Author Topic: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.  (Read 4205 times)

Offline litby

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2018, 03:52:54 am »
Every new install gets a trail. You don't need to ask again for one to start over.

I just get this.

Offline jeubanks

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2018, 10:23:15 am »
Every new install gets a trail. You don't need to ask again for one to start over.

I just get this.

Email support and they'll get it fixed.  I have that happen when I'm doing testing and re-using the same "demo" license on several boxes (moving between windows/linux for plugin testing).

Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2018, 03:06:43 pm »
I thought the whole idea of automation was just that: Automation, not a pretty UI
Why anyone wants a UI that looks pretty is beyond me, but each to their own and I respect that.

It's not about "pretty" but about ergonomic/user friendly.
It is not goot if starting a basic operations requires you to go through 200 pages manual, or something like that. I could understand if it was a spaceship, but come on, this is designed mainly to switch my lights or home appliances on or off.

I could not look at the interface after the setup for months, but I want to do that setup in minutes, not hours of searching where proper options are hidden. Especially if I'm not looking at the interface very often - because I may forget half of the things I aready learned between one and the other setup/maintenance.

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2018, 05:10:40 pm »
It's not about "pretty" but about ergonomic/user friendly.
It is not goot if starting a basic operations requires you to go through 200 pages manual, or something like that. I could understand if it was a spaceship, but come on, this is designed mainly to switch my lights or home appliances on or off.

I could not look at the interface after the setup for months, but I want to do that setup in minutes, not hours of searching where proper options are hidden. Especially if I'm not looking at the interface very often - because I may forget half of the things I aready learned between one and the other setup/maintenance.

That's tuff and more personal then anything. For some people checking emails are tuff. For others designing a webpage comes natural.

I personally think it's easy to use but yes doesn't look pretty. Everything is right where I know it is. Now if your used to where vera put things and then you move to a new system yes things are different and you will likely be looking in the wrong place.

If you walk threw my kitchen I'm sure finding a frying pan is much harder for you then me. Is it in a drawer, cabnet, hanging above an island or still in the dishwasher? Other problem is VERA has way less features and options so now your not even likely to know that there 3 different size frying pans and 2 more that are made from different materials for other uses. You might not even be looking for the right frying pan if you don't know that I had that in my kitchen. How are you going to find out...... Read a long manual, Start opening all cabnets, or ask on the forums what to use and where it is.

Offline litby

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2018, 05:55:30 am »
I have been continuing my trial of Homeseer. After finally figuring out how to activate the Z-wave network, I noticed that all status icons were missing. That was caused by me unpacking the downloaded archive on Windows and then transferring it using WinSCP. Evidently some file attribute(s) were lost in translation because after unpacking the tarball on the Debian VM, the icons are there.

But because I reinstalled, the software comes up unlicensed and my trial key won't work despite being on the exact same VM. I'm running out of email addresses for trial license registration. :-\

Way to go for attracting new customers, HS. I f they aren't scared away by the horribly unintuitive UI, they will be by the paranoid activation scheme. A $600 software product that doesn't allow reinstalling a trial on the same hardware without going through the support desk?  >:(

Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2018, 06:11:16 am »
That's tuff

Tuff?

and more personal then anything.

Maybe, but does that change anything?
Even if, then "personal" only strengthen the problem: if using a thing (software, appliance, you name it) is that much a "personal" thing, then why one should force him/herself to use a solution which doesn't suit his/hers personal preferences and using it is painful?
Just because some random guy from internet find it easy?

But I think that even if personal prefernces take some part, there is also some base level of ergonomics which makes one thing more user friendly than the other, at least for majority of users.
Taking example from the kitchen - there is a reason why frying pan is relatively shallow and has one stick-shaped handle, while cooking pot is deep and has two rather small handles attached to opposite sides.
Try to fry cutlet on paella-type of pan and you'll learn very fast why one, long handle is better for frying things than the two smaller ones.
You can argue if this handle should be wooden, metal or plastic, how long it should be should it be round or square, or how deep should be the pan (this is where your individual preferences come into play), but most people will agree about what shape the pan should have in general to be functional.

