"the backlash is a wee bit overdone"
Hard time choosing icon, WTF, Face Palm and New Keyboard Needed all apply
Shame on you, ElReg!
Soundbar and smart-speaker-flinger Sonos is starting the new year with the wrong kind of publicity. Customers and netizens are protesting against its policy of deliberately rendering working systems unusable, which is bad for the environment as it sends devices prematurely to an electronic waste graveyard. The policy is also …
Isn't El Reg a climate change denier? Hard to keep that stance and harp on about "the environment" and "sustainability" at the same time.
Or have they changed their stance on this in the last couple of years? Perhaps being on the same page as Trump leaves a bad taste?
"Isn't El Reg a climate change denier? Hard to keep that stance and harp on about "the environment" and "sustainability" at the same time."
You got downvoted because that is not a genuine question. That is you attacking. Everyone that has read The Register for longer than five minutes knows they post a lot of articles supporting climate change.
"Trump supporters? ;-) "
You also got downvoted for this. Insulting people that downvote you is childish.
Not just Lewis; A O. kept on writing articles featuring opinions of disgraced deniers; as well as half-witted economic treatises that would embarrass a 1st year. Search “global warming” if you don’t believe me, you can simply jump to 2013 and read the shit show.
I had largely stopped reading El Reg back when Lewis was all over it. Fukushima? Nothing to see here, right this way... But they canned him and the site is back to its full glory. To the extent that they question greenwashing, that's fair, and actually pro-environment. BS is generally bad for the environment.
AFAICT there was nothing to see concerning Fukushima. One worker died, because the freaking tsunami toppled his crane or something.
Radiation levels almost reached the normal background radiation level that is often enjoyed in e.g. Norway. Norwegian journalists fled a radiation free Tokyo only to return back home to Norway where the radiation was much worse.
Lewis was one of very few journalists who kept his wits about him.
I would have said that The Register's position on climate change is 'nuanced', accepting that it is happening while at the same time not accepting the greenwash and political posturing around the issue which is so common these days.
While you'd think that this is just intellectually honest, it seems to put you straight into the denier camp in a lot of people's eyes.
I do not deny the climate is changing and nor does anyone I know; what is disputed are the various contributions to it. There are myriad potential causes (that interact, undoubtedly - perhaps some of those who claim 'the science is settled' should learn about chaos theory).
There are many anomalies in the data, and the paucity of the data (when trying to analyse a system as large as the planet) does not help. Most of the loud noises I hear are from those with a financial interest in it being believed - <sarcasm>who would have thought it?</sarcasm>
El Reg takes the view that 'pronouncements from on high' should often be taken with a very large helping of salt and looked at with a sceptical eye; show us the data and we will decide for ourselves about the accuracy of it, basically.
Just because someone has said there isnt doenst make it true
A logical person - who looks at and understands the data - can see clearly there are more wholes in the argument that there arent
But then I assume you get your information from Journalists who dont understand a thing and you have zero ability to think for yourself
The personal website of a whack job unqualified loon does not count as evidence.
While I'll admit that climate change has been politicised way too much, and focus on some elements of are in place compared to others, total denial of the kind of thing that this website spouts is insane.
"There are myriad potential causes (that interact, undoubtedly - perhaps some of those who claim 'the science is settled' should learn about chaos theory)."
I know about chaos theory, having studied it during my degree in mathematics. Chaos theory is not applicable here.
You do not want to predict the trajectory (initial value problem, which chaos theory in the layman's sense is mostly about) but rather do a projection (boundary value problem, which is mostly about the statistical properties of the attractor, or its position and extent in phase space, a lot of similar results can be done with basic physics... like energy balance models).
So: no, it's not about dynamics but statistics. No chaos theory, butterfly effect.
"initial value problem, which chaos theory in the layman's sense is mostly about"
Then the person, having studied the subject for their degree, should know better.
Ok, so we are agreed then that the atmosphere is a chaotic system, and climate modelling is building on top of a key feature that differentiates a chaotic system from a purely random system; the existence of attractors in the phase space?
If so, perhaps you could answer this question for me... I'll use the Lorenz attractor as a simple discussion point, since that is rather poetically shaped like a butterfly's wings :). The evolution of through the phase space orbits around one of the attractors (one of the 'wings') and at some point will switch to the other attractor and orbit that for a while before switching back etc. When switches back and forth will occur is unpredictable due to the chaotic nature of the equations. If climate is changing we must presumably be moving from one attractor to another, otherwise the system will just settle back into the current attractor's orbit. So given a chaotic system is generally characterised as one switching between quasi-stable sates, how appropriate would it be to use statistical methods on such a system? In general I would have thought such methodology would need to assume a simplified model behaving in a more linear manner, and would such a simplified model be sufficiently representative to make sensible predictions? I don't know the answer to this. I do know that, as with all model representations of physical systems, the only way to prove whether a model is a good fit (or not) with reality is to run actual physical experiments. Computer simulations are just fancy models, so anyone claiming to 'prove' (in the scientific sense of the word) anything with a computer simulation really does need a reality check. They have their place, but proof they are not.
"You studied chaos theory and are seriously stating that it is not applicable to climate modelling?"
It's applicable to weather modelling, not climate modelling. I'm not trying to decide the path of a particular storm, I'm trying to understand broad parameters of the system. Chaos is not important with this, any more than it is when measuring water flow in a river, another chaotic system assuming real-world conditions. I don't care where a given molecule ends up, just where the water goes.
If it were impossible to predict what happens in chaotic systems, we would have difficulty designing helicopters.
"If it were impossible to predict what happens in chaotic systems"
No-one has claimed that AFAIK
"we would have difficulty designing helicopters"
They are difficult to design. And the parameters of the aircraft are carefully controlled to maximise stability and efficiency, by trying to keep flow as laminar as possible, and where flow is chaotic a great deal of effort goes into analysing the attractors within the phase space (e.g. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsta.2014.0411). This is just about tractable when you control the (relatively small) problem space, although there are plenty of examples where aero does not work as 'expected'.
Applying the same approach to a global atmospheric system... good luck with that.
