some general thoughts..

jankirchhoffjankirchhoff Registered User
I just wanted to share my opinion and expections regarding backup-strategies and hog3/ipc/hog3pc communication and HES/FPS. I don't want to offend anybody, don't get me wrong. I just think you guys should know what people think around here.

This is not only my opinion (I own some hog3pc-hardware) but also of a few companies I work for who own hog3s and ipcs.

Nobody is really sure what to do: We have trouble with some DPs needing a reset from time to time, hog3pc has some bug that makes it crash on some PCs (that has probably something to do with the graphics driver... there are posts in the hog3pc-forum regarding this) and other minor bugs. it could be worse ;)

We understand that bugs are "normal" in every non-trivial piece of software,
especially when it it constantly changed and new functions are added. As there is a danger of crashing consoles, a backup-system should have very high priority.

Right now, nobody really knows what direction FPS/HES is heading, how a backup system is supposed to work in the future and what type of consoles are going to be able to backup each other. And most important: When is anything going to happen? As I read in the "full-backup"-thread here HES doesn't even know how they are going to set up a backup strategy themselves. it took me 2 weeks to realize that you don't know how to handle one of the most important functions that I expect from
a desk today. :poke:

We have been waiting for hog3pc for a very very long time and everybody is
expecting a release of a network-combatible build for the hog3 for 2 months now.

We are all big fans of the hog3 and the concept with the ipc, the modular hog3pc systems and so on, but there is still some very important functionality missing and we don't know where to invest.

What we expect is that all different systems can backup each other. It should be possible to use the "virtual" DP in hog3pc or the IPC and a superwidget as a backup for a "real" DP. It has to be possible to run 2 showservers at the same time on the same show in order to have a backup. A hog3pc or IPC should be able to talk to a real DP. Right now it doesn't make sense to anybody that this is not possible...

i.e. I think a setup with a hog3 and 3 DPS should be backuped by an IPC and a Laptop with 2 superwidgets. When the hog3 crashes totally, I should be able to run the show on the IPC and Laptop without interruption, when the DPs die i have a backup output on a superwidget (just plug in the dmx-cables).

You probably agree with my expectations, but the thing that makes it so difficult is that nobody out here knows when this functionality will ever be reached.
Right now we need backup systems for bigger shows as well as more desks in total. Since a WLAN-laptop/tablet and a programmer wing is a great remote, we think about buying tablets, wings and superwidgets especially for the (smaller) indoor-shows as this is very flexible. Because of the pricing
this is only attractive when we know that we can also use PCs/Laptops with superwidgets as backup-systems for a hog3.
Will HES ever allow (multiple) Laptops on a show to act as backup-DPS and backup-showservers for hog3s? when?

Investing in the Hog3 means some quite some risk - we don't exactly know what is gonna happen, when it is gonna happen und thus its very difficult to decide where to invest.

FPS lost a lot of reputation because of the trouble with the hog3, the lack of a PC-Version and now since we have that everybody is waiting for a compatible console-release again.

I have been programming the hog2 since 1999/2000 and stuck with that desk until I did my first bigger shows on a hog3 last fall. I actually really started using the hog3 and hog3pc in january this year.

I watched all the chaos around the hog3 in the last years. I thought this desk would never be usable at the end and had a look at other desks (especially gma) but didn't find anything I could work with because of my hog-like thinking and went back to the hog2 and learned to live with the limitations. I did sick things like 3 hog2s with 2 overdrives at the detroit motor show last year - you really need to be a big hog2-fan to do such things. I never wanted to buy any hardware myself (I'm a freelance operator), but I found that hog2pc was just perfect when travelling to one-off shows on festivals by plane so I got touchscreens, wings and a superwidget. I can see some rapid hog3/ipc/hog3pc-development in the last year (compared to the year before), but people ask me why they should spend so much money not knowing when we will reach the point where this great idea of blue desks and widgets all around the network and wlan
working together in one show and backing up each other will be reached. The experiences in the past does certainly not make people thinking in sizes of months but rather in years...
I know lots of people that programmed the hog2 for years and got a gma for bigger and ecue or other systems for smaller shows.

