AAHs (LSP) critical nature

Discussion in 'Backyard BBQ' started by AAH, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    It is about time I clarified something to everyone especially those who come across me in chat. I am often very critical of lightshowpro. My criticism of it in chat and also at the mini's that I have attended is said in a lighthearted manner, often sacastic or facetious but I am dead serious in my criticism of it. At this point in time LSP has features far above any other sequencer available for controlling your Christmas lights. It does however have enormous, but not life threatening, problems which are slowly being addressed. I have used lightorama for about 7 years now and depending on the channel count that people have I often recommend LOR. I also own LSP pro, have tried Vixen 2.1 and Vixen 3.0 and have a a short play with Xlights/Nutcracker and a very short play with HLS.
    My first criticism of LSP is mainly that very few of the features are evident, intuitive or easy to use without hitting up tutorials, having the features demonstrated, asking for information via chat or via forum posts. The feaures that LSP have are amazing but it is just ridiculous that it should take dozens of hours to begin to be able to use its potential. 100 hours of learning time in order to get fully familiar with the sequencer is probably not an understatement.
    My second major criticism is that it has more bugs than the insect section at a museum. Most of these bugs will date back to the former programmer/s but they are still there and they still cause innumerable crashes and heartache for the people who have forked out hundreds of dollars for the software. As part of the same criticism sort of is the fact that LSP generates log files which I should imagine are there solely for the debugging if there is an issue. EVERY session that LSP runs generates log files and the more channels that you have and the more often you run the sequencer the faster you will fill up your hard drive. Unless you manually delete the log files (there is no option not to create them) then you will eventually fill up your hard drive. A number of people have discovered that their super fast solid state drives (SSD's) that they have purchased so that they can sequence fast with LSP have mysteriously filled up sometimes within days. As well as the bugs with the software itself there seems to be a number to do with the installer and install. It is very common for people to have to do a full remove of LSP when doing an upgrade. It is also quite common for a full operating system reinstall to be required just to get the software to run. A number of bugs are blamed on the incorrect codecs being used for video and/or audio files. Instead of LSP reporting that there is an issue it does what it does best. It crashes or grinds away your time and instruction cycles doing not much at all or it just crashes.
    The third criticism is the fact that the computer required to run LSP almost has to be the very latest i7 or similar with 8GB or more of RAM, dedicated fairly high end graphics card and 64 bit windows. Having a SSD is almost becoming the norm too. LSP may run on a lower end PC but to get anything like the performance that LSP is being sold and demonstrated as having you need a very fast computer.
    My fourth criticism is that at this point in time the scheduler which is kind of the most important bit to get your lights flashing during December still has major issues based on conversations in chat, at the minis and on forum posts at ACL and LSP. I know that there are people who have not had a show due to LSP scheduler not working, people who have manually sat there during December and used the sequencer to play sequences all night long, people who have used Xlights or LOR to play their LSP sequences. I haven't used the scheduler myself as I have used LOR forever and gave up in my battles with LSP before I needed to use the scheduler. Both the scheduler and the playback engine of LSP are mean to be being fully re-written.
    My final criticism for today is that as of the last I heard the next public release of LSP is meant to be on the 1st of October. This is only weeks away from when people are expecting to actually be using the sequencer to finalise their sequencing and then output to their displays. Based on the fact that every sequencer has issues when they do a public release it is unlikely that all bugs still in the software will be fixed in the 8 weeks from then until December will be fixed as it is now more than 8 months since the end of last December and there are still dozens of bugs being reported as part of the beta program and from users.
    I criticise all of the sequencers that I have used for different reasons. LOR S3 is lacking in features, LOR Superstar is hard to use (for a novice) and is expensive for what you get, Vixen 2 has next to no tools or features, Vixen 3 is great but the channel setup is truly horrendous and the process to create a sequence seems a bit clunky. HLS confused me so I only tried it for a short time. Madrix isn't a sequencer as such and is priced well above the price range that most Christmas light decorators can afford. LSP is amazing in what it can do and the final result that can be achieved but it has so many issues that I will continue to give the LSP fanboys in chat a hard time whenever they are trying to convince someone to go with LSP. If there is a problem with something I will say that there is a problem. That's just me.
    I have no doubt that this post will get its own criticism and at some time in the future some or all of the issues above will get resolved and at that point I will actually stop criticising LSP for that issue. As usual I offer all LSP users the best of luck with their battles with LSP. Yes I know some people have had little problem with LSP but they are likely to be in the minority and I know a lot of amazing displays have been done with LSP but there has been enormous heartache for people using LSP thinking that it will work like expected.
     