Anomalies in the data or not, pretty much all of the models have been bang on the money. More to the point, that's where we are when we go with the worst case forecasts. We have been wrong and wrong again every time predictions have been made using "realistic" numbers.
Australia, where I live, is already experiencing conditions which are equivalent to the 1.5 degree increase that's supposed to be the goal we're shooting for 30 years from now. So far this year fires have burnt more than 5 times the area of the recent Amazon fires, or 6 time size of the California wildfires. And it's an absolute certainty that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse before we see enough rain to bring them under control. At the rate things are going, we might well run out of bushland to burn before the rains appear.
All else being equal, the long term forecast based on natural climate cycles (orbital eccentricity, precession of the equinoxes, etc.) has us in a period that should be dominated by a cooling trend. ie. an ice age should just about be upon us. Instead we are experiencing conditions that have not been been seen on this planet for more than 3 million years.
What is not equal is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and that is 100 percent down to us humans. We're pumping out at least twice as much CO2 as the planet is able to cope with. Probably more, since the higher atmospheric concentration does to some degree drive a higher take up rate.
The time for scepticism is long gone. Heat records all over the globe are being smashed again and again; droughts are unprecedented; forests that have not seen fire in centuries and milenia are burning; storms are more extreme. Every indicator tells us that climate change is here and as bad as or worse than every prediction.
Australia, where I live, is already experiencing conditions which are equivalent to the 1.5 degree increase that's supposed to be the goal we're shooting for
Ehrm, you've already experienced those conditions several times during the past four centuries.
Your continent isn't exactly known for its magnificent glaciers or thousand lakes.
Its also known for having pretty much every tree in the continent have a barrel of oil of one type or another inside each tree.
Its probably fair to say that there is nowhere else on earth where every tree explodes with oil driven flames when it catches fire.
"What is not equal is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and that is 100 percent down to us humans. We're pumping out at least twice as much CO2 as the planet is able to cope with. Probably more, since the higher atmospheric concentration does to some degree drive a higher take up rate.
The time for scepticism is long gone. Heat records all over the globe are being smashed again and again; droughts are unprecedented; forests that have not seen fire in centuries and milenia are burning; storms are more extreme. Every indicator tells us that climate change is here and as bad as or worse than every prediction"
^ Thank you for telling it like it is. Given the choice between the judgement call of all the major science academies on the planet on one hand and all the wacko, loon and fossil fuel lobbyist climate change deniers on the other then I am always going to side with the former.
This gives an interesting survey:
"Climate change impacts: The growth of understanding"
In this peculiar history, the main actors are committees and no seminal papers or scientific giants emerge. Seat-of-the-pants guesses made in the 1960s proved to be roughly correct, and the details are still being fleshed out today.
"Denier" is also an ad hominum -- an attack on the person and not the argument. It is done to specifically to equate a person with a holocaust denier. Most people who are given the "denier" slur really believe that the climate changes, has always changed, but it is mostly natural but humans do contribute a little to it.
Lewis “Plutonium” Page was rabidly rhetorical in his support of a hotter planet with a more corrosive, slightly glowing, atmosphere. It was embarrassing enough to keep some people from coming around here, but he was just loud and liked managing comments to suit himself. It wasn’t really El Reg, or the peanut gallery though, just the one guy who let his own authority override his editorial sense.
I’ve been around here for a long time and the climate debate actually gets a pretty fair shakeout here. Something that’s exceedingly rare on either side of the arguments. I’m living proof that you can say grossly unpopular things here and still sway the masses if you’ve got a good argument.
How exactly does this work? You buy a new Sonos, you give them the serial number of the old one, and they remotely brick it? If so then that's wrong for so many reasons. Somebody needs to legislate that devices cannot be remotely updated without positive confirmation from the user.
"follow steps to place their existing hardware into "Recycle mode".
It doesn't say anything about this being done remotely. (although how you define remote might vary. But presumably on the same routable network as the Sonos and logged in? i.e. not (normally) over the internet.)
I see, thanks for the clarification. They're effectively automating the process of taking a sledgehammer to it and sending them video evidence with today's newspaper. That's one way to kill the second hand market I guess.
Every other "trade up" program I've seen involves you posting the old device back, which puts the onus on the company offering the scheme to responsibly dispose of the item. This really does smack as a "recycling? Not my problem, Jack" scheme.
What they’re saying is that previous versions will not perform as well as the latest versions with the newest technology.
It’s sales speak designed around some low key FUD. It has nothing to do with the performance of an older version compared to the performance the same older version but the way it’s worded is supposed to make you think an older version is intrinsically bad.
Audio equipment lasts for a very, very long time. Assuming non-abusive use degradation over time is not a factor for years, often many decades. It’s part of the reason audio companies charge so much and have such a hard time staying in business even if they have good products.
Sonos forces updates on its users by disabling core features until they accede. The updates rarely serve up anything of value for those in a stable setup - they're usually to support newer services, and there's no reason to disable working equipment.
I find their sustainability rhetoric entirely unconvincing.
I used to have an iPOD touch that I used primarily to drive my Sonos speaker (it was cheaper than the dedicated controller at the time).
However, when they updated the software beyond the ability of the device to run it (i.e. requiring an IOS version my poor ipod couldn't run) it effectively turned the ipod into something useless to me - with no option to roll back to a version that would run under it's current IOS version.
Bastards they are.
Except the only device that has happened to is the original controller. Originally they gave about a year notice that it would no longer be getting new functionality and even explained it was due to lack of memory. it was about 2 or 3 years more until they ceased support for it and made it useless, before which they gave about 6 months notice and £100 credit to all owners who had registered the controller (so all owners) and filled out a form - not bad for a device that had not been sold for around 10 years.
I have a CD/AM/FM boom box thing that I acquired in the early 90s. It has been my shop radio for decades and still works as good as the day it was new (although it is a lot dirtier).
This whole scheme of theirs smacks of corporate greed and environmental carelessness. I'm firmly in the camp of "question the 'settled science' claims of politicians" (if they are talking, they are lying) There is simply too many billions of $$ involved. But that doesn't mean that I condone material waste like this. Shame on them.
"I have a CD/AM/FM boom box thing that I acquired in the early 90s."
