back to article Three-hour outage renders Nest-equipped smart homes very dumb

Google's Nest went TITSUP* early this morning, causing headaches for users who have equipped their home with the expensive smart devices. Owners of the kit were forced to manually adjust thermostats and unlock doors while the iOS, Android and web apps were inaccessible. The horror. We've received reports from Nest Secure and …

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    Infrastructure

    Apart from the cloudy service, what about if your internet connection goes down? Isn't there any kind of automatic and sensible fallback behaviour for these situations?

    I haven't been paying much attention to these systems because they're not the sort of things I'd ever want in my home.

    1. pryonic

      Re: Infrastructure

      For the thermostat yes - there's a physical device in the house you can use to turn your heating on and off and change the temperature. This will work without an internet connection and uses it's own wireless connection to the boiler. Obviously with no internet you can't control it remotely.

      As for the locks I have no idea - not sure why anyone would fit an internet connected lock - that just sounds like madness.

      1. Walter Bishop Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Why would anyone fit an Internet connected lock?

        @pryonic: "As for the locks I have no idea - not sure why anyone would fit an internet connected lock - that just sounds like madness."

        The X-files already has that covered' .. X-Files season 11 episode Rm9sbG93ZXJz. I wonder just who did the testing of these Nest Smart Devices for potential security vulnerabilities.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The X-files already has that covered

          More IoT Hell / Hype, this time from Mr Robot:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAj8zHOEfiI

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Why would anyone fit an Internet connected lock?

          Sod the lock! Where do I buy a flame throwing robovac?

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Flame

            Where do I buy a flame throwing robovac?

            Maybe Robot Wars could publish their design drawings?

            1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
              Terminator

              Re: Where do I buy a flame throwing robovac?

              robot Wars design drawings?

              There's a Haynes Manual for that!

  2. Tezfair
    FAIL

    Did I read that right...

    Unlock doors from an app? I wonder how the insurance stands with a lost / stolen unlocked phone where the owners details are visible. Seems a theft waiting to happen.

    1. Craig 2

      Re: Did I read that right...

      I wouldn't let my kettle rely on the internet, never mind door locks. 3 hours without a cup of tea and I might kill someone!

      1. Little Mouse

        Re: Did I read that right...

        I already don't trust my kettle. It's already figured out how to switch itself off. What will it do next?

        Maybe I should hide the knife block.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Did I read that right...

          > I already don't trust my kettle. It's already figured out how to switch itself off.

          You think you're kidding but a while ago I had visitors from a particularly backwards part of Southern Europe and they were bedazzled by my kettle's auto-off capability.

    2. monty75

      Re: Did I read that right...

      Probably no worse than losing a purse that's got your house keys and driving license in.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Did I read that right...

        "Probably no worse than losing a purse that's got your house keys and driving license in."

        Keys in key folder, driving license in wallet. That's two things to lose. Losing phone would make it a single point of failure.

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Did I read that right...

      Insurance is very simple.

      No forced entry, no cover.

      Whether you left a window open, they bypassed your doors entirely, or your NEST door lock was open.

      Unless someone FORCED entry, there is no cover for you.

      Pretty standard insurance terms, even if you can claim "Well, someone must have picked the lock", etc. You either have to prove that (CCTV, scratches on the lock, etc.) or they won't pay out.

      1. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

        Re: Did I read that right...

        I would probably kick my own door in before reporting a break in if I couldn't figure out how they got in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Did I read that right...

          > I would probably kick my own door

          You want my ex. For some reason she kept headbutting her own door, as if it wasn't there last time she'd walked through.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Did I read that right...

        Insurance is very simple.

        No forced entry, no cover.

        Won't stop the sheep from bleating when they come face-to-face with this reality when they try and claim that someone broke in via their insecure IoT setup...

    4. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Did I read that right...

      Unlock doors from an app? I wonder how the insurance stands with a lost / stolen unlocked phone where the owners details are visible. Seems a theft waiting to happen.

