Documentation update

#1

I have spent hundreds of hours reading this forum, trying to learn about my new Vera 3 and Z Wave use/programming. Most of which has only served to confuse me further figuring out how all this stuff works. Scenc set-up, device configs, or features settings and functions.

I am an electronics technician, alarm/access control specialist, advanced computer user. (Not a programmer). I am not stupid. Why aren’t I getting half of this stuff? The blame lies squarely with MCV.

One common issue I gleen from reading most of these threads refer to poorly written, even non existent documentation available to users. Why is this? This just isn’t right whatsoever. End users like myself invest thousands of dollars in this system, and then spend countless hours trying to make all this stuff work. What’s “automated” about this picture?

The reason I concluded is this…

MCV is loaded with a bunch of gearhead engineers who are very smart in what they do. My hats are off to them. I respect the hard work coming up with this technology.

BUT, the last people on the planet who should be writing manuals and documentation of these products for end users, ARE ENGINEERS! Engineers are not wired to express operation and implementation of the very things they design. This is true in every industry. You never have engineers try to explain how something works…EVER, period. Doesn’t work…never will.

The result is exactly what I find here in MCV. Explaining something based on the assumption that I already have a high level skill set with this technology. Manuals should be written based on the assumption that the user is a dummy newbi from the start. Then ALL the details of a specific topic are included in the writing. Engineers should only be talking to users to answer and solve specific operational problems users are having. Here they can assume a user has read the manual and is up to speed with it’s use.

I strongly request that MCV buck up and employ professional technical writers to produce a comprehensive step by step user’s manual to include updated and current information on the set-up, programming, and complete operation of EVERY function within the Vera/Z Wave product once and for all. When I click the wrench, EVERY single parameter should be fully explained and the options available laid out clearly. I should not have to jump all over the net to figure this out. In fact, it should be a DVD included with each Vera unit. Not some outdated wiki link BS.

Currently the situation is a huge disservice to it’s customers. Wasting my time, AS WELL AS MCV’s time, going round and round in here answering threads on things that SHOULD be covered in a manual in the first place. I point to the latest experience I had with the thread about “Healing”. After reading though it, it leaves me more confused than I started with. No answers, just opinions, ideas, assumptions how it should be configured. What’s up with that?

Somebody at MCV needs to take this issue seriously and get this this thing on the books. Create a FUNCTIONAL manual for God’s sake!

Users, please chime in here. Is anybody with me on this? What is your feeling?

Ok, I will get off my soapbox. But count me as a very frustrated customer at this point. I hope that means something to the MCV people.

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#2

Documentation can be found here:

http://docs5.mios.com/doc.php

You can also find information on the wiki @ wiki.micasaverde.com some of the documentation on the wiki is outdated. But has a wealth of information. It is both contributed by MCV and the community.

  • Garrett
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#3

I can only support Bucko’s rant. As professional the hardware is, as unprofessional is the documentation that goes with it. This fact may ultimately knell the death toll for Micasaverde. I have 52 years of computer experience and program professionally in C#, Java and php. But so far I have spent two days trying to find the information on how to link devices, scenes, schedules and triggers.
If Micasaverde wants to survive, they should get together a documentation writing team as quickly as possible. Even if it includes a bunch of volunteers from this forum working together with people from MCV.

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#4

+1

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#5

+1!!

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#6

Totally agree. I installed my vera two months ago and spent countless hours on the forum, experimenting and tinkering. Sometimes this is ‘part of the fun’. But for basic operation it is just to clouded and you want a manual with clear examples.

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#7

I have to agree with the comments on bad documentation. I am also new to this product. After many days of futzing around, I finally got the beast to work turning lights on and of when I wanted them to do so. The documentation was useless, some links to the docs went to blank pages. Those docs (FAQ) that were helpful were poorly written. What is sorely needed is Versa for dummies, covering all the products, I happen to have a Versa 3. Nice when you get it working, not so nice setting it up, and I have been a UNUX Systems Administrator for >25 years.

Ron

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#8

My New Year’s wish for 2013 is MCV listening to this thread AND DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

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#9

As unhappy as I am with the documentation, as happy I am with the product. I now run five switches and the alarm system with Vera 3. A camera is next. Both my children have been infected and installed Vera in their houses, including doorlocks and thermostats. My grandsons wanted dimmers installed in their rooms as Christmas presents.
I agree: “somebody should do something” about the documentation. Why not us? If we can get, let’s say, five volunteers together, we can start it as a “crowd based” documentation. I am willing to coordinate it, and appeal to MCV to support it morally and with advice and maybe, supervision.
I am a retired professor with ample didactic and writing experience.

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#10

There you go papaworz!

Now lets see if MCV will step up to the plate…

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#11

+1

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#12

I agree with bucko. The documentation is haphazard, scant, and all over the place, especially for newcomers. The forum, like most forums, requires hours of reading to find one helpful piece of info. It should not be this time consuming to set up a simple scene with one controlled device. I have several degrees in EE, but I have found the UI5 interface to be not very intuitive.

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#13

It’s not just the documentation.

It’s the fantastic gap between the marketing and reality of the user experience.

The UI breaks all the rules, leaving the user to find his own way through the maze. When you see underscores from variable names coming through to the UI, you know you are suffering a competence failure. And spelling - it’s means it is, not belonging to it.

This technology does not work yet.

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#14

+1

and another +1 to @oyl for mentioning the infuriating “it’s” / “its” issue
(mind you, this is not the only place this sin is perpetrated.)

