I love making things with microcontrollers and such-like, so I would rebuff any accusation that I’m a luddite or old man shaking his fist at the sky when it comes to tech.
Despite – or maybe because – of this I eschew all things “IoT” and “cloud” in products. It baffles me how anyone can really trust these things when we have seen, time after time, how badly supported they are.
Matt Pulzer sums it up eloquently in his March 2020 editorial in Practical Electronics:
One of the big tech news stories the week I’m writing this Editorial is the howls of outrage that greeted the announcement by smart speaker manufacturer Sonos that they were no longer supporting some of their older products – and in some cases not-so-old – with software updates. Customers who had spent small fortunes on whole-house installations were furious that their investment was compromised and that at best they would need to run two incompatible systems to pipe music though their home. This came just eight months after Google announced it was to cease supporting its Works programme, which allowed third-party vendors to integrate products such as smart light bulbs with its Nest ecosystem of home automation.
Pulzer drew five conclusions:
- Company size is no guarantee of anything
- companies can be arrogant and stupid.
- software is likely to expire
- “all-in-one” systems are especially vulnerable to these problems
- simplicity is a prerequisite to reliability (paraphrasing here)
I don’t own a kindle, for example, and I doubt I ever will. For starters, I’m not shelling out on a piece of electronics when, you know, I could just read a book. And secondly, I just don’t trust Amazon enough. I buy plenty of stuff from Amazon, but I just don’t trust their servers, or their business ethics, enough to buy a kindle.
Within the last decade we seem to have entered a brave new world of “Big Tech” (I usually hate to reduce things to slogans, but in this case, I think you can see my point). We’ve happily gone along with Facebook, Twitter and Google and their unconscionable snooping.
Well, I could go on, but that’ll do you for now.