I love being surprised, especially when it comes to new home automation updates that require no extra cost! Yesterday, I received an email from HAI about a new update to Web-Link II. Incidently, I have been working on integrating their communication DLL into my custom home automation server, so I can interface with the OmniPro II directly from my custom Flash UI. The most convenient and compelling feature of Web-Link II is that it allows you to control your home via a PDA and personal computer right out of the box. So, when HAI released version 2.01.6025 of Web-Link II, I couldn’t wait to see what features and fixes they included. Let’s just say, they went above and beyond my expectations… this latest release of Web-Link II adds the following new features:
- The Web-Link II Server now runs as a Windows Service
The service runs all of the time whenever the computer is turned on. In the past it ran in the tool tray.
- Added a Control Panel applet to configure properties of the Web-Link Server
There is no longer an icon that appears in tool tray. To configure the Web-Link Server, select “HAI Configuration” from the Windows Control Panel.
- Support for running Web-Link II and HAI Home Control for Windows Media Center on the same computer
Version 2.01.6017 of the HAI Home Control for Windows Media Center must be installed along with this update of Web-Link II to run both software programs in the same computer.
- RSS (Real Simple Syndication) support on the Web-Link II Home Page
You can easily add custom data, such as weather forecasts, sports scores, news, personal blogs, and much more, to your Web-Link II Home Page. RSS is a format for syndicating news and other content. Pretty much anything that can be broken down into discrete items can be syndicated via RSS.
- New Web-Link II Touchscreen User Interface
Web-Link II has special client pages that are used to run on a PC Touchscreen and Touchscreens that have an Internet Explorer 5.5 or later Browser built-in. You can access the standard Web-Link features on these pages by simply touching the designated icons. Basically this is like the HAI Home Control for Windows Media Center. It’s a very nice, clean interface for use with a touchscreen. I still prefer the sexiness of my custom UI/server interface I’ve created in Flash and VB.NET.
- New Skins
Skins allow you to customize the look and feel of the web pages by applying different graphic and color schemes. You can have a different skin for each client computer or Windows account that is used to log into Web-link II. The one pictured is called Vista Glass.
- Improved support for sending and logging e-mails
Send e-mail by simply entering the e-mail address to where the message will be sent. In most cases, this e-mail address is the only information Web-Link II needs to communicate with the recipient’s e-mail server. In the event that the e-mail does not reach the recipient, click on the Advanced Settings link to specify an SMTP server.
- Setup now addresses Windows Firewall, directory security, and SP2 security permissions issues
When Windows XP SP2 and other Windows Updates were introduced, the changes would prevent Web-Link II users from accessing Web-Link II or some of its advanced features without manually configuring permissions. In this version Setup now handles these security permission issues.
- Support for HAI Omni IIe Controllers.
- Support for the latest lighting protocols (HLC, UPB, RadioRA, and CentraLite).
- Support for Extended Range Temperature Sensors.
- Support for Windows Media Player 10.
I highly recommend you upgrade your version of Web-Link II, to do so just log in to Web-Link II, click the “Options” icon to display the options page. Then click the “Check for Product Updates” button next to “Product Updates and Special Offers” to login to the Web-Link II update site to download the patch.
Good work HAI! And to anyone looking for a great home automation package, you definitely must check out HAI’s product lines!