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counter point: i pre-ordered dropcam for the reason that it was limited to cloud-use only. I wanted something dead simple to use so my wife / house sitter / etc could easily move it as needed, we had access anywhere without configuration, and devops/it being handled by someone else incase i'm not around. Classifying their cloud-only product design decision as "incredible arrogance" quite a stretch... if anything, sounds like incredible ignorance on part of buyer?

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the time the product was "bricked" (e.g. company going bust, product end-of-life, etc), that the hardware would be so out of date that it'd be time to replace it anyway.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.




"if anything, sounds like incredible ignorance on part of buyer?"

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.


ah but you didn't read ALL of the 300 page EULA, and discuss with the lawyer its specific interpretations and possible outcomes, therefore this is really your fault you see...


My expectation as a consumer of these kinds of devices was not, at all, met by what Dropcam is. I consider it unethical (particularly the misleading copy on their packaging, but the general case of a device being ransomware, as well)

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.


> 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

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.


Ubiquiti just came out with cameras and a DVR device (atom-based) to store the content with you: https://www.ubnt.com/unifi-video/unifi-nvr/


I've been looking at the ubiquiti nvr for a bit as i like their wireless stuff but i'm not sure what cameras i'd want. The reviews of the newer micro cameras are crap and the new-new g3 ones they just announced aren't delivering til fall.


I went with a Xiaomi Yi for all those reasons - it's a quarter the price, and I doubt Xiaomi will be very inclined to share my data with the powers that be in the US (and their sharing it with the powers that be in the PRC is not likely to affect me). Of course, it's inherently absurd that these devices don't allow you to stream the video off of them yourself, it makes them e-waste in the making. Possibly someone will figure out a way to install friendlier firmware on them via the micro-sd card...


I did the same. I'm dubious that I'll buy another one, but even with the lack of new shinies, I'm happy with my dropcam purchase. If it shuts down tomorrow with no story for how I can switch it to my own servers, I'll be less happy. But I used it to replace a homebrew setup with a cheap IP cam and my own storage -- I willingly went with the cloud route knowing that it could be shut down on me, and the ~two years of completely hassle-free operation has been worth it. The homebrew version was mine, all mine, and it was a bloody headache.

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 cancelled the plan as well, but ended up getting charged at renewal time. The effort required on my part to fix that mistake was unacceptable (submitting screen shots of my Nest account details, required to send photo of the serial number on the camera, weeks of communication delays), and they STILL owe me some money, and have ignored further requests.




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