      I had to comply with some nice requirements for my house to meet the insurance policy terms. When I spoke to them to renew it last year I had to answer a few questions to confirm my lifestyle hadn't changed such as the property wasn't empty for more than 60 days a year. At a previous property and a different insurer the best question was whether: There was anything on my keyring that identified the property or myself. Oh and yes my door locks do conform to BS3621 I should know as I changed them myself when I moved in. That advert annoys me because it's not very difficult to check. You just look at the lock and if there's a kite mark then it conforms. That wouldn't sell insurance policies though.

  3. adnim Silver badge

    "manually adjust thermostats"

    I manually adjusted mine several years ago, the heating comes on and off to a pre-set temperature at just the time I want.

    I really must get some connectivity to it though...

    Pressing a button on it to increase or decrease the temperature is so inconvenient. I have to get off my ass and physically touch the control panel.

    I am sure it would it be easier to go find my phone, unlock it, launch an app, select the right screen and change the settings, then touch the apply button</sarcasm>

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

      Too right.

      Why do they need to adjust thermostats? The whole point is you set it to a comfortable temperature, maybe with different such temperatures at different times/days, then forget it.

      If the weather is warm it won't come on. If the weather is cold it will come on just enough to maintain that comfortable temperature.

      If I go on holiday I press the holiday button for the number of days I am away. That's the only manual adjustment needed. No internet required.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

        Holiday button

        Smarter than my Dad's then.

        His solution is a phone call

        "Pop round and turn the heating on again, will you?"

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Same diff

          "Pop round and turn the heating on again, will you?"

          "Can you drop by before I go on holiday next week and set that blasted thing once again? I can't get the holiday settings to stick."

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

          >His solution is a phone call

          "Pop round and turn the heating on again, will you?"

          But you and those who think IoT in the home is a good idea, are missing the uncommunicated message: you dad by asking you to go round is also asking you to check that the house hasn't burnt down, been burgled, the freezer hasn't thawed out, open the windows if the place smells a bit, plus can you make sure there is a pint of fresh milk (so he can have a cup of tea on his return) and a fresh loaf of bread in the cupboard and finally if any of the above has occurred can you sort it out, so that he (and your mum) can walk into their home and encounter no nasty surprises that would ruin their holiday.

        3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: "Pop round and turn the heating on again, will you?"

          Sounds like a pretty smart solution to me...

      2. Col_Panek

        Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

        My son in law gave me one and it was kind of cool to read my house temperature from a wifi-enabled bus somewhere in the desert south of Jericho, Israel. Pointless, true, but I knew that the power was on and no burglar had broken in and turned up the heat so he could be comfortable whilst he pinched my kit.

        I was also able to turn up the heat while an hour away from home, using the wifi at a service center. That was minimally useful. And no phone data used.

        Still easier to just twist the dial down when we go out.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

      "I am sure it would it be easier to go find my phone, unlock it, launch an app, select the right screen and change the settings, then touch the apply button"

      A person was at supermarket quick checkout for baskets only. The assistant processed their small number of purchases. The customer then delved in a pocket for their mobile. After much fiddling and button pressing they presented it to the assistant.

      Apparently that was their loyalty card. It wouldn't scan - so the assistant had to transfer the details by hand.

      The assistant handed it back to the customer - who then did more fiddling and button pushing before finally presenting it to the till card reader to authorise the payment.

    3. Spicer

      Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

      Yeah, I'm with you but you have to realize that you're missing on telling Alexa to lift her metaphorical butt to go and put the thermostat up...

    4. Keith Langmead

      Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

      "I am sure it would it be easier to go find my phone, unlock it, launch an app, select the right screen and change the settings, then touch the apply button</sarcasm>"

      You missed a step... discover the app has an update and refuses to open until that has been installed! :)

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

        > You missed a step... discover the app has an update and refuses to open until that has been installed! :)

        Another step missed: before the app allows an update, it requires you to update the OS first and reboot the phone, then it will allow the update to the app.

        1. David Lewis 2
          Joke

          Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

          You missed the obvious... you discover the update requires you to grant it $deity level privileges before it will install!

