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Nest Protect: Trojan Horse For 'The Internet of Things'? 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the beware-romans-bearing-free-wifi dept.
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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Nest Protect: Trojan Horse For 'The Internet of Things'?

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:50PM (#45083987) Homepage
  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:54PM (#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.

    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:03PM (#45084101) Homepage Journal

      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?

      • by idontgno (624372)

        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.

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

          • by BluBrick (1924)
            I find it remarkable that, even in this text-only medium, you simply couldn't deliver that line with a straight face.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I'm genuinely surprised those guys manage to stay in business. They're like the Amazing Criswell of the business world.

  • by dryriver (1010635) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:59PM (#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.
    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:16PM (#45084225)

      Your 2 cents have been replaced by 0.000143 Bitcoin.

    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chihowa (366380)

        Privacy implications not withstanding, I'd say Nest has succeeded in desiging a significantly better smoke detector.

        If this is anything like their thermostat, I'd say that they haven't. This seems like just another device that needlessly offloads all of its functionality to "the cloud". There's no reason why all of the processing and reaction couldn't be handled locally, with only "extra" features requiring their servers. But without their servers, the thermostat for example doesn't even seem to have the functionality of a cheapy programmable thermostat. If your internet connection goes down, you stop paying them, they d

        • by adamstew (909658) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @05:48PM (#45086099)

          I have a Nest thermostat, and you can use about 90% of the feature set without the internet or connecting it to their servers. The basic idea is that the thermostat doesn't need to be programmed. It learns the schedule it should keep based on you adjusting it. You turn on the heat when you wake up. You turn it down before you go to work. Then you turn it back on when you get home from work. Finally, back down before you go to bed. It will learn when you wake up, when you go to work, when you get home from work, and when you go to bed...adjusting it's own programming based on what it sees.

          The biggest thing the internet provides is the ability to control it via a smartphone/website. There are no service fees for this functionality. They have also publicly stated that they are committed to supporting the thermostats for the very long haul. The first gen of thermostats they released has a 5 year warranty, so they are supporting the internet functionality/software updates for at least that long.

    • by stenvar (2789879)

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

      They will just sell them "ISDN connected intelligent appliances", and all spying activity will only be conducted by European spy agencies, in strictest compliance with European law. Then European consumers will feel safe, and the European computer industry finally makes a sale or two.

  • 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.

    • by adamstew (909658)

      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.

      • 'their' api. That's the problem. A 'standard' is not something you control and can change because you want to change it.
        • 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
        • by omnichad (1198475)

          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 i

          • by jbengt (874751)

            There's not exactly a whole lot of competitors to standardize with yet

            Actually, there are several large competitors, including the open protocol BACnet that can be used by any device maker, the"open" protocol Lontalk that requires a proprietary chip, Modbus, and several more or less proprietary control protocols.

            • by omnichad (1198475)

              Wow, BACnet looks about as lightweight as LDAP. But that's more of a communications protocol and not an API. So you wouldn't write a batch script to set off an action on a BACnet device over TCP/IP. I couldn't clearly tell if this even runs natively in TCP/IP. From what I can see it only runs encapsulated over TCP/IP and not really using it directly. So how would a wifi device really interoperate with a computer via an API using BACnet?

      • by kwark (512736)

        I'm looking for an intelligent thermostat that speaks an open protocol: Opentherm ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenTherm [wikipedia.org] / http://www.opentherm.eu/ [opentherm.eu] ). Nest is not an option. Back to the DIY projects....

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        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 we

    • 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.

  • 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 w

    • 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.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        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.

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

          • 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.

            • more reasons I DON'T WANT THIS:
              1. The potential for gangstalking (it's a thing, I read it on the internet) . You think the low battery warning and the random 3 AM beep is annoying now? Put your therapist on retainer now.
              2. Do you really want to give big brother a 85-decibel compliance enforcer in your own home?
              3. Does this thing have a warning strobe? I bet it has a strobe. Yet another high-intensity sensory overload device for script kiddies and the KGB to attack you with. Lord help you if someone
        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

          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.

          You have a ventilation problem that you need to fix, not a turn off the fire detector problem.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        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.

    • by mjr167 (2477430) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:14PM (#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.
      • by alen (225700)

        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

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          You can't control the temperature in your apartment?

          • by mjr167 (2477430)
            But he can insulate it... I think he needs a better apartment.
          • 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.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

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

            • by omnichad (1198475)

              If you stand in between the two extremes and rotate

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

        • by mjr167 (2477430)

          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 thermo

        • by operagost (62405)
          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.
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      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.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      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).

  • Considered it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:03PM (#45084111) Homepage

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

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:04PM (#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."

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      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.

      • 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.
      • 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."

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        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

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Yeah, I messed that up.

          I have false alarms all the time when I make burgers or steak. By which I mean alarms I don't want. Sure there is smoke, but that is what happens when you chuck meat into a pan heated as hot as you can get it.

    • 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...

