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Nest Halts Sales of Smart Fire Alarm After Discovering Dangerous Flaw 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the out-of-the-frying-pan dept.
fructose writes: "The Nest Protect has a flaw in its software that, under the right circumstances, could disable the alarm and not notify the owners of a fire. To remedy this flaw, they are disabling the Nest Wave feature through automatic updates. Owners who don't have their Nest Protects connected to their WiFi net or don't have a Nest account are suggested to either update the device manually or return it to Nest for a full refund. While they work out the problem, all sales are being halted to prevent unsafe units from being sold. There have been no reported incidents resulting from this flaw, but they aren't taking any chances."
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Nest Halts Sales of Smart Fire Alarm After Discovering Dangerous Flaw

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  • by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Friday April 04, 2014 @04:16PM (#46665017)

    Just goes to show, there's no such thing as enough SQA...

    • Just goes to show, there's no such thing as enough SQA...

      Sometimes I wonder if there such a thing as *any* SQA...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ackthpt (218170)

        Just goes to show, there's no such thing as enough SQA...

        Sometimes I wonder if there such a thing as *any* SQA...

        This mesage appproved by Slashtod Quallity Assurence

    • "The only way to be sure there are no bugs is to never find any, no matter how much you test"
    • The feature in question apparently deactivates the alarm if you wave your hand anywhere from 2 to 8 feet beneath the unit. How they possibly thought that this wouldn't be accidentally triggered is beyond me. Something tells me that they didn't actually do very much QA at all.
      • The feature in question apparently deactivates the alarm if you wave your hand anywhere from 2 to 8 feet beneath the unit. How they possibly thought that this wouldn't be accidentally triggered is beyond me. Something tells me that they didn't actually do very much QA at all.

        What I don't understand is why you would want to disable your smoke alarm. You installed it to protect your family what circumstances would make you want to turn if off? If you burned something on the stove, open a window. Don't turn off thr smoke detector, it's just doing it's job. I know that I would forget to re-enable it after the problem was cleared. It's a dangerous option.

  • Is this a flaw in something being handled responsibly? I'm not really sure, because I've never seen that happen. I'm not surprised they pulled it, etc, but I am kind of surprised about the option "bring it back for a full refund."

    • I did not RTFA in depth but I am surprised that they did not have a mechanism to fix it remotely via updates of something. In these kinda devices you have to always assume there will be a failure and there should be a backup mechanism to be able to do quick updates. Think/develop it like the Curiosity the moon rover. There is no possibility of re-call and fix must be made really quick.
      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Nidi62 (1525137) on Friday April 04, 2014 @04:30PM (#46665101)

        I did not RTFA in depth but I am surprised that they did not have a mechanism to fix it remotely via updates of something.

        Straight from the summary:

        they are disabling the Nest Wave feature through automatic updates. Owners who don't have their Nest Protects connected to their WiFi net or don't have a Nest account are suggested to either update the device manually or return it to Nest for a full refund

      • I did not RTFA in depth but I am surprised that they did not have a mechanism to fix it remotely via updates of something. In these kinda devices you have to always assume there will be a failure and there should be a backup mechanism to be able to do quick updates. Think/develop it like the Curiosity the moon rover. There is no possibility of re-call and fix must be made really quick.

        Apparently you didn't RTFS either.
        Wifi-connected units can be patched. Others can be patched manually by the user. Clueless users without an account can return it for a refund (or an updated unit, of course).

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Friday April 04, 2014 @04:24PM (#46665061)

    Some things are important enough to

    a) keep simple, and
    b) keep offline

    • by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Friday April 04, 2014 @04:34PM (#46665143)

      doubleplus one. today we spend a bunch of money on new stuff that duplicates the functionality of old stuff. recently I spent $15 on an LED bulb and $15 on a dimmer lamp socket so I could have a dimmable lamp, something we had with the first electric lamps 100 years ago, and something we've had with oil lamps for 300 years.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        today we spend a bunch of money on new stuff that duplicates the functionality of old stuff. recently I spent $15 on an LED bulb and $15 on a dimmer lamp socket so I could have a dimmable lamp, something we had with the first electric lamps 100 years ago, and something we've had with oil lamps for 300 years.

        And the new stuff does the same thing while needing about 1/5th as much power as the old stuff.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          And 30 times the price.

          I know, over the projected lifetime it costs less. Some of us don't see the value in instalment loans though. I'll gladly pay more over 15 years if it means less out of pocket all at once.

