looked at z-wave again. got some new hardware, updated firmware, new beta API, etc... the good news is i could get basic home automation to work easily enough : turn on/off lights, ceiling fan control, thermostat. since z-wave uses RF, the poor wiring in my house doesnt matter. all that is interesting, but the devices are very expensive. and my main goal is to replace the X-10 remote keypads that i am currently using as secondary controllers for eva. the bad news is i cannot get that scenario to work. as somebody pointed out in a forum post, the remote devices i want to use are 'controllers', and z-wave doesnt support 'controller' to 'controller' communication in the manner i need. that, or its just a limitation of the current API. there are some other remote 'scene controllers' that might work, but then the problem becomes cost again. z-wave needs some more time to bake, and for prices to come down.
might look into Insteon next