back to article Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

An Internet of Things maker has just had first-hand experience of the Streisand effect – after remotely killing a customer's Wi-Fi garage door for being rude. Garadget builds and sells a so-called smart door opener that can be operated remotely from a smartphone app. Once installed, Garadget's $99 gizmo wirelessly connects to …

  1. Lee D Silver badge

    Third party services are controlled by third parties.

    Stop using them if this is unacceptable.

    Nothing left? Yeah, that's because you guys didn't do this but instead bought into that kind of junk.

    To be honest, nowadays, can't you just buy a garage door opener kit and stick any kind of remote Wifi/GSM-activated thing on it? Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

    1. JimC Silver badge

      re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

      Why indeed? But my housemate wanted to be able to control the central heating from her smartphone, and when I looked into it the options seemed to be either having both the device and the phone talking out through the firewall onto some suppliers server, or else custom building a load of hardware myself.

      The first is unacceptable to me on security grounds, and the second is more hassle than I want to get into. Just seems damn silly to me. But the end result: I get a text to go and turn the central heating down...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

        when I looked into it the options seemed to be either having both the device and the phone talking out through the firewall onto some suppliers server, or else custom building a load of hardware myself.

        Why not just isolate the thermostat into its own VLAN?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

        > when I looked into it the options seemed to be either having both the device and the phone talking out through the firewall onto some suppliers server, or else custom building a load of hardware myself.

        There are a number of options which require neither, starting at around £200 for the cheap consumer-level stuff from manufacturers in France and Poland and going all the way to £4,000+ for industrial systems, depending on the level of reliability you require.

        1. JimC Silver badge

          Re: There are a number of options which require neither

          I didn't find any that would interface with the existing boiler and its control. All the ways of doing so seemed to involve enough complexity and/or expense for the FTFAGOS flag to be set....

      3. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

        the desire was to control the central heating using the smart phone

        " But the end result: I get a text to go and turn the central heating down..."

        mission achieved

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

          > the desire was to control the central heating using the smart phone

          > " But the end result: I get a text to go and turn the central heating down..." mission achieved

          I used to have a developer like that: he made sure to take the most literalistic interpretation possible (just barely) for any requirement, completely untainted by common sense (or aesthetics).

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

        "But my housemate wanted to be able to control the central heating from her smartphone"

        Fritzbox smarthome - amongst other options.

        No cloud servers required.

        1. streaky Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

          my housemate wanted to be able to control the central heating from her smartphone

          Sounds completely - completely - pointless. If you need to change your heating settings more than a few times a year it's probably set wrong or you don't understand how timers and thermostats work and probably shouldn't be allowed near an app anyway.. Just throwing that out there.

          1. GingerOne

            Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

            "Sounds completely - completely - pointless. If you need to change your heating settings more than a few times a year it's probably set wrong or you don't understand how timers and thermostats work and probably shouldn't be allowed near an app anyway.. Just throwing that out there."

            Where the hell do you live? Season's don't just change overnight and go from hot to cold...

            1. lorisarvendu

              Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

              "Where the hell do you live? Season's don't just change overnight and go from hot to cold..."

              Well they do here in the East Midlands, especially at this time of year. Last week we had to keep bumping the thermostat manually up a degree. A few weeks before that the heating never came on because the house was at 19 degrees for several days.

              1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

                Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

                Last week we had to keep bumping the thermostat manually up a degree. A few weeks before that the heating never came on because the house was at 19 degrees for several days.

                Why did you have to alter the thermostat when it was cold? Isn't the point of a thermostat to maintain a constant temperature by switching the heating (or individual radiators) off and on? The fact that your heating didn't come on when the weather was warm suggests that the thermostat is working as expected.

            2. Alan_Peery

              Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

              Don't you turn your heating down at night?

              Or when you leave the house for 12 hours? If you don't do this, you're wasting money heating an unoccupied house.

              1. illiad

                Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

                No, I have an ancient thing called a 'timer' to turn it off for me. very easy to set, for long trips away..

                and My timer works on temperature too, so a cold or hot spell, is catered for... :)

            3. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

              Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

              Doesn't matter where you live or how rapidly the season - or the weather - changes, if you set your thermostat to maintain your desired minimum internal temperature then you can leave your heating enabled all the time and it will only come on if the temperature drops below whatever value you set.

              If you set your thermostat way high and then rely on timers or switching your boiler on and off by the time of year to limit how long your heating should run for then you are definitely in the "box it up and send it back, you obviously don't have a clue how to use it" category.

              1. illiad

                Re: not.known@this.address

                unless of course, you r timer does not JUST switch it off, but changes the set temperature at a set time of day...

                you are jut making a simple system seem complex,...

          2. JimC Silver badge

            Re:Sounds completely - completely - pointless

            Well, the user requirement is to turn the heating down when she goes to bed, which is randomly any time from 10:30 pm to 1:30 am, so its kinda tricky to schedule on a timer. You may think that's an odd requirement, but trust me, you don't want to argue the point.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: Re:Sounds completely - completely - pointless

              "But IMHO if you are stationary on public road with the handbrake on you can operate the phone as you see fit."

              You would think so but not always the case. You are still in control of the vehicle whilst you are "driving". The definition of driving can also mean when the engine is running (and some people have been booked even with the engine off, handbrake on and parked up because the keys were in the ignition!). Even on your own driveway, supermarket car park, national trust land - whatever, if the keys are in the ignition and you are fiddling on your phone then plod can have a go (you might have a better defence if the engine wasn't running). If plod want to book you then they WILL book you and magistrates tend to side with the plod in either case.

              Oddly enough, a standalone satnav, bluetooth garage dongle etc would have to fall under driving without due care and attention, this would need a much higher benchmark or proof. The phone though, much lower burden of proof. Shitty I know but that is how stupid the law is.

              1. David Bird

                Re: Re:Sounds completely - completely - pointless

                An actual key? In some sort of ignition lock? That would be very old school technology for someone deploying remote control services.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Re:Sounds completely - completely - pointless

              "You may think that's an odd requirement, but trust me, you don't want to argue the point."

              I'll take your word for the last bit. But if I wanted to turn off the heating at some random time, after racking my brains for a while, I think I'd come up with the idea of just pushing the switch.

            3. Archtech Silver badge

              Re: Re:Sounds completely - completely - pointless

              I do that with the knob on my thermostat in the hall.

