And then there's this, on a recent HN thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11105510
> "I still wake up with something like PTSD occasionally from getting yelled at and bullied by Tony Fadell almost literally every day while I was there."
> "Tony literally stood up at an all-hands after the Alphabet thing and said "Fuck being Googley" (direct quote)."
I think Google/Alphabet need to take a serious look at what Nest has been doing to their brand. A few thousand very-pissed-off people here and a few thousand very-pissed-off people there add up to a serious liability for a company like Google.
If someone like myself, only casually acquainted with the organization, hears so many bad things about Tony, how does he still have a job? Forget his apparent management incompetence, at this point it's just bad PR for Google.
All of these are positive character traits, but they also mean that some...well...sociopathic individuals have managed to gain his trust and hold it for long periods of time, doing significant damage to the organization in the process. In the past, he has eventually fixed things, it just took years.
It's hard to say that this is wrong, per se, since the alternative is often a slash-and-burn CEO that axes executives at the first sign of trouble in their divisions. You can't do anything long-term under those conditions either.
Through the non-MBTI lens, just that he tends to be long-term oriented, inwardly-focused, and prefers to invest in long-term relationships with a few trusted people rather than gregariously flirt with many. He wanted all of his executives to pledge to commit to Google for 10 years when he became CEO in 2011 (ironically, most of them have left by now).
Certain people are gifted with the ability to "kiss up and kick down" their team, i.e., kiss up to those they need to impress, and for anyone else that is less valuable, "kick them" or treat them with less regard.
Here is a good Wikipedia article, with several case studies: John Bolton, Robert McNamara. Maybe someone can add his name to this list:
Vivek "Vic" Gundotra did serious damage to Google's corporate image and was seriously reviled within Google, yet he stuck around for years. It's possible that Google upper management thinks that Fadell might be able to pull off a bet-the-company move. Gundotra was tasked with the same thing.
Or, it's possible that Google was contractually obligated to keep Gundotra around for a period of time, and is under the same obligation with Fadell. shrug
I can't believe that they would have so much negotiating power that there's no way out for Google. Even if it's moving them to be the VP of janitor closets.
1. potential reputation and organisational damage that such a person can bring to an organisation without carefully managing the situation;
2. in a company as big as Google (and frankly, one that is doing as well as Google!) it may take quite a lot of time to truly uncover the damage that a person is doing to an organisation, especially if that person is on good terms with upper management;
3. At a high enough level of management in a big enough company, lawyers and professional negotiators can wangle some amazingly good terms into the manager's contract. This can make it exceptionally tricky to remove this person quickly, or even move them sideways (if you move someone sideways, then you change their authority on a variety of things, which almost certainly changes their job description and thus their contract. This goes double if you demote them, even for the same money).
I can't speak for anything going on at Google of course, but I guess I can speculate that it might have been a combination of all three of these things. Which is utter speculation, so feel free to duly assign it the value that you feel it is worth :-)
There is a lag between management incompetence and revenue.
Though if you scrape them for minor bits, you find some minor hints. For example, one of those fawning admiration posts about him, two years ago, mentioned that he killed the Android laptop project, because it was competing with his own project, Chromebooks.
I recently heard the 'tack Android apps onto Chrome OS' strategy described as a "trainwreck" by a Google employee, and that ship has now been righted: Android is working on multi-window views in Android 6.x, and it's looking like Android is once again looking at a single converged OS for multiple form factors.
Ubuntu and Windows, of course, have been working on this for a while. Had Pichai not interfered out of his own ego for his own pet project, Google would be leading this curve, not trailing behind. As another commenter said above, "There is a lag between management incompetence and revenue". But Android was leading this until Pichai got in the way.
Between a huge stumble like this, that the media barely even noticed, and the fact that under Pichai, Google has lost almost all consumer trust, I have a hard time believing Sundar doesn't deserve a large helping of the blame.
And considering the stumbles the ad market, their primary business, is having, being a strong device platform provider, which they've already shown they can monetize (outside of ads, Android is probably their next most profitable space), is really key.
Home automation installation services or even contractors would also be cautious about Nest.
There's a lot of room for a vendor to come in with open products, a pledge to maintain that open-ness, and decent integration to really take over the home automation market. I really feel like all the existing products are too proprietary to be of any interest to us home automation geeks.