          • by Narcocide (102829)

            You say that now, but after a couple evenings having to smell burning whale-oil while eating dinner I think you'll be ready to pony up a bit extra for modern lighting.

          • by mysidia (191772)

            Some of us don't see the value in instalment loans though. I'll gladly pay more over 15 years if it means less out of pocket all at once.

            I see the value in installment loans, as long as I am the lender, AND I receive interest that more than offsets my cost of lending after taking into account risks.

            It is best to pick the high upfront cost option and irrational to buy the lower upfront cost option that requires more payments; if the higher upfront cost option is sufficiently less expensive over the ne

        • And costing 10 times as much. a 50cents lightbulb can be dimmed with a 5$ dimmer

          • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

            actually to be fair, I had a devil of a time finding dimmer sockets on the market. maybe now that everybody is using CFLs there's no demand for dimmers? Best I found was Amazon had one for $13.00. A cheap-looking one at that. There's an amazon affiliate called 1000Bulbs that has a wide variety of really nice looking dimmers, but they all have $10 shipping fee each!

      • Nothing is preventing you from using old stuff, especially if you don't see the benefit of the new stuff. The ban on old light bulbs was stupid. The right way to get people to be more energy efficient is to charge people the true cost of energy, but that kind of talk doesn't win votes, even with supposed pro free market people.
        • by sir-gold (949031)

          If you did raise the cost of electricity, where would that extra money go? Giving more money to the power company isn't going to reduce climate damage, it would just make the executives and shareholders richer.

          Just look at oil. There are already ridiculous markups on oil (and obscenely rich Arabs) but it doesn't stop people from driving gasoline cars.

          The only way you could raise the price of electricity to match it's "true cost", while actually paying back the environment, would be to put the extra money in

          • by ceoyoyo (59147)

            It doesn't have to be a tax. Requiring scrubbers on coal power plants has raised the price of electricity. Placing limits on the amount of carbon they're allowed to emit would raise it more.

          • by Dishevel (1105119)
            Correct. There are not nearly enough taxes.

            The list of things I do not like and the list of things that should have taxes put upon them correlates fairly well.

            Pay for people to do what you want. (Quit working and have\abort babies.)

            Tax what you want people to do less. (Make money, Drive, Smoke, Drink)

            Put people in prison for what you do not want them doing. (Murder (of people living over 3 minutes), paying for sex, trading stocks when you know for a fact the will go up or down, ratting out the government

          • I didn't say the cost of electricity should be raised. I said we should charge the true cost of electricity. *If* the true cost of electricity is higher than what is being charged, it could mean a few things.

            It could mean that somewhere someone is getting subsidies or we are polluting the environment, and raising the price of electricity would offset the need for those subsidies.

            It could also mean that producing the electricity involves some kind of externality like pollution/co2 that we as citizens of th

            • by sir-gold (949031)

              In most areas the cost of electricity is heavily regulated, and in Minnesota and Wisconsin (xcel energy), the actual production costs are broken down in detail on every single monthly bill. We pay X cents per KwH for the power plant, and Y cents for the lines, and Z cents for administration, etc. and when the power company wants to change their rates they have to get approval from the state. I don't know about other parts of the country, but here atleast, they aren't selling below cost

    • Completely agree. This is somewhat along the same line: I don't want a smart fridge - someone might hack in and turn up the temp just enough so I don't notice but enough to cause me to get food poisoning from the warmer temp. Of course they'd disable the temp alarm in the process. I don't want someone turning on my smart toaster and burning my house down, or causing my dishwasher or washing machine to flood the house. That's the problem with the internet of things - it will never be 100% secure.
      • And yet people are still willing to trade security for convenience... Driving to work will never be 100% secure.

        Even if some people were actually killed by fires caused by smart appliances (which I am not aware of any), the convenience of being able to turn up my thermostat an half an hour before I come home outweighs the danger, in the sam way that the convenience of driving my car to work outweighs the danger.

        Nothing is 100% safe. And this is an impossible standard to meet. Everything we do in life is

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          The reserve parachute makes skydiving reasonably safe too. But it would be proposterous to think others would feel the same way and everyone would endorse it.