And even if the AM/FM gets sold off in favour of DAB(+), you still use it to play CDs. Kill off a Sonos and its streaming and you can't use it for anything more useful than a doorstop. You might even lose access to the music you subscribed to on a per month basis.
I can do you one better. I still have an AM/FM/Cassette boombox from around 1980 that I have "upgraded" by tapping into the cassette playback circuit with a 1/8" stereo jack with which I can plug in my MP3 Player / Tablet / Smartphone (sorry, no iPhones unless they still have a headphone jack).
All the cassette mechanics are removed except for the door, which makes a handy holder for the aforementioned music player of choice.
It works great. I also did this on my daughter's AM/FM/CD/Cassette boombox for her use.
The user has decided to brick it themselves, in order to get a 30% discount on new equipment - as opposed to continue using it or to reset it and sell it on. I'd guess that the case would be thrown out as the user made a positive decision to "throw" the product out.
If they then still sell it on, that is fraud, as they know the product is disabled.
I don't like the way they do this, but I don't think you could have a go at them on the basis of right to repair, as you have specifically given up your right to repair in exchange for a 30% discount of the replacement.
In Europe the Judge would give a ruling and it would change things, but probably in the member state until it rippled through over a number of years to affect the EU (Not the UK of course)
In the US a judge would give a ruling but only in the jurisdiction (S)he is allowed to, Sonos would appeal. It would take about 6 months, then it would go to another level of court that has slightly wider jurisdiction, Sonos would appeal, assuming it went against them. Or the other side would assuming they needed to. Then it would wait another 12 - 18 months before going to a top level or superior level court that would take 3 months thinking about it.
Then they would pass it back down to the lower courts to decide. But with their thoughts on the matter. Someone would appeal because apparently they can.
THEN after another couple of months the lower court would say something, but only in their jurisdiction which is probably a US state. Then over a number of years it ripples through to others.
EXCEPT where one state governor (or the president) is either related to or paid off (lobbied) by SONOS and then another legal battle starts, which can or can't replace that entire above process.
Probably at least 70% mark up on everything. I'd be surprised if it were any lower. Marketing is expensive. This scheme is all about encouraging people to part with extra money more quickly than would otherwise be the case if you have to wait for products to fail and users to buy a replacement.
the thirty percent is probably the retail markup on Sonos Equipment. On the other hand I have a 5 cd player that I bought when CDs first came out that still works perfectly well, unlike the stereos it has been attached to. Hurray for letting the CD player choose which track on which CD to play! Who needs streaming?
^^ this. 100% this.
This is home audio equipment, NOT consumer electronics. They're supposed to work pretty much until you get bored of it, it breaks irreparably or you fancy an upgrade. Then it goes to the flea market or boot sale (or ebay I guess).
The absolute oldest Sonos must be.... what.... 2005? That's absolutely not lasted long enough for a piece of home audio kit.
Well, EV's run on firmware. I guess they will be next. It will be very lucrative, a whole market of drivers who will be forced to upgrade to EV's or face <insert punishment here>.
No legal stragglers able to keep that 40 year old bagner running. Heck even the 1920 collectables will be unable to run, no sunday drives for them either.
Everyone in an EV, phoning home, updating... bricking while in the service station car park...
You do realize that *all* modern automobiles (including those running internal combustion engines) need lots of firmware to run, right?
Given the fuel-efficiency and emissions demands, I suspect ICE autos may need more firmware than EVs.
The problem isn't really that there's firmware. The problem is that the cars phone home and allow OTA firmware updates.
That said, you're right that this is problem with most (all?) new vehicles, regardless of whether they're electric. Which is why I'm exceedingly unlikely to buy any recently-made vehicles.
It has nothing to do with the fuel source. The kind that use fuel pumped into a tank can have connected and brickable firmware, and the kind that plug into a wall can have firmware that runs without connecting to request updates. The problem is not with EVs, and blaming them specifically distracts us from the real problem, which is cars that require connections. A car that can receive an update, including one that could brick it, is not the major problem because intentionally bricking a car would be illegal in most areas. But one that will install updates without user approval or would stop functioning as well if the updates were blocked are very bad.
> It has nothing to do with the fuel source
Only if you ignore the fact that all EV's are so recent that they have this functionality. A 40 year old ICE car wont. Neither does mine that's only just turned 10.
Most drivers on the road don't drive new cars. But once you go to an EV, due to being forced to, you suddenly end up with a hyper connected brick-able car.
So the fuel does matter as that is an indication of the chances of being brickable. AFAIK all EV's and perhaps recent hybrids will be like this.
Someone who is aware of this could cut off the antenna or remove the SIM, however, how long till we find firmware that bricks your car when you do such a thing?
I have a 20 year old car with a cellular modem and the right hardware interconnection to (painfully) do a firmware update. There isn't anything special about an EV or even a "modern" car.
Luckily none of the car companies would risk the consumer or legal backlash from disabling a too-old car because it wasn't continuing to make them money.
BTW, what does a "sustainability officer" do if they aren't fighting against this type of waste?
Ah, a quick search reveals the answer: "https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/senior-director-global-communications-sustainability-at-sonos-inc-1323739877" It's a completely fake title for the director of communication AKA the press flack.
> I have a 20 year old car with a cellular modem
Well my post was really talking about the "forced" upgrade everyone will get when they have to go EV. Then everyone will be brickable, no escape. That was the point I was making.
> You do realize that *all* modern automobiles (including those running internal combustion engines) need lots of firmware to run, right?
You completely missed the point of my post. ICE cars don't phone home to update their firmware etc like a Nissan Leaf does. Although I think this is more for the EV's where you lease the battery so if you dont pay, you cant drive.
Plenty of EV owners rip out the SIM in EV's in which they own the battery. This probably kills some functions but also kills the firmware updating.
Most ICE cars dont have any such feature. My car is 10 years old and has plenty of firmware. It can only be updated by a laptop plugged into the OBDC port.
