Home Control Assistant Newsletter for September 25 2022

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.

The latest version of HCA is 17.0.47 and its new features are not just about Hubitat - there's more!
Read about how you can download it.
HCA Support
When one creates a piece of software, generally you should support it. That means answering user questions about how it works or finding workarounds for problems. Some software has great support and other not so much.

Before you send a support email, the question you should ask yourself is: do I have a valid support question? Let me give you an example of how I answer that question. I use an image editing program and occasionally I just don’t know how to perform some operation. I do internet searches and almost always come up with an answer. Rarely I don’t find an answer because I just don’t know how to phrase the question in a manner to get an answer. Then I turn to their support email and in a few days get an answer. In my mind that is how it should work. I’m asking about how to use the tool, in this case some aspect of the program. But I don’t think it valid to ask them how to draw a duck or to have them draw it for me. It's ok to ask about the tool, but not about what you create with the tool.

Because I know that HCA is a bit different in that there isn’t a huge user base, so not a big “fan community” to ask peer-to-peer questions of, I often take on support questions that really aren’t proper questions. Just something I accept, but with HCA ending, there may be less of this.

Over the last weeks I have worked with several HCA users who could have resolved their issues by themselves by reading and following all instructions. I know that sounds like I’m trying to avoid the support questions, but I put a lot of effort into the docs available on the support site. If you think the docs could be improved please let me know.

Today, I have a new technical note for you that starts like this:

Suppose you are working to resolve an issue you have with a package downloaded from the library. As an example: the Hubitat package. What to do? Here are some of the HCA Tools you already have and know how to use, that can help find the problem.

The programs in a downloaded package aren’t anything special – they are just the same HCA programs you already know how to create. As with any HCA program you can look at their implementation and then use the tools described here to try and resolve issues.  While you may not have the expertise to understand all that the programs do, there are some general questions these tools help answer.

You can continue reading technical note #704 online

I’ve always tried to provide good support, but the time approaches when I’ll be unavailable. Let’s see what can be done to make that transition as easy as possible.

P.S. A few weeks back I wrote a nice rant about the lack of documentation and documentation with errors. Seems I'm not the only one to notice this. Give a read to this: 

If you are using a version of HCA prior to version 17, you may have questions about the wisdom of upgrading to version 17 given the future of HCA. Here is something to consider:

The support policy for older HCA versions has been changed
 as I can no longer devote time to past version users. Support will only be available for HCA 17 users.

If you are on version 16 or earlier and want to continue using the cloud features and want to be assured that if you have a question that it gets answered, it is indeed time to upgrade.

HCA is fully operational for several more years so the update cost, spread out over that time, is very little. Knowing support is available when you need it is worth it.
Upgrade to HCA 17
Anyone who is using Hubitat with HCA – not SmartThings – please drop me a note as I would like to add you to a discussion list for those users. I have some Hubitat ideas that I would like to “kick around” and it would help to have a group of users who have experience with Hubitat. Please just send a note to the regular support address saying you would like to be added to that discussion list.
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