          Different people are different. What you accept doesn't have to be what they accept. In a free world, this should be the norm and we need to understand that. I personally do not want those internet of things because i don't want my appliances sending information to anyone at all. The NSA already listens in on our phone sex. They don't need to know that

        • Almost all the reasonable suggestions I've seen for internet-connected things (coffee in the morning, lights as I come in, etc) have already been solved with timers (coffee, thermostat, etc) or motion sensors (lights). Most people who complain about motion-sensed lights are doing it wrong anyways. CFL's (what most people use now thanks to various laws) burn out really fast if they are turned on for less than 15 minutes (it's the actual time duration, NOT just the number of cycles), so they just need to adju

          • Almost all the reasonable suggestions I've seen for internet-connected things (coffee in the morning, lights as I come in, etc) have already been solved with timers (coffee, thermostat, etc) or motion sensors (lights).

            Timers only effectively control things that need to happen at the same time everyday. I don't want my heater to come on at the same time everyday. I want it to come on 30 minutes before I get home, which is different depending on what happens during the day.

            I would actually much prefer an alert that goes over the internet to my phone than an actual phone call. For one thing, I don't actually have a landline. For another, I usually let phone calls go to voicemail.

            • The outgoing phone line is to the alarm company, not your cell phone.
              • by mysidia (191772)

                The outgoing phone line is to the alarm company, not your cell phone.

                So you want to pay $30 extra a month for a 3rd party monitoring company, instead of using the existing internet connection to directly send the message to your smartphone?

                • by BitZtream (692029)

                  YES! I have a brain and half a clue.

                  You'd rather save $30 and risk your life to some script kiddie.

                  I'd rather pay the cost and watch your house burn done.

                  This is why people like me write software for medical devices and people like you don't, and should be banned from making any decisions that effect others.

                  • by mysidia (191772)

                    You'd rather save $30 and risk your life to some script kiddie.

                    No. It's not necessary, because you are just lumping on additional requirements --- most people will not pay the costs to get a certified central system professionally installed with a 24x7 monitoring company watching their alarm, AND this is not required or recommended for the average residence anyways. It's quite possible to design a smoke detector so that it has a monitoring module that is completely isolated from the alarm and has no

                  • So the software you write is vulnerable to script kiddies?
        • And yet people are still willing to trade security for convenience... Driving to work will never be 100% secure.

          Driving drunk is still more convenient than calling a cab or bugging a friend. Driving drunk will never be 100% secure.

          Nothing is 100% safe. And this is an impossible standard to meet. Everything we do in life is a calculated risk. I think fixing safety issues as they are discovered is a perfectly reasonable course of action.

          Non-Falsifiable statements convey no useful information. I can respond to any mishap or failure with the same verbiage and have no more or less a valid point.

          Whether it is "driving drunk" or "driving sober to work" neither activity is 100% secure.

          Yes connecting to the internet allows the possibility of my smoke detector to be hacked. It also allows me to be alerted if it goes off when I am not at home. I think the benefit of scenario 2 is worth the risk of scenario 1.

          The hell it is. If a fire starts when your away chances are your still looking at significant/total loss from fire and or water damage from eff

          • Driving drunk is still more convenient than calling a cab or bugging a friend. Driving drunk will never be 100% secure.

            I guess it could be depending on how drunk you are. If you are so drunk that the likelihood of killing other people or yourself is significant than those sorts of consequences make things decidedly less convenient (given that death is pretty inconvenient).

            Non-Falsifiable statements convey no useful information. I can respond to any mishap or failure with the same verbiage and have no more or less a valid point.

            When I say "A is possible" it does not imply "A always happens"

            What I am advocating is to use judgement rather than an absolute rule to accept no risk, or extreme risk, which you did not seem to understand.

            Falsifiable claims (i.e. scientific/empirical cla

            • by mysidia (191772)

              Nothing is 100% safe. And this is an impossible standard to meet. Everything we do in life is a calculated risk. I think fixing safety issues as they are discovered is a perfectly reasonable course of action.

              No... it's not a reasonable course of action. When safety issues are "discovered" the hard way, lives are lost.

              It is a true, but a useless fact that nothing is 100% safe.

              Do you really think you can compare the "safety" of Driving to Work, against the "safety" of connecting a thermostat or smoke

              • No... it's not a reasonable course of action. When safety issues are "discovered" the hard way, lives are lost.

                I'm not sure how you think safety problems could be fixed *before* they are discovered. Not only is fixing safety problems *after* they are discovered reasonable, it's really the only possibility. How soon you fix these issues after they are discovered is what makes the difference.

                It is a true, but a useless fact that nothing is 100% safe.

                It is useful to people who refrain from doing certain things they might benefit from because they are *not* 100% safe. Sometimes people need to be reminded that nothing is 100% safe, and that everything entails a risk.