            4. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: Re:Sounds completely - completely - pointless

              Well, the user requirement is to turn the heating down when she goes to bed, which is randomly any time from 10:30 pm to 1:30 am, so its kinda tricky to schedule on a timer.

              As well as the options mentioned already, there are also thermostats with a PIR sensor, so that it stays at the high preset as long as it detects a body*.

              * Doesn't work for people huddled in a blanket and stiff from the cold due to an improperly set thermostat.

            5. illiad

              Re: Re:Sounds completely - completely - pointless (heating)

              well I have a wireless remote for my heating (independent, not WIFI!) - should get one... :)

          3. VanguardG

            Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

            On the other side of it...if one can't be bothered to get up and walk to the thermostat to change it digitally (ie, with your digits, your *fingers*) then its not a comfort thing as much as one simply wanting something to fidget with.

          4. Alan_Peery

            Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

            You just assumed the household has a regular occupancy pattern. That's not true for all households, and those with irregular patterns do have a use for "warm up the house, I've arrived back from the sales trip" functionality.

        2. earl grey Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

          "But my housemate wanted to be able to control the central heating from her smartphone"

          Pick up phone.

          walk over to the heating control

          use corner of phone to poke the up/down arrow on the control

          mission accomplished

      5. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

        either having both the device and the phone talking out through the firewall onto some suppliers server, or else custom building a load of hardware myself.

        The first is unacceptable to me on security grounds, and the second is more hassle than I want to get into.

        Sounds like a business opportunity for someone who can package the home automation server into a device for installing at your own location easily!

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Same reason my friend's Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat "needed" a cloud server. Because Honeywell WANTS it that way.

      Since the thing's totally unencrypted, I found I could send simple JSON commands directly to it. No "server" needed.

      When I wanted a remote garage door so I could just ride up on my motorcycle, I couldn't find "any kind of remote Wifi/GSM-activated thing" so I have a Raspberry Pi that my phone talks to over the cell connection when the GPS says I'm near home. I made damned sure to make it TLS-encrypted though, so no-one can snoop my fairly simple protocol, and my phone presents the certificate for authorization.

      1. Grandpa Tom

        Better solution is bluetooth. I have a raspberry pi running with owncloud. Could very well connected a relay to the RPI. But a simple solution was to install an off the shelf bluetooth device that connects to my phone when I arrive. No security risks at all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          a simple solution was to install an off the shelf bluetooth device that connects to my phone when I arrive. No security risks at all.

          Pull the other one.

      2. GingerOne
        Thumb Up

        "When I wanted a remote garage door so I could just ride up on my motorcycle, I couldn't find "any kind of remote Wifi/GSM-activated thing" so I have a Raspberry Pi that my phone talks to over the cell connection when the GPS says I'm near home. I made damned sure to make it TLS-encrypted though, so no-one can snoop my fairly simple protocol, and my phone presents the certificate for authorization."

        Patented that? Sounds like you actually have a good idea for Kickstarter, or at least a good opportunity for some karma points by publishing the instructions...

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Hang on. Someone steals your phone and your motorcycle, then they drive to your home and the garage automatically opens itself for them? Then they ride off on your precious lawnmower?

          Well done, Anonymous of Symonds Yat, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, known to his neighbours as "Ali Baba with the motorcycle".

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Remote Garage Door opener

      Don't buy one that needs a 3rd party server.

      P.S. They have actually existed since 1950s, also if you are IN the car, needing to use a phone app is a retrograde step from models fitted on a car.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Remote Garage Door opener

        As well as 6 points on your licence in the UK unless you stop the car and turn off the engine before operating the phone.

        That said my car has Bluetooth surely the car itself could be used for this sort of thing?

        1. muttley

          Re: 6 points on your license

          Technically, if you're on your drive it's private land, no 6 points. But I don't believe the Police are in the habit of lurking outside your house hoping to catch you using a door app on your phone... :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 6 points on your license

            Indeed true.

            But IMHO if you are stationary on public road with the handbrake on you can operate the phone as you see fit.

            1. dave 81

              Re: 6 points on your license

              > But IMHO if you are stationary on public road with the handbrake on you can operate the phone as you see fit.

              From personal experience; If the keys are in the ignition, they will ticket you.

            2. creepy gecko
              Meh

              Re: 6 points on your license

              Devils advocate.....

              Not sure if that's true. I think if you haven't completed your journey (and are still on a public road) you are still driving, despite been parked with handbrake on. I'm assuming engine still running etc.

              The police will prosecute you or give you a ticket if you're using your mobile while stationary with handbrake on, at red traffic lights for example. They say you're still driving, despite not moving, and so can't be distracted by the mobile phone.

              I know the chances of getting a ticket while operating your garage doors (from the public road) with an app is practically nil, but I've got my pedants head on. :-)

              I can't understand why they don't just get out of the car and open the garage by hand. Oh, it's too low tech, you say? I understand now.

              1. michael cadoux

                Re: 6 points on your license

                I remember a news item about a woman who did that ON HER OWN DRIVEWAY and some passing youth jumped in the car and drove off. So as well as getting out (possibly in pouring rain) you'd have to take the key out of the ignition.

                (All that said, I've always had only manual opening garage doors, but not lived in areas where the bad stuff happens)

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: 6 points on your license

            "But I don't believe the Police are in the habit of lurking outside your house hoping to catch you using a door app on your phone"

            Prime example of missing the issue here. The reason the police could trap you is because it's illegal to do so whilst driving. The reason it's illegal is because it's dangerous. This is one instance where "think of the children" is relevant. They might even be the driver's own children.

        2. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Remote Garage Door opener

          As well as 6 points on your licence in the UK unless you stop the car and turn off the engine before operating the phone.

          Surely this only needs to be a tap on an icon, so it could be done hands-free if the phone is in a cradle ... or even by voice command?

        3. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Remote Garage Door opener

          As well as 6 points on your licence in the UK unless you stop the car and turn off the engine before operating the phone.

          Only on public property. n your drive no problem - although if you run over your stooping granny it might be taken into account when sentencing.

          And of course if your app uses GPS location....

        4. jeffdyer

          Re: Remote Garage Door opener

          "so I could just ride up on my motorcycle"

      2. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

        Re: Remote Garage Door opener

        "P.S. They have actually existed since 1950s, also if you are IN the car, needing to use a phone app is a retrograde step from models fitted on a car."

