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X10 VP: ‘Julie you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about’

35-year X10 veteran Dave Rye takes offense to my January 2010 CE Pro Industry Insider in which I suggest that we're still a long way from mass-market automation. Below is Rye's entire rant.

Julie, I regularly read your column in CE Pro and Electronic House just so I can have a laugh to myself. I am always amused by your total lack of knowledge of X10, or is it just that you ignore us because we don't advertise with you any more?

Anyway, you said in your January issue of CE Pro, quote:

"For about a dozen years, manufacturers have tried to sell "easy-to-install, easy-to-use" home control systems to the masses, but for the most part the masses aren't buying. Despite some capable, affordable, turnkey do-it-yourself products from the likes of iControl, Mi Casa Verde, Wayne Dalton, Xanboo and others (and a great fear among CE pros), we're still a long, long way from automation at retail."

Julie, how can you be so out of touch with an industry that you cover and are supposed to be an expert on?

First of all you say: "For about a dozen years"

X10 introduced home control to the masses in 1978! That's 32 years ago! (I have been with the company for 35 years).

Next you say: "manufacturers have tried to sell "easy-to-install, easy-to-use" home control systems to the masses"

X10 doesn't just "try" sell to the masses - we DO It, and do it very successfully. Have you ever even looked at ? If you had, you would know it is a RETAIL site that sells to the masses. sells more on a BAD DAY than the companies you cover would dream about selling in a month, or some of them in a year!

And I guess you are not aware of all the versions of Home Control that X10 developed, manufactured and sold (under private brand) to the likes of IBM, RCA, GE, Stanley, Black & Decker, and let's not forget RadioShack, all of which were sold at retail, to the masses.

Quite frankly Julie you haven't a clue what you're talking about.

And I DARE YOU to print this.


Dave Rye
Sr. Vice President/Technical Manager, X10

Ed. note: Dare accepted.

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Article Topics

Blogs · Industry Insider · Slow News Day · X10 · · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

80 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by phil  on  02/17  at  10:21 AM

Julie, as you also didn’t mention The Clapper I must say you don’t have a clue about Clapper technology either.  The latest Clappers have clap indicator lights so you get a visual indication that the clap has been received by the Clapper.  The new units also boast 2(TWO) outlets so you can plug TWO lamps in.  There is also the new Clapper Remote.
The Clapper has been automating homes since 1972 and has sold many more units than that second place wannabe X-10.

Posted by BigPapa  on  02/17  at  10:31 AM

Wow, I’m such an idiot. I should go back to X10 after a few years of jerking around with it’s erratic consistency in the 90’s.

This letter sure makes me want to go back.

Posted by AACTrent  on  02/17  at  10:38 AM

Wow, very unprofessional.

Posted by TuckerTues  on  02/17  at  10:48 AM

1. Calling X10 anything more than a hobbyist kit is akin to calling the Yugo a sports car.

2. Does Dave want to discuss the lawsuits that put X-10 into bankruptcy - did you ever pay for those banner ads Dave?!

3. Selling cameras with subtle overture to spying on your sexy neighbor or spouse -stay classy X10! (did you also create the Sayno ‘hooker’ ad?)

4.. Who the Hell manages their website,  a sixth grader? it is unusable. 1992 called and they want their HTML back.

Dave Letter = Faceplant! Perhaps by spring the road rash will heal and you can once again show your face in public.

Posted by anyhomeneeds  on  02/17  at  10:50 AM

I think Dave doesn’t understand who the “masses” really are.  They aren’t techno-dweebs like us.  They are simple people who sometimes have trouble using something as simple as an iPod. 

Dave said, “And I guess you are not aware of all the versions of Home Control that X10 developed, manufactured and sold (under private brand) to the likes of IBM, RCA, GE, Stanley, Black & Decker, and let’s not forget RadioShack, all of which were sold at retail, to the masses.”

“Were Sold”, as in not sold anymore.  That was Julie’s point.  If you were successful at selling to the masses, then they would still be selling them.

X-10 has alot of merit, you’ve been there all along, but you are missing the big picture. 