                Do you really think you can compare the "safety" of Driving to Work, against the "safety" of connecting a thermostat or smoke detector to the internet?

                I already

                • by mysidia (191772)

                  I'm not sure how you think safety problems could be fixed *before* they are discovered.

                  Through defensive design. By requiring that system design promotes safety; therefore, there are unlikely to be serious safety issues. The key is to design systems that are anti-fragile, AND that are robust such that random safety issues aren't emerging after product release.

                  Not only is fixing safety problems *after* they are discovered reasonable, it's really the only possibility.

                  This is not a valid excuse for de

                  • Through defensive design. By requiring that system design promotes safety; therefore, there are unlikely to be serious safety issues. The key is to design systems that are anti-fragile, AND that are robust such that random safety issues aren't emerging after product release.

                    This is an example of things never becoming issues in the first place. And you cannot rely on the fact that you will simply have a 100% perfect design from the start and not worry about any issues that pop up after release. So I will reiterate, that it is reasonable to fix the issues that pop up after release as you discover them.

                    This is not a valid excuse for designing and releasing or using systems with inherent vulnerabilities that are therefore likely to have safety impacting issues later, and therefore: incurring this extra liability.

                    Obviously I was not advocating designing systems with inherent vulnerabilities.

                    Most people drive their car less than 2 hours a day, BUT rely on their smoke detector to help protect their lives 10+ hours a day.

                    And even given this fact, there are 14x as many people dying in car accidents as in house fires.

                    This assumes you are an average driver. But perhaps I am a far-safer-than-average driver driving a far-safer-than-average car.

                    It

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Some things are important enough to

      a) keep simple, and
      b) keep offline

      While that's true, it's also flying in the face of Progress We must strive to make things as complicated and feature rich as possible (and also shiny).

      See, it worked, it detected the fire by melting. Success!

    • by hey! (33014)

      This is something software engineers should have learned in school. Sometimes a software failure can kill. Did they make *you* study the Therac-25 incident? I bet they didn't, much less to do when confronted with a project which puts lives in danger.

      It must have seemed like a no-brainer to go from making thermostats to fire alarms, but I would be very, very reluctant to work on such a project. There's something ethically questionable about replacing a simple, highly effective device that saves lives with

      • Were people actually *replacing* their existing fire alarms with this instead of just supplementing them? I would think that "return for a refund" would also mean "and buy some damn tried-and-true smoke detectors".
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        I made a similar comment on the story about NEST first releasing their smoke detector. And yes, I did have to study the Therac-25. Software, physics and biology.

    • Actually, it's welcome to the silicon valley, venture capital backed, google always in beta Internet of Things.

      Honestly, if Honeywell or some other non-SV-VC-Google-Facebook-Cisco-Apple company released something similar, the turn out would be more like: the UI crash again, but the basic function (detecting a fire) still works fine.

    • Lots of advantages in having things online, or at least connected to a home automation controller. If there's a problem (fire, burglary, water leak) the system can take action and / or notify you. And sometimes there are good reasons to add a few features (adding complexity).

      With that said, most home automation enthusiasts recognize that these systems are not as reliable as their more simple counterparts. Current best practice for stuff like this is to use standard smoke detectors wired into a convent
    • by mysidia (191772)

      It won't get me killed, because I'd have for every Nest protect, the older nearby simple detector detected hardwired to the building fire alarm.

      See.... I don't trust any one smoke detector. Always install two in a room -- in pairs and test weekly.

    • They're not really mutually exclusive though. You can have a fancy automated house and still have a $5 smoke detector as well.

      I mean, I assume Nest devices won't send out predator droids to destroy competing products. Maybe that's an unsafe assumption.
  • A smoke alarm with software seems like it's not as simple as possible.

  • by pr0nbot (313417) on Friday April 04, 2014 @04:26PM (#46665077)

    I think a fire alarm is an instance where I'd like something to have as simple and foolproof a mechanism as possible. I suppose a smart alarm could perhaps call the emergency services or something... but I'd still probably combine it with a bog standard fire alarm.

    • by Animats (122034) on Friday April 04, 2014 @04:33PM (#46665131) Homepage

      I think a fire alarm is an instance where I'd like something to have as simple and foolproof a mechanism as possible.

      Yes. That's why fire sprinklers are so successful. There's nothing between the water and the fire except a low-melting-point component in the sprinkler head.

      This is an example of webcrap-level programmers doing things they're not qualified to do. I'm beginning to think that "Internet of Things" programmers should be required to have Registered Professional Engineer credentials, like structural engineers.