        Back in the day, 1982 or 1983, my dad fitted an opener for our garage(1), remotely triggered by a short-range radio widget clipped on the driver's side sun visor. No third-party servers (FFS the ARPANET had only just switched to TCP/IP), no WiFi, nothing like that.

        (1) The less said about the placement of this garage the better, mostly because sane people would use highly bleepable language. A previous owner of the house had demolished a ground-level garage beside the house in favour of digging a hole in the ground, knocking a hole in the side of the house, and converting that end of the basement into a garage. The result was that in heavy rain conditions, the drywell under the lowest part of the drive backed up and the drive flooded. My parents bought a submersible pump for it, but even with that, on one memorable occasion we baled it out because the pump wasn't able to keep up.

    4. Lee D Silver badge

      You're kidding right?

      GSM, Wifi and Bluetooth controlled relays are everywhere. You can pick them up in Maplin's if you want.

      And, no, we're not just talking solder-together kits but proper pre-built and support modules where you just power the thing, and then put the "button" wires through the relay. Job done.

      Hell, for £10 on Amazon, I bought a GSM-controlled device that monitors GPS (even when the car is off), texts me if the car moves, tracks the car in real-time, alerts on overspeed, etc. as well as allows me to listen in to a microphone in the car, text the car and cut off the fuel pump, etc. by relay (included in the box!). It was literally cheap Amazon junk that can do exactly what you're asking.

      I also have an house alarm that does the same (text it to activate a relay as a side-effect of it's 8-zone PIR / reed switch, battery backed house alarm functionality).

      There are also bluetooth sensors that can activate when a particular bluetooth device comes in range / leaves range - sounds ideal for that purpose, no messing about with apps, just driving up to the garage with your phone switched on and it opens up.

      Hell, my garden gate is maglock with an RFID reader and my girlfriend and I both have RFID tags. She uses it from her bike (push bike, mind) so that she can cycle up, fob the reader without having to get off, then ride into the alleyway directly. It cost me £10 on Amazon too, and came with a bag of fobs. If she loses the fob (like if your phone app doesn't work!), she just types in a code instead.

      There's no need for poking holes in firewalls or other junk if you buy the right stuff. Which is often the cheapest junk because it has no subscription or dependence on a massive server infrastructure to do a simple job.

      1. Alan_Peery

        Sounds like you've found some nice kit on Amazon, stuff that would be hard to dig out amidst everything they carry. Could you post links to the kit?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To be honest, nowadays, can't you just buy a garage door opener kit and stick any kind of remote Wifi/GSM-activated thing on it? Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

      The key problem is that you hand off control to a third party (who, in this case, could also have a rogue insider opening doors when they shouldn't). Unfortunately, I would guess that a rather large part of the people who buy such gadgets don't realise this. For people like me, the mention of a "free account" is enough warning to avoid the product altogether.

      I also wonder what your insurance will do when you have a burglary stolen and they discover you have this installed. That could make it all a lot more costly than just the initial purchase..

    6. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Surely a great USP for anyone wanting to sell IoT gadgets is to advertise is as being "3rd party server FREE!!!"

    7. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Huh!

      1) Most of the gen public don't think much about what the tech is and how it works

      2) It's probably better for the user and the environment if he gets off his backside and opens the damned door himself anyway.

  2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    And people wonder why I refuse to use rubbish that relies on some outside device to work ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "And people wonder why I refuse to use rubbish that relies on some outside device to work ..."

      But unfortunately users (Sheeple) are lapping up this connected IOT requiring external servers to automate the simplest of things so thats what corporations are doing so they can monitor and monetize their users.

      I will get off my AS* if i need to change the heating, or turn on/off a light. but if i ever do want to get an automation IOT device it will be on its own VLAN and talk to a local Server / Gateway totally independant of the outside world the server will run all the ITTT for all devices and any connection to the outside will be via a locked down Firewall and through a VPN to Authorised devices ONLY.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        "users (Sheeple) are lapping up this connected IOT requiring external servers"

        Yes, they are, but I'm not so sure that it is unfortunate. I think it is an excellent exercise in education.

        When enough stories like this, or cloud brownouts making it just as impossible to operate the frakkin' IoT POS, have been published, the sheeple will intimately know that cloud-enabled IoT is nothing but a risk with little reward.

        Cowbow outfits like Garadget who give themselves the right to cut off a paying customer simlpy because some thin-skinned support guy got brushed the wrong way will be a marvelous force in this direction, not the least because people are more intolerant than ever and the confusion between what I can do and what I have the right to do is constant these days.

        In any case, Garadget is one more company that I have filed on my personal blacklist for abuse of power. I don't care about excuses here - the fact remains that a simple support bloke has the power to cut off a customer. Since the power remains, it will be abused.

        Just like I have blacklisted Amazon's Kindle because Amazon has the power to remove a book that customer's paid for without the customer's consent.

        It is urgent to realign tech companies with reality : having the means does not imply having the right.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "users (Sheeple) are lapping up this connected IOT requiring external servers"

          "having the means does not imply having the right."

          And having both still doesn't mean it's a good idea.

        2. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: "users (Sheeple) are lapping up this connected IOT requiring external servers"

          Just like I have blacklisted Amazon's Kindle because Amazon has the power to remove a book that customer's paid for without the customer's consent.

          Not around here they don't. I have calibre, and some nice deDRM add-ons, one of which de-DRMs Kindle books. The first thing I do with a new download from Amazon (which doesn't happen often, I'll admit; I have 17 books in Kindle, but over 2000 in calibre, mostly courtesy of Project Gutenberg and similar free services) is to deDRM it and park it in calibre. Should Amazon yank the book from Kindle, I have a copy in calibre and they can't touch it. They don't even know it exists. My calibre library is parked on my server and is available to any device on the network, including my iPad. I have Marvin, a really nice ebook reader, on the iPad, and Marvin reads deDRMed Kindle files converted by calibre to epub format.

          Apple's DRM is more difficult to remove than Amazon's, but calibre can do that, too. I have about 50 ebooks in Apple iBook format, mostly from publishers who don't push DRM (hello, Tor Books and Baen Books!) and they're set up in calibre, too, which means that I can use Marvin to read them. And it also means that I have multiple copies (iBooks/Kindle, calibre, Marvin) of books that I'm currently reading and Apple and Amazon can't touch the calibre or Marvin copies.