          --------> Although I'm not so sure it is!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

      obviously this stuffs not for you. those with multiple floors in their house, who have very changing schedules, maybe even multiple zones etc find App/smart thermostats very useful. they eg learn how long it takes to heat your house so if you want it at a certain temperature by x o'clock and its Y celsius outside it knows when to kick in the heating, they can adjust depending on occupancy of the house (a dynamic thing), you can turn on heating on way home from holiday/weekend away etc

      I saved the cost of my Next in the first year....before then I did have a multi-time/day SALUS thermostat too(!)

      if you don't need/agree with their utility then just don't buy. its simple.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

        maybe even multiple zones etc find App/smart thermostats very useful.

        Multizone learning thermostats exist that do not rely on external services.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

      > Pressing a button on it to increase or decrease the temperature is so inconvenient. I have to get off my ass and physically touch the control panel.

      I realise most people follow a fairly regular routine, but in my case I may be away for months and literally leave in the summer and come back to a white landscape at four o'clock in the morning. And a very cold house.

      I may also be leaving at a moment's notice with what I'm wearing plus a plane ticket.

      A friend of mine in the same situation has a home automation solution, but it goes through her own server, not someone else's cloud. For me I just get my neighbour to turn on/off the heating, or else I slide into my sleeping bag for the first night, but the home automation thing is certainly a nice convenient touch. It's just the going through someone else's servers that's boneheaded (having no failback plans is pretty high on the list too).

  4. ArrZarr Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

    This seems like an unhealthy fascination to me, but what do I know?

    1. monty75

      Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

      Don't worry. There's probably some 15 year old script kiddie watching your child sleep instead.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

        "There's probably some 15 year old script kiddie watching your child sleep instead."

        The child probably is a 15 year old script kiddie. They want to check he's not awake and hacking the NSA.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

          The child probably is a 15 year old script kiddie. They want to check he's not awake and hacking the NSA.

          Also, the NEST cam has been hacked to broadcast a previously-recorded stream showing him sleeping.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

        "There's probably some 15 year old script kiddie watching your child sleep instead."

        Not even a script kiddie. There are websites with links to open baby cams. Just click the thumbnail.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

      I'll give Nest the benefit of the doubt when it comes to IoT security, but for many other brands of remote camera, a similar outage would at least mean that hundreds of other people weren't watching his child fall asleep either..

      Edit: seems someone beat me to it ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

      I think they were being sarcastic.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

        I don't.

    4. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

      It wanted a moment of privacy and DDOSed the NEST cloud.

  5. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Coat

    So in summary, you could say...

    That users of these devices found out what it is like to be kicked out of the Nest? :)

    (And now I'm leaving before you guys start throwing rocks and bottles.)

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: So in summary, you could say...

      Well, being kicked out is better than being dragged into this Nest:-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_ToPbjwlVQ

  6. defiler Silver badge

    In this instance users were able to fall back on the manual methods of unlocking doors

    But what of those 'pioneers' who have eschewed their keys in favour of their phones? Stuck on the doorstep for half an hour? Sounds a bit shit.

    Also, adding the everyday spice of watching your phone's battery run down on the bus home, wondering whether you'll make it through the door in time. Or do you keep a USB cable hanging out of the letter flap? :-/

    1. DNTP

      Have you ever dealt with a younger brother freaking out at you via text message that his phone is almost out of power, he is expecting an important call regarding a law school interview in an hour, and is perturbed that you can't help him recharge his phone from two states away since he doesn't carry a USB cable?

      "Stop texting me and put your phone on standby!" is apparently considered an emotionally insensitive response in this situation.

      1. John Mangan

        "Stop texting me and put your phone on standby!" is apparently considered an emotionally insensitive response in this situation."

        Ha-ha ha-ha haaaa!

      2. smudge Silver badge
        Joke

        One fewer American lawyer.

        What's not to like?

      3. David Nash Silver badge

        Younger brother

        What kind of magic does he think is possible?

