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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for October 27

Have you looked over the version 16 release notes? Lots of changes that you can incorporate into your designs right away.

And if you are looking for answers to the most common questions about HCA check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Want to read message from past weeks? Here you go.
October. It’s all about the run up to Halloween, right? At least from what one sees in the stores these days. And while we have really worked hard to make sure that HCA isn’t a scary product there are some dark corners in it - full of useful but little explored features. Not scary at all once you know how they work and how useful they are. So, done in the spirit of Trick-or-Treat, here are the final two treats for the month.

HTML Folder Copy
There are lots of features in HCA that help you take that next step in automation. Plus many features that give you a view into that automation: mobile clients, the control UI, tiled displays but the summum bonum has to be the HTML display. With a cauldron of HTML, a touch of CSS, and a dash of image files you can create displays that rival the most expensive custom installed automation systems.

But since there are no paid installers to do the work for you, you’re stuck configuring clients yourself. One tool that is a treat is called HTML Display Folder Copy and is found on the Tools ribbon category.

If you are using HTML folders then the suggestion – and mandatory if you want this time saving feature to work – is to place all the pieces of each display – HTML file, image files, and style sheets – in their own folder and reference that folder in the display configuration by a relative path from the folder where the HCA design file resides. (Tough sentence to grok? See technical note 105 on the HCA website.)

If you do configure your HTML displays like this then you can have HCA copy all those files – images and style sheets plus all the folder structure you used – to each of your clients. Much less running back and forth with USB memory devices.

Handling Alerts
Alerts are the alarms that go off when the golem or the minotaur comes knocking to invade your automation solution. Did a device not respond when it is controlled? Did an interface become disconnected? Did a device that should be heard from go silent because its battery has gone dead? Alerts keep track of this stuff.

But what you might not know is that you can do more than just count problems. You can configure an alert to start a program. That program, which is supplied info about the alert using the program’s parameters, can do things like send you a message or turn on a light or keypad indicator - anything that can get your attention. More sophisticated actions can be constructed also, as in the case of a non-response from a device, to control an alternative device. Really, the actions are nearly unlimited. Open the Alert Manager from the Tools ribbon category.


HCA Server Computers
Several users have taken advantage of our special deal on small footprint, fanless, no-moving-parts computers that are really good for running the HCA Server 24/7. If you want to learn more take a look at the server page we have for that.

We got a super price on them and if you are interested please let me know. One nice thing is that before they ship, we do all the Windows setup and updating – to the latest Windows (1903) – and install the HCA Server and make sure it is all ready to go. And we have done something else to help you get started with the new Backup Assistant. All the details are in tech note 105 Moving HCA to a new computer.

If you have any questions about these machines and their use as an HCA Server, please just drop me an email.
 
Want to watch instead of read?

If you are interested in watching some videos about how HCA and Insteon can work together, George De Luca, a HCA users of a few years and technology video creator, has started to add HCA videos to his channel. He has a good knowledge of HCA and its ins-and-outs.
 
His channel can be reached at: https://www.youtube.com/deluca2008. While I’ve offered him some thoughts on the videos, his opinions and advice on using HCA are his own. If you have questions about something you see, ask them in the video comment section and you may see a video with an answer.


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.

https://www.reddit.com/r/HomeControlAssistant/

 
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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