      • Yes. That's why fire sprinklers are so successful. There's nothing between the water and the fire except a low-melting-point component in the sprinkler head.

        The fire sprinklers with the visible glass tubes are activated when heat causes the liquid inside to expand, shattering the glass and opening the valve. No melting occurs.

      • by Jerrry (43027)

        "Yes. That's why fire sprinklers are so successful. There's nothing between the water and the fire except a low-melting-point component in the sprinkler head."

        Sprinklers are something you really don't want to fail, because both scenarios are destructive. If the sprinklers fail to work as designed, your house burns down. If they go off without a fire, you have lots of water damage, which is almost as expensive to fix as fire/smoke damage.

        • Sprinklers are something you really don't want to fail, because both scenarios are destructive. If the sprinklers fail to work as designed, your house burns down. If they go off without a fire, you have lots of water damage, which is almost as expensive to fix as fire/smoke damage.

          And while that's true. Few people (if any?) have died from their sprinklers coming on. Many people have died in a fire...

          So the cost of "fire" vs. "sprinkler" isn't symmetric.

      • Webdevs did not develop this--would even work in the 1st place if so.

        I'm sure Nest had their hardware engineers, aka "Makers", design this. Cause the integration between the web-enabled part and critical R/T hardware is [now] obviously terrible. Should have had some real h/w engineers design this.

        Sure puts a black eye on them considering all the hoopla last month w/Google buying them out.

      • Agreed. Fire alarms are not things that should be designed by any Tom, Dick, or Harry that wants to dabble in home automation. These are devices in which failure can cause people to fucking die. The folks over a Nest should issue a complete recall of every single one of their fire alarms, destroy them, and replace them with normal fire alarms from any real fire protection vendor. But we all know that won't happen because it would cut into their profit margin and they'd be forced to admit that they aren'
    • by gander666 (723553) * on Friday April 04, 2014 @04:34PM (#46665147) Homepage
      YMMV, but my house is wired for a burglar alarm. It is monitored. All the smoke detectors are wired to the main alarm. If one of them goes off, the alarm system notifies the monitoring company, and they call me to see if there is a fire (actually looking for false alarm). If I don't respond, they send the fire department. It is the ONLY reason there is a land line at my house these days.

      My understanding is that Nest does this via Wifi. In the event of an emergency, I trust the POTS far more than the cable internet and wifi to call the cavalry. Perhaps one day Nest will make this all fool proof. But until that day, I will stick with the land line/alarm monitor.

      Oh, the monthly cost to monitor is like $6.00.
      • I think POTS is probably more reliable than wifi, but one nice thing about wifi is that rodents can't chew through wires that aren't there.
        • Yeah, but the WiFi Router is going to be plugged into a telephone, coax, or fiber line that is just as vulnerable to being cut.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        " It is the ONLY reason there is a land line at my house these days."
        no, just order and have installed the GSM radio module and get rid of the home phone line. the $250 for the module and additional $3.99 a month pays for it's self in 5 months of paying for a land line.

    • by swinefc (91418) *

      The smart feature is the one they disabled. It is a feature called wave to dismiss. It's the entire reason I bought one. My wife often burns things in the oven and sets off the smoke detector. The wave to dismiss feature gave us an option besides taking out the battery.

      I hear you thinking: get a smarter wife and not a smarter smoke detector. C'est la vie

      • by sir-gold (949031)

        They make basic smoke alarms with "bad cook" buttons that disable the alarm for a 10-20 minutes when pressed. The button is big enough that you can poke it with a broom handle if it's too far from the floor

    • by adolf (21054)

      I think a fire alarm is an instance where I'd like something to have as simple and foolproof a mechanism as possible. I suppose a smart alarm could perhaps call the emergency services or something... but I'd still probably combine it with a bog standard fire alarm.

      Because what I have in my kitchen is oh-so-much better.

      I have a photosensitive smoke alarm that goes off every time I cook on my stove (and no, not because my food is on fire). My immediate response is to dismount the smoke detector, put it some

    • by Amouth (879122)

      I will say i bought and installed their thermostats, and i do like them. especially the remote control, with my travel schedule..

      But i fully agree that things that are safety devices (like fire/smoke detectors) should be as simple as possible.

      I highly doubt that they have applied/executed a RAM analysis on their smoke detectors (either do to ignorance or complexity), but my bet is their reliability would be much lower than they believe them to be if they did. and then you have to ask your self. do you wa

  • Keep it simple, stupid.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday April 04, 2014 @04:34PM (#46665141) Homepage Journal

    They did a test of that thing on the news the other day; it detected carbon monoxide and smoulder-type fires just fine.

