> KS: I say one of the biggest things is that you don’t want Google messing around in your home. Honestly, half of my decisions are made like that, and now I don’t want as much Amazon in there because I buy everything now because I’m at Whole Foods. It’s fascinating. Part of it is that idea as an independent. You don’t want those two or three companies to really dominate every single data interaction you have, which is a plus for you guys, presumably.
> Our business model is to sell you a premium product and that’s our business.
The word you need here is prescient. Nothing ironic about how things ended up playing out.
The CEO’s reply was pretty neutral in that regard.
And you can't spot the irony?
But, always, in the back of my head, I think "should I really say that about Apple/Amazon/Google/etc)?" Self censorship is a tricky beast.
Somewhat related: are there any viable open source mesh network solutions for home use?
A concentration of wealth is nothing other than a concentration of (economic) power, and it's bad for exactly the same reasons that other concentrations of power are.
It boggles my mind that people who argue against large governments because their incentives aren't correctly aligned don't see that precisely the same argument applies to private individual/businesses with large amounts of wealth.
There seems to be a general pattern that "creating a freer market" always only seems to matter in the places where rich people would benefit from it.
Large concentrations of wealth are necessary for scaling production, allowing lower costs and increasing standard of living. Moreover, large concentrations of wealth are usually not very concentrated in the first place: the wealth of the wealthy is spread across the economy and the wealth of associations is spread across the world.
> It boggles my mind that people who argue against large governments because their incentives aren't correctly aligned don't see that precisely the same argument applies to private individual/businesses with large amounts of wealth.
The same arguments RE power/monopoly/unaccountability that apply to corporations in the market apply to the government much more in every case. Additionally, the government has the authority to coerce everyone into doing what they want to be done. It also has the ability to steal your money and spend it on things that you might somewhat benefit from at the best or are absolutely morally reprehensible at the worst.
And no, the existence of voting does not make any of that less of a problem.
I am not sure about how large concentrations of wealth are supposed to increase the standard of living across the population.
Communist planned economies were chasing those same sweet scaling benefits as well. Scaling does not scale.
So I keep being told, but it's pretty hard to see any evidence of this.
How is this at all relevant to the issue at hand?! There's many public companies that have much more dispersed ownership than Amazon/Google yet have massive amounts of money/market cap (e.g. oil majors, older tech companies, ...). Wealth can and will concentrate in businesses regardless of what kind of wealth tax on individuals or income tax on businesses you impose (unless of course if all business become unviable and unable to make money).
In general rich are taxed more, which is fair to a point in maintaining a functional and stable society but beyond that I think it’s immoral and theft. I also hold the opinion that rich shouldn’t have ways to circumvent the tax net. Everybody in the economy should pay their fair share.
Edit: I don’t know what’s up, this was a reply to acjohnson55
Doesn't the "because they have more" bit exclude the middle class by definition? If the taxman comes for me, then we're no longer following the initial plan.
If you're suggesting that a country will run out of wealthy people to tax... I'm not sure how that would work logistically. Is that a thing that could happen?
So sure I'll complain if they "come for me" because they decided not to tax the people they promised to tax. But the solution ain't giving up on taxes. It's enforcement.
It is still difficult to get away form Uncle Sam and will be for some time.
>It boggles my mind
It boggles my mind that you wouldn’t put any effort into understanding the view rather than sitting around pontificating about how boggled you are.
The key different between large governments and a large company is that only large governments wield the monopoly in violence and involuntary taxation. It’s still trivial in the grand scheme of things to avoid using Google/Amazon/Apple without breaking the laws. Good luck refusing to pay into the US government as a US citizen.
Once Amazon gains the power to garnish wages and imprison people for failing to subscribe to Amazon prime, then they will be on the same level as the government. Until then they are just another fish in the pond that can be avoided.
That's not true. We have $10k tax revenue per capita, an average household size of 2.6, and the bar to get out of poverty for households of 1-4 is $12k-25k.
UBI would be a big cost but you could have an enormous impact with a program that increases the federal budget 50%. And if you set your break-even point to something like $80k of income then half that money is immediately recaptured in taxes, so now you only have to source 25% more money.
You’ve conveniently made an arbitrary division of 2.6 to hide the fact that a doubling would be required if UBI were truly universal, allowed people to quit working, and didn’t place restrictions on household status (as you just did).
I would find it easier to move countries and change citizenships than to avoid the tech giants.
The bottom line is that a niche product is always going to be at risk regardless of the structure of the business that produces it.
Isn't venture capital pretty much incompatible with niche product businesses? So, if it turns out to be a truly niche product, avoiding VC funding means the customers at least have a chance that it will be long-lasting.
