Nest thermostat bug leaves users cold
A software bug that caused Nest's smart thermostat to stop working has left many users both cold and angry.
I never thought I'd see the day when you had to reboot your thermostat. Sheeeesh!
What's more amusing is the need for the "update" that CAUSED the
problem! I.e., what did they "get wrong" in the earlier version
of the software that necessitated the (defective) update -- which,
in turn, required yet another update to restore functionality?
It's a *thermostat*. Omit the spyware features and it's a trivial
On Fri, 15 Jan 2016 21:31:13 -0800 (PST), Uncle Monster
The whole smart gun idea was something that was taken out of context
Originally this was supposed to be for cops who were worried about
losing a gun in a fight and having it used against them. The idea was
a fairly fail safe RFID device and even then most cops said they would
not trade reliability for this minor improvement in their safety.
After that the manufacturers started trying to get this into more
The problem is, if you are talking about a heat of the moment thing
where the "wrong person" ends up with the gun, this is effective but
if you have time to take it apart and defeat the device, you have a
dumb gun again.
You have just made it a little harder for a thief/fence and you have
given your kids a puzzle. (similar to a trigger lock)
I am sure the instructions would be on You Tube in a week.
Another example of bad design. The lure of electronics is that it represents
an opportunity for continually declining costs -- in raw materials AND labor.
A friend worked for a washing machine manufacturer and approached me about
an *electronic* transmission for same some ~35 years ago. They'd realized
that "moving production to mexico" was essentially the best they could hope
for in terms of saving manufacturing costs. OTOH, converting a mechanical
solution to an electronic one gave them more choices *and* an oppportunity
to benefit from the falling component and labor costs that electronic
Many things are simply not feasible (practical) without electronics.
Even a setback thermostat would be impractical without "smarts".
Would you put several thermostatic coil thermostats on a giant
"wheel" and have them physically swapped into position at different
times of day?
Imagine designing the MECHANICAL MECHANISM in a fancy sewing machine
(different stitch styles) without a tiny, inexpensive processor to
And, once you have smarts in a product, you can extend its functionality.
But, that's where folks fall down -- they're ADDING a (nonessential)
functionality and doing it in a way that compromises (or complicates)
the BASIC functionality.
E.g., google wants to be able to *talk* to the thermostat; a function
that the thermostat itself doesn't require! No doubt, this is where the
original and subsequent bugs crept into the design -- and its
consequences for the users/owners.
Yum, yum -- The Internet of Things! Just wait until your toilet won't
let you flush it because it's decided "yellow is mellow but brown goes
I did not make that connection... but, yeah it looks like a great
Back when I was in college and subletting houses to students I had this
fantasy of the perfect rental unit - and included a big drain and a
chain that could be pulled to flush it like a toilet....
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