But then the open source hardware stuff is almost entirely limited to 'build it yourself' boards. And sure, I could buy some Arduino and Raspberry Pi hardware (I actually have a lot of it lying around) and spend a bunch of time working on it, but then it wouldn't be a nice wall unit like my switches I have.
There's a huge open space here. It's a market just asking for someone to step in and make products.
I think a lot more could be done to sunset products gracefully, and with consideration for the paying customer. We'll be ceasing updates for this in a year, we'll keep the server active for x years. Be aware there will be no security fixes. Like the phased EoL of Windows releases.
I think quite a few examples of smart things are getting dangerously close to, or already passing, the line that would fit the legal definition of unreasonably short. SaaS only? We need to wait for case law and legislation to catch up I think.
Eighteen months life, then intentionally break your $300 product, with only 6 weeks notice? I think it would make an interesting test case with reasonable chance of success.
I trust Google very little as far as sunsetting their many releases.
As a consumer - "hey too bad you didn't want to make a business of this but you suckered me in with your shiny new fangled thing and I gave you money for it - I didn't give you permissions to then decide that you didn't make enough money so now you're going to take your ball and go home leaving me with an expensive door stop"
They went bust or are closing? OK that sucks, but it happens. Can't really be helped. Even if it's a hardware thing it's going to happen if there's a server-side component rather than entirely stand alone. Best case release some code, specs or open source to enable some hackery to keep hardwareThing viable.
We got bought, OldThing is boring so it's closing in 4 weeks, we're truly excited to be working with FaceGoog on the future of NewThing. Seriously not ok. People should be writing Medium articles about it. And yelling.
Because applying SaaS business model to hardware is simply fucked up. Also, for many of those products one has to expend significant effort to make them not hackable by end-users, so if a company decides to make a proprietary, cloud-dependent device that then gets bricked when they move on, it only shows they actually worked hard to fuck their customers. Not to mention that in many of those products the cloud is not needed for any sensible reason and is in fact bad engineering - it's included only to make more money off people.
Sadly, as long as customers play ball this nonsense will continue - the market sells what people buy.
Essentially, the law demands that no matter what you do with the software, the product won't malfunction (not just "not explode", it needs to work). Obviously that means no software that isn't made by the same engineering team ... also once the hardware is out that means no changes to the software unless someone does make their fridge explode. Even if they change the temperature 50 times a minute with the door open that can't affect the lifetime of the product. Needless to say, you block this in the software.
Unless courts start putting responsibility for the things people do with their own hardware on those people, this won't be forthcoming.
Also, there are "hackable" products on the market, e.g. the OpenWRT routers. Those still seem to be allowed.
OpenWRT routers have been in the legal clear zone for a while (due to FCC exception for the WiFi bands), but that's changing 
 http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/07/27/new-fcc-rules-may-pre... (FCC page https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/kdb/forms/FTSSearchResultPage.cfm... )
People are somewhat confused about this. For instance you can change the firmware of smartphones, no ? Well, no, you can't. You see, what people call a cell phone contains a 100% locked down actual cell phone, and a PDA that's completely independent (and in some cases, more than one locked down system. E.g. NFC is it's own locked down system as well). These are fun things, they're smaller and smaller. In the last 2 years the actual cellphone, everything except the antenna fits in 0.5cm x 0.5cm x 0.1cm package that actually contains multiple chips. These things are connected to the audio devices of the phone, and therefore have sole control over what comes out of the speaker and where the microphone goes. They also have a serial network interface these days for 3G/4G, and the sim connects directly to these chips.
So technically android (or ios, or windows phone, or blackbery, ...) does not run on cellphones, it runs on the PDAs that we insert into cellphones. Therefore it does not need approval.
It also means that Android/IOS do not actually control (for example) the audio on smartphones, or whether a call is answered. Or whether, when asked for the location of the phone or the contents of SMS'es, or to call out and send out the audio the microphone receives, whether those requests are answered. Android/ios would never see those requests (though you may find the microphone suddenly doesn't work anymore in apps). And yes, this works even when there is no sim in the phone.
Whilst there are cellphones that don't provide law enforcement (I wonder if it's only law enforcement though) with these features, they're older models and are getting phased out. If you read this site, I bet your phone has these features. And like all features you don't control, you wouldn't like them if you knew what they were.
