Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Dec 19 2021

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.
Maxim: A short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct.

A dozen maxims for a happy automation life...
  • If Alexa isn’t working, don’t assume it is your set up or HCA. Before you try and “fix it”, do a quick web search to see if Alexa or Amazon Web Services (AWS) is down. If you don’t find anything, wait a day, and try again. Sometimes things fix themselves.
  • If a battery powered device doesn’t seem to be sending messages to HCA, check the battery as it may be very low or dead.
  • When something isn’t working, power cycle everything: Server computer, client computer, your router, Wi-Fi access points and anything that comes from your ISP.
  • It’s never the hardware unless it is Insteon.
  • When you have a question, first check the FAQ as many questions are already answered there.
  • Many manufactures of smart home devices support Alexa and Google Assistant but that doesn’t mean they publish information that allows 3rd party developers to integrate with them. Before asking for support, first see if there is anything available that describes how to integrate with it.
  • Just because something communicates with the same method as a supported device - for example via wireless - doesn’t mean that HCA can integrate with it.
  • Free software is never free. Like Magic there is always a price.
  • Alexa and Google Assistant do not hear what you say 100% accurately. Take this into account when coming up with friendly names for devices and programs.
  • The only way to ensure 100% control of anything is to run a wire.
  • Never rely upon any automation device – whatever it is – to work 100% of the time. Have a backup plan if possible.
  • All hard drives fail eventually. Always backup your files.
A few weeks back I released an implementation of support for the Shelly series of Wi-Fi devices. If you are working with these device types, I really would like you to send me an email and tell me how it goes. I am considering making some major improvements but want to gauge how much they are being used.
Just a note that support is "officially" closed as we celebrate Saturnalia. Support closed 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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