And that's still just a "plan B" for when just selling the business to someone more interested in continuing it doesn't pan out.
If you think about it, your goals as a customer of a business and the goals of a VC investor in that business are not aligned.
* Among supermarket goods, almost everything is sold by just 10 companies, including Nestlé, Unilever, Kraft, P&G and Johnson & Johnson.
* 54% of all financial assets in the US are owned by just 10 companies (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a few others).
* Same thing is happening to media conglomerates (Disney is a good example), airlines, alcoholic beverage companies, and everything else.
There's an increasing proliferation of brands, but an decreasing number of brand owners, resulting in an illusion of consumer choice. Even Amazon itself is a good example: An increasing number of products on Amazon are "secret" brands  owned by Amazon itself.
Soon you'll have even more choice as a consumer. Just the free market at work.
And when will this start happening? It looks to me like the trend over at least the last 20 years has been the opposite of this.
It frankly makes Google look extremely slow, especially with how hard it has been for them to make sense of that Nest acquisition, in early 2014.
Google Assistant for example is mostly superior to Alexa. Yes, Alexa technically has more connected device options. But not really that much any more. They are just really good at somehow capturing markets.
AWS is more extreme still. In many ways GCP is technically superior. I suppose a lot of it is first mover advantage on Amazons part. But some of it the perception people have of Google not supporting stuff. Which might be true for beta software and consumer products. But is not at all worse than other clouds for commercial (paid) offerings.
Off topic: Amazon also seems to dodge the brunt of the press onslaught tech firms have been receiving for the last two or three years (mostly deserved, yes). But Amazon is arguable worse in regards to monopolistic behavior and probably equal with regards to privacy.
I get the feeling Google is held to a higher standard because of perceived political stance. While they often publicly take a stance for one issue or another while Amazon simply ignores everything acts more like a a business of old: completely devoid of any politics.
A similar thing is seen in investor relations. Amazon generally seems to get more leeway in regards to capital expenditure. They invest like crazy in all sorts of ventures. As does Alphabet. But analysts only seem to reprimand Alphabet for that. It seems obvious that with Amazons entrance into advertising, and if Google doesn't somehow catch up in the cloud space or looses it's arguable lead in AI then Amazon (and Microsoft I guess) will eventually take over all of IT within the next 10 or 20 years.
My possible personal biases: I like what Alphabet is doing with it's other bets. The crazy stuff. Stuff that doesn't make immediate business sense. Also, and this is unpopular, I like that their taking a political stance in some cases. I like to believe that the founders are actually in it for more than money.
Unifi’s software is much better than any other enterprise solution, but it still has a lot of rough edges and bugs if you’re doing anything non-standard.
It's supposed to be plug-and-play.
I'd probably buy one, but I'm pretty happy with my 2 year old Unifi AC router, after initial setup, I haven't done anything to it - I have it set to update firmware automatically.
Really wanted to like Google Wifi but it was just too flaky too quickly to put up with.
I'd buy them again in a heartbeat, and I'm normally quite hesitant to buy Google products.
I personally found the interface a step up from Asus/Netgear/etc.
The best mesh network though would be through a smoke alarm setup. Then you could do backhaul over the power line and then you'd have WiFi everywhere. It would work really well for newer construction where hard wired smoke alarms are mandatory.
Argh, please don't proliferate ethernet over power lines. They cause horrible RFI by turning every unshielded power line into a broadband antenna.
Apple should have bought eero.
I've been waiting for Apple to make a big acquisition for years. Beats!!! Really?
And the Beats deal was an incredibly good purchase. It gave them audio engineering skills which you have seen popup in AirPods, MacBooks, HomePod etc. It gave them the Beats streaming platform which now forms the basis for Apple Music. It gave them a youthful, iconic brand which helps with initiatives like Beats1. And their hardware business was extremely profitable. Not to mention having execs like Iovine and Dre involved.
I see the parent I replied to mentioned smart home, which I must have missed.
I really believe the story that the HomePod was never meant to be smart home equipment, that that role was saddled on it before release.
HomePod has exceptional audio positioning and audiophiles have benchmarked it against high end speakers like Klipsch and it's held up very well.
And the benefit for me is Siri. I ask her everyday to read out the BBC News, set timers in the kitchen, set reminders and most importantly play the huge array of content from Apple Music.
"Hey Siri, play some music." (and it's _my_ iCloud library)
"Hey Siri, never play that song again."
"Hey Siri, skip."
I think it sounds great, and I also like that either of us can seamlessly set our iPhones to output from them. I'd like a second one in the living room to expand the sound in that area, and two more for two different "zones" where it would be useful. Siri gives us a laugh every now and then, too.