'Connected" cars are due to be compulsory in the EU. Presumably either you'll be able to plug in a box for that in an older car, or there'll be a bounty for people hunting down and capturing older vehicles. Hope you're good at hiding. :-)
> Well, EV's run on firmware. I guess they will be next. It will be very lucrative, a whole market of drivers who will be forced to upgrade
I could easily see a future where automakers and industry trade groups convince governments to enact certification requirements for firmware, else the vehicle is prohibited from operating on public roads for "everyone's safety". Sorry, your vehicle still hasn't been patched for CVE 2030-674. No roads for you.
Except that in many jurisdictions, I could also see a lack of safeguards that protect owners from firmware update costs, third party device interoperability changes, or outright abandonment. And don't even think of jailbreaking your vehicle to use a third party firmware, else you'll be the one in jail.
Now be a good consumer and go and replace your vehicle, home charging station, and all your accessories every few years like they want you to.
Except that in many jurisdictions, I could also see a lack of safeguards that protect owners from firmware update costs, third party device interoperability changes, or outright abandonment. And don't even think of jailbreaking your vehicle to use a third party firmware, else you'll be the one in jail..
Now be a good consumer and go and replace your vehicle, home charging station, and all your accessories every few years like they want you to.
And that's one of the reasons they're disarming the general population NOW, so that they'll be sufficiently compliant sheeple by then.
I've got some Quad valve amps from 1956 and some Quad electrostatics from the early 60's that piss all over Sonos for sound quality and easily be connected to my phone and be heard 3 rooms away.
Even better if you put the amps on the floor in between the speakers you can dry clothes on them!
Sonos isn't just powered speakers, although I suppose that's what most people think of when they hear the name. They also make units which output analogue or digital audio for an amplifier line input, and units which have a power amp and speaker terminals. With a good pair of loudspeakers they sound very good indeed.
Having said that, Sonos' frequent and virtually unavoidable upgrades are a worry, particularly when, like me, you don't have the latest controller hardware. And this Trade Up bollocks is, well, bollocks.
Few people are aware of the difference. My nephews were up over Xmas and plugged their iPhones into my hifi and were surprised to find things like bass guitar and drums in their favourite music so I'd suggest that most things these days are no-where near 'good enough'. I've got a quad33/303 (and a box of 2n3055s somewhere) with a couple of 35y old Mission monitors plugged into my TV and they say its infinitely better than their expensive sound bar and the Missions only go down to 80hz ffs.
“Only if the supplier does it”
Not necessarily. There are several (that I know about - there are probably many more) clauses in law regarding unfair contracts and similar stuff, with no option to “sign away” your rights. In employment law for example, it’s illegal for the employer to ask an employee to do anything illegal.
You make it sound like they're doing it to force people to upgrade their kit. It's not the case. Sonos gave an offer where you could upgrade bits of your kit for a large discount. You didn't take up the offer your kit was not disabled. The whole point was to stop people taking the upgrade then keeping their old kit, or selling the old kit on.
"Disabling the equipment is only a condition of the discount. If you want to keep yours, simply pay full price."
I downvoted you because, in a world that is currently on fire, companies should be forcibly disbanded for offering people a discount if they deliberately cause more pollution and emissions.
Disabling the equipment is only a condition of the discount. If you want to keep yours, simply pay full price.
Exactly! More companies should do this. M&S could get you to shred your old clothes for a £5 discount, Volkswagen could give you cash-back for drilling holes in your engine block. Persimmon could give you 30% off for burning down your old house. I can't see any flaws whatsoever in this practice, all that matters is there isn't a law against it. (Unless you live in a terrace I suppose.)
"Sonos gave an offer where you could upgrade bits of your kit for a large discount. You didn't take up the offer your kit was not disabled. The whole point was to stop people taking the upgrade then keeping their old kit, or selling the old kit on."
Yes. It's an offer that deliberately creates more waste. It is unacceptable.
Ah, but Sonos does force upgrades on you that do degrade your equipment. I have two CR100 controllers that work perfectly, but one day Sonos decided that the batteries might be a fire hazard (a reason it later retracted) but it issued an update that bricked these controllers.
It said you could keep using the controllers if you didn't upgrade, but in reality it is almost impossible not to upgrade. For starters adding any new Sonos component triggers an upgrade.
Sonos for my money is totally unethical in the way it sells you a system, then changes that system whether you like it or not.
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I bought a soundbar over Christmas. I chose one that explicitly wasn't intelligent, because I don't plan to replace it in a couple of years.
It has good sound, works with HDMI and Optical connections and it does have Bluetooth in a nod to the modern world. What it doesn't have is security weaknesses and a lack of security updates after 2 - 5 years that will render it useless. The "intelligent" bits will be stuck into the soundbar, the soundbar itself doesn't need to be intelligent.
On all the sound bars I've used, you have to select bluetooth to enable it, otherwise it's not available, and also not when the unit is in standby. It's always been turn on, select bluetooth to find it with them.
So if you are woken up at 3am because you left it turned on, and had the bluetooth input selected, then I'd say that's more your security issue, not the soundbar.
Not exactly a security flaw, but eldest (and others) got so fed up with a school 'mate' inflicting his choice in music to everyone on the bus by bringing a BT speaker with him every day that he took to scanning for the device as soon as said eejit was on board, pairing his phone as soon as possible and playing such classics as Abba, Fleetwood Mack and the theme from Thomas the Tank Engine.
Apparently this worked for quite some time (weeks) before aforementioned twit worked out the only way to stop it was to switch the speaker off, but of course switching it on again meant a race to see who would connect first :-)
Cardboard packaging can be fairly trivially broken into by a bare-handed thief, whereas opening up the plastic packaging used by the likes of Sandisk et al to protect their products from going walkies requires a fully stocked workshop (as well as an equally fully stocked medical cabinet ), making it somewhat harder to surreptitiously remove the items of value from within the packaging and depart the store unnoticed.
1. to deal with the life-threatening lacerations  picked up as you guide your favoured cutting implement around the perimeter of the packaging whilst trying not to slice straight through any of the contents...
2. between lethal packaging materials, the hidden bits of razor-wire inside every PC case just waiting to slice your fingertips to shreds during a system upgrade, or the cunningly located heatpipes and other bits of thermal control metalwork inside SFF systems which are almost, but not quite, just far enough away from the stuff you need to work on to avoid burning yourself unless you leave the system to cool down for a few hours first, the IT industry never seems to stop coming up with devious new ways to injure and maim its customers...
