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Nest Protect: Trojan Horse For 'The Internet of Things'?

Soulskill posted 1 year,13 days | from the beware-romans-bearing-free-wifi dept.

Technology 177

Nerval's Lobster writes "Nest (based in Palo Alto, and headed by former Apple executive Tony Fadell) is out to reinvent the ugly, blocky devices—starting with the thermostat—that we bolt to our walls and ceilings out of necessity. Its new Nest Protect, looks more like something for streaming music or movies than a smoke detector; inside its chic shell, the device packs an embedded system-on-a-chip and a handful of sensors, capable of connecting to other devices via wireless. 'Would this be a cherished product? Can it be more than a rational purchase — can it be an emotional one?' is the thought process that Fadell uses when evaluating new products for Nest-ification, according to Wired. That sounds like something Apple designer Jony Ive would say about the latest iDevice; your own mileage may vary on whether you consider that a good thing. Whether or not Nest actually succeeds, its emphasis on friendly design and function could serve as a template for helping popularize the so-called 'Internet of Things,' or the giant networks of interconnected devices that everybody seems to think is coming in a few short years: by giving stodgy hardware an iPhone-like sheen, complete with all sorts of bells and whistles, you could potentially change consumer mindsets from 'Do I really need to buy this thing?' to 'I want to buy this thing.' Some privacy advocates are already crying foul ('My dear privacy enthusiast: activity sensors?' The Kernel's Greg Stevens wrote, tongue somewhat in cheek, about Nest Protect in a recent blog posting. 'Ladies and gentlemen, how can you possibly stay silent about the possible abuses of such a device?'), but since when have concerns over privacy prevented people from buying the next 'cool' device?"

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Isn't this the second time /. has advertised this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45083973)

Yes. I think it is.

Re:Isn't this the second time /. has advertised th (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084107)

The first time was about their thermostat, this time is about their smoke detector.

Call Me... (1)

sycodon (149926) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084731)

...When I can buy it from Home Depot for $17.98

Re:Isn't this the second time /. has advertised th (0)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084767)

If you go to The Verge and look at their "coverage" of this by Nilay, it comes across as a massive advertisement, too. It's a long glowing article and then the video accompanying it has the author in many locations all shot beautifully on high quality cameras with great lighting, including two places that are clearly in the offices of the company, where they throw a couple softball "here's where you read the part of the script about how awesome you and your company are" pieces. The whole thing came across from beginning to end like a giant paid-for puff piece. Just like when you watch your local news and they're doing some "big story" that is really just a promotion for some show or movie that the network affiliate is involved in.

The only places it wavered at all was at the very last few seconds of the five or six FIVE MINUTE video and then somewhere later in the *comment* section where the author mentions to a reader that Amazon has a nice fire alarm for $31.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/8/4790896/nest-protect-smoke-detector [theverge.com]

Of course, there are no questions raised in the comments about it seeming like a giant ball-sucking advertisement, because VOX doesn't put up with that shit and deletes anything questioning VOX Media properties fucking swiftly.

Of course, maybe it's not a paid-for piece . . . in which case -- jesus christ, what is with the long suck-up article and video? You'd think it was Nest Inc talking about a Nest Inc product in Nest Inc Magazine.

The Internet of Things? (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,13 days | (#45083987)

Whatcouldpossiblygowrong? [wikipedia.org]

Original Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084009)

A thermostat is not a smoke detector.

Re:Original Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084055)

But their second product, which has prompted this story, is.

A sarcasm detector, that's a real useful invention (4, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084563)

I'd be more worried about the DEA spying on my smoke detector.
just sayin'...

Re:The Internet of Things? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084705)

Whatcouldpossiblygowrong? [wikipedia.org]

I was thinking something more like this [wikipedia.org] .

Gartner at it again (4, Funny)

EMG at MU (1194965) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084005)

Quote from TFA:

"Research firm Gartner recently suggested that IT spending on so-called “smart” devices and associated hardware could eventually reach $4 trillion"

I wish I could make tons of money by telling CxOs anything that they want to hear.

