Home Control Assistant Newsletter for October 2 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.
Today is my Birthday! WooHoo! I thought I would go in a different direction than usual for my writing this week and list a few of the new things I have brought into my home during the last year. While only some are controlled by Home Automation, they all improved my home life. Maybe some will interest you.

The first to list must be
Starlink. I was suffering from way over subscribed DSL so I tried the Hughes satellite a few years back. It was good for some things. Except during peak hours it could stream movies pretty well. But for operations were latency is important – like getting email - it was VERY slow. I signed up for Starlink and waited many months to get set up, but after installation it has been wonderful. Really fast, and while the latency is a bit less than a fiber or cable modem connection, it is totally acceptable. Monthly cost is less than HughesNet, by the way. Highly recommend.

I had a
Generac whole house backup generator installed. While we joked many times that as soon as it was installed power outages stopped happening – there have been a few – it is a great system. Runs the whole house, reasonably quiet, great install crew. OK mobile app. Recommended.

Totally different than “normal” home additions: I bought a
Gardyn – a hydroponic system. Now it wasn’t quite as easy and productive as the website says. After understanding what it is good for and what it isn’t good for, I have had much fun growing things. Oh, and don’t put it in your living room as the cleanup you must do now and again is quite messy. Still a fun project and recommended if you have an interest.

I have UPB switches in my home for all my lighting from when it was constructed. Because of that all the lights have the advantage of soft-on and soft-off. That really lengthens the lightbulb life. I never had to change my incandescent lights over to LED even after many years. But when a few finally did fail I bought
these. Excellent light quality, dim well, and make no noise. I also bought these for some three-way lamps. Again, great products.

Lastly, I increased my use of
Phillips Hue lights that I’ve written about before. I still don’t have a compelling reason to have color changing lights, but I do find them fun. I’ve had a good time setting up special lighting colors for special days – today the outside lights are a special color pattern just for me. I still don’t think Phillips Hue lights have colors that are as deep and rich as those from LIFX, but the Phillips ones are much more available. Recommended.

So not a lot of things that integrate with my home controller, but all stuff that has made my home better.

Final Note: Soon I will be releasing 17.0.48 which has a few important bug fixes. I you have 17.0.46 or 17.047 this update will be free to download. Still using an older version of HCA? Read all about that here.
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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