BTW, this is just my opinion, but your website looks like a cross between a late-night infomercial and those Viagra adds that we all get in our e-mails.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  02/17  at  10:56 AM

Anyhome, you nailed it.

I guess I should have used the term “mainstream” rather than “mass market”.

In any case, I was referring to home automation as integration, such as lighting + thermostat + scenes.

While X10 has been wildly successful in selling automation parts, I have not seen any mainstream adoption of complete X10 (or Zwave or Insteon ....) control systems.

Posted by Vincent J. Bova  on  02/17  at  11:00 AM

Unfortunately I have used or experimented on the field with X-10 products several times and have received the same mediocre results.  I would equate these products to the type of knick-knacks you would see on the back of a comic book in the early 80’s.  Pills that make you look like a weight-lifter overnight, special biniculors that can see through clothes and doors, etc.  I would think that these types of products would work well after 10 or so years in the market.  The only attractive thing about them is the pricing.  Also, in my opinion, the X-10 website is in need of a major facelift.  The website honestly looks like one big gimmick.  I challenge anyone from the company to ocme out with me on the field and I will show you first hand the limited and problematic ability of the products in absolute normal situations. 

For the record, I have been following Ms. Jacobson’s articles for several years and find them to be quite knowledgeable and first hand.  Obviously she has a good amount of interaction with the products and technologies she writes about and would not discount anything she says.  I would use X10 to turn on a lamp or two or maybe even a switch here or there.  As far as control system I am afraid I will have to pass.

Posted by signaturesv  on  02/17  at  11:13 AM

Now, being a somewhat young company (2 1/2 years) we were asked to install x10 once. I never was able to get the piece working. We even called tech support, which is a complete and utter joke. We politely asked the customer to return the piece of junk and we sold them on a MUCH more respected name and manufacture. i learned early in the game what does and doesnt work.

YOUR STUFF DOESN’T WORK. easily nor reliably. But now that you sent this email i am much more apt to drop the long process of becoming an AMX dealer and go back to x10. =)........

Real professional dude. BTW: like above posters said, i have been following Jullies articles for quite some time now and find them very knowledgeable and informative.

Posted by Seth_J  on  02/17  at  11:26 AM

Radio Shack sells something other than cell phones?

I love X10… people put it in, get frustrated and call us to install something that works. I’m glad they still have some one working for them that is as obnoxious as their pop-ups were in the late ‘90s.

Cheers!  cheese

Posted by Bobby Ray  on  02/17  at  11:34 AM

X-10 Really???  I have a box of that stuff at home..none of it works. It did work at one time…for maybe a week or two then the internal contacts burned up, so I bought more…How stupid am I??

It sells so much everyday because it has to be replaced because of failures. I wouldnt sell it today if I had to.

I have a client now that has some X10 and he thinks its great…he is controlling a fountain pump

Posted by Blefadts  on  02/17  at  11:52 AM

What a bizzare rant from DR at X10,
He mentions all the X10 private label failures! Not too smart. X10 is now a soft porno website, (get our camera’s to look at your pretty neihbors) is pretty much what they are now, the only X10 thing working for 35 years is DR!!

Posted by jimstolz76  on  02/17  at  12:15 PM

Hey now, I have an X10 tabletop switch sitting on the table behind my sofa and 2 lamps plugged into a lamp module.  It works 100% of the time… did I mention they’re plugged into the same power strip?  You guys obviously don’t know how to spec a proper X10 installation.

Posted by BigWood  on  02/17  at  12:28 PM

That is one of the creepiest websites I have ever been to as well as poorly designed.

I wonder if their customer list is very similar to certain law enforement lists.

That is just wrong on a multitude of levels.

Posted by Lee Distad  on  02/17  at  12:45 PM

Wow, that letter is written with the absolute certainty of someone who believes he will never need to ask anyone in this industry for either a job or a recommendation.

Posted by sirroundsound  on  02/17  at  01:36 PM

He is upset because you didn’t mention X10. Of course he should be happy you didn’t, isn’t it almost a rule when mentioning X-10 you have to add the phrase “plug and pray”.

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