Secure remote access to Home Assistant using Tor

four minutes reading time
  • How-To

Routers and gateways provided by broadband internet providers are very often limited regarding features and configuration possibilities. Most of these limitations affect the opportunities that allow users to set up port-forwarding, DMZ, and DHCP reservations since the suppliers figured that average user does not want (or should not) deal with these. Making your Home Assistant instance available remotely (and securely), in this case, becomes more difficult. Are you one of those unlucky ones?

There are a couple of options available to achieve a remote (and secure) accessible Home Assistant instance. However, almost all of them require you to: open one or more ports on your router, expose a public IP address, and require you to reserve a fixed IP in your DHCP server (or set up a static IP address). Examples of these are:

  • Combination of DuckDNS (or similar), Let’s Encrypt (SSL), DHCP reservation, and forwarding a port to your device running Home Assistant.
  • Setup a VPN, which often requires more hardware and software. Additionally, it also requires port-forwarding, DHCP reservation and most likely DuckDNS (or similar).
  • SSH tunnel-ing. Which still requires port-forwarding, DHCP reservation and most likely (yeah, you’ve guessed it) DuckDNS (or similar).

There is, however, another option available that most people do not realize: Tor. Tor offers a capability that they refer to as Tor’s Hidden Services, which allows you to securely access your Home Assistant installation without the need for all these things. No need to forward and open ports, no need to expose your public IP, no DNS entry, no need for SSL certificates, and you do not have to assign a fixed IP to the device running your Home Assistant.

The most amazing part? It is super easy to set up!

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Translating Home Assistant

1 minute reading time
  • Community

The Home Assistant sidebar in 12 different languages The Home Assistant sidebar in 12 different languages.

Translations

As mentioned in the 0.57 release notes, Home Assistant has launched a translated frontend. With the immediate influx of translations, we’ve made integration with a translation tool a top priority. @c727 took the initiative to evaluate several tools, and we’re happy to announce that Home Assistant will be partnering with Lokalise to manage our translations!

Lokalise allows us to open up translations for all of our multilingual users willing to contribute. Users can join the project using our public signup link, and start translating right away. We’ve created a translation startup guide with additional details about how to contribute. Instructions are provided there for how to request a new language.

Now that we have a system in place, expect a lot more of the interface to be translatable soon. We still have some technical hurdles to overcome, but the hardest work is behind us now. The community has already done an outstanding job of providing translations. The future is looking bright!


0.57: Translations, Hacktoberfest, Timers

20 minutes reading time
  • Release-Notes

The Home Assistant sidebar in 12 different languages The Home Assistant sidebar in 12 different languages.

Whaaaaaats up everyone?! 😁 It’s been another crazy 2 weeks here at the virtual Home Assistant headquarters with a ton of great contributions from all over the world. New features, bug fixes, performance improvements. It’s a lot so let’s jump right in.

Translations

The first great feature, if you haven’t guessed it yet from the screenshot above: we are now able to translate the UI! Currently the translations are limited to the sidebar menu items. Even without a translation tool available, our contributors have jumped in and submitted translations for these menu items in over twenty languages! Home Assistant will automatically pick an available translation based on your browser settings, or a translation can be manually selected in the configuration panel.

We’re currently working on an integration with the web based translation tool lokalise.co, to make the translation process accessible to anyone who would like to contribute. Stay tuned for a blog post with more documentation soon.

Frontend improvements

As part of getting translations to work, we did a lot of cleanup work on the frontend side. The re-organization should allow us to iterate faster on the frontend. We’ve already seen a lot of clean up as part of this thanks to @armills and @andrey-git for keep raising the quality!

Hacktoberfest

Hacktoberfest 2017 is over! FINALLY. Each year we’re attracting more developers that want to contribute to Home Assistant. This is great but also very exhausting to our code reviewers. I want to give an enormous gigantic huge big shout out to our reviewers @pvizeli, @andrey-git, @armills, @MartinHjelmare, @fabaff. You have all done an amazing job and we couldn’t run Home Assistant without any of you! ❤

Hacktoberfest is obviously about the people contributing to open source. Big thanks to everyone that has taken the time to learn our code base and make contributions. We hope it was a pleasant experience and show how great open source can be. Hope to see many contributions in the future 👍

Here are our Hacktoberfest 2017 stats. It’s a miracle everyone is still alive:

This means that we processed over 20 Pull requests per day. The result was already visible in 0.56. This release is almost the same. In those releases we were able to add over 40 new integrations.

IKEA TRÅDFRI

Good news and bad news on this front. The bad news is that IKEA changed the internal API for TRÅDFRI with a firmware update, breaking the Home Assistant integration. The good news is that they were nice enough to email us with instructions on the breaking changes.

Long time contributor @lwis jumped on the case and managed to migrate our integration in Home Assistant in time for this release. Great work!