          And, in any case, there's always Project Gutenberg. It's going to be a while before I run out of books from them.

          1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: "users (Sheeple) are lapping up this connected IOT requiring external servers"

            Another Calibre/Gutenberg junkie!! I am Not Alone.

            BTW, Internet Archive has reveled to me that the con Google and Amazon did with university libraries was on a vast scale. Most of the books I've downloaded in supposedly epub versions were so badly scanned and garbled that it was as if gerbils had run around a keyboard for long enough to produce a book. The libraries got 'digital versions' that are worse than useless at the cost of giving up control of their own digital potential assets.

          2. Fink-Nottle

            Re: "users (Sheeple) are lapping up this connected IOT requiring external servers"

            > Just like I have blacklisted Amazon's Kindle because Amazon has the power to remove a book that customer's paid for without the customer's consent.

            I learned my lesson with Adobe's e-book store that simply 'lost' my customer ID depriving me of every book i'd purchased with them.

    2. GingerOne

      "And people wonder why I refuse to use rubbish that relies on some outside device to work ..."

      And yet here you are, on a device connected to the Internet...

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        And yet here you are, on a device connected to the Internet...

        It's unavoidable when the purpose (or part of the purpose) of the device is to communicate world-wide. But my fridge, door-lock or boiler have no need to post to The Register.

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
          Trollface

          "But my fridge, door-lock or boiler have no need to post to The Register."

          Oh I don't know, I would be quite interested in reading what your fridge has to say.

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: "But my fridge, door-lock or boiler have no need to post to The Register."

            Oh I don't know, I would be quite interested in reading what your fridge has to say.

            My fridge has become Muslim and hates the fact that I store ham and bacon inside it. The fact that I sanctify the pork by waving a copy of Harry Turtledove's 'The R Strain' above it makes no difference. I suspect that I'll have to call in the Mango Mussolini's thought police to deal with the thing. The coffee machine is deeply conflicted as it has become Mormon. Makes good coffee, though.

        2. VanguardG

          I think my refrigerator might have something valuable to contribute to the discussion, but it just sits there, acting cool.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Ultimately, it spells out a warning for other companies – that one bad-tempered action can impact the entire business."

    It should also spell out a warning for other customers and potential customers - if the server goes down for any reason, including the company going out of business, your toy stops working. That applies to any toy that depends on the availability of someone else's computer.

    1. b0llchit
      Mushroom

      Read between the letters

      It spells "planned obsolescence" if you read carefully.

      You should be updating your gadget every so often "to get the best of the new world", which is business-speak for "you owe us more money, you know it, we know it, and we'll get it when we want it". Resistance is futile. Milking is our motto, cattle, know your place.

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me
    Coat

    As my comrade Sergei at the FSB pointed out, that dissident whose installed one of these decadent Western toys has brought his own guillotine.

    Mine's the one without the hood !!!

  5. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Ham radio. Garage Door Opener. Thermostats. Baby Monitor cameras.

    I've seen two or three "Whole Home" kits being marketed that work this way too.

    *shudders*

    Dear god no. I do *not* want all my various bits and pieces talking to the rest of the world *for any* reason.

    And we've seen how well vendor support fora deal with complaints -- this is getting far more common as a reaction from these maroons.

  6. Grunchy

    The peril of the Cloud

    Don't borrow some asshole's stuff. Buy your own stuff.

    And then tell the assholes "hey you, cloud vendor: you're an asshole".

  7. adnim Silver badge
    Meh

    Sigh

    If companies were obliged by law to go full disclosure on the shit they sell.

    People are born ignorant, stupidity is earned. Trust was once also earned, now it is blindly given.

    And I have forgotten how to give a fuck about stupid people, other than the guilt I would feel if I took advantage. I would be rich were it not for an annoying ability to do empathy.

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Sigh

      @adnim wrote: People are born ignorant, stupidity is earned. Trust was once also earned, now it is blindly given.

      Thanks for that, it seems to sum up today's herd mentality to trust personal privacy and security to IoT products run by strangers.

      1. Meph
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Sigh

        @BillG

        The issue is that many people seem afraid to try and understand technology. They get it in their heads that they can't possibly follow the rapid changes, so they blindly trust the vendor. While this is desirable in some circumstances, it makes people vulnerable to the modern day equivalent of the old-time snake oil salesmen.

        By the same token, it's in the best interest of a large organization to separate as many people from their money as efficiently as possible. In this sort of environment, it's almost a valid business strategy, because if you don't do it, you can bet a large sum that at least one of your competitors is.

  8. Chunes

    Got What He Deserved

    I run from anything called "smart."

    God save us for the crap that's coming with IoT.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: Got What He Deserved

      Yep, he got what he deserved - and so did the company. They can all get lost as far as I'm concerned.

    2. streaky Silver badge

      Re: Got What He Deserved

      God save us for the crap that's coming with IoT

      Wake up and smell the apocalypse when governments, local and otherwise, start IoTing the shit out of everything. What we need is that nuclear power station and all those street lights and that bridge to be cloud connected so it can be managed by app from India. Oh cool we can fire all the people who work there now.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Got What He Deserved

      You're more of an unmanaged switch guy are you?

    4. GingerOne
      Joke

      Re: Got What He Deserved

      "I run from anything called "smart.""

      It shows!

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

    This "product" proofs it again. Internet connected garage door opener? Really? My opener control sits in the car. Leave, hit close. Come home.. hit open. No internet connection, no monthly fee. Unique code so no one else can easily hack the code.

    I'm not trying to be smug... just wondering where the brains are of people who buy this junk.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

      The problem is that regular folk will be taken in by the marketing hype. That's part of why Hobbs was right about needing governments for our security. Now it's not so much the neighbouring king, but the corporation that is a modern robber baron.

      Wrong regulation is horrible. But none or soft touch leaves ordinary people to be exploited by these tech parasites.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

        "That's part of why Hobbs was right about needing governments for our security."

        Maybe Hobbes was overoptimistic about governments. We need security against those as well.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

      "I'm not trying to be smug... just wondering where the brains are of people who buy this junk."