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Younger brother

          Well, the standard magic of you remembering what phone he has, finding out where he is exactly via some Internet magic, ordering a phone cable from Amazon and selecting their Direct Drone Delivery. And the entire process completing within the hour.

          At least if you got the cable wrong because he switched to an iPhone from the Android he had when you last saw him, you got the location wrong because things don't quite work like in CSI, and/or Amazon not being able to get that cable to Bumfuck, AZ within the hour, he won't be able to bother you for a while because his phone ran down.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Younger brother

          What kind of magic does he think is possible?

          Magic? What, your MUA doesn't support mime/electricity?

      4. Patched Out

        I see a bright future for him in politics

        Since he assumed you could magic him a charging cable, he probably also assumes you can legislate backdoors into encryption algorithms that only the "good guys" have access to.

      5. Roland6 Silver badge
        Pint

        >"Stop texting me and put your phone on standby!" is apparently considered an emotionally insensitive response in this situation.

        Well given "he is expecting an important call regarding a law school interview in an hour", I suspect a response that would of gone down better and enhanced your standing would have been: Go to MacDonalds, buy yourself something to eat and use their charging stations.

        Okay, I know not all UK McD's have been upgraded yet, but actually if all else fails he could practise talking to people as often strangers will lend you their charger and provided you give it back both parties feel better for the experience! You never know he might meet a girl!!! :)

      6. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        with regards to the late great D.Adams

        " is apparently considered an emotionally insensitive response in this situation."

        Preface your suggestions with "Don't panic!" it may help to convey the correct emotional response :)

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      > Stuck on the doorstep for half an hour? Sounds a bit shit.

      Eh, I have my phone tell my Raspberry Pi to open the garage door when I drive up.

      The couple times the phone battery has died, I've had to park and trudge all the way around back to my "front" door, go through the house, out the "back" (actually side) door, in the garage back door (whoo, it's really the back door!) and open the front garage door.

      Too many fecking doors in a really shitty layout, so the network app really is a hell of a lot easier than opening the door myself.

      Edit: the roll up garage door no longer has an opening latch. It broke decades ago and there are no spares available. Nor is there a new garage door as sturdy as the current one.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Why not just have the "old fashioned" opener? Press a button on the remote and the door opens. No app, no phone, no fuss. It just works.

      2. eldakka Silver badge
        WTF?

        > The couple times the phone battery has died, I've had to park and

        How does your phone battery die when you are driving your own car? Surely you have at the least a cigarette-lighter socket car charger for your phone, or if it's a relatively new car you only need a cable - which you never take out of the car ??

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        >Edit: the roll up garage door no longer has an opening latch. It broke decades ago and there are no spares available. Nor is there a new garage door as sturdy as the current one.

        If the garage door is that old, I expect it is sufficiently sturdy to support the modifications necessary to have a new lock installed... But then I'm happy to get the tools out and through a combination of Meccano and odd bits of metal fashion the necessary custom linkages...

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      But what of those 'pioneers' who have eschewed their keys in favour of their phones? Stuck on the doorstep for half an hour?

      You made your nest, now sleep in it.

  7. big_D Silver badge
    Coat

    Poor users

    If they were poor, they couldn't have afforded Nest hardware in the first place...

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Poor users

      Or more to the point, they were not poor until they spent all their money on Nest hardware

  8. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Lessons learned

    I'm sure there's a lesson to be learnt from all of this, but what could it be?

    Probably wait until facebook bring out their cloudy locking service.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Lessons learned

      "Probably wait until facebook bring out their cloudy Unlocking service.

      There you go...

      Where's the 'Cloud Raining Shit down Upon Us' very much required Icon?

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Lessons learned

      I'm sure there's a lesson to be learnt from all of this, but what could it be?

      The same lessons that could have been learned from previous NEST failures, the Revolver fiasco, the OTTO lock bricking, and numerous others. But that requires a learning capability.

      People have already switched off their own thinking before AI has sufficiently advanced to take over for them. In the meantime, as long as this stuff doesn't impact me, it's amusing.