(it's also the first match on Bing and DuckDuckGo)
I don't have any Amazon smart thing and not sure I want one.
I'd recommend a Ubiquity Access Point, Ubiquity Security Gateway, and a Ubiquity Cloud Key instead. You could add one of their managed switches too if you need more network ports.
They work great, aren't that tough to set up and have better performance.
My parents house is large, old, allergic to wifi and complicated to wire for ethernet...I set up a mesh network for them last year and it has been a revelation after years of terrible wifi.
I specifically avoided the Google one. And I would never buy an Amazon security camera.
ASUS' AiMesh in particularly neat because it got backported to a bunch of compatible hardware platforms, and rather than being limited to particular "beacons" which tend to be sparse on things like external antennas and Ethernet support, it works with full-fledged Wi-Fi routers.
And I sort of agree... I'd only expect technically literate people to exhibit this buying motivation, but is the mass market Eero appeal significant enough that their consumer base isn't entirely tech literate people? Apparently this device has done rounds on podcasts but I'd never heard of it before today.
Not having a microphone doesn’t allay my fears.
I know how I feel about it: it ensures that I won't be buying anything from Eero.
I’m deeply distrusting of big tech companies generally though.
E.g. when Uber was a startup, it did stuff like this: https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/11/18/uber-crunches-u....
However, there's a rather huge difference in the capacity for harm. If Joe's Tiny Company is just as nasty as the likes of Amazon/Facebook/Google/etc., JTC is still preferable simply because they don't have as much power to abuse.
I don't have an alexa or google home or any other "smart" home device, and don't plan to get one. The hard part will be when they integrate such software into every appliance. Anyone have any idea what those of us concerned about privacy will do then?
Also, I still don't get what the point of having a "digital assistant" in all my appliances is. Can anyone explain?
This is coming from a former enthusiast who quit his job to build a cross-platform framework and SaaS for those things, and owned them in his home for years. I really wanted to like them.
Trust is a big issue with these companies, but putting any conspiracy theories aside, they're just not very smart or useful. Under the hood, it's a glorified command-line that's voice activated, which is why spoken commands are often very inflexible; if you have to learn exactly what to say to it, then it's not much of an assistant or better than simply pressing buttons. They are also a form of vendor lock-in, as there's really no standard for writing VUIs(voice user interfaces) like there is for writing web applications. As a developer, you're stuck working with their crippled APIs, and everything has to go through their servers.
Recent news around Google has convinced me to leave those devices unplugged for good. It was fun trying to "program" them, but after years both professionally and privately trying to come up with ways to make them useful, I always came up empty handed. If it weren't for the fact that they can control lights really well, I'd say they belong in a garbage can. Either way, they are a gateway to more of the surveillance economy.
EDIT: Being able to play Amazon Music or Spotify on them would be useful if those VUIs, years later, still weren't a complete joke. It's nifty being able to ask smart speakers to play music until you've experienced enough times of it not recognizing particular bands or not finding songs/albums that are clearly in the mobile app. They suck.
But for music, some of us don't want to pay $9.99/mo for a bs streaming service, but already have all our music ripped from cd on a nas.
Really, if your selling a 4K TV adding under 10$ in components to make it smart for say 10% of people that who care is an easy choice. Especially, if you can turn this into a secondary revenue source.
“The numbers reveal that usage of Samsung Smart TV (Tizen), which is the only platform large enough to break out as a separate category, fell by 16% year-over-year, measured in viewing hours.” https://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=...
Also, seriously: why is there no option to drop to a root shell on such devices? I could at least make them work reasonably well for longer periods with access to the operating system. One of the primary concerns: new streaming service comes along -> exclusive content shows up on new streaming service -> 3-yr-old tv doesn't have app published in the "store" for said service -> tv is obsolete even though the panel is fine.
If root was available, a modding community would likely develop, allowing longer device life.
Why haven't the environmentalists taken this one up? Forget modularity/upgradeability/right to repair etc., let people maintain the hardware that's already working. Massive e-waste problem.
I'm tracked much more than I can stand as it is, I'm certainly not going to buy anything that will make that situation worse.
Nonetheless, the presence of this functionality tells me something about the company making and selling the TVs, and that something makes me not want to do business with them.
Particularly given that it's better (and often cheaper) to opt for buying a monitor and a media computer over buying a TV.
Purchase appliances that don't have those software integrations. It's not that difficult. The market exists for it, and so the products will always exist for it as well.
If you're concerned about other people having smart appliances around you, well, then that should be the least of your worries when companies like Facebook already have a dossier on nearly all of us whether or not we have accounts.
