Home Control Assistant Newsletter for October 9 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 with new features!
Read about how you can download it.
Where do we go from here?
Around a year and a half ago as I started the HCA close down, I wanted to accomplish a few things. I wanted to make it possible for HCA users automation “solutions” to make this transition with as little disruption as possible. I say “solutions’ because that is more than just what was expressed in an HCA design. For example, if you used voice control that should still be possible. If you integrated a Ring doorbell and outdoor lights that should still be possible. But both perhaps implemented differently than now.

Last week I got an email from a user asking if getting a “Hubitat” is now “required”. When I get questions like that I stop, sigh, think how I could communicate better.

Do you want voice control? That’s what all my work on Hubitat was for. You want to integrate Ring events and outdoor Phillips Hue lighting? That is what an Alexa routine can do with no HCA needed.

I also focused on Hubitat integration because I had indications that Insteon was, shall we say, getting close to the edge of the abyss? I have zero direct knowledge of how the “new Insteon” will work out but I do have experience in this industry, and I am not hopeful. With Hubitat you get ZWave devices which can replace failing Insteon devices and you lose no level of control by the Hubitat integration with HCA. 

So the idea of Hubitat integration was to do two things: Provide voice control and to provide a way to integrate new hardware that HCA doesn't natively support. If you don't need/use voice control and/or need a path forward to new or replacement hardware, then you don't need a Hubitat.

In my opinion we will get to the end of this transition, and with some work on your part, you will not need to “scrap it all” (as I have heard a few times). You will use some as it is, adapt some, and bring in some new stuff too.

These weekly messages
I started writing these weekly messages for several reasons. It attracted new users. It answers questions once, so I didn’t have to answer them multiple times. It also gave me a way to announce changes. And, perhaps to some degree, it gave me an outlet for some of my thoughts about this whole automation world. 

I like writing “educational” ones. I could write about how to use the Start-Program element to pass arguments – expressions, literals, or the value of arguments to the current program - to a sub-program. Or how a program “returns a result” to the calling program. Or the difference between starting a program with Start-Program and the ON/OFF elements. It would be fun, but is it too technical or even worthwhile? I just don’t know anymore.

If I ramp down the kind of HCA “How do I” type of writings I’m wondering if you have suggestions about what you want me to write about. I could cut this down to once a month or only when there is an announcement. Or I could continue with ideas, thoughts, philosophy, interspersed with HCA stuff. But is that worth my time to write and your time to read? Are you still interested? If so, suggest a level of technical stuff you want. Do you have ideas? Feedback would be useful. Let me know.
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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