      Up in the cloud(s), one way or another... and in some cases virtualised already as well, or so it seems.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

      The remote was stuffed in the home I bought but the opener worked just fine. Got a 4 channel receiver and fob off of some Chinese eBay seller and wired up a 3 factor activator. I have to hit 3 buttons in the proper order within 15 seconds or the circuitry resets. The 4th button is to turn the light on separately. The 433mHz switch kits are so ubiquitous that I wanted a bit of extra security so 3-factor.

      No internet, not replacing the whole stinkin' opener. Fun Saturday afternoon product.

      I can't imagine ever compromising my personal security by having IoT devices that breach my firewall. I would prefer not knowing that my garage door has been opened while I'm on vacation. There's nothing I can do about it and it would ruin my peace of mind. I have good neighbors that will call the police and/or my local friend that has a key to my house to come over and secure things for me.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

        That's two-factor.

        Something you have (the TX) and something you know (the sequence).

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

          …and the time constraint. I might get tricky and slap an arduino in the loop that requires a certain cadence to the key presses. That would definitely be 3-factor.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

            I did one better. I had kids so my garage is full of shite. That way I don't need to worry about trying to get the car in it.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

              "I had kids so my garage is full of shite. That way I don't need to worry about trying to get the car in it."

              My kids are long flown the nest but that makes no difference. Who has a garage with space in it for a car?

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                Holmes

                Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

                My kids are long flown the nest but that makes no difference. Who has a garage with space in it for a car?

                Let's see: two and a half pallets of concrete premix, a concrete mixer, five motorcycles* of which one with sidecar, two pinball machines, two pallets with crates with spare parts, a drill press, a MIG welder and eleven 19x8 cm wooden beams, five meters long.

                And I didn't need kids for that.

                * three more are in a shed, and one is 500km away.

              2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

                "Who has a garage with space in it for a car?"

                I do... and not only that I actually keep a car in it.

                I've never understood why people fill their garages with junk and then leave their next most expensive purchase sitting on the drive.

                Try as I might I simply cannot see why so many people have bought into this connected to a distant server model of IoT. I *really* don't understand

                1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                  Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

                  I've never understood why people fill their garages with junk and then leave their next most expensive purchase sitting on the drive.

                  Exactly. Tthat's why the motorcycles are in the garage, neatly leaving room for the concrete premix, the pinball machines and the MIG welder, and the car is outside.

              3. VanguardG

                Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

                I used to...for that brief time period between buying the house and actually moving in.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

              "I did one better. I had kids so my garage is full of shite. That way I don't need to worry about trying to get the car in it."

              This process also works with Spare rooms, Attics (Lofts) and Car boots (Trunks) :)

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                Holmes

                Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

                This process also works with Spare rooms, Attics (Lofts) and Car boots (Trunks) :)

                If it wasn't filled with junk you would put your car in its own boot? Is your name Maurits Escher, perchance?

                (Spare rooms and attics are rarely designed to allow getting a car in. And out)

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

          "That's two-factor.

          Something you have (the TX) and something you know (the sequence)."

          And the address of the house. Three factor.

          Ooh! And where the hell you left your car keys. Four factor.

  10. Christoph Silver badge

    Why would you need to control your garage door from somewhere where you are not already in visual range of your garage door?

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: Why would you need to control your garage door

      Perhaps to let my brother-in-law into the garage to borrow/return a tool. Perhaps to know when the garage door went up so I know when someone got home. Perhaps to make sure that the garage door is closed if I am out of town. There are LOTS of reasons for these types of devices, just because none of them apply to you doesn't mean that valid reasons don't exist.

      My last garage door opener came with this capability as a free add-on. It was an interesting toy, but I unplugged it from the network long ago because I didn't trust it and it didn't integrate into anything else that I have. I have other ways to remotely unlock a door so it wasn't that important to me.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Why would you need to control your garage door

        How about a garage door phone app. You send an email or sms to your brother-in-law with an authorisation code. His phone then uses bluetooth to connect locally to garage door opener.

        There are plenty of reasons for IoT. This one is stupid, like all of the others I've ever heard of.

      2. Mathman

        Re: Why would you need to control your garage door

        Or just give your brother-in-law a spare key if you trust him. And trust yourself to lock up when you leave town. And stop checking up on your loved ones. Not convincing use cases really.

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Why would you need to control your garage door

          Why give your brother-in-law a spare key when you can just generate him one?

          Obviously it needs to be signed by a trusted CA, or you can run your own with openssl, provided you can store the CA key offline securely (make sure you back up the storage). And obviously you need to be sure that you're using a modern hash algorithm, SHA2 probably. And, of course, you've got to ensure he's using a strong password on his keychain. And watch for side-channel attacks when you generate the key. But, on the whole I think you'll find an RSA key much more convenient.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Why would you need to control your garage door

            Why would you loan tools to your brother-in-law?

            My chainsaw was never the same after Mistra Knowitall used it to cut one tree.

    2. adnim Silver badge
      Joke

      So Winston Wolfe can deal with the corpses whilst u is in another state.

    3. GingerOne

      "Why would you need to control your garage door from somewhere where you are not already in visual range of your garage door?"

      Because you have too much money and not enough hobby!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not just cloud services...

    These days you need to actively block all devices you don't want "phoning home", or you risk losing functionality at the manufacturer's whim. Case in point, an Epson printer successfully using third-party ink for years and then deciding it needed to auto-update its firmware. Big surprise - the update blocked third-party ink carts. That learning experience now has me putting outgoing firewall rules in place on every device I buy that doesn't explicitly NEED constant connectivity to function (creepy Vizio snooping TVs included). And if something does need that connectivity there had better be a damned good reason why - a reason that benefits ME!

    Non-technical users are so totally screwed by what's going on, and I can sadly imagine the day very soon where every device you buy is going to require unrestricted outbound internet access to even turn on.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: It's not just cloud services...

      "Non-technical users are so totally screwed by what's going on, and I can sadly imagine the day very soon where every device you buy is going to require unrestricted outbound internet access to even turn on."

      And then, some day, Something Really Bad 1) 2) happens, and we go down like the Krell.

      1) Registered Trademark pending.

      2) What could possible go wrong? Well, sometimes the Law of Unintended Consequences and Murphy's Law seem to team up to beat the crap out of you. For example, the Chernobyl meltdown actually started as a botched up safety drill. Oops.

      1. Justicesays

        Re: It's not just cloud services...

        Beware, the creatures from the IoT!

      2. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: It's not just cloud services...

        Upvoted for Krell.

  12. JustsomeBlokeinAz
    Coat

    What next?

