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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for July 21

Have you looked over the version 15 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.
HCA 201 - a reprise
A few months back I did a 4-part series on a major HCA project that talked a lot about programs and best-practices. Since it was published, many new users have joined. Since it's the Summer Vacation time when I don't have as much time to write as usual, I thought to bring it back again. So if you missed it the first time, here it is again:

For the next 4 weeks I’m going to try something that I hope may be both be fun and educational. I’m going to take you through the process of building a “status panel” for HCA. That is, a display that shows on a single page the state of each interface – working or not – each room in your home – off, on, suspended, or with device errors – and the state of some important alerts.

I want to go though the design and implementation process, cover some tradeoffs that are made in any project, explore some areas of HCA that you may not have used before, go over some “best practices”, figure out how to build something useful for any design - not just mine – with as little changes as possible after import, and see where HCA is lacking some features that would make the job simpler and figure some work-arounds.


part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

HCA Cloud and Dynamic DNS
As everyone should know by now one of the challenges we all face in the internet world is that the IP address of our homes can change at any time. That is why services like dyndns.org exist. With that service, you use a text name for your home and they make sure that the name translates to the current IP address.

Did you know that one of the benefits of HCA Cloud is that it provides you a dynamic DNS domain name so you don't need to use and pay for a service like dyndns.org? .  Your username followed by dyndns.hcatech.com can be used to get your home IP address.  For example, myusername.dyndns.hcatech.com.  You also have a domain for each HCA instance. This is the HCA Cloud username combined with the instance name separated by a ‘-‘.  For example, hcauser-vacation.dyndns.hcatech.com. Why pay for another service when it is already available as one of the benefits the HCA cloud subscription provides?

Additionally we are in the process of moving this over to Google Cloud. Google Cloud provides a low latency scalable DNS service and so will increase the overall performance while decreasing the latency of the HCA Cloud DNS service.

Videos!
It you are like me sometimes seeing is better than reading. I subscribe to the Adam Savage videos and am sometimes amazed at the correspondence between his project style when building a real world object and what software development is like.  Anyway, I wrote a few weeks back about a HCA user creating videos and he tells me he has more and more available. So check them out. Info is in the next section below.

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.
 
Copyright © 2019 Advanced Quonset Technology, Inc, All rights reserved.


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