Re:Gartner at it again (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084101)

I do love specious ambiguity, don't you?

In other news, a mad scientist could eventually put big fucking rockets on one side of the moon and launch it into the sun.

Humans could eventually evolve into beings of pure energy.

Slashdot editors could eventually get their shit together and finally understand what "to edit" actually means.

Now, where's my million dollars?

Re:Gartner at it again (2)

idontgno (624372) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084525)

Slashdot editors could eventually get their shit together and finally understand what "to edit" actually means.

I was right with you up until that one. I think you were overcome by the moment and flew over the line from "wildly improbable" to "flatly, no exceptions, law-of-nature impossible" by momentum.

Sorry. No partial prizes for mostly right.

Re:Gartner at it again (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084587)

Hey, it could happen! For example, they might, someday, hire someone who has a basic understanding of English...

Sounds like a good deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084033)

I can make my downstairs neighbors heater kick on and give me some nice in-floor heating... Or I can torment my other neighbors by shutting off random appliances. Sounds like a script kiddies dream.

Re:Sounds like a good deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084427)

I had a Nest thermostat. Please try to change it. I'll give you a year.

Re:Sounds like a good deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084507)

On a meaner note, I can turn off the neighbor's heat while they are out for the weekend and have their pipes freeze up and burst, making lovely icicles. Or, in the summer, turn off the A/C and have them come home to a houseful of dead pets. Or turn off their sump pump so the neighbors are blessed by an in-ground enclosed swimming pool. Maybe even the ejector pump so the swimming pool is a chocolate fondue fountain...

Of course, there is always making these connected devices sound false fire/intrusion alarms during a party so the local popo come visiting (felonies need no search warrants.)

My $10 smoke alarm works and I change out the battery every time change. Same with my set of $80 combination smoke/fire/CO alarms. Other than a battery swap, they go ignored. I don't care to spent more cash on a "cool" item just to have a larger attack surface by wardrivers.

Re:Sounds like a good deal (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084763)

Nothing's stopping you from walking over to your neighbor's house and doing those things already when they're out of town. ...or do they not have a breaker box?

After Snowden's revelations... (2, Insightful)

dryriver (1010635) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084047)

... selling people "internet-connected smart-gadgets for the home" will be a heck of a tough sell, especially in an "educated" market like Europe. Many people are dismayed to learn that their smartphones, laptops, tablet computers and other devices can be turned into "spying tools" by TPTB pretty much on-demand, with no legal oversight. I don't think that knowing this, anyone is eager to put even more privacy-destroying electronic gadgets in their home. Even an internet connected "smart TV" that can gauge your mood through its built in front camera scanning your face will be a tough sell. It takes one news report of "Smart TVs getting remotely hacked", and people will default back to having a "dumb TV". The Internet-Of-Things will never take off with educated consumers. The "trust" that requires has been destroyed by revelations of NSA/GCHQ snooping on everybody. Its over for the Internet-Of-Things before it has really started. A few dumb consumers may still buy these "internet connected smart devices". But educated/awak/aware consumers? Not a chance in hell... My 2 Cents.

Re:After Snowden's revelations... (3, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084225)

Your 2 cents have been replaced by 0.000143 Bitcoin.

Re:After Snowden's revelations... (2)

CaptainLard (1902452) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084275)

The "few dumb consumers" market is many orders of magnitude larger than the "educated/awak/aware consumers" market. Privacy implications not withstanding, I'd say Nest has succeeded in desiging a significantly better smoke detector.

Re:After Snowden's revelations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084385)

>>>selling people "internet-connected smart-gadgets for the home" will be a heck of a tough sell, especially in an "educated" market like Europe.

If you consider all of Europe an "educated" market, I would like to know what you consider an "uneducated" market.

Re:After Snowden's revelations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084479)

USA! USA! USA!

Re:After Snowden's revelations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084877)

USA! USA! USA!

Please....Europe is an after thought compared to USA. USA runs the world. In case you forgot, Europe ran the world not too long ago. How did that end up? World War I and World War II. Basically, death and destruction at a level never before seen in human history. Mass genocide as a bonus. So tell me again about these "educated" Europeans you speak of.

