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]
The a-X sereies of portable workstations resemble the earliest laptops, but are fully contemporary beasts fitted with top-of-the-range AMD Threadripper CPUs, up to 256GB of RAM and dual GPUs. And price tags hovering around $8000. PC Gamer: Picture this: you sit down in a meeting alongside your colleagues. They pull out their Surfaces, iPads, phones, […]
There are many nondescript and mundane tools for data recovery, but the Spider Board is not one of them. It lives up to its name, with 25 leglike needles that, carefully placed on copper traces on a denuded card, suck the data out of them like fly juice. PC-3000 Flash Spider Board Adapter is a […]
Terence Eden found a turntable [Amazon] that cost only £30 (~$40): “I accidentally bought a load of vinyl records. So I decided to buy the cheapest, shittiest, turntable possible,” he writes. For firty paands he even gets a USB port to rip the records directly to digital. Is it any good? Not really. It plays […]
It’s tempting for many young professionals to assume that because they’ve spent most of their lives posting links to Facebook or pushing selfies to Instagram that they have the skills needed to be a digital marketer. Creating compelling content is certainly important, but if you’re not up to speed on search engine optimization (SEO), how […]
With everybody working from home now, it’s natural to start thinking about careers where not going into the office is more the norm than the exception. Better yet, many are looking to start careers as freelancers, professionals who build their livelihoods around the scope of their talent and not the fortunes of one all-encompassing employer. […]
“The way to have power is to take it.” — Boss Tweed. We think an 18th-century political power broker probably had a different definition of power in mind when he made that statement, yet the sentiment still applies. We’ve all got devices all but falling out of our pockets and the need for power to […]