Doing this kills ALL future business of this type. Who would buy such a device knowing this could happen?
Unless they don't plan on making consumer appliances anymore.
Seriously though. Highlighting the ridiculousness of the current approach to IoT (including laughing off startups in this area that follow the SaaS/cloud model with hardware) is probably the only reasonable way of this mess.
This has become a key thing that I look for when buying new products. If the product relies on the cloud for a feature that I think should be entirely offline, the product will be immediately returned and a negative review will be left on the resellers site.
A perfect example was the early version of the Lockitron device. It required cloud access but had a one time payment. Based on that information alone I could not justify the purchase to myself even just to play with because it's a bad business model.
They then add insult to injury by making me sync via a dongle /connected cable to my laptop; at which point I could just as easily sync to a desktop client vs their otherwise "disconnected cloud".
But the fact that they force you to use their servers to store your data so that they can turn around and sell it, frankly I hope they get sued for something. Anything.
There should be a law against selling customer data without the expressed consent of the customer whos data is being sold, per purchase. Even if the company is acquired.
I still use the Audiotron every day. Still haven't found anything better.
Turning my lights on and off? That has to work without internet access.
Logging my heart rate et all, ala fitbit? Nope, I should be able to use a server of my choosing, requiring that I use cloud servers for something I paid a one time fee for is an instant deal breaker.
A service that logged all of my access times and determined whether or not I was home based on the result? I would prefer that be run from my own server even optionally with a DNS hijack, but I would understand the need for the cloud in this situation.
Most "connected" devices simply have lesser or limited functionality when services they are connected to disappear.
It also comes down to Ownership. When I buy a device I expect it work until it gives up its electronic ghost. When I subscribe to a service I expect it to work for the month I paid for.
Ofcourse I would have never bought that hub in the first place because I require my products at a minimum to have a open API that can be used for Compatibility later.
Wall Garden should be resisted by consumers, it is sad most people do not even look at that, hopefully cases like this will push consumers to DEMAND manufacturer have open and inter operable systems
Not true, that is only the case for devices where the company wants to have exclusive control over the connection and resulting data, There are all kinds of open devices sold where I can connect to servers run by community, myself, or the company (many provide the cloud service and the device separately, so I buy the device then i have to buy a monthly service as well)
>Should Connected Hardware companies/startups disclose this upfront when making the sale? i.e. say "Your $199 purchase includes a free license to our software for x years."
That should be the minimum disclosure requirement.
I have old phones that can't make telephone calls, but they still work fine as connected devices via wifi. They still work as cameras, mp3 players, gaming machines etc.
What is X?
For traditional desktop software and standalone apps, the expectation is not different at all. I still own a lot of old pc games that I bought at some point and play occasionally and would find it extremely irritating if they suddenly stopped to function without any acceptable reason.
Recently, things may be changing with mandatory auto-updating, subscription models and many apps just being front-ends for server-side processes. But as far as I know, most of those changes are pushed by vendors/developers and accepted by consumers as a necessary evil (if at all). It's not at all that customers would suddenly expect something different.
Have little to no customer service, even when money is involved, letting products stagnate for years and frequently pulling the plug on services.
Which is scary, because this hardware is dependent on Google-owned software and services.
I'd say any home automation installer should be very wary of Silicon Valley-based automation "services", and focus on robust products which have been available for a long time.
My Hue lights work without an internet connection, and can be controlled from a device on my local network. And they are also made by an old-school company, Phillips.
They probably hope the guy will find the next big thing. That's more Google working internally as a VC in markets to be. Not that I think it is alright from such an established business like Google.
Of course, that doesn't mean they're not pissed off, so nothing in your comment invalidates the parent's.
Edit: I assumed ill intent. Corrected it.
Saying Google are somehow accountable for nest or glass is like saying that dropbox are accountable for the actions of reddit. They are literally that disconnected now when it comes to how the businesses are managed.
I still can't believe something like Dropcam is such a huge success. The level of security awareness the general public has is terrifyingly small, and companies are taking advantage of it to produce brickable devices. It is the legal variant of ransomware...They can hold your data hostage for any reason and at any time. You're completely at their mercy, with regard to pricing and availability, and you have to trust they won't fall on hard times, or get tired of running the service.
