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Thread: Wanted: beta testers for new visual/custom Alexa skill 'EvoControl'

  1. #11
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    For anybody with trouble invoking the skill: 'EvoControl' is a contrived word and Alexa has problems with those. Also, skills are supposed to have at least 2 words for invocation so we think we're saying EvoControl but to her it's 2 separate words: Evo and Control. The problem with that is she then wants you to say Evvo Control (like revolution) and will not work with Evo as in eeeeevo. So the workardound was to trick her that it's actually 3 words: Eve Oh Control.

    If she doesn't understand you, just say those 3 words more distinctly and it will work. Then when she has run the skill a few times for you, you'll be able to morph more towards EvoControl and it will still work.

    The joys of AI
    Last edited by philchillbill; 13th March 2022 at 08:05 PM.

  2. #12
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    I did click the Settings cog. But from a UI point, it looks greyed out, I think it needs to be brighter.

  3. #13
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce_miranda View Post
    I did click the Settings cog. But from a UI point, it looks greyed out, I think it needs to be brighter.
    I've removed the redundant back button on the main Dashboard view.
    The settings cog is now still quite opaque but is changed to bluish instead of grayish (it is intended to be discreet so not full brightness, but I agree that gray has a different connotation).

    The TCC iPhone app stopped working for me this morning and https://status.resideo.com/ reports a 'major outage' currently. The skill still works ok but I've been thrown out of a session twice due to 'rate limit exceeded' issues. Probably related to their outage. Sigh.

  4. #14
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    What data is stored on the servers for this skill to operate? Clearly my user ID and password. My zone names, schedules. What else? My home address?

  5. #15
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce_miranda View Post
    What data is stored on the servers for this skill to operate? Clearly my user ID and password. My zone names, schedules. What else? My home address?
    The principle behind all my skills is to use data on an as-needed basis and either not store it at all (if possible) or to encrypt it strongly when I must store it. Almost all the data this skill uses is treated as ephemeral: it's retrieved from TCC for a particular skill-session, used, then discarded after a session closes. The skill doesn't store it because it can just retrieve it every time and that retrieval is quick enough and safe enough (https).

    The home address mentioned when you first link the skill is read from your TCC account profile and said out loud so that people with multiple locations will know which location the skill has accessed (it's the first location in the locations array but that could be anything). That information is not stored by the skill because after that initial welcome, it's not needed.

    The version of your ABC schedules that I store is very different to the raw data that comes from TCC. It's converted to a seconds-since-midnight-on-sunday format which makes it trivial to compare schedules and make switchpoint insertions. This also reduces the storage requirements by about 10x compared to what TCC uses. I have to store this for you because TCC doesn't support multiple schedules. But there's absolutely nothing in that storage that links to you. It does contain your zone names, but everybody has zones called livingroom, bathroom, etc. Also, the database is strongly encrypted.

    Your TCC credentials are served to the skill for each session by my own oauth server that creates a salted AES-256 access token that's different for each skill session. The skill extracts your credentials from this token and logs in to TCC with the decrypted details. If that token were to be intercepted then it can only be used once because the salting is epoch-related. I've asked Resideo for my own API key which would allow their oauth servers to always send me a token I could just use without having to store your credentials, but they have not yet responded. The 'problem' with our community access to TCC (via the watchforstock API and the jzwack application-ID) is that the refresh-token does not work after a short period and a full login is required. This actually goes completely against the principles of oauth so it's a mystery why Resideo does this.

    Just FYI, when you link a skill, Amazon assigns you a long random UserID string that will change if you disable a skill and re-enable it. So even if a skill previously stored information about you it would not be able to recognize you as being you when you 'returned' to the fold. Same goes for Echo DeviceIDs. I have no idea that your Echo is called e.g. 'Kitchen Echo' and all I get is a long string that will also change if you disable/re-enable the skill. Amazon takes security and privacy (luckily) very seriously.

  6. #16
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Some testers reported difficulty invoking the skill so I've changed the invocation to just two words: "Evo Control". Hopefully that won't break anybody who was not having difficulty — if so then please let me know.

  7. #17
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Cool New: EvoControl adds Scenes/Activities to Evohome

    EvoControl has been extended to support the notion of Scenes/Activities. Basically, with a single voice command, groups of zones can have their setpoints all changed at the same time. Examples include the likes of

    Watch TV
    BedTime
    Studying
    Nobody Upstairs
    etc

    Activities can be triggered until the next scheduled switchpoint for each zone, until a specified until/duration for all involved zones, and can even be scheduled for later today (Also with a duration/until if desired).

    a3.jpg

    Some new command that have been added to the skill:

    Show activities
    Activate 'Watch TV'
    Start activity 'Studying' until 9 PM
    Start 'Bathroom Occupied' for 30 minutes
    Schedule 'Bedtime' at 10PM
    Schedule 'Working' at 4PM for 45 mins
    Show the setpoint-editor
    List my activities

    There's a new video demo showing all of this:



    The features are already live in the skill and current beta testers can use them without having to install/change anything. The skill's built-in help has also been updated.

    New beta testers are still welcome. Enjoy !

  8. #18
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Beta testers should note a few changes:

    • You can now assign names to Schedules ABC via the settings screen. For new linkers, schedule A is assigned the nickname 'Normal'.
    • When you have more zones than will fit on the screen of the Echo Show, a new scroll indicator is shown that will scroll down a page when tapped.
    • The scene/setpoint editor screen now has a sticky footer when buttons are displayed


    Also, fixed a bug pertaining to setting system mode for a specified duration/until.

  9. #19
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    I'm in the process of adding support for multiple locations in EvoControl, whereby you can say the likes of 'List my locations' and 'Select location N' (only if you have >1 location).

    Does anybody know if the result of the API call to "/WebApi/emea/api/v1/userAccount" always only lists the primary address of the account-holder or does it change format to somehow include multiple addresses?

    I presume the call to "/WebApi/emea/api/v1/location/installationInfo?userId=${userId}&includeTemperatu reControlSystems=True" will return an array with multiple similarly-populated 'locationInfo' entries when somebody has multiple locations?

    I don't use DHW control via Evohome myself, but is there any point in adding support for it to this skill?

  10. #20
    Automated Home Guru philchillbill's Avatar
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    Beta testers should note a few changes:

    • There is now a rotating/random 'hints' footer on the main dashboard that appears by default on larger rectangular Echo Shows. These have the form "Try: Alexa, list my activities..."
    • An extra slider switch has been added to the settings screen to disable it if this hints feature is not wanted.
    • The summary/average/coldest/warmest/zones-demanding responses are now customised (they used to all just produce the same long summary).
    • The reported average temperature is now rounded/reduced to a single digit of precision.

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