Crestron Masters Review

 US – Crestron Masters 2016 ReviewScreen Shot 2015-08-05 at 4.04.26 PM

Introduction

Crestron Masters is the premier event for the Audio/Visual industry and Crestron Master programmers are the best trained in their field. Over the past 10 years, Crestron has try to hold an annual training event for these certified programmers that has become known as the Crestron Masters.

The Crestron Masters event has evolved into different formats over the years. I have been fortunate enough to have attended all these different variations. Last year, Crestron switched to a format which brought together most, if not all, of its international certified programmers.

The new presentation offered the students the ability to pick through a variety of different sessions. Each session was roughly about 60 or 90 minutes long excluding a few advanced classes that are three hours long. A second Masters event was scheduled last year as well as this year in Amsterdam to allow for more international programmers to attend. The original format for the Masters classes allowed for more hands-on training, whereas ‘most’ of the sessions now do not involve equipment.

Last year’s Masters (the first with the current format) was the best Masters that I have attended. Crestron Masters 2015 was not perfect, but it was close to it. So I expected this year Masters to be just as good as last year’s. But I was in for a surprise that was going to start out at the beginning (the opening act) and follow all the way to the closing remarks. Crestron Masters 2016 was more than just disappointing. Of the seven annual training classes I have attended, this was the worst. Why wasn’t this year’s Crestron Masters training one of their best?

I know some people will disagree with me because sometimes your loyalty to a company can affect your point of view. When I give my honest, humble opinion, I would like everyone to know my views are not being altered by being associated with AMX, Crestron, or Biamp. 

If you ask a Crestron employee how the Masters 2016 was, the answer would probably be:  “Masters 2016 was great and I got lots of good feedback”. How many people are willing to give their true opinion about a company they work for? Crestron is a “Great Company” but this was not a great Masters event. Hopefully, Crestron will fix some of the mistakes that was apparent in the US Masters before the Masters – May 17-19th.

One of my largest complaints is about those individual training sessions. Every day of the three-day event, I found myself waiting on outside of the room to get into my session — that should’ve already started. I had to either stay late and be late for my next session or leave early and miss some of my current session. Many of these delays were caused by the hundreds of trainees trying to either exit or enter the classroom at the same time.

Anyone can look at my resume or my LinkedIn profile and see that I have been to countless training classes. In fact, some training classes are not even listed online or are not part of my resume. I am passionate about learning and education. So being forced to choose between being late for my next session or leave my current session early is a huge disappointment.

I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at the hotel where the training event was going to take place. I make an effort to arrive the day before the event just to make sure I knew where all the rooms for the sessions were going to take place. When I go to training sessions for AMX, Crestron or Biamp, I am always the first at the door to the class and the last person at the end of the day to leave. I always prep before any class and I review information after all classes. 

AMX & Crestron instructors you know who I am – the person sitting outside the door even before the building opens. I am never late and I expect the same level of professional scheduling from the training classes I go to.

As I stated; the disappointment for this Masters started at the very beginning. Compared to past years, there was less information in the Welcome Keynote. The level of excitement for the opening address reminded me of someone pretending to be motivated and reading from a rehearsal script. Management might have offered a prep talk each morning at 7:00 AM behind closed doors and told everyone to put on a good face and show excitement, but not everyone donned a good poker face. When you are rushing and working longer than average workdays, telling someone to act excited is not really the same as actually being excited. Walking around the three day event, I noticed many of the employees with less than happy faces on but the moment you brought out a camera they became the happiest person you have ever seen.

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Recommendations:

This brings me to a recommendation that I have been suggesting to Crestron management for years now. Crestron Masters should be a 4 day event. As you have more people attending the Masters, scheduling will only become more of a problem in the years to come. I suppose one could fix those scheduling bugs by having less sessions and therefore less information offered.  I believe making Masters a four day event can fix even more problems.

Crestron Masters for the past two years took place at a hotel that was around an hour from their headquarters. If you are a local programmer in the New York area then you probably go to Crestron headquarters a few times a year but for those programmers that travel across the country going to Rockleigh, NJ this would be an advantage for Masters. The extra day at Masters would allow the sessions to be spread apart and allow bus tours to Crestron headquarters.

A four day Masters would allow for the advanced programming sessions not to have to be reproduced in a hotel room that was not designed for that use. We all know in the Audio/Visual industry, if you wire up a rack and it looks like a mess, it very likely will not work well. Simply look at the pictures from the room that hosted the most advance programming class (SIMPL# & SIMPL# Pro) at Masters 2016.

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Hardware

One of the instructors mentioned that this year’s Masters didn’t have much equipment and so he brought some DM and streaming devices just to have some hardware.