This is the next front in the battle for electronic freedom, and lots of folks (even nerds) don't seem to realize it.
To your point about it being a brickable device... I figured by the time the product was "bricked" (e.g. company going bust, product end-of-life, etc), that the hardware would be so out of date that it'd be time to replace it anyway.
With that said... after Nest acquired them, there's been no new meaningful features, no decrease in price, no new camera features, etc. I cancelled the "DVR" plan and will be finding an alternate system later this year.
I read the box. It listed a bunch of cool features. I bought it.
Nowhere on the box did it say, "We will keep all of your video and there is no way for you to use this device without Dropcam.com acting as an intermediary." I'm sure if I'd read some reviews, it would have been more clear to me what I was buying. But, I've bought cameras in this category before (first one I bought was a Panasonic Petcam about a decade ago, which worked wonderfully for many years, and didn't have the ability to hold my data for ransom), and never had one of them be this...um...useless, without the service associated with it. My expectation as a consumer of these kinds of devices was not, at all, met by what Dropcam is.
So, yes, I was ignorant of how Dropcam worked; but that ignorance was fostered by omission of key information on the Dropcam packaging.
"With that said... after Nest acquired them, there's been no new meaningful features, no decrease in price, no new camera features, etc. I cancelled the "DVR" plan and will be finding an alternate system later this year."
So...we're agreed, then, that you are at their mercy. You just have a much more forgiving attitude about their practices than I do. I consider it unethical (particularly the misleading copy on their packaging, but the general case of a device being ransomware, as well). Obviously, I'm not in the majority, since Dropcam is well-reviewed, and well-liked by a lot of people. I can't make people care about privacy, security, device re-usability, longevity of devices, reducing e-waste, and being able to make my own decisions about how I can use my devices, but I do still care about those things. Ease of use does not require giving up consumer choice.
Why didn't you just simply return the camera once you realized there was platform lock-in? Even after using Dropcam for significant time, the largest "investment" is the content captured during the "DVR" sliding window of 7 or 30 days--which you can export and manually download in chunks. How exactly was their product "ransomware"?
"I can't make people care about privacy, security"
FWIW, I care deeply about privacy/security, even more than some here. But how how does privacy / security relate to the service lock-in. If anything, the alternate "open" model has proven to be far worse in terms of privacy and security. I used my Dropcam to monitor the exterior of my house, pointed outward from a window. I accepted the tradeoffs, accepting the potential risk of Dropcam being hacked or a rogue engineer/admin, but trusting that they understood that risk and the need for appearing to care. Now, there's currently no consumer device on the market that I'd trust to continuously capture video in all common rooms (e.g. not bath/bed) in my house--even if only streaming to an on-prem server. The only option I'm comfortable with is building my own cameras, where I have control over the os/security/patches of the cameras.
So...we're agreed, then, that you are at their mercy.
Sure, I agree that when purchasing a paired device and service offering, that you're at the mercy of that company to continue offering said service. I fully understood what I was getting when I purchased the camera, and felt that their model was worth $149. Maybe the marketing copy has changed since launch, but i fail to see how they were "unethical" or that the device is "ransomware". To be clear, I'm referring to Dropcam in 2012, not Nest.
How "out of date" can a simple webcam get? Not to the point of it not still being useful I would think. And the decision of hardware still being useful/usable should be the users choice, not the manufacturer.
I'd strongly prefer to buy from a company that promised open sourcing / releasing access keys if they sunset the product. In fact, I'll probably look for that on future purchases...
I basically say the same thing about every 'smart home' device.
I would love to be able to query my thermostat to find out when and how long it turned the heat/AC on and whatnot, but I only want it to talk to my local wifi and devices. I don't want it to use a cloud service at all for anything ever.
I don't have that option, so I don't use them.
I never thought I'd want to be in the home automation business, or the web cam business, but this kind of thing is just so offensive to me, that whenever I think about it, I want to do something.
Your revenue would come from selling increasingly inexpensive hardware and/or trying to sell your software to run in a consumer environment where you have very little control.
Very few companies can make money that way. Smartthings is backed by Samsung (800 lb gorilla). They appear to be playing a long game now because they provide cloud-backed service (for free) and cheap hardware. The strategy will very clear shift towards subscription service eventually, IMHO.
