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  • Looking for a Message Display System

    I’m looking for a message display system that I can use with HS3. I’m hoping that something close to what I want is already available, but I don’t know how to research it.
    I’ll describe here my ideal solution and ask the community for best fit suggestions using what’s currently available. Here are my ideal specs (I think):
    1. One or more displays, each hosted by an inexpensive (probably Android) tablet.
    2. Tablet uses Wi-Fi to communicate with HS3.
    3. Perhaps use MQTT (I have no current experience, but plan to learn) for communication link, but open to other possibilities.
    4. Display shows an arbitrary number of messages with unique IDs.
    5. If there are more messages to be displayed than will fit the screen (say, > 10-20 messages), the app will automatically scroll the messages at a user selectable rate.
    6. Message font size and color are user specified.
    7. New messages are event driven, with unique message IDs.
    8. If an event creates a new message with an ID that matches an ID of a currently displayed message, the new message will replace the old one on the display.
    9. Removal of individual messages is also event driven via event designated message ID.
    Even the specs might not be ideal, but I hope they are sufficient to describe what I’d like to have.
    Anyone?


  • #2
    You could certainly do most, if not all of this with HSTouch, but you'd probably need a few scripts if you have more than a hand full of messages to display at one time. Can you provide an example of the messages you intend to display and what you mean by "message ID"?

    One thought that comes to mind is to have a virtual device assigned to each message ID. The message would reside in the device string. That way, updating (or deleting) the message would be the same as overwriting the device string.
    Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
    HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

    HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

    Comment


    • #3
      The protocol/wish list that you desire is essentially implemented in my LED Messaging Sign https://forums.homeseer.com/forum/li...messaging-sign and integrated with HS plugin mcsMQTT. This, however, is not a Android tablet, but a larger sign that requires connecting tiles of 256 LEDs in whatever sign dimensions desired.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Uncle Michael View Post
        You could certainly do most, if not all of this with HSTouch, but you'd probably need a few scripts if you have more than a hand full of messages to display at one time. Can you provide an example of the messages you intend to display and what you mean by "message ID"?

        One thought that comes to mind is to have a virtual device assigned to each message ID. The message would reside in the device string. That way, updating (or deleting) the message would be the same as overwriting the device string.
        This is all very sketchy because I'm not exactly sure what I want. I find it easy to pile on nice to have features such as font color, font size, sorting by message time, etc., but I can compromise in favor of an easy solution for the basics. The tablet display might look like this:

        8/13 4: 36:12 GDOpen Garage door is open
        8/17 23:11:02 HWLeak Hot water heater is leaking!
        8/13 14:04:04 FDUnlk Front door is unlocked
        8/12 3:30:12 DryDone Dryer cycle has completed
        8/11 22:02:13 BLiteOn Basement light was left on

        In this example, the first message was posted by an event that detected an open garage door. If the door gets closed, the message should go away. The ID concept allows an event to specify which message it wants to update or delete, as in:
        8/13 10:36:12 GDOpen Garage door has been open for 6 hours

        I have given some thought to possible use of virtual devices. As you suggest, I might represent 10 message positions on the display with 10 corresponding virtual devices, where the device string would specify the message itself. A fairly steep compromise, but maybe.

        A big problem with the Devices display on HS Mobile is that I can see only 2-3 devices without finger scrolling. Device update times are not displayed. I see no way for events to make status messages I no longer care about to go away. I know very little about HS Mobile, and even less about HS Touch, so perhaps there is potential there that I haven't seen.

        I don't know much about MQTT, either. My thought was that an MQTT client might subscribe to all topics MsgData/*. HS3 events might publish MQTT messages with topics such as MsgData/This and MsgData/That. The client would then use the time the message was received and the text in the message body to format a line on the tablet display. If an event wanted to delete a displayed message, it might, for example, send a message of topic MsgData/This containing an empty message body. If this approach were feasible, I probably wouldn't need message IDs at all. The function would be encapsulated by the subtopic names.

        The reason I sound so wishy washy is that I really don't know a lot about HS Touch, HS Mobile, MQTT itself, features of various existing MQTT clients, or other possible options. I just know that I'd like to have an event driven desktop display that summarizes at a glance the most important activity and status of my HS3 system.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael McSharry View Post
          The protocol/wish list that you desire is essentially implemented in my LED Messaging Sign https://forums.homeseer.com/forum/li...messaging-sign and integrated with HS plugin mcsMQTT. This, however, is not a Android tablet, but a larger sign that requires connecting tiles of 256 LEDs in whatever sign dimensions desired.
          I'll think on it. Your reference provides lots to look at that I find interesting, regardless. Thanks for your suggestion.
          The biggest negative I see at the moment is that, concurrent display of a dozen or more messages and their times might require too many tiles and too much $$. But with automatic message scrolling, maybe.

          Comment


          • #6
            It's not clear why you need date/time and a code as well as the message? Are you planning to use this as a log?

            If the messages describe current conditions, then I would think the text alone is sufficient - and less distracting.

            I do exactly that with my HSTouch tablets, but I do it all on one line because it is very uncommon for more that two or three messages to be active at the same time. No message is present most of the time, more than one message at a time is unusual.

            I don't display a message unless it describes something that is likely to require fairly urgent attention. Once dealt with, the message disappears. I'm guessing you have another purpose in mind, but I didn't pick it up from your post.
            For something like leaving a door open too long, I do not display the message unless the condition exceeds my set conditions. In my case, I don't flag the garage door unless the time is after sunset. (I send myself a text message if it's open and the alarm has been set for 5 minutes.)
            Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
            HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

            HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Uncle Michael View Post
              It's not clear why you need date/time and a code as well as the message? Are you planning to use this as a log?