Re:After Snowden's revelations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084435)

Are you fscking kidding me?!

Agent X: They've set the thermostat to 24C.
Agent Y: Those bastards! Call for back up.

Re:After Snowden's revelations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084967)

Hmm. I'm aware of the potential for abuse, but I'm also building a new house and I'm planning on putting in a Nest thermostat. The fact that these look cool (it's a modern house) and can feed activity info back to the thermostat means that I may very well buy them. The potential privacy issues (I'll have them behind a decent firewall, but still) are very likely to be outweighed by the potential energy savings. And they have a high WAF ;)

Open Standards (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084053)

As with anything internet, I think its real sucess depends on it being an open standard. If this company tries to implement proprietary protocols it will not likely succeed.

Re:Open Standards (2)

adamstew (909658) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084083)

Nest has actually released an API for their learning thermostats. http://nest.com/blog/2013/09/25/calling-all-developers/ [nest.com]

While it's not necessarily an open standard, they are playing nice with others to be able to add new functionality to their products.

Re:Open Standards (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084193)

'their' api. That's the problem. A 'standard' is not something you control and can change because you want to change it.

Re:Open Standards (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084337)

In practice, 'Version XYZ of Open Standard Whatever, with certain bugs and idiosyncrasies' is 'your API' if you go the open standards route. Over time, the really nasty stuff gets ironed out; but as long as it's "Well, we needed an API and there wasn't one, so we made one, here it is." there isn't necessarily anything wrong with that (in fact, more than a few now-open standards exist because somebody was first to need an API, so they Just Did It and then let(or couldn't stop) standardization from happening around that. Like Hayes-command-set modems.

Now, if Nest means 'their' API in the sense that you have to sign a EULA in blood to write a program that talks to your own hardware (obviously, if an API is a mechanism for accessing resources on somebody else's system, they can set whatever access rules they like; because they own that computer; but if they claim to own the API per se and control all uses of it, We Have A Problem.) they can go suck it; but if they just mean 'Our API, the API that we use and implement in our products' no big deal.

Re:Open Standards (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084739)

There's not exactly a whole lot of competitors to standardize with yet. If their API uses json or XML calls, or any sort of HTTP request, that's standard enough. It's easy.

The real problem is that this API will probably communicate with their servers (which then communicate with the device) and not the device itself. That means if they ever stop supporting the device, your unit quits working for the most part. The thing requires the ability to poll for outdoor weather information so it's a paperweight if their servers ever go offline. If they put out a true API that actually connected to the device directly, people would have some insurance against the company going under. You could replicate all that functionality yourself if you wanted. Even use your own outdoor sensors for a more accurate/local reading.

Re:Open Standards (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084671)

Whoa! Nice. I had no idea. I am directly submitting json requests through their web site to control my thermostat already. Each day, a cron checks my work calendar to see if I have the day off (e.g. Christmas or other holidays) and automatically sets the thermostat to away mode based on that each morning at 7:45. To me, that's a step better than setting schedules or relying on auto-away since it's just a little more accurate. I also use my own web-based control panel so I don't have to use the Nest web site or app directly when I'm away from home.

The unofficial API works pretty well though now that I understand the quirks. I do wish I could set it to auto-away manually and have it not automatically switch back to home. I want it to reset its activity detection when I force auto-away so I don't have to remember to turn the AC on when I get home.

Re:Open Standards (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084339)

I thought success now depended upon a suite of flimsy, farcical patents and enough cash to hire an utterly immoral IP law firm willing to subvert every notion of justice and decency to beat potential competitors into the ground, or at least have them send you large cheques to keep said immoral IP law firm from dragging them through the month and delaying market entry for new products by months or years.