So long as the company does not go rogue and purposefully brick the devices, then the company could shutdown and the devices could still be usable. Further, other companies could provide remote management services for these devices. Being IoT devices, though, would make them still susceptible to security issues, but at least being able to use them on a segregated network could limit that from happening.
HOWEVER.... it DOES rely upon Smartthings "in the cloud". Every interaction with sensors is mediated through the cloud and if something goes wrong on their side (and it does) mayhem ensues.
FWIW, the developer platform consists of writing groovy scripts in their web-based IDE. The code runs on their servers, not your devices.
Good old PCs weren't so bad after all. You had all your data and software locally and could do whatever you wanted.
I think it was a couple years ago I finally stopped resisting and said "fuck it" - signed up for Spotify, shut the hodge podge of syncing/ home NAS solutions I was using and just got a Dropbox account.
Others outside Synology write stuff for those boxes, evidence that it's not locked down, so I suppose with enough hacking one could get a DropCam to work on a Synology box. But it would be a hell of a lot easier if Synology had a list of plug-and-play devices that they either build themselves or partner with another manufacturer. The latter is unlikely to happen, given the rent-seeking behavior we see out of manufacturers.
I think you are totally misjudging this market. To the average person, a Dropcam is empirically far more secure in practice than many alternatives have proven to be. It's certainly what I'd recommend to a friend.
A few years ago, Foscam Wifi cameras were popular with parents. You could buy one for <$100 and they worked over wifi and had no service you had to buy. But then they were hacked by the thousands with repeated major security issues over multiple years. There were numerous news reports of parents finding strangers yelling obscenities at their babies in the middle of the night using the camera's talk-back function. This happened to multiple people I knew in real life.
This led to numerous articles like this one telling parents to update passwords, disable UPnP, tweak router settings, update firmware, etc, to prevent future hacks. But to a parent who's baby was woken up in the middle of the night by a hacker, they are probably just going to throw the hacked camera in the trash.
By comparison, Dropcam is a totally integrated solution that requires no user-initiated updates, no network configuration and is backed by the reputation of Google. To the average parent that doesn't want to spend their life reading Foscam forums, that's a much more attractive solution and much less likely to get hacked due to not being updated or properly configured and secured.
Dropcam/Nest/Google produces a product that works really well right out of the box with almost zero configuration and is relatively secure. The non-cloud alternatives do not. Until someone offers a solution that "just works" like Dropcam, consumers will keep opting for the cloud-based solution.
Yes, it sucks for electronic freedom. But that's not the main feature that matters to the market.
I think there are a lot of people on HN who dont remember that just because they can easily set something up regular people can't do the same thing.
Of cause having dropbox/dropcam simplicity comes with downsides but for regular consumers its not a question between self hosting and cloud, its between having something that can do this and not having it at all.
I've owned a number of devices in this category; the first was a Panasonic Petcam, which worked great for me, for many years. It had the ability to email me videos and photos, save to arbitrary FTP storage, etc. This was over a decade ago! If they could manage all that back then, why is it so difficult now, with networking tools being so much more advanced today?
And, yeah, hype has a lot to do with it. How have products like Dropcam and Nest generated so much buzz? I guess people genuinely prefer them, and consider the user experience worth the price (both in terms of money and in terms of privacy and choice).
That is the difference between tech professionals and the general public. We care, others don't. Make it work, make it just expensive enough folks will buy it to fix their problem while you clean up, profit.
If you want things to change, it'll only happen with regulation.
That's not a justification to add data stealing features and obfuscated dependencies to a remote, probably short lived server.
We understand the nature of those features, others don't.
9/10 the answer is: absolutely nothing. In 2-3 years it'll be in a landfill, not because the hardware is obsolete, but because the firmware made it so. Landfills full of hubris.
Landfills full of unicorn poop.
So having all this stuff depend on other stuff which is only relevant at the current point in time where all the systems are online, is a recipe for massive loss of infrastructure support. The whole "long lived home server" thing starts to become a compelling response.
Most game devs don't even realize it. I had an interesting chat with one of the WoW devs a few months back and I asked him what his thoughts were on the ephemerality of what's created. Not only how nobody will experience the content but how all the lessons learned from creating the content, all the man-years spent in creating the art, the design etc are also lost. Well, he didn't really have an answer, I think the question just made him feel bad. Understandable.