  2. DeeJai

    DeeJai Is that Magic Smoke?!?

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    Well Alan, let me be the first to agree, yet also provide retort to some of the suggestions mentioned here.

    #1 Whilst there are alot of beneficial features within LSP, I agree there is a distinct lack of tutorial videos to fully help people interpret these and utilise to their full potential, however....... These are being addressed as we speak.
    #2 Yes there are bugs in it, and it could be due to previous developers however, this software is going through the correct trials IAW other major software releases. Bugs are being discovered then eradicated as they are found. This process as you are aware, can take a while to truely effect, however it is definately happening.
    #3 The computer specs you listed (whilst im sure you were being quite jovial in your comment) is completely untrue. The software is designed to run on much lower RAM resources, it is designed to work on 32bit systems (64bit release only occured last year if memory serves), Can be run on a multitude of different processers, including pentiums (this has been demonstrated) and does not require a dedicated GPU to work correctly.
    #4 I ca really comment on this as I have had nil issues with LSP for my running of a display. I can say however, that there are many changes not only to the sequencer but also the scheduler that will easily address these issues and many others.

    This is solely from my perspective not from any of the minleon or LSP developers. I have faith in this software and am willing to assure others that it will get easier and less buggy with the correct input which is being initiated as we speak.
     
  3. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    I found it farcical that bugs affecting the basic operation of LSP had not been resolved even a year or more after being confirmed. I do realise that some of this was due to the previous developer, but there seemed to be a lack of action from the new team as well.

    I can't comment on the current status of LSP as I gave up trying to use it just before Christmas last year and couldn't bring myself to try it again since. I did like some of the controller setup features (over LOR), but the inability of the sequencer to work properly (and the scheduler at all) meant I had to abandon it at the time.

    Later in the year I might get the latest update (I think I got 2 years of updates with the purchase), but frankly am not holding my breath. LOR may lack features, but it seemed much more dependable than LSP the last time I used it.
     
  4. burner

    burner Full Time Elf

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    I too concur with some of AAH's comments. I used Vixen 2 and played with LOR before jumping to LSP last year (mainly due to the jump to 2811 RGB). I can tell you I had a lot of times where my fist was close to going through the monitor. I had a lot of crashes, the timelines were painful, pasting area's was a pain too. It got to the point where each paste command or each macro I added was taking 1-5 minutes to show up (and sometimes had to be undone and redone for it to actually work). Towards the end of November, I managed to sort some of the speed issues but removing the channel drawings from my windows and putting them back in. I was sequencing on 2 computers last year (1 is an i5 with 8GB RAM and 256mb Nvidia card, and the other is an i3 2GB RAM netbook).

    When it came to the scheduler testing, it was painful too. There were moments during the schedule where the sequence appeared to slow down to a crawl (during a slow moving macro rainbow pattern) and then about 30 seconds later it would blitz through what it missed to catch up to the music. I remember watching it and thinking, this is not what is supposed to happen. When I played the sequences from within LSP, they actually played fine. One last bug I had to deal with was that I could manually play 1 sequence at a time, but after 3 or 4 sequences, when I hit play sometimes it would take upwards of 10 minutes to run through the % to get to 100%.

    I don't mean to put down LSP. The product offers a lot of features. The learning curve for me was not bad, coming from other software. I self tought the application through guess work and trial and error. I will still be using LSP this year again, and hope that these bugs are fixed. I won't be starting the sequences till the next realease, but have so far created all my controllers/elements in the current version (freshly) and drawn all the channel images. I'm hoping to learn a few extra things from the tutorials scheduled for Monday nights.
     
  5. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    My 2c :)

    I grabbed LSP earlier this year as:

    1. I was concerned as to whether LOR could cope with my channel count
    2. I fell in love with Eddys rainbow full display chase and desperately wanted it.

    After playing with it for a few months earlier this year then recently getting into it again I have come to the decision that I will be sequencing in LOR this year and will relook at LSP at the next update.