    You leave less than a 5 star review and next thing you know, your garage is open to world without your consent? Their forums may be civil, and they may have back tracked, but the damage is done....

    Mines the one with the padlock and keys in the pocket....

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: What next?

      "Look, our policy is, if you are not satisfied for any reason, I hate you."

      -- some convenience store clerk in that one Futurama episode

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: What next?

        There was a time when companies took the view that "the customer is always right" - but sometimes it seems these days, especially with cloud or internet of shit stuff, it's a case of them adopting "The customer may be right, but we are in control!"

  13. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    There are enough companies with poor customer service

    ..without their CS wilfully causing more harm intentionally. Personally I'd return the device and tell them it needs extended testing where the sun doesn't shine.

    I don't think many tears will be shed when this startup goes out of business.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Many tears will be shed

      By everyone who's ever bought one of these devices, because they will all stop working.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "this is a lesson in relying on remote systems for important stuff like securing your garage door"

    Yup. Must thank that company for the important lesson they have taught consumers: "cloud-based" IoT is a terrible idea.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "this is a lesson in relying on remote systems for important stuff"

      Must thank that company for the important lesson they have taught consumers

      You'd think that that lesson would have already been learned after the Revolver fiasco, and the Nest fiasco, and the numerous other fiascos, but no.

      With only very few exceptions, consumers are unable and/or unwilling to learn.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Support rep says the guy has poor impulse control, and that's he's not going tolerate any tantrums.

    Then, in a showcase of poor impulse control, has a tantrum and blocks his gizmo :-D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, that's what it looks like, but do we have all the evidence, and the full story from those involved? Me thinks there is truth in each party's claims.

      On one hand you have a snooty company rep shutting off service to some kind of customer or other.

      And on the other hand you have an incompetent end user who seems to be good at complaining, and not so much about setting up home automation gear.

      Do not be so quick to judge the company. The customer should get the same treatment until we know the real deal.

      THIS, is why I don't make hardware products. I just build other people's computers into some infrastructure or another and craft custom automation around it, then charge them way too much for it.

      Seems like a win-win to me. Building a hardware gizmo means I have to deal with every single idiot who picks up the thing and can't figure it, or their life, out. Customers are muggle garbage.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love the explanation

    So they got all emo because the bloke was using robust language to describe his experience?

    As far as I could see, he wasn't even going ad hominem. I've done customer support myself and I'm no stranger to colourful assessments of our product's quality, our own competence, or even our family lineage. Sometimes you come across bullies and of course those are treated appropriately, but most often is just normal people expressing their frustration and can be dealt with using fairly standard communication / psychological techniques.

  17. Nick Gisburne

    Single Point of Failure? No thanks

    A single point of failure for every garage door? Wonderful. So if the company's servers go down, every customer's garage door will end up being stuck, closed (or open) for hours. Please tell me there's a manual override. There is? Then ditch the company before it has a blackout, and just open the door yourself, manually.

    I really do not see the sense in everything being connected to the internet. My personal bugbear is the Hive-style heating nonsense. Wow, I can switch on the heating remotely before I get home? Is that a problem I've ever needed to be solved? Right now I get home early, the house is 5 degrees cooler than I'd like, I switch on the heating, it warms up. A basic timer caters for 99% of my needs. If I'm late, the house has been warmed up without me and the extra expense will probably not force me to re-mortgage the dog.

    I certainly do not need to open my garage door from anywhere in the world. The only place I need to open it is when I am directly in front of it, probably driving up to it or out of it, but certainly not driving while looking at my phone and trying to find the correct app to open the door.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Single Point of Failure? No thanks

      > Wow, I can switch on the heating remotely before I get home? Is that a problem I've ever needed to be solved?

      Nick, you are not the only consumer in the world, you know.

  18. Tezfair
    Facepalm

    Makes you think..

    Spend all this hard earned on IoT to be even lazier and then in a year or two the manfs decide to move on and turn off the servers. Your once 'must have' is now a 'must replace'.

  19. benderama

    It is humourous we are lambasting "the cloud"... while using a tool hosted on another person's cluster...

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      True.

      If El Reg goes down I will be very sad.

      On the other hand, everything I own will be unaffected, and I can still go to the pub.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      At some point The Cloud is always another person's cluster.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        At some point The Cloud is always another person's cluster.

        In no small number of cases, that last word is actually four letters longer and now rhymes with 'duck'.

  20. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Tells customer to get a refund?

    Usually customer support keeps telling you that a fix is on its way until the in-store, credit card, and manufacturer warranties have expired. At that point you're still entitled to a refund but it's a difficult process. Tech that doesn't work on day one needs to be returned on day one.

  21. kain preacher Silver badge

    This company deserves to go under. I hope the chap learned his lesson about Iot

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Toxic company

    If the crap doesn't work, one is permitted to complain.

    Company are losers.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Toxic company

      Idk. There are people stealing oxygen that can barely work out how to use a toothpick (mostly CEOs). Working in CS puts them in touch with you all day every day. If your product has more than 3 steps to make it work, over 50% of the population of a first world country aren't going to be able to make it work without at least twenty minutes of very specific handholding. Ever wonder why companies have to devote 2 pages in the manual just for selecting and installing the batteries in a device? Better look at that intelligence curve again. It's not symmetrical.

  23. decoherence
    Trollface

    A hero to us all

    Don't like a user? Disconnect them! This man is living the dream!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Sesame

    Just toot 3 times and make the wife come out and do the door.

    - Lucky Phil

  25. Milton Silver badge

    Pointless complexity and unnecessary dependence

    As so many have pointed out, and is so true of so very much of the Internet of Shyte ...

    ... there is simply no need to use back-end servers, services and cloud-y rubbish for this. Many decent domestic routers support various kinds of access thru to devices on their LANs and if manufacturers continue (under increasing pressure from the security industry and organs like El Reg) to improve security it is relatively trivial to interface thru the firewall with IoS gizmos.

    If you can buy a Pi based controller for less than ten bucks it's certainly possible to build and code a device to control a garage door. In fact I'd guess a Pi is more powerful than the computers that ran Apollo missions.

