Home Control Assistant Newsletter for February 7 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.
Dig we must / Progress is our most important product.
(I hope at someone at least is getting these historic popular culture references. They amuse me to use them here)

The last two weeks has been a challenging one as we make extensive changes in the HCA Cloud. If you happened to be using a voice assistant just as we were making updates it might not have worked. All I can say is the changes are quite exciting and significantly speed up some actions. I could say that we are done, but you are all sufficiently sophisticated to know that nothing in the software world is ever really “done”. But I can offer a small hope: Stability has greatly improved in the last few days.

A few small tips
There are a few things in HCA that are not exactly “hidden” but are less than obvious. Knowing about them is not really the sort of thing that changes your life, but they might be handy to know about.

Tip 1: Suppose you want to create several triggers for a program. Here is what you have:

Suppose you want to add another “Tag Change” trigger. If as in the image above, you have the Generic trigger selected when the new trigger popup opens, it has the “Trigger Type” set to “Generic” which is not what you want. But if the existing “Tag Change” trigger is selected before creating a new trigger, that type trigger is ready to create. Just one less step to do.

Tip 2: Suppose you are adding some expressions to a Compute element. There is the expression builder which lets you go through a series of popups to pick the expression and the arguments to it. But after a while you probably just type in the expressions directly as it is much faster. But if you are using a function that takes the name of a device it can be a challenge typing it in since the name can be hard to remember. If you had previously selected the object in the right pane and did a “Copy”, it puts that object onto the clipboard. When editing a Compute element, if an HCA Object is on the clipboard and you do a paste (ctrl-v), it pastes in the name of the object. 

Tip 3: You can open the properties of the home – where you find all sorts of interesting stuff like the Light/Dark settings and design statistics - by using the “Properties” button in the “Home Configuration” panel of the “Design” ribbon category. That works fine but you can also click on “Home Contents” in the left pane and select “Properties” from the popup menu to get there quicker.

Tip 4: In the Visual Programmer, there are two different ways to connect elements. You can move the mouse cursor near the edge of an element and the mouse pointer changes to a “circle with a dot”, then left mouse down and drag the line to the destination. Works great. But if you have added a series of elements and want to quickly connect them all together, click on the “Arrow” tool in the tools panel. Now click on the first element you want to draw a connection from, then click on the destination element and the connecting line is created. The mouse stays in “connect line” mode so click on the next element and those two elements are joined. You can continue to create connections between the last element clicked upon and the one you just clicked on. When done, just click on the programmer background and the mouse leaves “connect” mode.

Tip 5: The final tip is something new in a recent V17 build. When looking at the log if you right-click on a line created by a program element a popup menu appears:

The “Stop Logging” menu choice does just what it says and disables element-by-element logging for the program. This can be a quick way to suppress logging for a program you decide you don’t need logging for as you review the log.
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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