Philips makes a line of "smart" LED lightbulbs and controllers called Hue, that run the Zigbee networking protocol, allowing third-party devices to control their brightness and color.
The latest Hue bridge firmware update locks out competitors' bulbs from manufacturers like GE. Other bulbs that Philips have approved are not locked out.
This will be familiar to anyone who owns an Ios device: the manufacturer installs code in a device that you own that prevents you from buying legitimate things from competing vendors and connecting them to your device. The difference here is that Philips is doing this with lightbulbs instead of apps, but the principle is the same: though you bought the thing, you don't own the thing, and it is designed to defy you when you ask it to do things that are not in its manufacturer's interest.
This parallel isn't just a theoretical one, it has important legal ramifications. Under Section 1201 of the DMCA (and its foreign analogs, such as Canada's Bill C11 and European laws that implement the EUCD) it's a felony to remove a digital lock like this one, even for a legitimate purpose (like deciding for yourself whose lightbulbs you want to buy).
Philips says they've done this to help their customers.
While the Philips Hue system is based on open technologies we are not able to ensure all products from other brands are tested and fully interoperable with all of our software updates. For guaranteed compatibility you need to use Philips Hue or certified Friends of Hue products.
Lightbulb DRM: Philips Locks Purchasers Out Of Third-Party Bulbs With Firmware Update
The new Moto Razr is a handsome retro thing. At $1500, though, who wants a 6.2-inch foldable smartphone designed to resemble a classic flip-phone? The hinge design of the Moto Razr is probably the most interesting thing about it. The best Samsung can currently do in the foldables space is the Galaxy Fold, which, thanks […]
After years of poorly-received MacBook Pro models, Apple’s new sixteen-inch model has a lot riding on it.
Here’s an ad from Hikvision, the worlds’ largest security camera company, boasting of its products’ utility in detecting people’s ethnicity. James Vincent writes that it “speaks volumes about the brutal simplicity of the techno-surveillance state.” [via @CharlesRollet1, who points to an archived webpage that details the “Uyghur detection” feature]
Vinyl is officially back. People are hearing the proof behind the initial “retro” excitement: that records really do have a richer sound. And if you haven’t switched to old-school records for serious listening, it’s a new golden age. Why? Because quality turntables like the Altec Lansing ALT-500 are finally available to a market other than […]
Between all of our apps, streaming devices, Bluetooth speakers, and energy-sucking decorations, paying for utilities each month can be…brutal. In fact, the average household spends roughly $70 a month on the water bill alone. That number might not seem terribly significant, but when you add it up, that’s $840 a year — a pretty significant […]
Seems like no matter what kind of wireless earbud you buy, you’re sacrificing something: Sound for longevity, battery life for durability, the list goes on. Finally, it seems like the tech is starting to come together for the full package in a few newer models. Case in point: These PaMu Slide Bluetooth 5 In-Ear Headphones. […]