Home Control Assistant Newsletter for February 28 2021

Have you looked over the version 17 release notes? Lots of changes that you can incorporate into your designs right away. Easy upgrade.

Looking for answers to the most common questions about HCA? Check out our
Frequently Asked Questions page.
I wrote about this last week but didn’t get much feedback. If the NEST thermostat is important to you now is the time to make your thoughts known.

Do you have a NEST thermostat in your home and want to integrate with HCA? Back before NEST got absorbed into Google, HCA supported NEST thermostats. Unfortunately to provide that support again is beyond what we can do from a business standpoint (the cloud developer is a smart guy so technically it can be done, but Google is asking things from a business standpoint that we can’t do).

There may be a way to create support as if you were each ”developers”. It would require installing several Windows programs onto your computer – as we do for Apple Homekit support – and having each user who wants this to create a Google developer account – costs $5.
This can be a support nightmare for us, and we are not anxious to take that on but will do so if there is sufficient interest.

Before we decide we would like to know how many users want support of NEST thermostats. Drop me a line and tell me if you do and, more importantly, what you plan to do with that support. In my own home I have a NEST thermostat and it is smart enough, so I just leave it alone and it does a great job. I don’t need to integrate it with HCA.

I’ve received several emails over the last weeks about the reliability of the HCA cloud and how there have been “hundreds” – the user’s own words - of disconnect/reconnect events in a day. While I’m sure that is quite a bit of an exaggeration, there have been times when the developers are working on the HCA cloud and so it was necessary to restart pieces of the HCA cloud. That resulted in the HCA Server to disconnecting and then reconnecting to the cloud. All I can say is that the problems proved hard to pin down. 

Normally, as you know, we do not like to update HCA very frequently. 

Unfortunately, we have discovered a problem that will effect many users related to all the new “Cloud Connect” changes we have been working on. A set of changes put in place in the last released HCA build could leave the HCA Server unable to make needed connections to the cloud and in so doing prevent voice assistants and others from connecting to the server. Unfortunately changes made in the last released version to handle some “unexpected” conditions contained a mistake. Turns out those unexpected conditions are not so uncommon after all.

Sometime this week there will be another HCA build released and everyone who is using the “Cloud Connect” really needs to download and install this. 

I receive support emails each week about something related to an HCA feature implemented in one of the library packages. For example, Hubitat, a weather provider, or thermostat. The advantage of supporting features like these in a set of HCA programs is exactly that: they are HCA programs. There is no magic or hidden details. If something isn’t working then tell me and sometimes I can offer a correction quickly. But not always. Using your knowledge of HCA programs and the debugging tools, you should be able to resolve most of these issues yourself. Let me say this again: Support is all in HCA programs and you all have knowledge of those. Dig in and try to find and fix the problem you have experienced. If you do find the source of the problem, please report it to me so that the library package can be improved for others. I’ll still work on any issues you report as time allows, but you are all skilled in HCA programs so you don’t always need my help for every issue.
User-to-User forum

An HCA User who wanted to set up a forum for user-to-user communication. I'm passing this on, but please know that this is not a HCA company project and I will not be spending much time there so I don't know how this will work out. Here is a link to what he set up.

Want to take the next step in automation? Want to get started with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and control HCA by voice commands? Even if you are a long-time user of HCA, the Getting Started guides have all the info you need on client-server, mobile applications, DDNS, and voice assistants.

All of the
Getting Started Guides are available on the support website.
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