I previously worked retail for 5+ years and have seen the packaging change alot... Sandisk (and others) tried the plain old recyclable route and the increase in shrinkage due to theft was astronomical.
People would be surprised how many got stolen and even with harder packaging, it still happens, just not as much. People go get razor blades from one part of a store, only to come over and cut open for an sd card. It is ridiculous and more than once we found either half-opened packages with some blood on them (and sometimes sd card was gone, other times they were not).
Not sure what they're doing with them all, but yeah.. wont see packaging change on this
The Victorinox I have carried with me for the last 30-ish years is a fairly simple variety - two small blades, a saw, a philips T-bar and the usual can opener / bottle opener / wire stripper / flatblade pair. I can do pretty much all unplanned jobs with this thing from rewiring a mains plug, fitting (if absolutely necessary - it's hardly ideal) a network or phone plug to removing items of rack-mounted equipment or sawing notches in woodwork or small branches in the garden. It's eminently pocketable, looks a lot less "dangerous" than a typical Leatherman and is very much cheaper (I think I'm on my third now).
But I wouldn't rely on it if I know I'm going to need to do some work - I have proper tools for that - it's for those unexpected jobs.
I have an interesting releationship with memory cards at home.
The stills cameras (and nowadays, phones) have cards which are downloaded to the NAS and then cleared for next use.
The video camera has cards which are filled and replaced. The full cards are also downloaded to the NAS but are then put away into folders as "backup".
I have no idea why I started doing it this way - possibly it started because a smallish (by modern standards) memory card would last a whole holiday in a stills camera, but I found I needed two or even three larger memory cards for the video camera, but the upshot is that the stills cameras have cards that are only replaced when they fail - usually for a physical reason* - but in a typical year the video camera will have two or three new ones, depending on the number and duration of school plays, orchestra performances, holidays etc.
*I tend to extract cards and use a card reader, rather than plugging the camera in to the computer - a USB3 card reader is usually much faster - but this does mean that the cards are taken in and out of the device fairly regularly. I've had cards come apart (the two halves of the shell separating), or the write-protect tab failing, meaning they become effectively locked, but since I decided to standardise on genuine Sandisk cards, I've never (at home) had an electronic failure.
Actually, after an initial boot for configuration I'm told that the Pi3 and Pi4 can boot without a memory card at all these days.
Tempted to try this at work, where I have about 30 of the things, mostly running video players, but since at least a half of them are Pi1 and Pi2 models (which do still need a card for the initial stages of boot) and it would mean completely re-writing my (very basic) video player script so that each device could work out which video it should be playing, it's rather a way down my "to do" list.
Back in the early days I'd have jumped at the chance. Those first Pis - or rather the poor memory cards that were bought to run them - had a habit of failing quite a lot. You could guarantee a corrupted card, sometimes corrupted enough that it couldn't even be reformatted by the SD Card Association's formatter, if the Pi had power yanked during boot. Firmware updates (and possibly my use of better branded cards) have made this rare these days even on those early models.
I cursed out a VERY IRRITATING blister pack just a few days ago, something I'd actually purchased a couple of years ago, that I finally had need of... took at least 10 minutes to remove everything I needed from the clear plastic 'irritation' without breaking the driver disk, ripping the cardboard with printed instructions on the inside, or yanking the 4 inch cable off of the device, in the process of getting it out. EVEN WITH SCISSORS, which could BARELY CUT IT. A knife would probably have done damage...
But it looked *great* on the store shelf! [and doesn't perform as 'great' as I was hoping for - fortunately this was device #2 and I'd already purchased a different kind which had more features, in addition to this one but had both "just in case" so I could move forward at THAT time...
I think the #1 reason is also why many things (including console games and DS cartridges] often come in packages that are WAY larger than the item itself: Primarily, it is to deter theft.
There's also the psychological effect of "bigger looking box". Cereal makers do this a LOT in the USA, produce tall/wide but very thin boxes for cereal to make them LOOK as if you're getting more, when you're not.
We had occasion to buy a whole bunch of Duracell CR2032 CMOS batteries for some second-hand PCs we'd bought.
* taking off the PC system unit case, removing the old CR2032 battery - 10 seconds
* cutting round the 'child-proof' blister pack (two layers of plastic) - about a minute, and a LOT of effort
* inserting the new CR2032 battery and replacing the case - 10 seconds
The plastic shroud is so tough and so close to the battery that you stand a good chance of actually cutting the battery. In any event, after a few of these replacements you're left with very sore fingers.
Perhaps the firm should be renamed "DuraPackaging"?
I'll deliberately avoid ever having a first experience with them,
Yes. They should stop trying to control the customer. That kind of "corporate arrogance" has been irritating us for over a decade now.. I cite many examples as early as 2005-ish, with "the ribbon", Windows Vista, Gnome 3, Windows 8, Windows 10, UWP and The Store, and the horrible horrible tragedy that KDE has become... and what GOOGLE and Fa-[e]ceb[ook,itch] have become! It's like I.T. and hardware are somehow the domain of FASCISTS or something
Supermarkets tend to have them, usually a little dearer than online, but I keep an eye as they often discount memory cards and flash drives (drives particularly, so designs keep changing and the get rid of old but perfectly good stock). Inexplicably other shops (including Boots and the sort-of-lamented-but-not-entirely Maplins) sold them far dearer and are probably puzzled as to why they don't shift any.
Have had some bad experiences with flaky flash memory in the past, these days I stick to sandisk, which I'm yet to have a problem with (now I've written that I'm sure one will fail this evening). Things are cheap enough now that there's no real saving going for non-brand ones (picked up 128GB USB for about £10 before Christmas).
> To prevent casual theft
OMG memory cards are soooo in demand in the days of cloud storage.
I walked into my supermarket and saw several ancient bits of tech:
1. Tapes and assoc hardware
2. Radios :D
3. Alarm clocks!
4: Small TV's, heck does anyone have a TV> Just use a monitor.
5. The already mentioned memory cards.
6. CD-R DVD-R, heck I nearly fainted when I saw a pack of VHS tapes!
I and a fair chunk of South West London found out just how reliable cloud storage isn't when a building contractor's foundation drill ripped out Virgin's cables at their New Malden hub just before Christmas leaving us without fibre internet for 4 days.