Pumpkin with Home Assistant logo carved in. @clhett01 made us a pumpkin ([via Twitter](https://twitter.com/clhett01/status/925481848612032512))

Timer

Okay, one more highlight before we’ll let you check out the changelog. Contributor @danielperna84 (famous for creating the HASS Configurator), had another great component up his sleeve: the Timer component. With the timer component you’ll be able to start countdown timers. A neat tool for your automation toolbox! More info in the timer docs.

New Platforms

release 0.57.1 - november 4

  • Fix login screen not showing when no password stored (@balloob)

release 0.57.2 - november 5

  • Update frontend with fixes for setting temperature on climate card (@balloob)
  • Fix setting max brightness for TRADFRI (@ggravlingen - #10359)

release 0.57.3 - november 11

If you need help…

…don’t hesitate to use our very active forums or join us for a little chat. The release notes have comments enabled but it’s preferred if you use the former communication channels. Thanks.

Reporting Issues

Experiencing issues introduced by this release? Please report them in our issue tracker. Make sure to fill in all fields of the issue template.

Read on →

Home Assistant and SSH

two minutes reading time
  • How-To

Most system engineers are very familiar with SSH (Secure shell). This tool which contains a server part and a client part is used to access a remote system in a secure way. It can also help you if your are running Home Assistant but don’t want to expose it to the public. On a Linux system SSH is often available by default. If you are using a Windows installation additional steps are required which are not covered here.

In this blog post we are going to use the tunneling option of SSH to create a secure connection and forward the Home Assistant frontend to a local system.

Read on →

Home Assistant Demo

three minutes reading time
  • How-To

If you are planning to host a Home Assistant meetup or doing a talk, then you probably want to show Home Assistant to an audience. You could use a Wireless router, bulbs, switches, and a single board computer to do a realistic demo. For a workshop, this is what I usually do because I think that working with physical hardware is more fun for the participants. The issue is that you need time to set up, power and space. For a talk or in a location, where you only have a beamer and a table or a lectern, the physical hardware approach is not very convenient.

The simplest way to show Home Assistant to others is the online demo at /demo/

Home Assistant's online demo

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Serial analog sensor

three minutes reading time
  • How-To

This blog post is about building a super simple analog sensor for Home Assistant. The physical sensor will send the data over its virtual serial port as it will be connected over USB. The concept is similar to the TEMPer USB devices. The attatched sensor type to the microcontroller can be any kind of sensor which gives you an analog signal from brightness over soil moisture to temperature.

The microcontroller will only transfer the voltage of an analog input pin which will be between 0 and 1024. Home Assistant will use the new serial sensor platform to read the data and perform actions to convert the raw reading into a real measurement. This means that you don’t have to adjust the code of your microcontroller if you change the attached sensor type.

The assembled sensor

Read on →

0.56: Skybell, Google Assistant, Travis CI and Toon

15 minutes reading time
  • Release-Notes

We reached another milestone aka number: 10000. GitHub is assigning numbers to pull requests and issues and the “10000” is a PR. Our ratio is around 1/3 issues and 2/3 pull requests. To be more precise: 64% pull requests and 36% issues.

If you haven’t noticed, there is now a glossary that collects some Home Assistant relevant terms. Talking about the documentation: @DubhAd rewrote large parts of the Z-Wave section. More structure to get started and to find details during the setup and the configuration.

Google Assistant / Google Home integration

This release includes a new component to integrate Home Assistant with Google Assistant by Phil Kates. We integrate via the Smart Home API, this means that you will be able to control your devices in Home Assistant via any device that has Google Assistant. Learn more in the documentation.

Hacktoberfest

Hacktoberfest is still on and so far we have received a lot improvements. We can’t make any promises to review everything by the end of October, but we are trying to make sure that you will get your t-shirt.

Map

The map is now its own component. Similar to configuration (config:), it will not show up without adding it to your configuration.yaml file.

map:

Travis CI

Why not observe your Travis CI jobs with Home Assistant? @tchellomello created a Travis CI sensor which allows one to check on the current state of Travis jobs. Now you can make sure that the coffee is ready when the build passed.

New Platforms

0.56.1 - October 22

0.56.2 - October 23

If you need help…

…don’t hesitate to use our very active forums or join us for a little chat. The release notes have comments enabled but it’s preferred if you use the former communication channels. Thanks.

Reporting Issues

Experiencing issues introduced by this release? Please report them in our issue tracker. Make sure to fill in all fields of the issue template.

Read on →


Templates, dates and times

1 minute reading time
  • Community

This Pull Request shows in a clear way what happens if the documentation is not as good as it should be. In short, it’s about Templating and how people start to think about creative ways to solve it if it’s not documented. Let’s assume that we want the current year. There are a couple of options available to do that:

Read on →