I was burned by them buying Revolv, the most promising of all hubs due to having multiple antennas and touted as supporting multiple new protocols via software updates (which never happened post merger).
I think it hurt so much because the product underdelivered from day one (I purchased it on day one) and did not improve over time in an area of technology that should have been doable.
Sounds like it does what I want: runs on my desktop, can be made accessible to the world. That has security implications, of course, but those can be addressed.
But if you want to simply put home assistant on a raspberry pi and use the zwave integration natively you can:
Otherwise it works with vera z-wave hubs (https://home-assistant.io/components/vera/) or the ISY944
I've been very impressed with Home Assistant. The developer is very active, and happy to discuss development proposals in the project gitter.im chat room.
Any device that needs an internet connection in order to function should be leased, not bought.
Then these companies complain and cry how everyone is pirating things and nobody wants to buy their products. A lot of people in Western countries, I feel use pirated products not because they don't have the money to pay, but because it is a better user experience -- no forced commercials to watch, FBI warnings over which you can't fast-forward, music doesn't disappear if they buy a new device and so on.
To be fair, I think you'll find that there's very little overlap.
In this situation, there's no need to worry about a vendor's servers being shut down: one's own server continues to run, and continues to provide service. One has control, and yet for the vast majority of people who don't care, one needn't think about it until one wishes to.
More power on the edges of the internet please!!!
I guess the question should be asked as to where the line is between when a user should and shouldn't expect a device to work. Especially in the coming age of drivers less cars.
I can easily see a case where each driver-less car will need to talk to a mother-ship if for no other reason than syncing with other cars around it, getting new GPS maps, etc.
I think most people would be rightly disappointed if their car was suddenly bricked and unable to work due to the car's manufacturer end of lifeing their car.
Where is the line between bricking a $300 device and a $30,000 device?
The only close analogy that quickly comes to mind is video games. Most now require online servers to play, or at least get the most out of them. Some companies like ID software have been good about releasing the required code to keep their games online long after they no longer want to support them, others companies have been, ummm, less willing or able to do so.
Reminds me of prepaid gas and water meters in the UK. They started out only doing them for those who missed payments or had poor credit, but now they're everywhere. Most new homes get a prepay meter which they can wirelessly disconnect.
I'm really not clear on why this is insidious. A utility worker has the legal right to come shut it off, why shouldn't they be able to do it remotely?
Also prepaid plans are somewhere between 150GBP to 200GBP more expensive peer year, which just adds to the cost of being poor.
At least this device merely controls some devices inside a house, where it switching off is a simple inconvenience rather than a danger to life and limb.
The solution to these problems is fairly simple, at least in theory. The 'smart' device simply loses any functionality dependent on the maker's network when services are shut down. Fewer people complain about a lot of Nintendo's games losing online functionality because there's a single player and various options that doesn't dependent on it. So if Mario Kart 8 or Luigi's Mansion 2 has its servers go offline, you've got a perfectly decent game which simply loses online multiplayer.
In these cases, if the services goes away, it should simply become a normal device that the user configures themself independently of the company's network.
Forget the high end products with their fancy features and instead stick with reliable basic/mid range products that will last for decades rather than years.
Just about on par with those vacuum tube TV sets of the past millenium.
That is not the answer most countries are implanting.
You use whatever app to summon a car. You give it a destination, and instead, the car makes a detour to the local police station. the address you entered is in a higher crime rate locality, and therefore the car owner approved further "screening". So the car goes to the local police station for a routine search of the car (authorized by car owner) and a dog search of you...
That kind of future is one I am worried about.
and i am also pretty sure even a bad lawyer could get you a criminal kidnap case out of this.
From a ridiculous bullshit standpoint, arrest by autocar isn't so far off from stop and frisk.
My search-fu fails to find you a link.
This problem has existed for years with games. If you had a game that had to be online to play, and the company decided to stop running the servers, you were screwed.
Sure, sometimes people reversed engineered it, and while the company usually didn't care, it was technically illegal.
We need some laws to protect consumers, that either say that they must release their API if they're going to shut down, or at least make reverse engineering the system legal.