It is the same way for every other thing, like car, house, computer, etc. There is a reason why cars have 4 wheels not 3, or why computer graphical interface (Windows, Mac OS) won over the text one (DOS). Regardless of users' individual preferences.

Of course there will be exceptions. I know people who designed their house in Excel, arguing that making the drawing by colouring cells was easier for them than using some CAD software. But for some reason Excel is not a very popular designing tool among architects.


« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 06:13:08 am by kwieto »

Offline Tillsy

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2018, 09:08:21 am »
But because I reinstalled, the software comes up unlicensed and my trial key won't work despite being on the exact same VM. I'm running out of email addresses for trial license registration. :-\

I learned the hard way to keep a copy of the licenses.bin file between tests - then the software will start up straight away without needing re-licensing and discovering the it is already in use and needs freeing by HomeSeer.

Offline jaccord

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2018, 09:00:09 pm »

Even if, then "personal" only strengthen the problem: if using a thing (software, appliance, you name it) is that much a "personal" thing, then why one should force him/herself to use a solution which doesn't suit his/hers personal preferences and using it is painful?

Because once configured HS will work 100% of the time, and even recover gracefully from a power failure.  Show me a Vera that a) can go for 12 consecutive months without user intervention, and 2) recover your automation state and catch up on events it should have fired when it recovers from a failure/reboot, and I'll show you where the Roswell aliens are being stored.

I used multiple Vera's for around 8 years.  Now I use two HS installations, each with around 100 devices.  There's no comparison.  Grass is fully greener over here.



Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2018, 06:05:00 am »
Because once configured HS will work 100% of the time,

OK, but then I assume your system is in petrified state and you don't change anything over time?
I don't have such luck or maybe I like tweaking more, but I usually change something in my system once per moth or two.
That's enough for me (yes, we're talking about personal preferences) to put UI ergonomics at important position.
Of course you may have totally different priorities.

and even recover gracefully from a power failure.

"Even"?
I thought it is standard?.

Show me a Vera that

First, my comment was not about "Vera vs. rest of the world" battle but just explanation why well designed UI is important, at least for some people (including myself). I don't have much to do with HS, seen it once or twice and also got the impression that for that price, I would expect it better designed in terms of user friendliness/ergonomics. This doesn't mean automatically that I love Vera's UI.
But switching to other solution I would expect improvement also in this area.

a) can go for 12 consecutive months without user intervention,

Stability is one of Vera's weakest points, this is not a secret.
But stability is only one factor which I take into consideration when choosing a product. Configurability, flexibility, user friendliness, price? you name it.
Here I can agree that weights of each factor are individual thing. But then as I wrote, if user friendliness is extremely important for someone, then the information about better stability doesn't help him/her much.

and 2) recover your automation state and catch up on events it should have fired when it recovers from a failure/reboot,

I don't have difficulty to recover my system from failure/reboot. This in fact one of the things which I like in Vera - it is very hard to damage it when it was working fine. The problem is that occasionally it doesn't work fine (i.e. after last firmware update) and then you have a problem. But even in such case if you did your homework and saved proper backup, you don't have much trouble with restoring your system into operational state. Regardless if you're restoring your system on the same controller or not.
I don't know about HomeSeer, but reading about issues with licence it seems that for example moving your system to the other machine may be not that easy.
Catching up on events is not a big issue for me, as most of my automation is organized around sensors/events, not time. For example I don't care if my home watering system will "catch up" that flowers should be watered when there was no electricity, because watering is built around the soil humidity. If the soil will be still dry after power was back, then the watering system will do its job immediately.

I used multiple Vera's for around 8 years.  Now I use two HS installations, each with around 100 devices.  There's no comparison.  Grass is fully greener over here.

Of course, for you. This does not necessarily mean that it will be greener for me. Or will be greener at the same field (brand) as you choose. What is one of the most annoying things in all discussions about various solutions/systems is never ending tries to convince somebody that certain solution should be better for him just because some other guy found it perfect.

