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  • xapmcsImage Image/RSS for Digital Frames

    xapmcsImage is intended to produce custom images for display on digital photo frames.
    It includes an edit function to identify the contents of constructed images, data gathering functions, text overlay, expression evaluation, periodic reconstruction and service of constructed RSS feeds.

    The application runs standalone and will accept xAP message data as a source of information used for text and icon overlays. The text overlay can be formed with literal strings and as the result of expressions from received data.

    Images are obtained from the file system, internet downloads and as a result of chart requests via xapmcsChart.

    Image processing capabilities consists of positioning, sizing and merging. Text processing allows specification of color, transparency, font, size and style.

    xapmcsImage it is a standalone application that can be used to statically build images and RSS xml files. For effective use in generating images based upon dynamic data an xAP environment is needed. For the Homeseer user this will consist of mcsXap Homeseer plugin that will make available Homeseer information via xAP protocol and an xAP hub that will route xAP messages within a PC.

    Version History
    1.0.0.1 PR1 HTTP header not accepted by Frame when serving RSS xml
    1.0.0.2 PR2 Provide settings for defaults RSS server and Image creation path
    1.0.0.3 PR3 Add conditional expressions and formatting of input data
    1.0.0.3 PR4 Handle Socket error 10054 so servers continues to listen
    1.0.0.3 PR5 Add image cropping capability
    1.0.1.0 PR6 Add Database queries as a from of Alias
    1.0.1.0 PR7 Add Merge to build RSS feeds from multiple canvases
    1.0.1.0 PR8 Add top of page links to allow individual item editing
    1.0.2.0 PR9 Add Animated Gifs
    1.0.3.0 PR10 Add ALIAS as an activity for global variable definition
    1.0.4.0 PR11 Add LOGIN as an activity to provide username/password for URL
    1.0.4.2 PR12 Remove need for ShowRaw key in .ini file

    Available at http://mcsSprinklers.com/xapmcsImage.zip
    Manual only available at http://mcsSprinklers.com/xapmcsImage.pdf
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Michael McSharry; February 23rd, 2010, 10:56 PM.

  • #2
    Thanks Michael.

    Going to give it a try in the next few days.
    - Pete

    Auto mator
    Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
    Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

    X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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    • #3
      I noticed after running for awhile the abilty to server http pages stopped. The images continued to be constructed periodically, but the browser/rss interface stopped. I think you mentioned a similiar behavior with xapmcsWebControl. All the recent xAP applications have been done with .NET and I encapsulated the http/smtp/xap/tray logic in xapHTTPTray.dll. I will need to investigate why the socket interface has this problem.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, I haven't redone the installation of XaPMCSWebcontrol. Its still running but silent and hasn't updated any of the variables. As a test though unzipped original zipped file, ran it from the Unzipped directory and it ran fine. I didn't configure it though. My guess is that if I removed the INI file it would start up....but I don't know as I haven't tried that yet.
        - Pete

        Auto mator
        Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
        Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

        X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

        Comment


        • #5
          What I have determined so far is that the client (Frame/WebControl) foreceabily closed the HTTP or SMTP connection and the recovery approach that I hade used was to close all the open connections being served and restart the listener. I have changed that recovery approach to still close all the connections, but also destroy the current listener and create a new one. I dont know why either the Frame or WebControl would force the connection, but what is important is the recovery mechanism to assure the server remains in a listening mode. I need to see the failure again to assure this solution approach will work. While the HTTP/SMTP connection was lost, the UDP connection for xAP continued without issue.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Michael,

            Interesting :-)

            I don't currently own a digital photo frame but something I've wanted to do is have one displaying it's 'normal' stuff eg cycling a library but when an incoming phone call arrives I would like to display a photograph of the caller (or the CallerID name). The display reaction must be near instant and the cycling interrupted. Would this app allow me to do this ?

            I'm guessing aside from network connectivity I need a specific feature capability within the photo frame firmware so do you perhaps have a model recommendation that might support such a feature ? I would purchase a frame specifically to support this.

            Kevin

            Comment


            • #7
              I have only evaluated with the two Kodak frames and also have a Pandigital with WiFi, but have not yet attempted to use it. The Kokak firmware is oriented to cache and display from its internal memory. I instrumented mine with Wireshark and determined that it has a mean time to refresh its cache of about three minutes. This means it is not appropriate for quick display of event-based information. This is why I did not implement a Message.Display or other similiar schema with xapmcsImage.

              My original intention was very much like yours with the desire for messaging information to be displayed on the frame. What I have found, however, is that there is a good application for information that is database-oriented or current state. I have an RSS feed that cycles between utility consumption (Electricity, Propane, Water) with trend lines of two durations and totals converted to dollars for the month. Another does Weather information which cycles between satellite/radar images and 5 day forecast for each of two locations. My third one cycles floorplan-oriented information with temperatures and status. I also consolidate the motion detection captures of remote camera feeds into quad frames.