The EFF proposed making a DMCA exemption for reverse engineering game server functionality when the official servers have shut down, making the game useless. And of course the industry (with a little help from the MPAA) has fought it tooth and nail:
Apparently "hacking" abandoned games encourages hacking in general, and, as in the classic orphan work argument, allowing reverse engineering for all abandoned works would rob publishers of the revenue for the tiny, tiny portion of them that they may (or may not) re-release some day.
The Librarian of Congress gave limited approval of the proposal, allowing circumvention of the case you mentioned, where an online check is required just to play local single player, but not anything else. Creating a new multiplayer server, for instance, is still illegal.
You feel like you OWN physical products, even when they are tied to a service like this.
Very pro-profit, very anti-consumer.
I have zero (0) Apple products that have been unceremoniously bricked by Apple in the way Google is doing to the product in question. Zero.
Apple's not "subtle". They are actively working in the opposite direction from what you are claiming. That's why my 9-year-old iMac still works like a charm. That's why iPhones are still able to run the latest software YEARS after the competition has ceased to have any updates.
Apple is interested in improving its OS. iOS 6 might run faster than iOS 9, although this stupid video doesn't prove that. But you know what? iOS 6 also had a lot less features. You want Apple to stand still for a period of 4 years on feature upgrades? That's nice. You can stay with iOS 6, then. Nobody will stop you. The rest of us would like the updates, thank you very much.
"Planned obsolescence" as a phrase applied to Apple is bullshit, has always been bullshit, and is perhaps more bullshit these days than ever before.
To hell with your exciting journey, I paid good money for something I'd like to work for a reasonable length of time. I want home automation and appliances to work until they go pop.
It puts me off buying a lot of these things. We've already had smart TVs turning off features like Skype in 2 yo sets.
DS Note is just one example, there's buttloads of software that Synology cranks out for these little boxes, including security cam software. Problem is, tracking down which camera works with the NAS is non-trivial, and frankly more trouble than I care to expend. Now if Synology said, "here's a $200 camera. Point it at your NAS. All data stays on your local network, no 'cloud' services to rely on. Sorted.", I'd buy four of them that same day, no questions asked, shut up and take my money.
IOW, yes, there is a currently available solution. What there isn't, AFAICT, is a "click here, wait two days for Amazon, have it running five minutes after you open the box" like Nest or Withings.
If you can't rely on ownership of something anymore we'll be in big trouble. Maybe there will be a countertrend where instead of relying on the cloud as storage/computing service computing and storage will go back to the customer.
It's not so bad, people generally understand the implications of renting and there are laws protecting their rights.
I wonder if people were clearer that these gadgets were unlikely to stick around for 3 years if they would buy them at all.
My only hope is that FOSS will become an option for these devices. There have been examples of Dropcams getting rooted, so perhaps not all is lost here.
Don't get me wrong, I'm with you. I think 4 years from sale is reasonable though. Whatever the commitment is, it should be on the packaging, and it would be nice if the various state and federal consumer protection laws were applied here.
"Forever" is definitely not the answer I'm looking for here, but there should be a date, and preferably a DIY way forward for those of us who're technically inclined and have stocked up on sufficient amounts of elbow grease. This could be accomplished similarly to the Parse sunset: the service won't run anymore, but here's all the stuff you need to get it going, good luck! I'll take that over the seemingly imminent paperweightization of my camera.
A number of old-economy businesses already do this, eg. razors, printers, car leases, apartments. Kinda ironic that this comes on the heels of the "ownership society" though.
I read The Goal and its sequels in the early 90s. The struggling fictional businesses were turned around by transitioning from production towards service oriented business models. Very out of the box thinking at the time.
I really enjoyed the books at the time. Not great literature. But very thought provoking.
To align business interests, I'd probably like to see something like "3 years free service included, after that a subscription is required" so that customers are an asset rather than a liability.
In addition, everything should have some kind of use without a cloud mode, even if it's not fully featured. E.g. Dropcam should revert to a basic USB webcam in lieu of a cloud service, if only to reduce the amount of electrical waste we're producing. Ideally firmware signing keys should be released when a product is EOL'd, so the open source community can pick up the torch.
Once you give up control to someone else you have no say.
This is why I refuse to buy any 3rd party internet connected (I mean connects to a 3rd party, not just TCP/IP) appliance unless I can install anything I want on it.
It doesn't matter if internet connectivity is required or optional - if I'm not in charge of the software on it, and it connects to a 3rd party I refuse to buy it.