By the way, it is really interesting why there are so many HS users here trying to convince others that their choice was good. I don't remember any Fibaro or Zipato advocate here, one or two threads about Hubitat, maybe something about Domoticz, but not comparable with the passion HS users put into advocating their choice. Seems that Vera has some special place in hearts of HS users.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 06:27:05 am by kwieto »

Offline therealdb

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2018, 06:04:51 pm »
Kwieto, what are you using to detect soil dry? Thanks.
Vera Edge, Fibaro FGRM 222 (12), Fibaro FGS 223 (20), Fibaro FGS 222 (5), Fibaro Universal Binary Sensor (2), Fibaro Plug (3), NeoCoolCam Door Sensor (3), NeoCoolCam PIR (1), Nest (3), Raspberry PI running my own integrations, Harmony Hub, OpenSprinkler, Personal Weather Station

Offline kigmatzomat

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2018, 09:47:22 pm »

By the way, it is really interesting why there are so many HS users here trying to convince others that their choice was good. I don't remember any Fibaro or Zipato advocate here, one or two threads about Hubitat, maybe something about Domoticz, but not comparable with the passion HS users put into advocating their choice. Seems that Vera has some special place in hearts of HS users.

I suspect the last firmware issues combined with the May Homeseer sale resulted in multiple of us migrating at once.  I have a Vera3 and VeraPlus in boxes. Right now I won't even give them away because I don't want the grief from the recipient. The plus has phantom devices, frequent luup reboots (@30min) and crashes when editing scenes.

I stay on here to watch the firmware releases (in the hopes of salvaging my Veras), share the luup knowledge I have with the people whose Vera's haven't flaked out, and keep an eye out for zwave devices I haven't heard of yet.


Offline ninkasi

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2018, 10:15:07 pm »
So after all my problems with the Vera+ I decided to defect.

I have some powerful Xeon servers running ESXi so I wanted to leverage existing hardware rather than buying another controller, Over the weekend I tried Homeseer and Domoticz, both with an Aeon Z-stick.

I came out extremely discouraged to say the least. HS has the most godawful UI I have encountered in my 30 years of IT. I couldn't even figure out how to get it to pick up the paired devices from the stick. I gave up after 2 hours.

My Domoticz experience was equally short, after discovering that the 3 devices I had paired to the Z-stick became 21 (!) impossible to identify devices in Domoticz. Brick wall.

If those are representative of the alternatives out there, I'll stick with Vera.

I must say the reason why I moved from Homeseer to Vera was because of the interface (setting up a tablet as a wall controller was awful) combined with the cost of plugins. I've since discovered imperihome which might have discouraged me from moving as it at least made setting up controllers easier. Been content with Vera but even after tweaking it, it still isn't 100% reliable. I'd estimate that it's probably close to 98%, although when it fails it seems worse than that. The main reason for issues I've found is the device restarting luup - usually due to memory shortages. Can reduce that by putting in scenes to regularly clean things out but basically I want rock solid. I want lights to always turn on when doors open, rather than sometimes not

Am now trying https://www.home-assistant.io/. I'm using a dedicated raspberry pi, but in your case if you're willing to try you could always use a virtual linux vm as long as you're able to access the USB zwave stick, although if that doesn't work you could always leave the Vera as the gateway to your zwave network but do all the automation etc from home assistant eg remove all the scenes etc from it.....
Home Automation veteran. Rolled own, then MisterHouse and X10, now Vera - mysensor arduino and ESP8266 network - zwave lights, locks, switches - milights - yeelights - google home(s) - Broadlink RM - raspberry pi(s) with various scripts for power and weather station - Logitech Harmony - Imperihome

Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2018, 04:37:58 am »
Kwieto, what are you using to detect soil dry? Thanks.

I use some DIY solution based on Fibaro RGBW (FGRGBWM-441) module.
You can find information about it here: http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,50704.msg328971.html#msg328971
I'll update that topic with some modifications I did recently, but look for updates in that thread, to not mess with this one.