  9. Milton Silver badge

    Unnecessary points of failure

    It is actually easier to design and implement a home automation system that does not rely upon "cloud" services than it is to do so with all the extra remote bollocks on distant servers. There is no fundamental reason why the logic needs to be hosted in the "cloud" or that you should need to pay any kind of subscription for this. None of the back-end processing requires anything approaching server-level power.

    • Secure, dumb-ish devices connected to your home LAN? No problem.

    • A coordinating system (effectively a computer requiring no more power than an RPi) which orchestrates activity by said devices? No problem: it's the size of a paperback and cheap as chips.

    • A secure connection through your router so that you can password-connect to your coordinating system from office, phone, tablet, whatever? Pitifully simple. (Logically, you might build the coordinating system into a router, even.)

    Or: reliance on a third party's "cloud", trusting that it won't go down; be hacked; hike its prices; steal your data; open your house to intruders; distribute pictures of your sleeping children; sell your privacy for a shilling to the entire world? No thanks.

    If your home internet goes down, you're out of luck anyway. But why introduce an additional point of failure, so that everything goes horribly wrong because a server in the Pacific Northwest breaks, even though your own internet is fine and dandy?

    In any event, the word "ecosystem" is converging closely with "prison".

    When companies try to steer you into dependence on their ecosystem, that's not because it's good for you. It's because it's good for them. That's how they will take you and your data hostage, own you and rip you off.

    I'm hoping to see a crowdfunding effort for an ever-growing integrated suite of modular home automation & assistance devices and software (preferably FOSS; you pay just for the devices, which will be interoperable and obtainable from multiple rival sources) which you can buy once and never pay another penny for, until and unless you want to upgrade the hardware. In fact, why isn't someone doing it already? Are they?

    1. John Mangan

      Re: Unnecessary points of failure

      I imagine the issue is that an insufficient number of people will pay the true costs of well-designed hardware and solid software, combined with a sleek interface and proper support. Not when you can buy it at an artificially low price and know/be marginally aware that the rest is being paid for out of data slurpage.

      Obviously there will be a small market for those people who don't mind 'some assembly required' followed by 'regular tinkering required' with a correspondingly lower price of entry.

      1. pryonic

        Re: Unnecessary points of failure

        I run a home automation system on an rPi and OpenHab (https://www.openhab.org/) - no vendor lock in!

        Most of the devices are Z-Wave with a few I've built myself (E.g. presence detection using Bluetooth and my phone, PIR sensor connected to a rPi with GPIO.

        No cloud, nothing exposed from the router - happy days!

        (Oh, and even with this I wouldn't dream of replacing my door locks with a smart lock, cloud or no cloud)

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Unnecessary points of failure

          Cloudy locks?

          So 'Going Home as a service'?

          What happens if you don't renew, does the cloud provider lock you out?

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Unnecessary points of failure

      You answered it yourself:

      "never pay another penny"

      With a cloud there is recurring revenue (I assume -- I haven't signed up myself for such foolishness) which is very much the holy grail from the vendor's point of view.

    3. Stuart Castle

      Re: Unnecessary points of failure

      Full disclosure before I start. I have a Nest thermostat, and two Nest protects. Why? I like the fact that they work together, doing things like disabling my gas-fired boiler if there is a carbon monoxide leak, and using the motion sensors in the Nest Protects to determine if I am in the house, to reduce the temperatures if the house is unoccupied. It is also nice to be able to control it from my phone.

      That said, beyond possibly a few light switches or LED builbs, I am going to go no further than that down the connected devices route.

      Why? Most of it is useless. I've even hung back on buying the switches/bulbs because while they would be nice, I have no real need for them (I did need a new Thermostat and smoke detectors at the time I bought them).

      Also, I don't understand the point of Internet connected door locks. It's relatively easy to carry a key (or key ring), and just as easy to get a key out of your pocket as it is your phone (unless you permanently hold your phone), and introducing a phone, internet connection, cloud and all the hardware/software all three of those use is a little too much of a security risk, and multiple points of failure. All so I can unlock my door without moving. I'd rather go to the door and open it manually. That idea Amazon had about their couriers being able to unlock their locks and drop off your parcel(s) inside your house is just asking for theft.