I have a feeling more and more people will refuse to buy these devices until this fad moves on.
- If your internet if not functioning, the device may or may not function
- If the company that sold it to you closes, it may immediately stop functioning
- If the company that sold it to you decides to discontinue the product, it may stop functioning
- The company that sold it to you may remove or break functionality at any time. It may be left in this state for many reasons.
And then pointing to concrete examples of products where each of these cases happened, which shouldn't be that hard to do, and how long it took to happen in each case (from initial product launch and from last device sold), would result in a lot of people caring about exactly this problem.
In other words, I don't think it's that people don't care, it's that they don't know enough to know they care. It's a relatively new development, compared to items like cars, fridges and dishwashers, which is probably how a lot of people think about their appliance devices.
They also don't care about your company not wanting to support a 10 year old device anymore. They bought and paid for a device and they will expect it to work until it dies or they choose to replace it. In this case it will die, but not because it's broken.
Devices like the Nest, TVs, refrigerators and so on are still expected to last many many more years than something like phones and I don't think a company like Google is capable of committing to something that long term.
The alternative to not make that long term commitment is to design devices that work without a hosted service.
Right now saying that is positive advertising - it won't take much for that to be a negative when people are deciding what to buy.
We moved the comments from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11423511 which had that title.
A thermostat should not need to connect to the internet. Everything it does should be able to be done onboard.
I refuse to buy a Nest.
And problems do happen: http://techcrunch.com/2016/01/09/nests-smart-home-apps-are-b...
My Synology NAS has some cloud like services but it does not require any external services to work. Just the way IoT should be.
Well, that's a problem with centralisation. There's no reason that you shouldn't be able to connect directly & securely to your thermostat, or access it indirectly & securely via your router or home server.
Among the issues of doing this are asymmetric Internet speeds and NAT, but those are solvable.
I do not want (most) IoT devices to be controlled directly over the Internet. For some it may make sense to do it like that, like say for surveillance cameras, but stuff like routers or coffee makers should be controlled locally.
I still love the design of this phone, but it has severe oversights as far as evolvability goes.
I have consistently complained that these companies are completely deficient in requiring some cloud service (read: other peoples' servers). And guess why I had those issues? Because they offload all processing to these machines to retain control of them.
I am not against companies trying to make a buck. Instead of tying your service that will explode, support open standards like MQTT, CoAP, and AMQP. Doing anything less shows to me that your business is a house of cards.
That makes it sound like their primary concern is keeping control of the devices. In reality I think it's just laziness. We all know how much easier it is to support code running on a server than to support code running on hardware sitting on somebody's dusty garage shelf with no internet connection.
I sincerely believe that many of these entrants into IoT do want to remain in control of the devices and the users who "rent" said hardware. I've seen laziness in code before. It's usually sloppy, unmaintained/badly maintained, and just messy.
These products are polished, just work, and smooth... and make you go through their systems. That's an intentionally designed system.
> We all know how much easier it is to support code running on a server than to support code running on hardware sitting on somebody's dusty garage shelf with no internet connection.
Indeed true. I'm not advocating axing out those features. I said to add in another: which is to use open standards as well.
I also develop IoT hardware (not for sale). I use Arduino Nanos, nRF24L01+ radio chips, whatever sensors/actuators for the hardware. For the software, I use Node-Red, Mosquitto (MQTT server), and Apache NiFi. For "cloud support", I use Tor Hidden Services at every gateway machine, and communicate between .onion addresses. I effectively treat all my machines in the world as a simple ethernet hub. I'm just an individual, and was able to figure all this out.
Getting something to work one time is not remotely the same task as getting it to work for every user, every time. Getting the setup you described to work correctly is doable. Getting that setup to work for everyone who takes a box off the Home Depot shelf and plugs it in? That's hundreds of times more work. Writing a nice UI is a piece of cake in comparison. I'm still inclined to see laziness here rather than malice.
Not that it matters. The end result is the same either way: devices that spy on you unless they get bricked. I wonder if the 1984 Big Brother webcam had more than a two-year warranty.
I'm sick and tired of the US 'business playground' antics. A certain VC funding group is also well known for bad antics, although they got their client company slapped down by a rogue hacker for lockdown antics :) Imagine that.
I wonder how they feel about that "investment" now.