Transformers in our Livingroom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084067)

I think Hasbro can sue for copyright infringement here.

who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084081)

sometimes i wonder about these ideas. cell phones have always been fashionable. before that it was watches and having a nice sports car to show off

thermostats and smoke detectors are something you put in your home and forget about for years to come. i've never met anyone who shows me their cool new smoke
detector when i visit their home

and as far as the thermostat, its for the OCD data dummies. these people will spend hours poring over their data when all they have to do is a few simple and cheap things to weatherproof their home to make it cooler or warmer

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

Antipater (2053064) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084137)

Who cares about showing it off? Most of the features being advertised are legitimate problems I've had with smoke detectors for years. The night-light feature seems like a little much, but I guess somebody might want that.

If it has an option to disconnect/switch off the wi-fi I'll buy this in a second.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084217)

I would be fine with leaving that on.

The fact that I have to get up on a chair to disable the damn fire alarm when I cook sucks. Some cooking preparations lead to smoke that leads to the fire alarm going off. This might mean I could cook a burger/steak indoors and not take the batteries out of the thing.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

GravityStar (1209738) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084271)

You should install a heat detector instead of a smoke detector in a kitchen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_detector [wikipedia.org]

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

hermitdev (2792385) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084539)

My apartment has a heat detector (as well as particulate & CO detectors). Every time I open the oven while baking, the damn thing goes off. Nothing is more useful than a boy crying wolf all the time.

a network of "THINGS". disgusting. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084645)

au contraire, I think a internet-connected EEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEE

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Hey, don't blame me, my snazzy new intarweb smoke alarm seems to have a infestation of /b/'s.

I can't wait until the first sleep-deprived murder rampage blamed on one of these. Many lulz to be had.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084673)

Better yet, install a PHOTOELECTRIC detector-- not an ionizing one-- and install it just OUTSIDE the kitchen.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084797)

If it has an option to disconnect/switch off the wi-fi I'll buy this in a second.

Set up a dummy AP and get it online and set up. Turn off / reset the AP. You still have the smoke detector.

But $129 for a smoke detector seems a bit much.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (3, Informative)

mjr167 (2477430) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084205)

I bought a Nest thermostat last winter and it cut my oil usage almost in half. Granted I was replacing the original analog thermostat installed in 1966 so can't compare to other digital thermostats, but "smart" thermostats are more than just shiny.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084233)

and if you weather proof your house, you save even more
i live in an apartment and it would get cold at night because they don't heat all night. $20 worth of insulation from home depot solved it. this year i started by putting plastic into my window AC units and will buy some insulation when it gets a little colder. i made it so warm last year that my wife was opening the window when it was 10 degrees outside because of all the heat i trapped

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084259)

You can't control the temperature in your apartment?

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084367)

But he can insulate it... I think he needs a better apartment.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

What'sInAName (115383) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084377)

Many apartments are like this. Here in the Boston area there are quite a few apartment buildings with central heat that individual units have no control over. It's especially bad with those damn steam radiators. Depending on what kind of insulation you have, part of a room will be boiling hot and the other part will be freezing. If you stand in between the two extremes and rotate, you can kind of keep yourself at a comfortable temperature, but that's a bit... awkward to do.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084397)

Are these apartments very cheap or do they charge extra for the realistic third world experience?

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (2)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085011)

Nothing in Boston is cheap, unless the bathroom is down the hall and you feel the need to be armed to go use it.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084807)

If you stand in between the two extremes and rotate

Stand still and rotate? Sounds like a job for an oscillating fan.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084363)

It's not an either/or.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (2)

mjr167 (2477430) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084493)

We have fuel oil and baseboard radiators. An analog thermometer isn't smart enough to recognize the ramp up and ramp down times. The result is you set the thermostat to 70. At some point it turns the burner on and at 70 it turns the burner off, but the heat doesn't magically shut off. The radiators continue to radiate and the house ends up at 74/75 before it starts cooling off again. If we wanted to not be hot, we had to freeze and vice versa because you could easily see 5+ degree swings. Smart thermostats figure out the ramp up/down times and adjust accordingly.

Because I own my house I don't need to resort to ghetto gimmicks like putting plastic in my windows. I can just buy new windows (and did). But that doesn't solve the problem of the house ending up 5 degrees above my desired temp because the thermostat is stupid. There is no one solution to saving energy. The smart thing to do is figure out what the problem actually is and then address it, not just insulate the crap out of a place.

