R Martin bought a Garadget -- a device that lets you verify whether your garage door is closed using a mobile app -- and couldn't get it to work and left an intemperate 1-star Amazon review for the product.
In response, Garadget creator Denis Grisak disconnected his customer's Garadget from the cloud service, rendering it inoperable, and told the customer that he would not "tolerate any tantrums," so R Martin's "only option is return Garadget to Amazon for refund." This drew some negative publicity, resulting in the restoration of the customer's service.
Whatever you think of the dynamics of R Martin and Denis Grisak, this is a cautionary tale about how the IoT is full of what we used to think of as "products" (garage-door openers) that are now "services," subject to the ongoing goodwill of the vendor to continue working. If the vendor decides to discontinue a product-service it simply stops working...forever -- same goes for vendors who punish customers for not buying official consumables; or who simply walk away from their businesses.
What's more, the ubiquity of DRM in these devices, along with their abusive terms of service, combined with Section 1201 of the DMCA (which bans breaking DRM even for lawful purposes) and the CFAA (which makes breaking Terms of Service into a potential felony) means that developing an alternative OS for these gadgets, or a third-party replacement cloud, can land you in jail.
IoT Vendor Bricks Customer Product Following Negative Reviews
[Catalin Cimpanu/Bleeping Computer]
SOG’s $60 Sync II “wearable belt buckle” multitool isn’t the only multitool/buckle on the market, but it does add a couple very sensible innovations, like a clip-on/clip-off base that lets you use your tool without taking off your belt, and a squared-off form factor (like a pair of folding travel sewing scissors) that adapts the […]
This week on Cool Tools’ Maker Update: Kitty Grabs Gold, a beer cooler that follows you, the Circuit Playground Express, Adafruit and Microsoft, Other Machine Co. and Bre Pettis, Tinkercad Lego export, a great kit for gadget and toy hacking, and Maker Faires. Our featured Cool Tool is the iFixit Electronics Tool Kit. Check out […]
The mechanical Royal Kludge keyboard (Update: in stock here) seems to do well with Amazon reviewers, but there are no guarantees you’ll receive one with the coveted OFF/NO switch.
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]