              If the messages describe current conditions, then I would think the text alone is sufficient - and less distracting.

              I do exactly that with my HSTouch tablets, but I do it all on one line because it is very uncommon for more that two or three messages to be active at the same time. No message is present most of the time, more than one message at a time is unusual.

              I don't display a message unless it describes something that is likely to require fairly urgent attention. Once dealt with, the message disappears. I'm guessing you have another purpose in mind, but I didn't pick it up from your post.
              For something like leaving a door open too long, I do not display the message unless the condition exceeds my set conditions. In my case, I don't flag the garage door unless the time is after sunset. (I send myself a text message if it's open and the alarm has been set for 5 minutes.)
              I'm definitely not planning to use this as a log -- I'm happy with the the ones I have.

              I agree that an ID code is a bad idea if it's not needed by an event as a link to update or delete a message.

              Actually, my original concept didn't envision a message time display. I added it because it seemed it might be handy. Appears useful, but I'm having difficulty coming up with a compelling example....

              Multiple concurrent messages seems more important. Say, I've been outside for an hour or two, doing a little gardening. I come in, sit down at my desk, and glance at my display. I see that while I was outside: (1) the mail got delivered, (2) the laundry is done, (3) I left a gate open that allows the deer to get to my roses, (4) it's been too long since my sick daughter checked in, and (5) the well pump is once again running continuously for no good reason. It's basically a status summary of what important things are happening. In a way, it might be viewed as a near-term To Do list. One could debate what might be a reasonable maximum message count, but for me it isn't "one."

              I don't display a message unless it describes something that is likely to require fairly urgent attention. Once dealt with, the message disappears.
              Indeed. That's what I was trying to describe above.

              For something like leaving a door open too long, I do not display the message unless the condition exceeds my set conditions.
              Exactly. If I come into the house, and a garden gate is still open, then I have left it open too long.

              BTW, a lot of folks mitigate the need I have described by having their events generate verbal messages such as, "The laundry is done." This is a poor option for me because I am very hard of hearing.

              Does my concept seem reasonable?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ericg View Post
                It's basically a status summary of what important things are happening. In a way, it might be viewed as a near-term To Do list. One could debate what might be a reasonable maximum message count, but for me it isn't "one."

                Does my concept seem reasonable?
                Absolutely. I do exactly what you are describing for almost exactly the same reasons. In my experience, though, the messages don't pile up that fast. I also place a few of the things you list into a separate category.

                For things that happen routinely and I want to be alerted to their occurrence, such as the mail being delivered, I create a dedicated field with an icon. So, the mail is a mailbox. It is empty until the mail is delivered, then it turns into a mailbox. It has it's own dedicated spot on the screen.

                For most of the rest I use terse messages. An open gate is "[location] gate" (no need to add open, if it's closed it's not listed), the garage or shed door left open is "Garage" or "Shed".

                For things like the washer and dryer, I do overkill. I have an icon that is displayed for each if it is running like my mailbox icon, a message in my list for each after it finishes, and a voice announcement at the time it is done.

                My list will typically look like this:
                New Phone message | Washer done
                or
                North gate
                or
                Internet ??

                Below is an example of one of my tablet screens. It shows a fountain is running and the mail has been delivered. The red outline is approximately where the list would occur, but there aren't any items at the moment (which is actually the normal case).

                Click image for larger version

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                Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

                HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Uncle Michael View Post
                  ... Below is an example of one of my tablet screens. It shows a fountain is running and the mail has been delivered.
                  You've given me more food for thought. "A picture is worth a thousand words." I like the fact that a single small icon of a fountain requires way less display real estate than any corresponding written message I can conjure. Probably faster recognition time, too.

                  So, if I were to follow your lead, would you recommend that I delve into (old) HS Touch, (new) HS Mobile, or (wait for) "future" HS Mobile?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ericg View Post
                    So, if I were to follow your lead, would you recommend that I delve into (old) HS Touch, (new) HS Mobile, or (wait for) "future" HS Mobile?
                    I think "old" HSTouch has a great deal going for it, but you do have to climb the (steep) learning curve and deal with the clunky UI. The reward, though, is a very powerful communication tool that you can customize and adapt to your own personality and application. And once you get over the hump, tweaking the designs becomes quite easy and even addictive. HSMobile appears to be designed for a different purpose and isn't likely to do what you want.

                    Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                    HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

                    HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ericg View Post
                      "A picture is worth a thousand words."
                      I couldn't agree more. The top line of my primary hstouch display has the critical device icons listed for quick reference. Many will change to an orange color if the device is on or in the case of the water sensors (sump pump, water heater, dish washer, clothes washer, fridge are wet; or if doors / windows are open or closed; etc. Takes all but 2 seconds to know if there is an issue that needs addressing.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #12
                        This may be on or off topic but is there a way to piece together strings into one string for cohesive sentences but including or excluding phrases and featuring lists? Imagining an alert or attention panel and messages being sent via pushover.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kideon View Post
                          . . .is there a way to piece together strings into one string for cohesive sentences but including or excluding phrases and featuring lists?
                          Are you asking if there is a way to artificially (AI?) construct a syntactically correct sentence from a series of phrases? Or just assemble unrelated strings into a single longer string?
                          Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                          HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

                          HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

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                          • #14
                            Both really the former would be best.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Stringing phrases end-to-end is easy with a script.
                              Constructing a syntactically correct sentence from a series of phrases is a skill that is apparently required in order to be a politician. It's often called a "word salad". I'm sure someone has a software equivalent, but I'm not aware of it.
                              Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                              HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

                              HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

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