However for Crestron Masters 2015, there was a demo room that was full of different equipment that you could look over. This year’s equipment demo area was a table (please see picture) which reminded me of a picture that rave-pubs (the #1 A/V news publication) took at Cedia 2015 — AMX ‘table’. As I said with AMX & Cedia, “It was a nice table”.

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  Crestron, it was a nice table


A four day event would allow Crestron to fix many of the problems that I experienced with Masters 2016 but it won’t fix all of them. One of my sessions was for Object Oriented Programming; a very basic class in which some very incorrect information was presented. While other people in my session may have pointed out an error or two to the instructor, I felt he was teaching incorrect information about Java. Crestron is more similar to C#, so I suppose the reference to Java (Oak) was for review.

The instructor stated that Java does not allow for multiple inheritance. It is very common knowledge in Java programming that multiple inheritance is part of the framework. If the instructor was correct, then the following code would not be possible. In C#, you cannot have multiple inheritance like you can in Java. Also, the instructor should not use the words ‘parent‘ or ‘child‘ when talking about C# because these words are more relative to Java. Crestron should teach C# and allow AMX to teach Java. For an article about C# and Java in the Audio/Visual industry, please read Java Vs C# – Audio/Video programming.

Control4, Crestron, AMX (Harman), BitWise, RTI, Savant, Elan – all of the major players in the audio/video industry but only ‘one’ standard programming language.

C# is the only object–oriented programming language to make it into mainstream Audio/Video programming – Why?

There are some great comments in this article

          

www.michaelhaynes.me/news/av-programming/

You can make the case that you can do a few things in Java that you cannot do in C# such as more than one inherited class from the base class.

Multiple inheritance is a feature of some object-oriented computer programming languages in which an object or class can inherit characteristics and behavior from more than one parent object or parent class.

Public class class2 extends class1 {

Object o = new  SomeImportClass();

Class<?> c = o.getClass();

Class<?> SupClass = c.getSuperclass();

Class<?> top = SupClass.getSuperclass(); //top or object class

}


Additional information about Java and multiple inheritance.

Multiple Inheritance in Java with Example

September 4, 2015 by Lokesh Gupta

As we have long learned the fact that multiple inheritance is not supported in java, well that was only till java 7. In Java 8, we can realize the concept of multiple inheritance through use of default methods

We know that in java (until jdk 7), inheritance in java was supported by extends keyword which is used to create a child class from a parent class. You cannot extend from two classes.

How multiple inheritance is achieved via default methods

Until java 7, interfaces were only for declaring the contracts which implementing classes MUST implement (except the implementing class in not abstract itself). So there was no specific behavior attached with interfaces which a class can inherit. So, even after a class was capable of implementing as many interfaces as it want, it was not appropriate to term as multiple inheritance.

But since java 8’s default methods, interfaces have behavior as well. So now if a class implement two interfaces and both defines default methods, then it is essentially inheriting behaviors from two parents which is multiple inheritance.

For example, in below code Animal class does not define any of it’s own behavior; rather it is inheriting behavior from parent interfaces. That’s multiple inheritance.

http://howtodoinjava.com/object-oriented/multiple-inheritance-in-java/

http://howtodoinjava.com/object-oriented/multiple-inheritance-in-java/#multiple-inheritance

http://howtodoinjava.com

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Success:

For the past four Masters, I have been attending every session that was related to the Crestron programming platform for C#. This year, I attended three related C# classes. The session that I mentioned above, Object Oriented Programming, just gave incorrect information about Java. The second C# related class I took was named SIMPL# Primer.

SIMPL# Primer offered some basic concept of Crestron C# programming. The session was a combination of handson and lecture style format. I thought this session was wellpresented. The C# content has definitely been improving over the past four Masters.

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The C# content has definitely been improving over the pass four Masters.

 Also, a good presented session was streaming media. This session covered concepts such as Unicast, Multicast, and Broadcast. Anyone that is a AMX Solutions Master certified programmer will have those concepts permanently stored into memory. I don’t think I could forget it even if I wanted to. It is like Ohms Law or riding a bicycle. But the way the Crestron instructor presented those concepts was brilliant. I am sure there are lots of pictures of streamers on social media. For everyone that is reading this and is a AMX Gurus (ASM), I like the driving car videos too.

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Not very serious problems:

There were some less significance problems with Masters 2016 but for the most part I would consider the following cosmetics. However, for this review I will mention minor problems as well.