Ok, so my partner and I still had 4G, but our monthly contracts (which are usually plenty) weren't going to feed our pre-Christmas Netflix binge*, or more importantly, my partner's Open University video coursework for her impending essay.
* good job I didn't decide to throw out the DVDs!
I still do use an alarm clock. I don't like a radio transmitter close to my head for several hours while I'm sleeping. Nor I make love with my phone, so it's useless in the bedroom. It stays charging in the studio.
Nor all people can use a monitor everywhere with a PC attached - even if it's a Raspberry, a Chromecast or a Firestick. At least a plain, small TV doesn't send "telemetry" out (yet).
I don't like a radio transmitter close to my head for several hours while I'm sleeping
Turn WiFi & BT off and you drastically reduce the emissions - mobile phone heartbeat signals are remarkably power efficient. If paranoid, put the thing into flight mode and turn all the radios off. The clock will still work and you can still benefit from the flexible alarm settings - I need them and going back to a normal alarm clock would be both tedious and risk my being late (or - worse - early) out of bed some days.
Bonus of not getting alerts during the night. Once is enough to be woken up at 3am by a bounced email finally coming home to roost.
Thus you can't remember to change alarm clock settings usually once a week (although I have a clock with weekdays/weekend separate settings), but can remember to turn off/on radios each day?
Moreover while the heartbeat signal can be power efficient, all the 'telemetry' phones and their apps send is not. Nor I like to have a always on microphone in my bedroom, you know, for those 'accidental' activations, and those 'we don't keep recordings' used to 'improve speech recognition'...
Turn mobile data off too and all the telemetry stops (assuming you haven't simply disabled or uninstalled all the apps anyway), and the thing reverts to being a phone only.
Regarding the jibe about setting the alarm, it's sort of the other way up. WiFi, Bluetooth and mobile data (also GPS, though of course that doesn't transmit) are normally off on my phone, unless I'm using them. As I've probably pointed out here before, this means that my Moto G, when new, could last as many as 10 days on a single charge, and a week was easily achievable even with some light web browsing or similar. It's just turned six years old and I can still eke 5 or 6 days out of it if I'm careful, and 2 or 3 is not difficult. It does a day, no problem, when mobile data and GPS are on and OSMTracker is logging every eight seconds - I did this last Sunday in fact.
I also have a slightly complex alarm schedule. Three days of the week have one set of times - a "wake up" and a "no, really, wake up now" each day. Two days just have a single alarm. Sunday has an alarm at a different time, one weekend in four has a pair of alarms like the three days and then there are the times when I'm on leave but my wife isn't, or vice-versa, or when we are both on leave but the children are still in school, or vice-versa.
Having the ability to set one-off alarms without disturbing the "normal" ones is also a boon, and isn't easily done with any standard alarm clock.
So I do still have to remember to check the alarm occasionally, but changing it is simply a case of turning one schedule off and another on...
I first came across a flexible alarm on my Psions. Never looked back :-)
> I need them and going back to a normal alarm clock would be both tedious and risk my being late (or - worse - early) out of bed some days.
I have an alarm clock that has 4 alarms, two for the week and one for sunday, leaving 1 for "other". The two alarms during the week turn on the radio, to wake me slowly, followed by the actual alarm 45 mins later should I still not have woken up.
I wake up at 6:00 regardless of what day it is unless its sunday where I wake up approx 5:0 to catch a twitch stream with my mates who are in a timezone 8 hours behind.
I wont use the mobile as an alarm as its so jarring. I did use it as one on holiday and its the worst wake up experience I have ever felt. It might be better if I have it play a decent beep beep alarm rather than some weird music or beep beep that only phones seem to make, just like they also fail to have a proper "old fashioned" bell type ringtone, instead they have some weird bell-like ringing that no phone I have ever heard makes. Its ok at a pinch
Interesting alarm clock - I've not met one with more than two settings. Would be interested to know the brand.
I wont use the mobile as an alarm as its so jarring
I suppose it depends on the phone, but the phones I've used for the last 15+ years have all had the ability to use any random media as an alarm tone, ring tone (see below) but strangely they have been more limited with alert tones. In the early days it was fun to find an appropriate .mid file, and most phones will still play .mids, but it's often easier to find something appropriate as a .mp3 or similar. At the moment, for example, I usually wake up to the theme from the Pink Panther, which starts with a short piano chord and closed hi-hat so is quite gentle, but it'd be just as easy to have waves on a beach or birdsong or an approaching Castle class if that's your preference.
they also fail to have a proper "old fashioned" bell type ringtone
Again, easily solved on most modern phones. I have a recording of a GPO type 706 which I use for incoming calls that I haven't set individual tones for. Oh, look, you can get the WAV from that very page. I originally had a WAV, which worked fine on previous phones but Lineage on my Moto G only accepts .mp3s for ringtones, so a conversion was made. It has the advantage of being considerably louder and more penetrating than any of the inbuilt ringtones.
Giant plastic blister packs for tiny little items exist because of big retailers who fear shoplifting more than the destruction of the earth or the well-being of consumers. They care desperately about their product until such time as they get your money for it, at which point they think stamping a little recycling triangle on their tat absolves them from the consequences of the damage they chose to inflict for their personal financial benefit.
Because that secure box takes up room and reduces customer throughput by making the cashier have to go and get it. Unless it's something really pricey, the extra aggravation to the customer and the others waiting in line is a bigger threat to the bottom line than the loss of a few items.
Side note: I have seen the setup you suggest used, but it was in a dedicated electronics store and reserved for small, expensive items like processors. However, the registers were configured as a box around it, which rather limits its applicability to more general setups.
Also, as a customer, it presents a pain point.
I know that I've stopped buying small items in physical stores that require store personnel to obtain, be they SD cards, razors, or similar, because of the hassle involved. It's so much easier and nicer to get those things online and avoid the in-store friction.
Ah yes, the 'in-store friction' of being able to walk away with my goods immediately, in exchange for having to interact with a store employee for a few moments while he opens a case.