      • by adisakp (705706)
        The Nest Protect manual states that the lifetime of this device is 7 years and needs to be replaced after 7 years.
        • Not bad by fire alarm standards ( you see quoted lifespans from 5-10 years usually, with shorter ones for very safety critical carbon monoxide sensors), it just seems kind of churlish not to have the $10-$15ish commodity parts in a swappable FRU, just like the batteries...
    • 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 l

    • by hsmith (818216)
      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.
      • I have to agree. It is cool and can do a few things that a normal smoke detector cant (such as act as a sensor extension for your Next thermostat and notify your mobile if there is smoke and you are not home), but the price does seem a bit steep for what it is. If it was $50 I would have already ordered at least one to go with my Nest thermostat. $130 is painful.
  • Can it detect if I'm cooking so it doesn't trip the alarm? Cuz when I cook, somethings likely to burn.

    • by kwalker (1383) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:29PM (#45084373) Journal

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

    • by AdamThor (995520)

      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.

  • 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!"

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      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 enti

  • 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.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Unfortunately you are in the minority since consumers don't consider reliability in terms of technical simplicity.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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?
    • 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.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        And Airwave, since it doesn't know the outdoor humidity. But it even handles a power outage pretty well (not that it can do much, but it knows of the concept).

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      A wireless panel usage device would capture individual circuits for whole house monitoring, or for individual plugs, a simple plug in wall wart with pass through outlets. They already have these, it's just likely not as slick or hyped by an ex-Apple employee. Hopefully this type of rethinking common items to make them smarter catches on and makes our houses that much more "intelligent". Not sure I want to rely on a 3rd party service though.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      An electrical outlet into an ethernet network is common now for creating a network.
      The magic will be in complex layers of wireless devices all demanding more networking and bandwidth per room :)
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:41PM (#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.

    • by mspohr (589790)

      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

    • Yeah, my first thought when I heard that the Protect was a smoke alarm was, "Okay, the thermostat I can understand, but a $130 smoke alarm?! Would could they have possibly done to make it worth that?"

      As someone who has been woken up WAY too many times by the low battery chirping, has had his bacon experience spoiled FAR too often by the screeching that almost always accompanies the cooking of bacon, and who now (as of today, when I just ordered one) has a Nest thermostat that can network with the Protect to

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      It's a smoke and CO (as in carbon monoxide) alarm, not a "CO2 alarm". Most people don't need the CO alarm, it's for people who regularly heat by burning stuff in their homes: cabins, propane heaters in trailers, not exactly the Nest clientele. It can also be useful in the garage--if you are terminally stupid and drive a 70's car. And if you produce enough smoke to set off an alarm while cooking, you're doing something wrong and probably at least should have to go through the trouble of poking an alarm with

      • Ok, yes for some reason I added the 2... just ignore that. I know it's looking for carbon monoxide.

        Most people don't need the CO alarm, it's for people who regularly heat by burning stuff in their homes

        As houses become more tightly sealed and more stuff becomes propane powered, it's important to have this warning. Most people have propane water heaters, many have propane stoves.

        Also fire is kind of it's own alarm system, whereas CO is otherwise a lot more un-detectable, so it balances out in making just a

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          As houses become more tightly sealed and more stuff becomes propane powered, it's important to have this warning. Most people have propane water heaters, many have propane stoves.

          Propane is used in RVs and trailers; regular homes use natural gas, which is mostly methane. The big gas heaters usually go in the garage (where you can put one CO detector, mostly for the car). If you manage to kill yourself with CO from burning methane, I think you deserve an entry in the record books. The thing you have to worry

      • by jbengt (874751)
        Any building that uses gas, oil, coal, wood etc. for heat, cooking, light, water heating, etc. needs a CO detector, especially if you want to comply with modern building codes.
  • Well, maybe. But I don't believe a chic bullshit detector is a logical possibility.

  • Surely things may change if and when I actually get my hands on one of these, but it seems like most of the core features could still work just fine by blocking access to nest.com at the router level. Sure, most folks won't actually run out and do that, but most folks don't care as much about privacy as they say they do...which leaves the Slashdot crowd, most of whom certainly know how to prevent WAN access to stuff on their LAN. If you're particularly paranoid, why not dust off the ancient 802.11g router a

  • Cloud services are useful and convenient, but these products should provide the option for local-only connectivity. The devices should have publically-documented APIs available directly on the device, and it should be possible to disable the cloud service.

    As an example, I have a WiThings scale. There is no local API. It's absolutely silly that my weight and body fat measurements need to go to "the cloud".

    I'm not terribly concerned that the a change in weight or body fat is going to trigger an NSA raid.

    (Mayb

  • "Twitter Becomes TV Remote" [informationweek.com] Via connections between smartphone, Twitter, and cable box, you can now involve "the cloud" in TV channel changing. Really.

  • 1) When the CO sensor exceeds 5yrs. Replace: cost $129
    2) CO sensor on the ceiling. Not where CO collects
    3) For the A/C model, just 2 wires, not the red 9v interconnect protocol (Firex, Kidde). Thus all alarms (n * $129) need to be installed. This cannot coexist with a legacy detector system and provide the interconnected alarm.

    Pretty enclosure though and the alerts are cool (verbal and web).

    I just installed 7 A/C ionization alarms @9$ each. Good for 10years all interconnected.

    H.

    • by jbengt (874751)
      CO is about the same density as air, which is mostly N2. If it's coming from a fire, CO just might be significantly hotter & lighter tahnair

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