Controlling the temp is a MUCH better solution than opening the window when it is 10 degrees outside because it is too hot inside.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (2)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084609)

I answered your false dilemma above. Why not do both? I have an efficient house, but part of that strategy was installing programmable thermostats and part of it was installing hundreds of dollars (I don't know how you do anything even in an apartment for $20) of insulation and a radiant barrier, plus sealing all the places where air was intruding.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084457)

I got a programmable thermostat for free from an energy saving non-profit.

I spent 5 minutes programming it and since then only touch it when on vacation for more than a day.

While I can't text it to ask it to warm up my apartment by a few degrees before I arrive because I'm a precious snowflake, it gives me the same energy savings.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084307)

I replaced all of my old-ass battery smoke alarms with awesome new hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms and CO detectors, several with emergency lights over the escape routes from bedrooms. I've showed them off to several people now. I have at least one friend who, upon moving in to a new house, switched to the wireless-interconnect alarms and showed them off as one of the first things when I visited his house for the first time. :)

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084819)

Hopefully they're better than the ones in a family member of mines house. Due to idiotic placement/manufacturing every alarm in the house goes off if you so much as boil water in the kitchen.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084565)

It's not really as simple as you claim. We both agree that you should turn down the HVAC when no one is home or they're sleeping, right? Once your house is really efficient, you still shouldn't waste energy when no one is home. But when is that, exactly? You can't just have it turn up and down the same time every day, because your weekend schedule differs. OK, so we'll use a different weekend schedule. But actually, Saturday and Sunday are very different, because we're at church/at a game/doing charity work/cleaning house/whatever. OK, so a 5-1-1 schedule. But our club/fraternity/band meets on Wednesday nights for 2 hours, so we need to adjust for that. So you buy a 7-day programmable thermostat, set it up for your crazy schedule, and-- then you set the other 3 thermostats for the other three zones. And you reset all of them when your schedule changes. And you manually bypass all of them for the times you're actually spontaneous and leave the house for a few hours to go shopping or have fun. But you probably really forget to do that. So it would be nice if you could set all the zones at once, and maybe if it could something really cool, like notice when no one is home and set itself.

That's why smart thermostats make sense. Saying they don't is like leaving your car idling because, hey, it already gets 50 MPG.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084775)

The thermostat was actually useful. Forgetting about your thermostat loses you money when you're running the AC when you're not even home. Programmable thermostat are a step up, but are a pain to program - and don't account for variations in your schedule.

I bought the thermostat, but still can't see any reason to upgrade a smoke detector.

Re:who thinks about their smoke detector? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084831)

I can actually understand the thermostat - its premise is built around being energy efficient and saving you money in the long run. The smoke detector I see less appeal for. Existing ones work fine, are mostly ignored until needed, and this doesn't really work in any way to save any amount of energy (if anything a "smart" smoke detector probably uses more power).

Don't forget the ozone (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084091)

To properly use such stylish and advanced tech like this you will need lots of spray bottles of special air. The special air aligns the molecules of regular air so that the wireless signals don't get lost. I assume anybody who spends that amount of $$$ on a thermostat or smoke detector already knows that.

Considered it (5, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084111)

I considered buying one of these, but the mandatory use of a third party server in "the cloud" was a real turn off.

Re:Considered it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084251)

...which is also why there isn't one in my house. "Network-connectable thermostat that I can control from a smartphone and which has a simple UI on top of decent intelligence?" Sure! "Has to phone-home to a company instead of working stand-alone or with a fairly simple piece of software that I can monitor and maintain myself because I'm a competent sysadmin at a company much larger than Nest?" Whoops, this product stays on the store shelf.

Re:Considered it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084441)

Thermostats are or should be simple devices. My three thermostats are all programmable and yet simple enough bought at a fair prices. However after playing with the "toys" a few weeks, we began to set the override button "on" because we do not do the same things at the same time each day. It doen't take much effort to bump-up or down the temp when needed. Smoke alarms are simple too. Low cost is better because instead of having only 1 or 2 expensive "toys" which may fail, I'm safer with my 8 interconnected alarms each with cheap 9v battery backup. Cost is a consideration because smoke alarms should be changed after several years. At 15 year old smoke alarm that cost too much to renew may not be much good if needed.