    Don't buy into this subscription nonsense. From Windows to Adobe to IoS it's designed solely to hold your wallet hostage. More strength to the company which offers an appliance and software and a 5-year guarantee and says "Here's instructions and a setup utility, here's a free helpline, fill your boots". (And whether they go bust or you irritate them, what you paid for, ONCE, remains yours. Heck, you could even sell it on. An entire industry is trying to turn owners into renters to wring money out of customers and this should be resisted.)

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Pointless complexity and unnecessary dependence

      Surprisingly, Adobe's implementation of a subscription service hasn't been too bad. It's cheaper than buying boxed versions of LightRoom and Photoshop and they do provide valuable updates more than once a year.

      The path that MS is taking with Windows is going to give Linux a bigger push than anything the Linux community has been able to put together.

  26. herman Silver badge

    Sounds like that is actually an IoS device - Internet of Shit.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the device didn't work anyway, what effect did cutting him off have?

  28. imanidiot Silver badge
    Trollface

    I'm just waiting

    I'm just waiting for a blackhat or pentester to penetrate their servers and open every garadget door in the world simulatinously. Or makes them do a dance.

  29. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: What's the bloody point?

      *cough*Americans*cough*

  30. Bob Doe
    FAIL

    nice WebUI security

    User account enumeration via password reset feature on the Web UI.

    I LOL'd.

  31. illiad

    sorry, TL:DR, but FIRST rule of sales support is HELP the customer... Instead of 'cutting him off', and get BAD feedback from all the OTHER customers, he should politely say 'sorry, please call us and we will help you...'

    on amazon there is always helpful feedback..:)

    I hope they are watching this, while their sales are dropping like a stone.....

    Why did he buy it?? people like 'flashy things', and have NO IDEA of the problems they produce... :D

  32. nijam

    Cloud-based devices for clod-based users. Perfect.

  33. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    It's nice to see Travis Kalanick has expanded beyond Uber and started a garage door controller company. Must still be in the pre-funding stage if he's handling tech support on his own.

    Seriously, I hope there are many many more stories like this from a variety of IoT startups so we can finally toss the vast majority of this crap in the digital bin.

  34. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Ban from community forum for bad language?

    Well ok, but that won't end well. A timd suspnsion would have worked better, as would a coherent, thought out policy on how to deal with this inevitable situation before rolling out the product.

    Turning off service? Moves the "company" (and we all know this is a one-man operation right now) i to the same part of the dickhead or not Venn Diagram as the irate customer.

    Issuing an Amazon return authorization was a good move, but likely would have been necessary anyway under TOS eventually.

    Solid fail by the company. If you sell IoT tat, idiots will buy it. It is unintelligent not tomplan for that contingency.

    And hire someone to deal with customer support from now on, Mr Entrepreneur. Your mad skillz do not include problem escalation.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bah!

      Best yet insight in this thread!

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        Yeah, the soft keypad on the train did for my eloquence again. Oh well.

  35. Cuddles Silver badge

    How could he tell?

    The problem the guy had was that his phone wouldn't connect to a server and was therefore unable control his door. The company responded by preventing the phone from connecting to the server and therefore unable to control the door.

    Obviously a stupid move in terms of both customer service and PR, but as far as the technical issue was concerned it doesn't seem they could have made anything worse. If they hadn't said anything, no-one would ever have known that they'd actually blocked anything since the whole issue was that it didn't work in the first place.

  36. VanguardG

    Bad PR move?

    The guy certainly had a poor way of expressing his dissatisfaction - still, very unprofessional reaction by the company rep...just because you're a startup doesn't mean you can be a jerk. This is why many companies have a standard template. "Please keep in mind the terms and conditions of our forum, which exist for the comfort of all those who use this service. We're sorry you're having difficulty with < product x>, but due to the violation of our Terms of Service, we cannot provide support. Please return the product to the place of purchase for a refund." Really, how hard is that?

  37. sebt
    Stop

    Bad PR move?

    "The firing of the customer was never about the Amazon review, just wanted to distance from the toxic individual ASAP," a rep said in a forum posting. "Admittedly not a slickest PR move on my part. Note taken."

    How can this be dismissed as a "bad PR move"? It's insane. The implication is that the company was only completely and utterly wrong to do this because of its PR effects.

    Implying, in turn, that if they messed about with customers' stuff _but without it becoming known_, that would be absolutely fine.

    Come friendly Vogons, and nuke us from orbit...

    (I know that sentence is an ugly bastard offpsring of three parents)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad PR move?

      sebt,

      Have an upvote for the 2nd to last sentence !!!

      Purely because it 'survived' its birth and made me laugh !!! :)

      An interesting merging of John Betjeman, HHGTTG and the 'Nuke it from Orbit' meme.

      [Hat tip to 'Aliens' :)]

      I will now forever think of Earth as the Slough of our galaxy. :) :)

  38. Archtech Silver badge

    Goodnight, sweet prince

    Well, this story should do more to kill their sales than any number of bad reviews. "Buy our gadget and have your car locked in your garage".

    Who could resist such an offer?

  39. Ilsa Loving

    What's wrong with a regular garage door opener?

    Is a regular garage door opener not good enough for people anymore? Why would you need to be able to control your garage door from all around the world?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What's wrong with a regular garage door opener?

      "Is a regular garage door opener not good enough for people anymore?"

      Not if it's not an iThing.

  40. oldenoughtoknowbetter

    Self inflicted wounds well earned

    I can actually see this service being potentially desired.

    Being able to remotely open my garage for a delivery or let a neighbor borrow a tool, or many other reasons I might be interested in.

    But this company I won't do business with.

    The asshat CS rep that pulled this crap admits in their forum that it was about the reviews:

    "Yes, it was about badmouthing the product that I spent nearly 2 years working on, in the community that I'm trying to foster before giving me any chance at resolving the situation."

    Even though he claims he won't do it again, as immature as he acted why should I trust him.

    And it looks like company management supports their thin-skinned overly sensitive rep more than they do their customer base. That's an interesting business strategy; for failure. Management should support their reps, who should actually support their clients.

    Between the Amazon reviews going heavily negative and posters on their own forum suggesting alternative products I'm guessing their days are numbered, as they should be.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Self inflicted wounds well earned

      "And it looks like company management supports their thin-skinned overly sensitive rep"

      They may well be the same person.

    2. VulcanV5
      Coat

      Re: Self inflicted wounds well earned

      If you re-read the quote you've used, you'll realise it can't be attributed to an asshat CS rep. Because no asshat CS rep spends 2 years creating an Internet of Shite device and a forum for the discerning to engage in polite discourse about the opening, and closing, of garage doors.