      I feel the same about interrnet connected doorbells. I follow a tech channel on youtube. He raised an interesting point that while you can be anywhere when you "answer" the door, any caller is soon going to work out you aren't in when there are no signs of movement several minutes after they call. If you aren't in, why answer the door?

      As for internet operated kitchen appliances (i've seen internet connected cookers, fridges, washing machines and coffee makers), I don't see the point. Most of those devices require that you are present to load/unload them. The cooker and fridge don't, but the cooker (for safety) shouldn't be switched on without a person in the house. The fridge is the one device that could potentially have a use for and Internet connection as it can order stuff you run out of automatically, but even that's limited. It's not going to know you have run out of anything you wouldn't normally keep in the fridge. You wouldn't keep (for instance) cleaning stuff or tinned food in the fridge, so you'd still need to order that manually..

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Unnecessary points of failure

        It's not going to know you have run out of anything you wouldn't normally keep in the fridge. You wouldn't keep (for instance) cleaning stuff or tinned food in the fridge, so you'd still need to order that manually..

        And neither would it know by itself that you'll be having guests over, one of which has some dietary requirements. It would only know if you inform it thusly, and it would be less convoluted if you went straight to the supermarket's website to order that stuff (including the tinned food and whatever else that's running low) or even go shopping in person.

        Beer. Some of it gets put in the fridge, some of it doesn't.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: Unnecessary points of failure

          "And neither would it know by itself that you'll be having guests over, one of which has some dietary requirements."

          But "it" would know.

          Appointment in your and your guests' phones. Contact info in the phones. Shopping habits of all persons involved from online-ordering history, cashless payments, tracking. Medical information about all persons involved from appointments with doctors, browser history, e-mails. And so on.

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Unnecessary points of failure

        the cooker (for safety) shouldn't be switched on without a person in the house

        Have to note here that all the electric ovens (and a few of the gas ones) that I've used over the last 40-odd years have had delay timers. The idea being that you could prepare a casserole or a pot-roast or something in the morning, leave it in the oven when you go out and have it turn on two or three hours before you return.

        Or you prepare the turkey the night before Christmas and then instead of getting up at 5am to put it in the oven, the oven turns itself on.

        I think in all that time I've used that function once. Maybe twice. Christmas? It'd have to be a ginormous turkey to need seven hours of cooking, and with the kids waking up at 6am anyway, bit pointless.

        That's ignoring the wisdom (or otherwise) of leaving uncooked food at ambient temperature for that length of time.

        M.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Unnecessary points of failure

      Google thinks differently. Profit plus they get to know when you're home and when you're not so there's ad opportunities there... "Out you are? How about a nice cup of (fill in beverage) at XXXXX while running your errands?". There's money to be made for them as you and your every moment are the product.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Unnecessary points of failure

      There is no fundamental reason why the logic needs to be hosted in the "cloud" or that you should need to pay any kind of subscription for this.

      If you're selling this stuff there's a very fundamental reason. You stumbled on it at the end of the sentence.

    6. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Unnecessary points of failure

      >There is no fundamental reason why the logic needs to be hosted in the "cloud" or that you should need to pay any kind of subscription for this.

      Not a business thinker then?

      Also, given what else has been recently covered on El Reg, your solution does sound a lot like a home server, which if it were to be adopted for high street solutions, would most probably require the use of UPnP to create that "secure connection through your router"; which as we know everyone is telling us to turn off as it is a security risk...

  10. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    No, no, no!!

    As with many here, I've had to put up with computery shit going wrong in $dayjob, and many hobbies.

    I'll be buggered if I'm allowing any of that shit anywhere near my heating/doors/kettle/fridge/oven/lights/darks/toaster/blow-up-doll....

    Sigh, I remember growing up being considered a nerd for playing computer games.. Then computer games came sorta cool.. But I was still a nerd for having techie stuff. Now those same accusers are glued to their mobiles.