  • Hotel for the convention this year was built in the 1930’s – heat and cooling problems with the hotel.
  • Food was a downgrade from previous years (see picture) but I don’t go to Masters to eat.
  • Improve the process of when the invites will be released and that everyone knows that these Master invites will be going out on a certain day.
  • I do not go to Crestron Masters for entertainment or music but as you can see from all of the empty chairs the concert was not that popular.

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I walked into the room where the entertainment was on Wednesday night. I asked someone how the music was. He said that “he kept drinking but it was still bad” — I suppose you had to be there to appreciate the humor in that.

There is no need for entertainment at the Masters. Entertainment is a waste of resources, time and money. When I went to Infocomm training (DC area), my classes ended at 6:00 pm.



Master training should go until 6:00 (each day) and should not end around 5:00. Allow Crestron employees to go home by 7:00 so they can be more prepared for training. The amount of training time is important; not the entertainment.

Crestron entertainment should be for events like InfoComm and ISE. The event that Crestron presented at InfoComm 2015 in Orlando at the Hard Rock was epic.

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The badge that was given out this year was a step backward from the more durable badges that were used for Masters 2015 (see picture). Badges are a minor detail but worth pointing out in a full review. It would have been possible to print a barcode on plastic to allow for scanning & faster processing of info despite its higher cost.

Bring back 2015 badges


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The last session of the event was scheduled at 3:30 and should have ended at 4:30. Even 4:30 was too early because past Masters was over at 5 o’clock. However the 60 minutes session ended around 4:00. By 4:15 – I had already made my way through a long line to get  some great Creston swag and I was back in my hotel room.

It is worth noting that there was some type of error on the printed information for the scheduling of closing session-Looking Ahead to 2016. Their was two different times on the schedule – one listed 4:00 and the other stated the event should end at 4:30.

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Summary:

I reviewed several other sources of information for this article such as blogs, Twitter, Google and Instagram. They all showed positive reviews about the Masters 2016 event. Crestron is a great company and sometimes when you like a company so much, you can forget about reality. Perhaps all of the other individuals offering comments and reviews missed the room with cables spewing from every location. I would like Masters 2017 to be the best one and honest reviews are the only way such problems can be fixed.

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Most reviews are subjective. Everyone has an opinion and some things in this review are subjective. But there are other parts that are absolute facts. Some information in sessions was presented incorrectly and timing for some sessions was a problem. Also, items that are not subjective includes numerous minor technical issues such as audio feedback. Those minor technical issues was the most numerous this year then any other recent Masters event.

Some parts of this review are more important than others. I try to point out major and minor weaknesses. Over all, this year’s Masters was clearly disappointing. I am sure after the US Masters Crestron management got together to discuss how they can improve the Masters and how they can make improvements in time for the Amsterdam Masters that is scheduled for May 17. This is especially true since Crestron management and employees know that a disappointing review is coming. I should not be surprised by the fact that the moment you post something a manufacturing company may not like, they seem to migrate to your social media profiles. I’m sure they are astonished that someone is giving an honest opinion – a review that does not slander anyone and that is still respectful.

I would suggest that for Masters 2017, Crestron does not discourage honest reviews or critiques and that they don’t lock the doors and block cameras. Everyone knows Crestron is the biggest player in the Audio/Visual automation industry and has the biggest market share. But show everyone something more — mistakes can be fixed and Crestron has not forgotten how to be humble.

Any appropriate comments to this article will be approved and please offer your opinion of this article good or bad.

Thank you, for taking the time to read Masters 2016 Review and I would greatly appreciate it if you can share this article on social media.

Michael

 Design & Programming Hourly Rates – $75.

407-256-3045
michaelhaynes@me.com
www.michaelhaynes.me

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Crestron Masters16 – Upscale Swag !

For a departing gift (swag) from a manufacturing training class this is the best that I have received. Cold weather (next season) …I got it covered. This will replace my leather jacket.

Crestron Swag

Thank you, Crestron

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Comments

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I have never trash talked a single individual or company. When I owned my company I did a large amount of marketing and I guarantee no one would find one single comment where I trash talk another person or company. Even when somebody responded negatively to me, I simply do not respond back.

I will agree that certain things are done in marketing that are designed to get peoples attention and generate customers. Crestron probably does this better than anyone with the examples that they have at Infocomm of models showcasing their activities and concerts. “Human beings and electronics are flawed. One or several people don’t represent a company.”

One bad character should not represent a whole company or one bad event does not represent a whole company. I have always said Crestron is a great company!

Giving my honest opinion and review is not posting/rants or trash talking. Sometimes that review may be positive and other times it may be negative. But, it is always an honest and professional opinion. Their needs to be some type of individual or organization that does independent reviews on technical areas.

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