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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Dec 12 2021

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.
The online program library

It’s odd that sometimes no one asks about a certain feature or aspect of HCA and then within a few days I get the same question several times.

Several users wrote about the online library. They wanted to be able to download from the library but were blocked because they didn’t have a cloud account. They didn’t want to create a cloud account because they had no need of the features it supported. The users asked why a cloud account was necessary for downloading from the online HCA program library. Let me explain.

A while back the "base" of HCA stopped changing and all the new work was done using the class/add-in features. That's how TP-Linc support was added, and then SmartThings and Hubitat. All that work was done, not as part of HCA itself, but by building on top of the HCA features already in place. This has produced some quite amazing changes. When Hubitat was supported in this way all the z-wave devices became something that HCA could control. A webserver was even added to HCA using the "generic server" and a lot of HCA programs. Plus the library contains lots of "utility" programs as well useful for all designs.
 
The question was how to fund that development. Since it wasn't part of HCA itself it didn't get funded by the upgrade costs since there was no upgrade to HCA itself.
 
What was done was to tie the library download to the cloud subscription. This was admittedly an expedient solution otherwise a whole new mechanism would have been needed. That just didn't seem worthwhile as the cloud account had a subscription model and all the facilities to support that – a tie to PayPal, a database of active/inactive, reminders when a renewal was needed, etc. Think of having a cloud account as your library card.
 
Now there are a few users that want access to the library and don't need the cloud, but there is no way around it. Just create a cloud account (easy), link your file to an account (also easy and that lets the library downloader check that your account is active), and that's all you need do. You don't have to use any of the other cloud features. And in that way, you are helping to fund all the work that goes into the library packages you can download.

The process is documented in the user guide and technical notes but here is the short summary.
  1. Use a browser and go to https://oauth.hcatech.com/login
  2. Click the “Create account” button
  3. Fill in the form
  4. A message is sent to the email address you entered, and you must get that message and click the button to confirm the address
  5. From the browser, connect to the same address and log into your account
  6. Press the “Renew Subscription” button
  7. In HCA, from the “HCA Cloud” ribbon category, press the “Link file and Account” button. Follow the instructions.

Someone did point out that the HCA Cloud was “going away” – it is, but not for quite a while- but when it goes away so too will the library “go away”.
Just a note that support will be "officially" closed as we celebrate Saturnalia. Support closes on 16-December and restarts on 4-January-2022. That's not to say that support emails will not be answered during that time, but responses may be slower than usual.

Happy Holidays however you celebrate this time of year.
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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