Home Control Assistant Newsletter for November 6 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 17.0.48 with new features!
Read about how you can download it.
HCA 17.0.48 a bit below the surface
Last week I wrote about the release of HCA 17.0.48. This week I want to discuss two of the new features in that build.

New Program Icons
OK, quickly, in the image below which programs are for Alerts, Mail reception, and Startup? And which program is used as a subroutine to another program?

OK, maybe that wasn’t not too hard as I use fairly good names. Now same question for this image:

To me the second image seems much clearer to quickly locate those programs. With these new program icons – available in 110 and 54 size - you can better organize your program folders. Its not what you remember today, it’s what you know weeks or months from now when you need to make a change.

Daily Report
I’ve written about the daily report before, so you all know its utility. The set of changes does two things. First, you can now rearrange the report to have it in an order that you find convenient. Also, you can have more than one section of a type. For example, to have multiple sections for variables or devices. The goal is to see with a quick scan that everything is ok.

Another change is that now you can use programs that generate HTML. That program result is included in the daily report as a separate section. Now here is the cool part: Back a few weeks I introduced the “HTTP Extensions” library package, remember that? That HTTP extensions package was used to view interesting (and hopefully useful) data in a browser when you operate HCA as a webserver - that's done using the HTTP library package.

Made the connection? The HTTP extensions programs generate HTML. The daily report can now have sections generated by programs. Could those HTTP extensions programs be used in the daily report? You bet they can! (I wonder if someone planned this…)

Here is my Daily Report configuration. I added to my report a table that shows the battery level in all my Hubitat managed sensors that have batteries.

And of course, you can create your own programs that generate whatever HTML you want. A good place to start is the HTTP Extensions package, and see how I created those programs.

Wonder how you get these packages from the library? On the "Design" ribbon category, press the "Library Browse/Import" button all the way at the right end of the ribbon. Find the package in the browser and then you can import. Get an error about not have download access? Well, you need either a HCA Cloud  account and a valid subscription, or you need a library card. You can read all about that in one of my previous weekly messages. Library cards are purchased here.

The other changes in 17.0.48 are all detailed in the build notes so I leave for you to look at that. Sometime soon I will discuss programs operating as devices, which was improved in this new build, and why that can be very useful.
Office “Garage” sale - SALES PDF UPDATED FROM LAST WEEK.. STILL SOME STUFF LEFT. I HATE tossing stuff in the trash.
Periodically I try and clean out my office of some of the testing hardware that I have accumulated. Most are items that I purchased a while back. Most are "used" but they were never installed so didn’t get day-to-day usage. Some were for projects that never happened so never got used at all.

I do not want to spend a lot of time on this, but rather then just dumping it all into electronic waste I’m offering it up at very nominal prices to those who may want something. There is a lot of Insteon stuff so that may help some of you looking for replacements.

I do not want to spend the time to list it all on ebay. I took some quick pictures and have a simple pricing plan. You can see it all in the PDF link.

There is important info at the top of the PDF and lots of pictures – most links – that you can zoom in to look closely.

If you want something or have a question, send me an email. First person who asks for something gets it. This isn’t an auction.

I’ll be honest, there is some good stuff and other stuff useful as spares of things you already have. But then again, your wants and needs may be different than mine.

Magic Module
Is anyone out in HCA-World still using the Elk Magic Module? If so, please drop me a line as I have TONS of hardware that I would be happy to pass on to you for almost no cost except postage. I would have put it in the hardware garage sale weeks ago, but I totally forgot about it until I opened some boxes.
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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