I have this same issue with phones: I want something smaller, thicker, old cpu, cheap, really long battery life. It needs to do a few functions: play audio/video, call, text, email, read, occasionally browse web on mobile data. Not much that fits all of those.
If Amazon fixes that, I'd almost be more likely to buy one (if I ever get tired of my AmpliFi HD).
EDIT: Looks like eeroOS 3.9 was supposed to have fixed network persistence a few months ago, but no word on whether you still need to sign up for an account to use it. Can anyone confirm? https://community.eero.com/t/m26cfr/offline-wlan-access
In what way does that matter? Can you vlan them directly on the wireless router that way? Or are these devices 'all in one' routers (i.e. both wireless and wired)?
Marco Arment is not exactly a starving indie developer and podcaster between the equity he had in Tumblr. Whatever he got from selling Instapaper, running his own successful ad network for Overcast.
On top of that, he was an early investor in Gimlet Media that just got acquired.
But will they stop accepting eero as a sponsor? I could easily see that happening.
Glad I settled on Ubiquiti. If anything, given their leadership background, they'd be acquired by Apple.
BUT still, it makes me chuckle that Apple would kill off AirPort, product that was well liked by customers, only to buy (I mean IF the did) a WHOLE new company that includes a wifi router in the product lineup.
As an Eero customer and owner of zero commercial eavesdropping hubs, I'm not happy about this.
Why would I recommend AmpliFi over any of the half dozen alternatives on the market? Reality is that I simply wouldn't, and this coming from someone who loves Unifi/EdgeMax.
They also shipped a clearly not-ready product which took months to patch, not cool.
I thought their support was really good though. The main issue I have with it is that, for some reason, they were unable to identify my model number as being an older version that didn't support gigabit. They were super helpful but could have saved us both some time if they just paid closer attention to the model number.
I opted for the Netgear Orbi; good reviews and satellites capable of up to ~800 mbps in ideal situations.
I finally threw in the towel and bought a few of the new Synology Mesh routers.
Asus seems nice.
And I've just read there's a mandatory account + sign-in for these things?
What am I missing?! Just go buy a couple consumer routers and a spool of cat5e and you're done. If you're lazy, get a powerline device to bring connectivity to the remote router.
This is goofy!
The first thing people seem to go for are wifi repeaters, which seem to be terrible overall. I tried to setup/troubleshoot one at a friend's house and it sucked. When it did work, there was significantly more latency and the throughput seemed lower.
I've heard pretty good things about the power line devices and have suggested them in certain circumstances, they just don't seem to have caught on widely.
Mesh networks use a proprietary second network to address the problems with wifi repeaters. It sucks they're all proprietary, but from what I've heard most seem to work fairly well. I wish there were more with open standards and I'm not a fan of sign-ins.
Honestly, for most people upgrading their router to something relatively modern often extends the speed and range enough that other routers aren't needed.
The extra radio allows them to blow the pants off any repeater in terms of performance.
They also claim to do some network optimization, for example if you have a device that's constantly streaming Netflix it will be assigned appropriate QoS automatically.
Even if it has automatic security updates, you can bet that as soon as the thing's discontinued, the updates will be too...
I don't think they were in the money, and suspect there are some seriously disappointed shareholders right now.
I also use it to help control my own screen time. With eero I can set up a schedule to force myself to unplug from work and the internet on a regular basis.
I'm hoping Amazon makes Eero Plus free for prime users.
It's an area I often think could truly bring about decentralisation but it seems quiet
Netgear's Orbi WAPs are excellent, though.
You can also use them in bridge mode with a separate router in which they simply act as a mesh of wifi access points and don't do any routing or DHCP, but obviously they'd still have access to the frames of anything going over wireless and the ability to read their contents if they'd like, since they'd be the ones doing the encryption.
Selling multiple at $350 each just for WiFi range extension is probably beyond even Apple's marketing.
> Every Eero that’s connected ends up spitting out data to help us understand how our iPhone’s performing, how our Sonos speaker’s performing, how is Alexa performing, and we use that aggregated data to keep improving our software.
Need a canary for https://eero.com/legal/privacy . Look for the string "URI" or "URL" to see when they start collecting browsing data.
that is not true... at least not currently.
At least direct NSA backhauls are only analyzed and acted upon by the slow moving government. Commercial surveillance is more agile in both regards, and then passed off to the government anyway.
The true pity of these products is the decommodification of Wifi. Meaning rather than hardware manufacturers competing to bring us ever-faster radios, the market will slouch into just competing over who supports the recent batch of throwaway firmware features.
Agree Alexa with WiFi mesh routing is a no brainer though.
I should revisit the unoriginal crap I've got on my GitHub and try to patent it.