am ready to make the jump to the ML4 suite and so I have exciting times ahead. There is a lot of work to do on my entire setup but I have been putting it off for a while because it just plain works! But its time to add Pandora and some of the other cool additions that I have been bugging you about for a while. And the connectivity issues of my AirPanels...I am so tired of them dropping connection all the time.

Android feels like the right fit for me (especially due to the native landscape display) so I am leaning that way. Will still probably end up with an iPad for the kids but that will be fine as that way my tablets will stay put and be there when I need them!


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