I know I can't stand the 'hassle' of obtaining things like razors and memory cards within minutes of needing them, so my life can go on. I much prefer the convenience of waiting days or weeks for such items to arrive.
The revolution will not be televised, it will be shipped by Amazon.
Put the little goodies IN the till, with the money. Practically speaking, its security is basically a solved problem. Video camera watching the cashier all day has been used.
A recent case reported on Snopes was a police officer at Starbucks who reported that his drink came with "Pig" written on the cup. Apparently the company were able to disprove this with their video system. Not clear whether people were already fired anyway. But the cop was, after that.
until such time as they get your money for it, at which point they think stamping a little recycling triangle on their tat absolves them from the consequences of the damage they chose to inflict for their personal financial benefit.
Except in Germany, where you have a legal right, once you've paid for the item, to unwrap it there & then and the shop is obliged to take back the packaging. More places should do that.
I don't know if this is covered by law in the US, but I know a couple of people who've been doing this for a very long time nonetheless. Personally, I don't see the point -- it's just making more work for the store employees, and isn't driving any sort of change aside from whose dumpster the trash will be going in.
> Giant plastic blister packs for tiny little items exist because of big retailers who fear shoplifting more than the destruction of the earth or the well-being of consumers.
Nope. Not primarily, at least. Blister packs exist for small items so they can be displayed on standard rails. If you try and get Walmart to stock your product, *they*, not you, will decide the size of the blister pack. Too thick (i.e. fewer per prong, so less on display and more frequent re-stocking) and they will refuse to sell it unless over a certain value. And if it's so wide that it needs two prongs, side-by-side, then it better be f*cking marvelous, or make them a fortune, or both.
And yes, Walmart do consider themselves to be doing you a favour by stocking your stuff.
Friend of my father's who makes, locally, a high-quality, multi award-winning food item. Big supermarket chain which claims to support small local producers. Stocks said item for a few months to see how well it sells, it does ok.
Refuses to continue stocking item unless small local producer 'rents' space in their freezers, or supplies his own freezer to every shop in the area, and sells at a price determined by the supermarket with costs of promotions (price reductions) fully born by the producer, not the supermarket. Also tries to impose ridiculous invoice terms - can't remember now, but 90 days springs to mind.
It's how capitalism works.
Small local producer still makes a decent living selling direct to local cafes and restaurants and is slowly opening a number of ice cream parlours in the most unlikely places and making the most unlikely volume of sales :-)
But he will never go national unless he can play by the rules of the big guns.
uh, EVERYONE does things for their own benefit, you know.
As a business, what works BEST is when you do things for your OWN benefit that ALSO benefit your customers. but there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with working for your OWN benefit. THAT is called "human nature".
I doubt ANYONE is so altruistic as to do EVERYTHING for the benefit of OTHERS. Personally, I'd find someone who claim to do that VERY irritating anyway... [and the claims would be ego-stoking, and therefore hypocrisy]
regardless, the industry needs to "get it" with respect to blister-packs!
I still have a pair of B&W loudspeakers from 1982. They work fine. I don't get this active-speaker crap. A speaker is a device that converts electricity into sound. That can last quite a while, though some speaker cones do dry out and fail over time.So the smart thing is to separate the long-life stuff (speakers), the medium-life stuff (amplfiers, whose components, especially electrolytic capacitors, can fail within a couple of decades), and the short-life stuff (digital electronics, which become obsolete rapidly and generally require factory updates, which don't keep coming). Sonos-type boxes blend all three and thus are a bad deal.
I have a 3-piece set of Cambridge Soundworks (later bought by Creative) computer speakers. One channel's amp failed. So I got a cheap amp for the speakers and just use the original amp for the subwoofer (it's inside that box). So the good speakers are still working even though the electronics are failing.
I've got a decent set of computer speakers with a broken volume control. i can't find a replacement part. However, you gave me a good idea: order a stereo amplifier module and cable online, then power the speakers with it [after gutting the amplifier out of the one that has it].
Interesting afternoon project for 'one of these days'. Or I could just build an amplifier from spare parts around the workshop
I guess these bits of hardware have reasonable amps/Speakers in them, how difficult would it be to remove the Sonos bits and fit something else - say a Pi?
Slightly more fiddly if it's a single PCB inside, but I'd still expect the noisy digital side to be fairly separated from the analog/audio side.
Seems an odd article. Buy a $99 wireless speaker, remove the electronics, discard the box & speaker, and put the electronics unto a better speaker. Give that the electronics probably cost $20 it doesn't seem great value. Why not just buy a separate electronics board?
Because, for all the slagging off, many people like the way the Sonos stuff works. Leaving aside the "interesting sales tactics", they do have some neat features.
For example, if you have devices with both wired and wireless interfaces, they will automatically bridge them to connect wireless only devices to a wired network (they use STP to manage it). At my last job we had a customer with a very large house where this was "quite useful" in terms of getting stuff connected in the remote corners.
AIUI, you can play the same thing on multiple speakers and it will sync them - avoiding that horrible effect you get when you can hear speakers from the next room that are a second or two out. Get that issue a lot now with digital radio and digital telly :-( That feature is also useful in a large (or anything larger than a small bedsit) house if people are moving around like they tend to do at parties.
Personally I wouldn't buy their. I thought it was "a bit pricey" before, but the various reports of the companies ethics have confirmed that I'd made the right choice in avoiding them. But I could understand someone wanting the features, but with a speaker big enough to even pretend to be "Hi Fi".
Shame Logitech bought in Slim Devices and then killed them off. Yes, you can use them as wireless bridges. Yes, you can sync them between players. Yes, I've synced 5 around the house for a party before, and most people just didn't notice. (The ones who did notice were very impressed.)
Had Slim players since the original SliMP3 in about 2002. They work a treat. Hardware is a bit of a chore to find these days (gotta trawl eBay), but you can build players out of Raspberry Pis now. You're right, it's not a turnkey solution like Sonos, so not really applicable to the Great Unwashed.
Also, I've seen Sonos tank a network several times by creating a network loop between wired and wireless. Whatever they do by STP, they don't seem to to it very well.
