Embedded Automation mControl v2 Mini-Review
Automation released mControl v2 last week and I’ve been playing around with
it since using my small INSTEON setup and I’ve got to say this is a great
upgrade! The biggest change from my view
is the new UI. Now an MCML application
it fits right in with Media Center and replaces the old HTML UI with great
In Windows XP mControl worked great, but it was a bit
sluggish for me at times. I could never
put a finger on what the exact issue was, and I’m not sure if it was mControl
or my INSTEON modules (running without “required” signal enhancers) but right
now I could less. The slight delay that
was there before is almost non-existent now, and the status seems to be
updating much quicker than it did in Windows XP too. Very happy with it from a control standpoint.
The new UI looks great and because it is MCML it is super
smooth and integrates right in with Media Center. Transitions are smooth as well, and they have kept
the UI design consistent with the rest of Vista Media Center. As you can tell by the screenshot below, Embedded
Automation has been their homework on what a nice UI should look like. Very intuitive, and again smooth on the PC as well as an Extender.
There are also a number of new conditional macros that have
been added, a very welcome addition.
I’ve yet to dive into playing with the new ones, but it is on my list
There are a few things that could be better.
I need to play with it a bit, but the status of the lights isn’t always
correct when you load up mControl. That
can be a pain, but again I’m not sure if it is mControl or the fact that I’m
not using the SignalLinc’s in my small setup.
Also, while the UI is beautiful the icons for various devices could have
used an update. I plan on making my own
just because I’m anal about UI design.
I didn’t see a way to add devices to mControl through the
MCML UI, so you do have to drop back to the HTML UI. Not a huge deal since I don’t add devices
that often. You can also add them
through the 2-foot mControl Editor on the PC which I personally prefer because
it is so much quicker to input several devices without using the remote.
mControl would also benefit from a Sidebar Gadget. I would love to have the Sidebar running on
my Vista PCs and be able to see the status and control all the lights in the
house. Right now I have to open the web
based control page which is kind of a pain, especially since I have to use
IETab in Firefox to do it. A Gadget
would be perfect for when more SideShow remotes ship too. I believe this is on Embedded Automations
list of things to do, and I hope it comes sooner than later.
Overall I’m very happy with this upgrade and as far as I know it is the only MCML home control application for Vista Media Center. MCML applications are one of the few reasons that I personally have for upgrading to Vista and this one sure didn't disappoint me.