I do like the hardware and the concept, though, and Lua for that matter.

I think there needs to be some serious thinking about what Vera needs to offer in the way of a UI. Clearly something much more functional for adding scenes /events / triggers. But does it need to provide a good operational interface for everyday use? With all the apps around on phones and tablets, I don’t think it can, or has to, compete.

My ‘favourite’ howlers in the interface are:

[ul][li]REBOOT - found under Setup / Net and Wi-fi ???[/li]
[li]Serial Port configuration - found under Apps / Develop Apps ???[/li]
[li]toggleState - under Automation /New Scene /Advanced / Pick a Device / Please Select !!![/li][/ul]

These took me hours to find in the first place.
I’d rather spend the time writing better documentation for others to read.

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#15

Totally agree.

I had to call tech support to figure out why sunset was in the middle of the day when I set up a schedule. What I had missed was on the setup screen you need to enter your timezone AND your country/state/city for it to know sunset and sunrise times. The UI looks like many others where you fill in one or the other rather than both.

I only installed my Vera 2 days ago, it’s almost as frustrating as Homeseer, though support is way better.

My 2 cents :slight_smile:

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#16

[quote=“afulki, post:15, topic:172582”]Totally agree.

I had to call tech support to figure out why sunset was in the middle of the day when I set up a schedule. What I had missed was on the setup screen you need to enter your timezone AND your country/state/city for it to know sunset and sunrise times. The UI looks like many others where you fill in one or the other rather than both.

I only installed my Vera 2 days ago, it’s almost as frustrating as Homeseer, though support is way better.

My 2 cents :)[/quote]

“Support” is ok with MCV if you submit a ticket to them. But here we sit on the official MCV forum…all alone. I think it is a rare occurrence that MCV takes a look in here to interact with ANY of the issues, questions, comments that it’s customers leave in here. This to me is very strange. SOMEBODY at MCV should be assigned to monitor and interface with it’s own website for God’s sake. It is like, “OK, we have your $$, so go away and don’t bother us.”

Thanks to the members here, we can limp along and build nicely on the Vera, while MCV is busy marketing away for more $$$. It is a shame they have low priority to service it’s paying customers by at the very least providing a functional user’s manual.

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#17

Someone from MCV IS monitoring the forum. Up until recently, that was me, but I got assigned to other tasks and now I have only limited time to look over the more technical threads. So now every week there’s someone from the Tech Support team assigned to monitor the forum and tell us any interesting things he/she finds, and to notify us about threads that require our immediate attention.

We try our best to improve our documentation and I think we partly succeeded, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

One thing we don’t give on the forum is support. For this there are trouble tickets and phone numbers to Tech Support.

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#18

Hi Florin

I must agree to the forum members that visibility from MCV is very low for a long time already.
I noticed your remark that support will be offered through the official Tech support but that is also not working at the moment.

i recently made a call 3 to 4 weeks ago about a device that lost connection (Powerstrip from Greenwave) after an inclusion.
Remote support contacted me, asked for logs and then would analyse.
after 2 weeks i get the same question, can you send me the logs etc etc

obviously nothing happened and I had to return the device with no success…

People are running away from Vera, it started with a member with 2000 postings and contributed a lot of plugins (forgot his name) and I see more of this happening.

The forum also asked for a news section, where MCV can at least keep us informed on where your priorities are and what you are doing. MCV seems to be talking more to the press (CES, CEBIT) then to the users.

it kills me to see this mulltisensor (pir, temp, humi) thread for so long now, where it seems that MCV could release a patch and would make many people the happiest persons on earth.

my last experience with tech support was frustrating, it did not add any value at all.

Most of your development seems to happen at this forum

Please MCV, turn it around and focus on the forum members and your product will excel into 2013!

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#19

I have to agree about the documentation. It is pretty horrendous. I also agree that we, the users, can do something about it. Personally, I?ve registered for an account with the VeraWiki and I plan on recording my projects there–step-by-step directions on different setups that will include instruction on how to hack certain z-wave products to expand their functionality. If we can get a bunch of people to do this, the community will benefit greatly. We can start this without MCV involvement.

I would still like some help from them though. There are some great applications I would like to help develop on Vera. When I decided to purchase my Vera3, I thought I would be able to do so without a great deal of struggling because they list ?open architecture? as a feature. I (maybe unfairly) expected to find API libraries, tools, and documentation that would get me started. Unfortunately, I have spent more time trying to get my head around the platform than I have developing on it. Some easy to find documentation would be AWESOME.

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#20

Dear Bucko
I quite agree on your thoughts in your note on the 3. of september last.
I have had vera for about a year, and the few things I put into it worked. My interest grew and I found out it was a jungle. There is a lot of terms I dont even know in my native language and it does not help that you need to look for it in a forum.
A proberbly simple thing: “you just chek your parameters, and change them to your perference”…ok!+?
I did not know what it was all about and I am not sure I do yet, hex or dec and byte…it took time to find the place were it was.
A remark somewere said “thanks for making this available even to “Joe sixpack””, and I still did not understand it.
So maybe I am a dummie but it is very difficult to get further without some proper facts.
You are right lots of documentation is poor, not updated or missing.
An other thing is that you dont always get help in forums. Some times I find a question wich has been there for month and read several times but is not answered. It may bee a simple question but no one is giving the answer. Hi…some one has a problem… it may bee a stupid question, but if you have the answer…give it to him…
There are no stupid questions, but it stupid not to answer. And that includes MCV and other manufacturer.
Your note is very well put.

Regards
CE

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