      That's what an entrepreneur does.

      Or in this case, a power-crazed entrypreneur who fancies himself as an exitpreneur . . . before becoming an ex-entrepreneur.

  41. viscount

    Lack of apology

    Despite the various excuses, I note the absence of an actual apology to a paying customer for cutting him off. Red flag for a company right there.

  42. StheD
    FAIL

    Houses don't work on internet time

    My remote controlled garage door opener is at least 21 years old (when I bought the house) and more like 30. What's the odds of this startup still being in business and supporting the servers in 30 years? Not too high. But higher than them handing it off to someone else with no revenue stream.

    As for thermostats, maybe more useful, until someone hacks into the server to get a list of people whose thermostats are turned down and thus probably out of their houses.

    And is the security for the garage door opener going to be better for internet-connected vibrators? I doubt it.

  43. Steve Hersey

    Cloud is just another word for someone else controls your data/stuff, and they don't care

    Show me a serious use case for needing to do X in your home from half a world away, and I'll believe there's a reason for it to be on the Internet. 'Course, its security will still be crap ;-)

    When I bought my home many years ago, 'twas the first time I'd had a garage door with a remote opener. For yucks, one day I wandered the neighborhood clicking the clicker, and discovered several owners of compatible openers who, like the previous owner of my house, had never changed the default switch settings on their remote openers. It was fun running their doors up and down, but I went home and changed my switch settings right away. Still not really secure, of course, but less miserably INsecure.

  44. psychonaut

    how did i live before this?

    "This allows you to remotely control your door, or check if it's open or closed, from anywhere in the world"

    how fucking useful!!

  45. ma1010 Silver badge
    FAIL

    My opener had this option

    When I had my garage door opener replaced, I bought a major brand-name unit with lots of useful features, such as battery backup. It also had one totally useless option, which was the ability to, at additional cost, get a gadget to connect it to that interweb thingie.

    When I got the opener, I couldn't imagine why I'd want that "feature." Still can't.

  46. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Extremely good news!

    Although a tiny, tiny step forward, at least one person now understands the dangers of IoT

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "toxic induvidual"

    I've never understood this.

    The guy said some mild stuff, that's not really toxic, and swear-words - oh noes! What if kids visit the site?

    Remember in my day (like a few years ago) I learned all my swear-words in the playground, since year 2 really. When did we fix that?

    Or toxic in the other sense? Did he put up anything about oppressiveness of urinals and start a somehow successful campaign get the toilets in the library closed off for 2 months to knock through a wall?

    .... yeah you can guess what happened to me recently. I live on campus but I'm not a student, I fucking hate students.

    Lastly I can relate to this. I was staying over at another uni for a while, same room as usual, and the laundrette's overpriced but functional coin operated washing machines required an app, a walk to distant building to buy a £2 card.

    To wash you'd have to put credit on your card on your computer. Go to your phone, put the card up to a machine on the wall, it'd display a QR code, which you scan with the app, then put a 16 digit hex number into the thing on the wall then put your card back onto it.

    Topped up - that's the end of step 1.

    To use a machine (BUT YOU CAN SEE IF THOSE FUCKERS ARE IN USE ONLINE NOW - SO HOORAY!) you scan it's QR code with the app, then you wait, then it wants your card, you hold your card to it and wait. Then it gives you another QR code you scan with your phone and you can finally start the machine.

    Also the card can only be topped up with £5 £10 and £20, the machines don't cost nice round numbers, you'd have to have £185 to have an even number of washes and dries - that's 50 washes.

    ( = LCM(220+150,500) )

    Before I sign off this message:

    FUCK YOU CIRCUIT YOU CUNTING SPAZ WANKERS, seriously YOU SPECIAL NEEDS WASHING MACHINE LICKING WHORING BASTARD FUCKING TWILIGHTER FUCKWITT CUNTS. I WOULD PAY MONEY TO *COUGH* ASSAULT A SELECT 3 OF YOU THEN DRIVE OVER (so you go properly under the wheels) AND ENJOY THE FEELING OF MY JEANS TIGHTENING WHEN THE CAR BUMPS ACCORDINGLY.

    I HATE YOU CIRCUIT LAUNDRY LLC!

    Does that make me toxic?

    El Reg maintain my AC status please.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After this article, I rushed over to their Amazon page to see what the reviews were like and readers had trolled them pretty hard (this was like 2 hours after this article hit). I was rolling on the floor while I read such helpful "Questions and Answers" as "Theoretically, is there any possibility that might device might suddenly stop working?" quickly responded to by a chorus of "Yes! If you post a negative review or otherwise upset the guy selling these widgets..." (with a link to this article).

    I went back to see if any more jewels had been added today and guess what? Q&A section has been removed from the Amazon page for this product. Guess it was a bigger PR issue than he thought.

    Wnkers like this deserve to fail.

  49. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I'll be interested to see the stories of people who butt-dialed their garage while on holiday in Spain and came home to find it ransacked, looted and burned out.

    Honestly, it's like the IoT lovers never had their phone's camera turn on in their pocket and drain the batteries before the evening' ents required the hailing of a cab.

  50. Ropewash

    Humbug!

    I can see a great use for this internet connected tat.

    Go on vacation and get your mother-in-law or whomever you don't like much to housesit on a few known nights. Log in and fuck with the place until they shit themselves and call an exorcist.

    That's the only use case I can come up with though.

  51. VulcanV5
    Unhappy

    Please say it's not true . . .

    . . . that in America, they actually have a forum about the opening and closing of garage doors????

    I mean: sherioushly???????

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think I know how to solve this one. When you pull up outside your house, get out of your car, lift the garage door manually, then get back in your car and drive it inside.

    The exercise is good for you, you save some bucks and there is less to go wrong (i.e. no electronics).

  53. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Holmes

    I totally get the abuse, but

    A dumb mechanism linked to a central intelligent server is a very strong system design (in technical terms).

    All the mechanism has to do is connect securely to the central server and do as it is told. No issues about maintaining the software on the device. No issues about supporting older hardware as the intelligence is in the central server.

    Nearly all the software will be mainstream HTML5 based and easily supported.

    Just two small problems; the initial secure connection and the reliance on a third party to maintain the server.

    So a strong technical design with a commercial flaw.

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