$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084121)

WTF! At least a thermostat actually does something worth making it programmable for... this is just a ridiculously overengineered implementation of "if fire, make noise."

Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084239)

This can tell your thermostat when you are not home and can be disabled by waving at it. Which is handy when the fire alarm is going off due to a condition you are aware of.

Just a hardwired CO2 and Smoke alarm is around half this.

Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084553)

I wave at the current smoke detector and it usually shuts off. Amazing when you clear the smoke away from a detector how it stops. Smoke/CO2 alarms are dumb, and more importantly, simple systems. You want them to work when you need them.

Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (2)

hermitdev (2792385) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084583)

can be disabled by waving at it

For some reason, this reminded me of HAL-9000: "I'm sorry, Dave, but I can't allow you to burn your house down."

Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084953)

Just a hardwired CO2 and Smoke alarm is around half this.

I'm guessing you mean carbon monoxide rather than CO2, but most people seem to get by fine with regular old smoke alarms, which can generally be found for $8 to $12 for basic models.

As a matter of fact the majority of the smoke alarms in my house (they're in every room) are in the $20 range with 2 of them that were missing when I moved in being $10 units and they've worked absolutely fine. They've never given a false alarm and the only time they actually have gone off was when I left something in the oven and they were supposed to.

Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084407)

Is it better than all the other smoke detectors on the market? Yes certainly. Does that make it worth paying $129 for? Apparently not for you. And not for me either. But for enough people to make it a worthwhile product, yes.

Why express disbelief when some company releases a product that's not personally for you?

Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084411)

WTF! At least a thermostat actually does something worth making it programmable for... this is just a ridiculously overengineered implementation of "if fire, make noise."

The fact that both photoelectric smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors (especially the latter) have finite lifespans (as little as five years, less if certain sensor poisons are present) and neither component is separately replaceable makes the $130 price tag extra hard to swallow...

Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (1)

adisakp (705706) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084625)

The Nest Protect manual states that the lifetime of this device is 7 years and needs to be replaced after 7 years.

Not a fair comparison.... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084487)

What I realized about this device is, it's *really* a competitor to those monitored alarm systems the companies like ADT want to sell people. The monthly fees for the landline connection they require back to a "dispatch" will easily cost double what you spend on the Nest Protect in a year's time or less. Yes, those are also burglar alarms -- not JUST fire alarms. But many people really only want the smoke/fire protection with alerting. (The burglar alarms are notorious for false alarms and police who no longer consider it a priority to check out the alarms when they sound.)

Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (1)

hsmith (818216) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084601)

That is the issue I see with it. It might be cool (and I have the thermostat), but a $130 price tag for a smoke detector is - well - a bit much.

hoist (1)

NikeHerc (694644) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084123)

from the summary: " ... but since when have concerns over privacy prevented people from buying the next 'cool' device?"

Purchasing the next 'cool' device often overrides logic or common sense. Perhaps some individuals will change after being hoist with their own petard.

Smoke Detector and Activity Sensor? (1)

xianzombie (123633) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084147)

Can it detect if I'm cooking so it doesn't trip the alarm? Cuz when I cook, somethings likely to burn.

Re:Smoke Detector and Activity Sensor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084323)

That's the whole point. If it detects low levels of smoke, such as those from a kitchen, you get a verbal warning. You can then wave (literally) at the alarm to turn it off. If there's an elevated level of smoke (or CO) then you get the normal alarm.

Re:Smoke Detector and Activity Sensor? (3, Informative)

kwalker (1383) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084373)

If it detects smoke, it gives you a "heads up" warning before screaming its guts out. if you wave at it, it shuts up.

Re:Smoke Detector and Activity Sensor? (1)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084703)

Mine shuts up if I wave at it. I just have to wave really hard.

Re: Smoke Detector and Activity Sensor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084803)

And then thirty seconds later it goes off again because, you know, the room is still full of smoke. You waving at it didn't accomplish all that much.

