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
Logitech’s MX Keys [Amazon] is what it finally took to lure me away from mechanical keyboards. It’s a slim yet solidly-constructed full-size model that’s similar to and superior to Apple’s Magic Keyboard. It’s flat, minimalist, heavy, solid and low-profile, with large backlit keys typeset in something similar to Futura Light. The keys are square with […]
Microsoft is to shut shop on the high streets and malls of America, permanently closing its 116 retail stores. Only 10 were overseas; flagship stores in New York City, London, Sydney, and Redmond will be remain as showrooms that do not sell the products. There will be no layoffs, Microsoft reports. Alarm bells rang when […]
Traintrackr is a powered circuit board showing a map of the London Underground, lighting up in real time to show train positions on 333 stations on all 12 main lines. It connects to the tube’s API for live location data every second. The board is 400mm x 300mm and sells for £249. (There’s also the […]
You could actually watch a Tyrannosaurus Rex walk down your street right now. And no, this isn’t the latest Jurassic Park sequel. Of course, it isn’t real either, just a Google recreation of some pretty realistic looking dinosaurs transplanted right into any environment around you courtesy of augmented reality. Yet it’s just another example of […]
A guy on the Apple discussion forum started a thread titled, “Why do your Charger Cables have the lifespan of a housefly?” That question is probably enough to elicit a whole bunch of head nods from virtually everyone reading this, whether you’re an iPhone user, an Android owner or have virtually any device that needs […]
For all their power and capabilities, image editing software isn’t like sitting down to play a video game. You aren’t there to have fun. You’re likely looking to make a few minor tweaks to an image to make it ready to be shared, then you move on with satisfaction in a job well done. If […]