    What it failed to do was detect an actual fire that didn't produce much, if any, smoke.

    Maybe they should just relabel it as the "Nest Toxic Chemical Detector."

    • by adisakp (705706)

      What it failed to do was detect an actual fire that didn't produce much, if any, smoke.

      How does and old fashioned smoke detector fare at detecting fires that don't produce smoke?

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        You mean like a gas fire? because a fire that is burning your home or it's contents will produce smoke.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's because it doesn't have both an ionizing and a photoelectric sensor. One is better with smoldering fires (photoelectric), the other one with a hot fire producing small particles (ionizing).* The interlinked Kiddie units I have do both.

      Heat detection really isn't a great option compared to ionizing or photoelectric, but does work better in "dirtier" environments say located near an old furnace in a basement or other dusty/dirty areas.

      * https://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/fire-and-saf

    • by sir-gold (949031)

      The vast majority of people who die in a building fire died because of toxic fumes, not because of actual fire. A smokeless fire isn't really dangerous to you unless you are near it (you would feel the heat) or it is large enough to compromise the building structure.

      Also, a smokeless housefire is pretty much impossible, there aren't that many materials in common use that burn that cleanly

  • So if you are running down the hallway waving your arms as you escape the building during a fire, you might disable the alarm before it warns other people.
  • I can see why they would do this, if they feel the alarm might not go off in some cases.

    But they should only dose if they detect a significant cumber of linked alarms.

    I was thinking about getting one of these for the kitchen, but I've had several false alarms from cooking incidents over the last few years. I cannot have an alarm in the kitchen I cannot disable in that case, and real fires can still be detected by all of the other alarms in the house even if the Nest did not go off.

    You might say you can jus

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Or don't put it in your kitchen. 99% of the homes do not have a fire alarm in the kitchen. the proper place it to put them on the ceiling in the bedroom above the door if you have bedroom doors closed at night, otherwise they belong outside the sleeping area near the bedroom doors.

      http://www.nfpa.org/safety-inf... [nfpa.org]

  • Given the absurd and idiotic behavior reported by users of the NEST and NEST 2 thermostats, I took one look at this smoke detector's webpage, saw who made it, and basically said "nope" and closed the page.

    Thermostats that generate enough of their own heat during operation that they sense the temperature being up to 10 degrees warmer than the room, multiple reports of them not coming on at all in 'vacation home' mode where owners will use them to keep pipes from freezing, oddball lockups that leave houses ba

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday April 04, 2014 @05:39PM (#46665609) Homepage

    horribly overpriced toy is not a good fire alarm. A standard fire alarm is very very simple FOR A REASON, it has an incredibly high reliability.

    • by MTEK (2826397)
      Yes, reliability is critical, but it's not very useful if no one is home.
    • by iamacat (583406)

      A standard fire alarm has the same reliability as birth control though abstinence for pretty much the same reasons - it only works if used consistently all of the time. They should have left the feature on while its being fixed. It's the only thing that keeps people from ripping out the batteries.

  • Nest sounds cool. I like the remote off, with no remote device. Could be voice activated instead and that might solve the problem.

    This has the potential for a lot of very interesting things. It is a platform for sensors.
    Smoke
    Fire
    CO
    CO2
    Humidity
    Temperature
    Air Pressure
    Motion Sensor (earthquake)
    PA/mic
    Camera
    WiFi extender ...

    Put one outside too. Network and log the data.

    Then for people who want to participate, send the data to the weather bureau folks for collecting some seriously large aggregates of data on the e

  • by Barbarian (9467) on Friday April 04, 2014 @09:35PM (#46667013)

    I'm sure we will see more problems with the internet of things. Just wait until lulz kids figure out how to make smart smoke alarms beep continuously., so people disable the power, or turn the heat up to 100 and then down to 10 ( Fahrenheit). There's not shortage of psychos who like to screw with people (see: webcam hacks and 'slaves'). So it's a matter of time.

    Critical life safety devices like Smoke detectors should be a local loop only. You can interconnect, but don't connect to the internet or phones.
    If you want a smart one, make it redundant and in addition to the local only alarms. Hook it up to something outside or your alarm company.This is to call the fire department when no one is home. I.e. this is for saving your property.
    And control devices like your thermostat should have a local override switch that disables, in hardware, all smart features and turns it into a dumb device

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