At least, that's how mine works.

I even got one of the fancy schmancy networked ones - if I try to unplug one of them, its sisters all notice that it's MIA and go berserk.

Re:Smoke Detector and Activity Sensor? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084835)

I have to keep waving at mine. One of mine is actually sitting on the kitchen table right now cause we had guys doing stuff in the basement and the construction dust kept setting it off.

Re:Smoke Detector and Activity Sensor? (1)

AdamThor (995520) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084581)

I'd like to see a similar feature. But instead of implementing a bunch of smarts and wifi and stuff I'd be quite satisfied if the thing had maybe an IR sensor, and any "Power Toggle" code from a TV remote would silence it for half an hour, after which it returned automatically to active status.

Please give it physical controls (1)

boristdog (133725) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084165)

I mean, it's great to have gesture controls and smartphone integration, I guess, but please give it some nice controls and a display. If I have to have a smartphone to control the damn things then:
a) I have to have a smartphone on me or near me at all times at HOME.
b) What the f*$k do I do when I leave my smartphone in the car, at the office, somewhere in the garage, etc?

Some dorkwad tried to sell me on a thermostat that was ONLY controllable via smartphone last year. "No one but you can change the a/c!" was his selling point. Great, when I'm on a business trip and a heat wave hits I'm supposed to let the family suffer?

And do I call home when the text-only smoke alarm alerts me about a fire so I can tell the wife to get out? Sometimes a screeching alarm is the only way to keep my stepdaughter from attempting cooking, you know.

Re:Please give it physical controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084585)

Yep, they have manual controls as well. But there's plenty of people who "have a smartphone on me or near me at all times at HOME" and never "leave my smartphone in the car, at the office, somewhere in the garage, etc?"

Re:Please give it physical controls (2)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,13 days | (#45085049)

My smoke detectors are on the ceiling. How low are your ceilings?

a) No - you have to have one to set it up.
b) What is there to control? It's a smoke detector. Making the alarm stop is really the only control it has.

It does have an audible alarm. But it has a pre-alarm for light smoke like cooking. And really the only gesture control is waving in front of the detector to decrease its sensitivity temporarily. Same thing you'd do with a dumb smoke detector, only easier.

$129 is too much, but it's not entirely useless.

Nevermind privacy (1)

istartedi (132515) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084181)

Nevermind privacy. We just don't want our appliances breaking any sooner than they already do. That's why this is a big honking "DO NOT WANT". I do not want to reboot the fridge. I don't want the UI on my thermostat changing because all the cool kids think it should, and it only works when connected.

False analogy (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084221)

you could potentially change consumer mindsets from 'Do I really need to buy this thing?' to 'I want to buy this thing.'

Phones people use every day and get jollies from doing so. Thermostat's? The entire point of the Nest is you DON'T use it much, it figures it out.

since when have concerns over privacy prevented... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084309)

Um... since about 2 months ago, give or take?

Admittedly, people were ridiculously slow in waking up to this threat, which many others of us warned about... but waking up, they are.

I'm waiting for the third cool thing (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084315)

It will be an internet-enabled Baked Ham.

(blip)

Ooh! It's ready!

Wait while I waddle over to the stove.

(munch munch munch)

Re:I'm waiting for the third cool thing (1)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084893)

Sounds like you need an iGrill. [igrillinc.com]

Interesting but... (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084317)

So I would have to use a 3rd party cloud server with this product. What happens to my fancy and expensive smoke detector if the company folds?

Re:Interesting but... (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084449)

So I would have to use a 3rd party cloud server with this product. What happens to my fancy and expensive smoke detector if the company folds?

I don't know about the Protect, but their thermostat works just fine offline. You lose some features, like advanced programming and control with a mobile app, but it still functions as a thermostat.

Since when? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084321)

TFS asks rhetorically,

since when have concerns over privacy prevented people from buying the next 'cool' device?

It seems to me, awareness about online privacy is growing. Just because the public has not made privacy a priority yet, does not mean they won't {wake,stand} up tomorrow.