you need to speed some things up here! The whole modular/backup/networking thing is the big advantage of the hog3 products.
Get this thing working!
The concepts on backup/remotes etc. in other desks lack some important features, i.e. nobody seriously wants to focus lights or adjust moves with a palm on a big rig. People that are in the business for a long time didn't believe me at first when I sat on the drum riser with a wlan-laptop and a programmer wing and did all my focuses for a on the stage before I headed outside to do chases on the lights in the lobby. These tools save so much time! Let me run my backup showserver on any laptop in the network! just take a superwidget as a dmx-backup in your backpack, unplug the fader wings during the show and plug them into the laptop. Unplug a programmer wing from you main hog3pc, plug it into your wlan laptop and walk onto the stage or areas you can't see from you FOH and focus the movinglights.
hey, this is great and how it should be!:notworthy:
but please speed up the development. Right now "soon" seems to mean "a few months"... :(
It looks to me that you don't know when you'll reach that point yourself. But you'll need to find a way to set up a timeline that you can tell people who spend tenthousands or even a hundred thousand dollars on your hardware and that you can fullfill. People that spend this amount of money want to know what they pay that for...

Jan

Comments

  • amir877amir877 Registered User
    edited May 2006
    Hey, you guys know how much i love the Hog 3 and we all know that he is the best light console in the world and you guys make it the best but...the man right about some things

    But never ever think about GrandMA instead of a WholeHog 3, maybe the Hog 3 have some few bugs (very very few little bugs) but you don't abandon a full system, the best system because those bugs, and the Hog 3 he is a light console, hes the best light console and hes a sure Invest.

    Amir
  • bradpepebradpepe Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited May 2006
    Jan,

    Thank you for sharing your opinion. We understand your desire for a better backup system, and are planning to implement one. Our development has been busy stabilizing the system as well as adding new functions and features (such as Hog 3PC). In the last two years there have been vast improvements to the speed, reliability, and trust of the system and we plan on continuing this trend. However, software development and testing does not occur overnight.

    While I do not have any quick answers to post on this thread, I do invite you to contact me directly via phone or email so that we can further discuss your concerns. You can reach me at 800-890-8989 xt1532 or brad_schiller (at) highend.com

    thanks,
  • jankirchhoffjankirchhoff Registered User
    edited May 2006
    Brad,
    I'm very busy right now but I think I'll have some time to write to you directly next week.
    Don't get me wrong with my criticism, I'm a big wholehog-fan.
    But not knowing in what dimension of time we have to think regarding backup and not getting any information about what hardware will be able to act as a backup makes it impossible to make any decisions on buying FPS equipment. And lots of people are choosing some other (much cheaper) solutions when they need more desks - knowing that IPCs and HogPCs will be able to act as a backup would definitely make your products more interesting. And I want as much Hog3-stuff around me as possible - and no GMAs or ecues!

    I'm getting some kind of annoyed that I still can't use the programmer wing and laptop as remote on the shows i run on a hog3, and that I need to get spare DPs although I have a superwidget here that I once payed almost 5000,- Euros for... and so on...

    Jan
  • rosswillrosswill Registered User, Hog Beta
    edited May 2006
    Hi Jan,

    I have had discussions with various members of HES staff over the past months regarding some of the points you raise. I can certainly see from a commercial point of view that various products would have limited connectivity reflecting the price bracket associated, however I would urge HES to fully investigate the backup solutions to be offered in the future.

    I personally would like to see a way where Hog3 PC or iPC could perform as a backup to a main console connecting directly or via additional hardware to the console network and DP's attached where a main Hog 3 console was found on the network. In other words they would not replace the main console in the sales market, which would act effectively as a dongle enabling extra features across the network for the other items connected.

    I also share your concerns and frustration regarding the speed of development and want everything tomorrow, but I would add that I have noticed huge improvements in stability in recent months allowing me for the first time ever to confidently control large scale shows on this platform. I have invested personally in this hardware, which I would not have done previously, or if I did not truly believe the development team would overcome these issues at the earliest practicable opportunity.

    I am encouraged by the logging and bug tracking systems introduced as well as the employment of new faces to the testing team. I hope all our input and patience will pay off in the long run. I always believed what distinguished the Hog 2 between a good and a great console was the implementation of the ideas submitted by the diverse range of users. I hope in the future we’ll be saying the same about this console also.

    Perhaps HES can provide some kind of timeframe for hardware connectivity without any firm commitments, even if it’s in terms of s/w versions. I’d be keen to know when the kernel is scheduled for an upgrade or if the Hog 3 would migrate to XPE for example.

    Regards,

    Ross
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