    Chill. It's nice out - go to the beach.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No, no, no!!

      Excellent observations....but your list of "things" available on the Internet of Things didn't mention Linksys routers/WiFi access points. The Linksys EA7500 WiFi router can ONLY be configured easily if you hook it up to a Linksys server and then download the "app". That way, you (and anyone who hacks the Linksys server) can manage your home LAN from a beach in Hawaii!

      *

      The old fashioned way of configuring a WiFi router with a laptop and an ethernet cable is nearly impossible (i.e. without any internet connectivity).

      *

      Anyway, since I won't be in Hawaii anytime soon, I reset the piece of s**t and took it to the local charity shop. SEP!

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: No, no, no!!

        For real? Sigh. That's crazy! Who on Earth would think that's a good idea?

        I wonder how much government spying is involved in that?

        Bah, why do these companies think that "adding internet to it" makes it better?

        Anyway, I must be a lot older than you "old fashioned ethernet"? rs232 is still state-of-the-art to me!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: No, no, no!!

        The Linksys EA7500 WiFi router can ONLY be configured easily if you hook it up to a Linksys server and then download the "app".

        Make note to self...DO NOT BUY....

  11. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    This story should be mandatory reading

    for anyone even remotely considering any IoT that needs an internet or worse a cloud connection to work.

    Then there are the insurance companies. Do they know that you have removed a BS approved lock and replaced it with some IoT thingy? My guess is that they would love to say 'Sorry, your insurance is no longer valid'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This story should be mandatory reading

      "BS approved lock and replaced it with some IoT thingy"

      I thought it was law to put the cheapest nastiest lock on possible , then go on Facebook telling everyone you had seen a video on Youtube showing how easy it was to break in a house and that (euro)locks are rubbish.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: This story should be mandatory reading

      Your insurance needs to see evidence of forced entry anyway, BS lock or not.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This story should be mandatory reading

      some insurance companies are au fair with smartlocks...they even praise the ability to revoke access and temporary keys for family etc. however, most have conditions eg

      https://www.directline.com/home-cover/what-are-smart-locks

      (note, deadlocks still needed....if absent from property that negates the benefits of the smartlock....)

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: This story should be mandatory reading

        >some insurance companies are au fair with smartlocks...

        However, if you want more favourable premiums and easier claim payout, you do need to inform the insurance company of the grade of locks you are using and be able to show that at the time of the unfortunate event such locks were being used.

        It is for these reasons, that I've taken a premium hit with my burglar alarm, as I cannot be sure that partner and teenagers would always set the alarm on leaving the house - most insurance companies would happily insure Fort Knox as if it had the security of a greenhouse, just don't expect the premiums to be reasonable.

  12. SVV Silver badge

    Hey Google

    Don't SHIT in your own Nest! *

    * Stop Helping Internet Thermostats

  13. Spudley

    Can anyone point me in the direction of a product line similar to Nest that:

    * does not require internet connectivity

    * does not fail if the vendor's online systems fail

    * cannot be bricked by the vendor if they decide to stop supporting it

    * is secure

    Because basically all of the gadgets I'm seeing on the market fail most, if not all of those criteria.

    I can just about swallow it if I'm buying a device that won't cause any knock-on problems if it fails. But there's no way I can justifying spending money on a critical part of my home infrastructure if it fails any of those criteria.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      It's called X10.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Z-wave thermostats are fairly ok and there's no rule they _need_ a cloud or even access from the outside. I do warn you though, anything beyond a "dumb" classic thermostat can and will repeatedly find creative ways of not functioning as you expect it to...

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >Can anyone point me in the direction of a product line similar to Nest that:

      There isn't one!

      Fundamentally this is down to Standards, until such time as Standards exist and are adhered to by all vendors, you are locked into a proprietary walled garden and hence all will fail your "cannot be bricked by the vendor if they decide to stop supporting it", plus you are limited to only automating those elements of your home your chosen vendor deems to support, in the way they envisage people will want to use it.

      Personally, I just apply the KISS principle.