    LOR is much easier to sequence in with the timings, I really dont understand LSP's timing marks at all. If I wanted entire songs to be just a bunch of transitions and macros then it would probably work fine but I am wanting certain lights to do certain things, especially my singing faces. LOR is a much better sequencer and when i hit play I firstly dont have to wait for the torturous "optimization" and it plays 100% of the time.

    Ive never purchased a piece of software that has as many crashes as LSP does, never seen anything like it. I have had to format once (maybe twice) and have uninstalled/reinstalled LSP at least a dozen times. Most of those times were due to an update where one bug was fixed which apparently stuffed up DMX. How on earth an update was released without a major factor being DMX dongle was buggered is beyond me.

    No tutorials to follow at all, ya just gotta wing most of it.

    It just does the oddest thing. Earlier this year I at least got one sequence working, there wasnt much sequencing in it, but it worked. A couple of months ago I reopened LSP, loaded up that same sequence and now its not working and the visualization is all "wiggly" whereas it was perfect straight lines previously.

    Learning LSP having come from LOR was not hard at all contrary to what has been said. Learning how to use it was pretty easy but unfortunately it just crashed doing the basic of things.

    In my opinion there are far too many "this is being addressed"'s. Its almost a guarantee that when the new release comes out there may be things that have been fixed but there will still be hiccups somewhere else that are "new" or are still "in the fix" queue. Its highly unlikely as previously mentioned that they are going to be fixed by showtime.

    As I said, I will be sequencing in LOR over the next couple of months as theres no way Im waiting till October. If/when LSP comes out and I have time I may try to import the LOR sequences and have a play, if it doesnt work or is still buggy then I will be going with LOR again this year, all the trouble is not worth the lovely rainbow display effect.

    In a nutshell its buggy and totally unreliable. I am a very persistent person and will keep going when others have given up, I have never I dont think given up on software....this may be my first unless a miracle occurs :)
     
  6. kane

    kane Dedicated Elf

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    Okay, my two cents worth. I'm far from a fanboi, and with a background as a software developer (albeit primarily on the web side of things), I can certainly see things from both sides of the fence. I was also a beta tester of LSP for a little while, but had to withdraw myself as I don't have the time to allocate to it

    I have only done two years of displays and have used LSP both years. In terms of running the shows via the scheduler, I had no issues at all. I think the worst issue I had was that if you chose a random song order (shuffle), it didn't seem to work, so as soon as I changed to a normal repeat cycle, everything worked perfectly. In any case, the scheduler has been rebuilt from scratch and is currently under testing by the beta team, so I'm sure that most of the previous issues have been sorted out.

    In terms of the sequencer, this is probably where I've had most of my issues, but having said that, I doubt that any other sequencer would have been better for me. I do agree that many of the features seem to be "undocumented features" that require someone explaining how it works, but I don't think that's a huge issue.. Perhaps all that's required is a few people being asked nicely to put together more tutorial videos on those sorts of things. A good example of this is a chase across a controller, by holding down the shift key.. Great effect, but I had no idea about it until FastEddy mentioned it.

    One of criticisms has been that they don't allow third party programmers (of which I know there are a lot of us in the hobby) to actually help them out and develop plugins to add additional functionality, allowing them to focus on the core functionality. But this is only a criticism because I was assured by David (the original programmer) that this was going to be opened up a long time ago, but it never happened.. Unless you go Vixen, there's no option to do this with other software packages, so to be honest, I can't really use this as a reason to say LSP is crap.

    That being said, there are things that really *^*^%# me about LSP, and I am certainly hoping that some of these are sorted out in the next version, especially seeing that I know that some of them really can't be that hard to fix. Little things like the following:

    1. Every time you apply an effect, you get a popup to see which colour the effect should be. This should really be setup like any paint program where you have the colour selection in the toolbar, and then whatever you click uses this colour. Yes, I understand you can hit enter on your keyboard which chooses the last selected colour, but this shouldn't be necessary

    2. Controller setup (all controllers, layers etc), are setup in each sequence, as opposed to a central configuration. This is absolutely ridiculous - if you have 10 sequences, and want to change your controllers each year - you have to make the same changes to each of those 10 sequences each year.