What an awful summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084357)

That read like an MBA's stream of consciousness. Does anybody have any idea what this is saying?

Power outlets? (1)

mveloso (325617) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084453)

When are they going to do power outlets? I could convince myself to replace each one of my outlets if it had WiFi connectivity and a way to monitor usage and turn it on/off.

It's not "bells and whistles!!!" (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084501)

Slashdot seems pathologically incapable of separation between something that is deeply functional, vs something that is not, often treating something as useless if it's simply done or polished really well.

The next protect seems like it has "a lot of bells and whistles" but all of them have a ton of practicality behind them that puts them well ahead of traditional smoke/CO2 alarms.

I have a newer smoke/CO2 detector in the house. It has some of the the features that would let a casual observer dismiss the Nest as simply marketing - my smoke alarm after all, has a voice that says if there is smoke or CO2 detected. MY smoke alarm after all, has a button that lets me dismiss an alarm if I simply have a smoky kitchen. What good is a NEST then? Why spend more?

Well I'll tell you. You get a grace period before the real alarm starts, in which you can tell it to ignore the smoke, so the whole house is not pinging with vibrant alarms. And even to dismiss the alarm, you can simply wave at it - which means people with high ceilings, or who are simply short can dismiss alarms easily instead of getting a chair or ladder.

Furthermore the Nest doesn't just say "There's Smoke", it tells you WHAT ROOM. So if candles in your bedroom start something ablaze, you'll know it even if you just dismissed an alert in the kitchen.

It also piggybacks on the usefulness of smoke alarms having hard electrical connections. Since you have a permanently powered device there already why not ALSO provide a motion activated nightlight at night to help you wander around in the dark? Or knowing if people have been in your house while you were gone.

Nest is a company that is producing really well thought out products that offer a compelling reason for spending more on something that has traditionally been kind of ugly and of limited utility.

Re:It's not "bells and whistles!!!" (0)

0racle (667029) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084711)

How much do they pay you?

Re:It's not "bells and whistles!!!" (1)

mspohr (589790) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084821)

I don't want a "smart" smoke alarm. I don't it to think about whether or not it should sound an alarm (and probably get confused at some point).
Smoke -> Alarm
This thing costs 10x what regular smoke alarms cost and I will need about 5 for my house.
I have a burglar alarm which monitors doors and windows and does a much better job than this of detecting "activity".
I have never had a false alarm from my current cheap smoke detectors.
Smoke -> Alarm
KISS

Except you need more than 1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45084515)

Apartments in Massachusetts can have 5-7 thermostats (my old 3 bedroom apartment had 7, plus two in the basement and another two in the stairwells). Combine that with having to replace CO detectors every 5-7 years, you're talking about a crapton of money for a marginally useful feature.

Perhaps if you could just have one per housing unit and then it could work with the other ones somehow you'd have something, but as is it just seems like a way to show off just how much money you have.

I, for one, welcome our new overlords (1)

goto11 (116604) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084595)

Privacy concerns aside...

We have owned a Nest thermostat for a couple years and it has saved us a ton of money in utility bills, as well as making our home comfortable when we need it to be and conserving energy when we don't.

My family cooks a lot, and smoke detectors are a pain in the butt for the occasional burnt meal. We already have the "Home Hero" locally mesh-networked smoke alarms (http://reviews.homedepot.com/1999/100606954/homehero-2-in-1-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarm-reviews/reviews.htm), but the Nest functionality is even better. I have no intention of upgrading, unless my current smoke alarms stop working, but if these were available a couple years ago, I would have bought them.

Back to the privacy concerns... I want to care, really, but as far as the lack of privacy is concerned, the genie is already out of the bottle, so I abashedly admit that I am willing to risk possible further loss of privacy in return for actual convenience.

It's a simple cost-benefit analysis and, for me at least, the benefit outweighs the unlikely potential cost in terms of loss of privacy.

NSA Proxies (1)

elloz (3382559) | 1 year,13 days | (#45084725)

I'd bet money that the NSA bankrolled these people.

The spooks want to put software on your phones and software in your household devices.

1984 was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual.

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