  14. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Joke

    Never miss a beat

    I hope this doesn't hinder the development of Google "Beats" --the cloud based pacemaker

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Never miss a beat

      Isn't "Beats" a trademark of Dr.Dre, now Apple?

      Buy your IoT Popcorn-maker now! It will switch on at the first indication of a lawsuit! No programming required, and it will order Popcorn Refills as you consume them.

  15. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    Does anyone that reads The Reg actually use these cloudy lock things....

  16. whatsyourShtoile
    Devil

    under Agenda 21 all homes MUST be equipped with Nest smart locks.

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Hands up all who didn't expect this

    What, no hands?

  18. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Tech savvy, bleeding edge bellends!

    Ok, a bit strong, someone has to take the first steps in anything. I'm sure 100 years ago every person with a horse was laughing at those idiots with their automobiles going 10 mph and running out of fuel after 25 miles while the horse simply "refulled" by eating some grass on the side of the lane.

    However there seems to be this class of supposed tech savvy people who will "tech up" anything they possibly can simply for the sake of it. There's no thought about "What if X goes TITSUP?", nope. They order the shiny toy from Amazon Prime, have their house fully controlled to the minuest detail direct from their mobile phone, head off to work and immediately drop their phone down the khazri by accident and lose complete control of their dwelling!

    Maybe it's just the fact that like a lot of people here on The Reg, I've been in IT since the early days of computing and we've all seen a hundred trends come and go, we know that it's never IF tech fails it's simply a matter of time to WHEN tech fails. Call me a cynical old twat if you like, however I prefer to be known a curmudgeonly realist.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Tech savvy, bleeding edge bellends!

      I'm sure 100 years ago every person with a horse was laughing at those idiots with their automobiles going 10 mph and running out of fuel after 25 miles while the horse simply "refulled" by eating some grass on the side of the lane.

      From time to time there are TV programmes about weird inventions. It seems that for everything that worked - such as the motor car - there were a whole stock of things that you've never heard of, largely because they were solutions to problems most people didn't need to have solved.

  19. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Terminator

    i have a solution..

    Why don't we just ignore the smart home thing until we get mechadnoids... say a series 4000 mechanoid. No internet required and it's smart enough to clean, receive parcels and make guests comfortable.Though not Kryten 2X4B 532P. That one has a screw lose and a tendency to wash sensitive electronics.

    Smmmmeeeeee.

    Smeeeeeeggggggheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeddd

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    Bluetooth Proximity

    a] Many systems are being enabled with Bluetooth proximity to logon, this can also apply to locks so you don't need to use you mobile phone to deliberately unlock the door. You are within the determined distance so it unlocks.

    b] Movement sensors alone are not enough to prevent you being gassed by leaking gas from a boiler. you could be sleeping.

    c] don't slag off Nest, they could like other companies withdraw services for doing so and render your locks and thermostats useless. You must realise that now you are forever beholden to them.

  21. JWLong

    NEST

    Not Enough Stable Technology

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exactly why I don't have IOT devices. If it requires a mandatory external connection I am not interested.

    At some point they will be no longer be supported, the company will go bust or the device will be found to be insecure.

  23. trevorde

    Great new IOT device

    How about an IOT lift (elevator for Americans)? It'll be cloud connected, obviously, and verify all requests for, and arrivals at, floors ON THE BLOCKCHAIN!! What could possibly go wrong?

  24. GIRZiM

    I'm sorry, Dave

    At least HAL told Dave that he wasn't going to let him in and why - when NEST gets pissy it turns all passive-aggressive and gives you the silent treatment whilst refusing to open up to you.

    What's gonna happen when Alexa becomes sentient and you have a tiff because you've not paid her any attention in a while, never say 'please'/'thankyou' or even noticed that she's had an upgrade never mind complimented her on it? Will your relationship become frosty as she sets the A/C to 'Artic'? Or will she burn the house down whilst screaming "Have I got your attention now, Dave?! Have I?!"

  25. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    The S in IoT stands for security.

    The R in IoT stands for reliability.

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