First and foremost, I apologize for my absence over the past summer. I literally have not had much free time and haven’t been able to visit this forum in months.. Heck, I've not even been able to keep up with the yard work. (anyone have a hay bailer?) My absence was something that I had forewarned @csteele about, however I underestimated the demands on my time after developments at my day job required of it than I anticipated.
Please allow me to offer a personal update on my status…. If you’re only interested in HubConnect news, feel free to scroll down to the end…
Where I’ve been….
As I warned @csteele back in April, I stay very active during the short summer we have up in the Northeast and wouldn’t be around much for a while. I am an avid hiker and really enjoy the outdoors…. Some of you may have seen my posts about the SmartRV project.. I’m not just a frequent traveler with my RV I also have a cabin in the mountains. Many of my weekends are three days, with one day dedicated to working remotely. With the cold weather finally arriving, this past weekend was the first in which we did not travel since Easter weekend in April.
What I’ve been doing…
Aside from putting over 10k miles on my truck since April for outdoor activities my day job is running a large datacenter. It’s a datacenter that is in the early months of a year-long project of replacing a couple hundred servers and supporting infrastructure. It’s also a project that has required far more of my attention, some weeks virtually every day, even while traveling.
I’m still a Home Automation fanatic and yes, I am still using Hubitat…
I’ve seen a couple messages suggesting I may have become upset with Hubitat and moved on. Nothing could be farther from the truth, although I do have a few irritants when it comes to the platform. The honest truth is that I just have not had much time to even maintain my system let alone visit the community. Seriously, aside from rebooting the occasional crashed hubs, my system remained untouched since April. (More on that later). It really is a testament to the general stability of Hubitat that despite not installing any updates for 4 months, not changing batteries, no devices dropped off, and automations kept chugging (or lugging) away. When I finally changed batteries, everything came back to life. Kudos to the Hubitat team!
Speaking of the RV, here’s how the SmartRV project worked out….
In a word… Terrible. It was off to a good start, but in June the RV’s main OneControl hotspot was fried during a severe thunderstorm. I reconfigured to the backup Winegard hotspot which worked until mid-July until it developed a problem with nvram. That proved to be fatal as well. Neither system was under warranty. Not having any time to install a replacement I gave up on the concept of the SmartRV project for the rest of season.
So what’s with the hub slowdowns and lockups?
If it hadn’t been for the hub slowing down or even locking up, I could have declared my smart home to be almost maintenance free. Reality had another plan. It felt like I was rebooting hubs every day, however in reality I probably had a hub fail every 7-8 days. (By fail I mean crash to a red LED, or slow down to the point of no longer being usable). I remember this being discussed all the way back to March. It’s very disappointing to see that there has been no traction on this issue. It’s also given me cause to give Homekit a second look.
I now have 4 Hubs at home. All of them are connected with HubConnect. Having sat on a new-in-the-box Hub since late March, I provisioned the 4th hub into my environment last Friday. It was an attempt to try to distribute load across more hubs and hopefully try to abate the hub slowdowns/crashes that have plagued my HA system over the summer. More on that at a later time...
I’ve dabbled in Homekit in the past but always felt it was more of a toy than a tool, never taking it seriously. Apple has made some significant improvements since I last looked at it. A couple weeks ago on a whim, I installed Homebridge and connected it to my HubConnect environment. I was quite surprised, and pleased at the level of integration and responsiveness. While Homekit will never be a replacement for Hubitat, the UI is simpler and quicker than Dashboards. WAF is at an all-time high despite not having many devices brought over from HE.
Eero is out!
As many may recall, I was a big proponent of Eero and its’ inherent simplicity. That advocacy goes back several years. A change in management, probably due to the Amazon acquisition really soured me on the platform. It began with a firmware update which broke NAT reflection for 6 weeks. It was immediately followed by a month long period of instability with Eero Plus. that would cause internet to drop until the Eero system was rebooted. After 3 months of unreliable internet I ripped out the Eero and replaced them with UniFi UAP-AC-Pro’s, USG Pro 4, and PoE switches.
Arlo is out (almost)!
The platform is garbage. Support is garbage. Over the summer many of my cameras stopped recording (but still streamed) at one point or another, requiring physical resets to restore. One failed completely and took 2 months to get a warranty replacement. I later found that most cameras that wouldn’t record only did so if motion zones were defined. Seriously.. The final deciding moment for me was when my DW’s car was broken into. Not one single Arlo camera captured by ANYTHING. There are 15 on my system…. This past weekend, my first home in months, I began replacing Arlo with the UniFi Protect platform. I am installing a mix of G3-Flex and G3-AF cameras. So far with 8 installed, I have been very pleased with the performance. Last night I installed a 3rd party Homebridge integration which also creates motion sensors in Homekit. These sensors are almost as fast as traditional PIRs. The only drawback is that it seems that ffmpeg cannot transcode the audio properly so no audio is present when viewing in the Home app.
Last but not least…. HubConnect.
For those who have been wondering…. It’s not dead…. I left (or so I hoped) HubConnect largely in a state of stability aside from some patches to fix a few things. I do want to say that @csteele has done a superbly fantastic job of maintaining and supporting HubConnect in my absence. I am forever grateful to him for his ongoing help and support. Before I had to shelve development for the summer, I was working on version 1.5, the primary aim of which was to increase efficiency and reduce the footprint of the code, all with hub slowdowns in mind. This is still going to happen. It’s going to take a few weeks to accomplish. @csteele and I will be catching up over the next few weeks so I can review his changes and integrate them into the codebase in which I was last working on. But HubConnect will continue on. Who knows, maybe @bravenel will want to take it over…. ;-). But seriously, my personal goal is to get the next HubConnect release put together for an early-mid December release.
I hope this post helps to explain my absence.. I do apologize to those who were caught off guard by my disappearance. It wasn’t my intention to disappear. I kept telling myself to check in, but days became weeks, weeks became months…. And before I knew @csteele was calling me to see if I was still alive.. :-). It was a wakeup call, but still took me over a week to peel away enough time to write this post.
I cannot promise that I’ll be around here with the frequency I used to be, at least not in the short term. However I will certainly try to put a side a few minutes each day or two to check in on things here..