    3. Timing marks - even if you're using timing highlights, you can't rely on them too much, especially if there are a bunch of additional timing marks in the sequence created by transitions & effects. You add an "ON" effect between two highlighted marks, and you're lucky if the effect fills between those two marks.. Sometimes it works, sometimes it gets about 95% of the way there, leaving a gap (where you get a flash in your lights in the wrong colour) Not great if you're trying to work to timing marks.

    4. simple things like having to remember to do a "optimise entire sequence" before testing (which seems to cause issues with every new LSP user, so why not fix this rather than annoying potential customers). Or things like "lock grid" not being remembered, so every time you load up a sequence you need to remember to go back and select this, otherwise you accidently drag timing marks all over the place, which after 30 seconds of non-response, it finally comes back so you can hit "undo".

    I can certainly understand the difficultly in developing a software package when your potential client base isn't too big (we're obviously a bit of a niche market), and it requires massive amounts of effort to develop. Basic economics have to come into the equation.

    Anyway, I certainly hope that the next version sorts out a bunch of the niggling bugs - but I can definitely understand the frustrating some new users have with the software.

    Cheers

    Kane
     
  7. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Kane as a LSP user myself I would have to agree with all the comments you have made
     
  8. jediknight2

    jediknight2 Full Time Elf

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    Just as a side note, if you are an LSP user and are lost with some of the tools...a webinar looks like it's starting up to walk people thru some of that starting with the basics this Monday.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    It has been noticed that I have left chat. Within 1 hour of me making the above post I was labelled in chat as a LSP hater. I am not and the point of the post was to say that I am not. I was absolutely gutted to be called a LSP hater and immediately left chat. What I hate is what LSP users have had to put up with. It isn't good enough and I feel it is just wrong that people are saying that it is the only choice for sequencing with, especially for large pixel counts. I have said it myself it is the best choice for large pixel displays but I also say that it has a lot of problems.
    I have no vested interest in any sequencer and will continue to critisice each of the sequencers wherever I see there is a problem and I will do my best as always to try to get as many people blinking their lights as painlessly and as inexpensively as possible.
     
  10. smartalec

    smartalec Im a SmartAlec what can i say! Community Project Designer

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    Can i jump in an stir the pot Vixen 3 - Vixen 3 - Vixen 3 It's better than lor an getting close to lsp,
    but you cant winge about it it, Why ? cause its Free :D

    Now i will go back in my corner.. :eek:
     
  11. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Now I'm going to say a few things here, I think that LOR and LSP are great programs in themselves. I'm now an LSP user and will continue to be so as what I have created in the small amount of time I feel I have done well. I learnt LOR by myself and with the help of a local LOR user. LSP I have also learnt by myself but with help from this forum Fasteddys tutorials 101 manual. Etc. AAH I think that people need to hear your comments along with others so that they can make a choice on what is good for them, yes LSP can be buggy. I have also encountered a few in LOR that both have been resolved. If by chance I cannot achieve what I would like in LSP this year ( I'm well on track) I will revert to LOR until next year, I have enjoyed reading everyone's comments as it does shed light on all the software! I'm proud to say that I have the CLAP and that is that!! Thanks to everyone that has helped me in all my issues with all different sequencers. My bank account has been taking a beating! Lol
     
  12. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Oh I forgot to mention Matt and superman. Have helped too and Yag!!! Sorry I missed you fellas out!
     
  13. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    I would like to back up AAH with his comments. He is not a hater of LSP at all and has in fact been a great supporter of LSP. Yes we have digs at each other in chat about lor and lsp but both are great programs.

    I started as a LOR user and found it di everything I needed it to do but then when I moved to a bigger channel count I felt LSP was the way to go. AAH was one person I spoke to at the time and he was one of the ones that suggested I give it a go again and see how I go. well as you can guess it went well and im still using LSP

    AAH is one of those people that is worth his weight in Gold. he is the first to put his hand up and help if he can.

    miss not having you in chat mate hope to see you back soon.
     
  14. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Well said YAG!
     
  15. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    it would be nice to hear that the people that called AAH a LSP hater send him a pm saying sorry. as I think that would be a good place to start. as this place is like a family. someone times we say some things we do not mean or say in the heat of the moment.
     

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