Offline litby

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2018, 06:00:14 am »

I must say the reason why I moved from Homeseer to Vera was because of the interface (setting up a tablet as a wall controller was awful) combined with the cost of plugins. I've since discovered imperihome which might have discouraged me from moving as it at least made setting up controllers easier. Been content with Vera but even after tweaking it, it still isn't 100% reliable. I'd estimate that it's probably close to 98%, although when it fails it seems worse than that. The main reason for issues I've found is the device restarting luup - usually due to memory shortages. Can reduce that by putting in scenes to regularly clean things out but basically I want rock solid. I want lights to always turn on when doors open, rather than sometimes not

Am now trying https://www.home-assistant.io/. I'm using a dedicated raspberry pi, but in your case if you're willing to try you could always use a virtual linux vm as long as you're able to access the USB zwave stick, although if that doesn't work you could always leave the Vera as the gateway to your zwave network but do all the automation etc from home assistant eg remove all the scenes etc from it.....

I tried Homeassistant but it only supports one USB radio, and I have two. I am also leery of entrusting my automation to an open source project with community only support. And if anything needs to be said about Vera, it's that they have high quality support.

I have 30 days to evaluate Homeseer and if I find it worth the price - which scares me - then I may pony up. Otherwise I hope to be able to move the USB sticks back to the Verad.

Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2018, 07:21:31 am »
I suspect the last firmware issues combined with the May Homeseer sale resulted in multiple of us migrating at once.

Maybe, but there are also people who migrated moths or years ago :)
But what interests me most is the type of advocacy performed by them. I've seen the same kind of argumentation as popular among some kind of iPhone users (not all, of course, but significantly bigger or louder group than in case of other systems). If you ask those people about a thing their device doesn't have, they will spend enormous amount of time trying to convince you that you don't really need such option, it is stupid, or it is better for you if it is blocked/missing, rather than admitting "OK, it can't do it".

In this thread it is similar - you have a lot of questions comments "why interface would be important for anyone" or "you shouldn't care about interface but about?" 
Maybe just my prejudice, but I got suspicious about reliability of someone's opinion every time I see that kind of argumentation.

I stay on here to watch the firmware releases (in the hopes of salvaging my Veras), share the luup knowledge I have with the people whose Vera's haven't flaked out, and keep an eye out for zwave devices I haven't heard of yet.

Vera is not top of its class device. But if I have to pay 4-5 times more for other solution, I would like to have 4-5 times better performance, which (for me) includes UI (before someone will correct me about price difference - the cost of HS Troller (EU frequency), even after discount, plus plugins needed to keep my current setup will be 4-5 times more than Vera. No, I will not buy software and Pi, as it has limitation for plugins. Software only is also out of the scope).
I also look around for other options, for now Zipato looks promising although it also have some issues or potential additional costs (i.e. it might have problem with integrating Netatmo weatherstation, which is crucial part of my current system).
For now I decided to stick to Vera, I just installed additional backup controller at my vacation home. This solved my main concern which was keeping the house operational in case of troubles when I'm not there. As I wrote above, Vera plays very nice with switching controllers so in worst case I can turn primary controller off, turn the second one on, and restore from last backup, having the system operational again in minutes. And it can be done remotely.
My stystem is stable during normal operation, the only problems are disasters like mysterious memory shortage or the one caused by last backup. And the most of the pain is not related to maintaining controller (you do the factory reset, restore backup, and that's more or less all), but that at remote location I have to do it during a weekend (which was meant to be my free time) or drive there especially for that.
Having a backup unit solves those problems (in worst case I can take broken controller with me and maintain it at home with no rush) plus gives me better security if for example primary unit will be electrocuted by lightning or something like that.

Of course it would be better to not have such issues at all, but then you come to the cost/efficiency ratio and the question what is more important for you - saving money or time spent on maintenance? The answer is not that obvious, at least not for me.