              I do not know what the behavior of the Pandigital will be. If it is more responsive then I will take advantage of it. The Pandigital has a 800x600 screen while the Kodak is 800x480 or 800x442.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Michael,

                When you update the RSS feed - how long does it take for that information to be displayed on the frame - perhaps I could include the CID info in an RSS feed ?

                K

                Comment


                • #9
                  If operates out of its cache to cycle the items in the RSS list that it previoulsy obtained. It goes back and gets a new RSS xml file and each of the items in the list about every 3 minutes. If I change the TTL parameter below 2 in the RSS xml then it will not get anything and I think it may even declare it to be an invalid RSS.

                  I have not used the folder share for any of my testing so I do not have good information on the timing for this mode of operation. I believe that those that use Jon00's scripts to build an image will typically use this mode of operation where the shared folder contains only one file and this file updated by Homeseer. This discussion identified that the file date needed to be changed for the frame to use it rather than the one in its cache. While I do not know, I suspect that the firmware will look at all of its sources for changes at the same polling interval, but this is only a guess.

                  The bottom line is that I do not think the Kodak frame can be used to display event information where you expect response times measured in seconds.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello Michael,

                    Installed xapmcsImage tonight. Tested initially on one PC. It just sits at "Initializing" and I am unable to get to the status page. It doesn't show a port when starting. What is the default status page port?

                    Noticed also that you recommend installing the application under an XaP directory under program files. I've been installing the new XaP applications under HS. Would it be beneficial to move them?
                    - Pete

                    Auto mator
                    Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
                    Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

                    X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Installed xapmcsImage tonight. Tested initially on one PC. It just sits at "Initializing" and I am unable to get to the status page. It doesn't show a port when starting. What is the default status page port?
                      Do you have the V1.0.0.1 installed that I uploaded this morning? I noticed with 1.0.0.0 that if the DMM was not attached to the port it would get stuck as you noted.

                      Noticed also that you recommend installing the application under an XaP directory under program files. I've been installing the new XaP applications under HS. Would it be beneficial to move them?
                      If Homeseer is the root and you have subfolders under it for each xAP application then that works fine. If you just dump all xAP programs in the same folder then you leave yourself open to two of them using the same file for different purposes. As my work progressed I used naming standards that should avoid problems, but it is a good organizational practice to keep each application, no matter if xAP or not, in its own folder.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have 1.0.3.0 of xapmcsImage installed on HS box and 1.0.0.1 (assembly version 1.0.0.0)of xapmcsmultimeter installed on another computer.

                        Yes each xap application is in its own folder under HS. I do have some xap application directories under "program files". Have to clean up a bit. It shouldn't be too much of an issue to move them all under one xap folder (with xap program directories) under "program files".

                        Just ran xapmcsImage in a test directory on same box as the xapmcsmultimeter program and it came up this time. Now will try running same on HS box. Its working now. Odd before it just sat at initializing. Sorry about that.

                        Starting slow .....not seeing any xap messages. Turned on debug.

                        2/21/2010 9:14:46 PM | 2/21/2010 9:14:46 PM | Using xAP port 1398
                        2/21/2010 10:02:57 PM | 2/21/2010 10:02:57 PM |_Debug TCPSever_SendTextString Line 320 Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
                        2/21/2010 10:05:37 PM | 2/21/2010 10:05:37 PM |_Debug TCPSever_SendTextString Line 320 Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Pete; February 21st, 2010, 11:13 PM.
                        - Pete

                        Auto mator
                        Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
                        Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

                        X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Do you have an xap hub on each computer where xap applications are running? I never tried the debug option on multimeter. I'll need to look. I suspect the problem is the hub as all my .NET xAP projects use the same httpxaptray.dll and it handles the IP protocols.

                          There is no problem with your organization. Each has its own folder somewhere.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Do you have an xap hub on each computer where xap applications are running?
                            Yes currently xap hub is running on one other computer with the xap multimeter and 1-wire application. I am getting data fine from this computer into HS.

                            I installed xap multimeter on HS computer with 4 other Xap applications. The other Xap applications are running fine recieving/sending data. I looked at the version of the httpxaptray.dll and it is the same as the xapwebcontrol application.

                            Thanks Michael.
                            - Pete

                            Auto mator
                            Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
                            Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

                            X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There is very little debug info available with xapmcsImage. I did add the LOGIN activity to allow IP camera snapshots to be downloaded in V1.0.4.0. Let us start by downloading this version and if you continue to have issues with data reception then I will add some debug that will help with this analysis.

                              xapmcsImage is a very powerful application and pretty easy to use. The GIF animation for the time-lapsed radar images works real well and the abilty to control what is being shown sequentially by including it as part of RSS feeds is quite effective.

                              I have three of the smaller Kodak frames that cycle different types of infomation. They are mounted vertically and provide a good center for status information. I have my larger Kodak one doing normal picture viewing.
                              Attached Files

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