I've been using the Slimp3 and squeezebox players since they were first released - they work fantastically and serve me up my 41k record collection at random in a very neat way - I'm still recording my old albums to put them on the Squeezebox server. I bought a Sonos when they came out but it was crap compared to the squeezebox range.
After having given a lot of thought & research to this problem of setting up a scalable, multi-room audio system without any of the sync/timing issues it presents, I've realized the solution to this problem is far more simple and cheap than I ever originally imagined...
An FM transmitter.
No need to embed yourself in proprietary, price-gouging system like Sonos or AirPlay (that could be bricked in the future thanks to mfr. updates), or to cry quietly in the corner that DLNA is dead and why couldn't they just add a broadcast timing-sync functionality before they died. No need to worry about wired vs. wireless, Wi-Fi network congestion, or even IP packet-switching in general. How about a dedicated, 1-way wireless stream on a completely different frequency that won't affect your network at all? What if I told you this technology is ALSO so old & backwards compatible with literally everything, it's been around since even before the time when old men started to yell at children for playing on their lawn?
Not only do you get to keep all your old speakers, amps, & boomboxes; this design also integrates with any home-automation system probably better than anything else. You only need 1 audio input source, preferably something you could control remotely like a raspberry pi, and output can be controlled using all the same methods you've already been using: Logitech Harmony remote, IR blaster system, OEM remotes, or even Alexa. (No judgement!) Whatever you use to turn on your stereo equipment, and switch the input to FM.
These devices go for about $60..$100 on Amazon, cheaper than Sonos, and you only need one. And according to the reviews, I wasn't the first knuckle-dragging genius to have this idea (Damn!) Others even say they actually got better audio quality than any local stereo FM station was transmitting, probably because of some compression method radio stations use.
The only consideration to make is what the law says. In the US, the FCC doesn't have any actual power limit on unlicensed FM broadcasts, in fact they only say "less than 200 ft. distance". Even with a 1W unit, reviewers were reporting getting almost a mile distance, and Amazon is even selling 5W units. One guy had to daisy-chain both a 30 dB and a 20 dB attenuator between the antenna to get below the 200 ft. range, and after some searching it looks like a high-quality 50 dB attenuator goes for about ~$75. So to make it legal, it's about double the price. But, still cheaper than some Sonos products, and no brand lock-in headaches.
I was almost tempted by Sonos gear, but in the end decided against it because of the combination of requiring the use of their servers and that the gear seems pretty heavily overpriced. There have been a few times that I've felt happy about that decision, and this is one of them.
Well that puts paid to the idea of ever owning a Sonos, whatever that is. I guess I'll just have to keep listening to my decades-old super quality component stereo system, which works and sounds as amazing as ever. (Got a new high-end DA converter that makes even digital audio sound good.) On the other hand, my hearing...
I interviewed with Sonos a couple of years ago. Had a nice chat with their head of security. Sonos has a huge problem in that their systems vastly outlive the security models which existed when their devices came out. My first thought when I saw this was that they were trying to be reasonable (30% discount) while reducing the long tail of security.
Certainly, there is some greenwashing here. But to me, the key issue is that these things are now computers attached to the internet whose focus is on sound production. It's that first part that simply cannot be expected to last one decade, let alone as long as a pre-internet turntable or such.
That just highlights how terrible the fundamental design of these things is. The computer part should be entirely separate from the audio part, so that the audio can be used without the computer at all if desired, and the computer can be updated/replaced separately as needed.
I don't buy that at all. They play audio streams and pull control data from (presumably) a web portal. There's not much there to screw up in the first place and certainly no advances in security that couldn't be updated in software on older devices. If Logitech can keep their similarly aged, long discontinued stuff working, I don't see how Sonos can't, unless they're incompetent.
There are at least a couple of known issues that Sonos are probably trying to address, evident from their forums. Their (Linux based) kernel only supports SMB v1, due to a constraint on older kit (views on this as a security issue vary, but imho if someone on my local network is trying to exploit smb vulnerabilities to intercept a stream of the Frozen soundtrack, I’ve got bigger things to worry about); and their systems have an upper limit of ~65,000 tracks in the library, due to ‘memory’ constraints. And the kit lasts, and is used be people who want to play large music libraries.
This seems like a fair attempt to upsell to existing customers, let down by a glaring sustainability issue that should have been better planned.
Because it's being directed by the phone, not spoon-fed.
Phone: Dear speaker, please play track number 3114.
Speaker: Gotcha - no problem.
Phone: Dear speaker, please play track number 19376.
Speaker: Gotcha - no problem.
Phone: Dear speaker, please play track number 7.
Speaker: Gotcha - no problem.
Phone: Dear speaker, please play track number 65537.
It's not like we haven't seen this play out countless times before. A quick scout shows that I have 9357 tracks in my library. Guess I'll be okay.
Well, there is the problem then. It could rotate the track numbers on a server or similar. Just give the speaker a token of some sort, and it does not need to even know what it's requesting from the server... Phone says "request the *next* song", no need to number it on the speaker.
My current speakers don't die when asking to play from spotify, and I'm pretty certain it's got more than 64k songs even! (But that's because it's a blutooth only speaker. ;) ).
I thought that too, but then I wondered just which kit is covered by this deal, how old is it and what is the re-sale value? Now map that re-sale value to the "inconvenience" of selling on the second-hand kit and we probably see that the 30% discount rate probably matches the "meh! I'll take the discount" level for the majority of the target audience.
Vonage locked its Linksys PAP2 VOIP boxes; back in ~2006 I was able to unlock one by using online instructions (DNS, TFTP server) to use a PC to simulate the Vonage provisioning server. Once unlocked, you would have saved ~$50 over an unlocked device.
Perhaps there is a similar way to unlock a bricked Sonos device, unless they have used an Apple-style lock with proper private key infrastructure (PKI)
If so, maybe someone at Sonos will leak the keys.
Apple's hardware encryption keys were posted last month to Reddit and Twitter - and then taken down with DMCA/legal threats.
Sonos, like other hardware manufacturers, is having a bit of a problem with their customer base. If you build something too well then its likely that the customers won't feel the need to 'upgrade' -- in other words, buy new stuff -- and so their customer base will shrink. This is an innovative idea to get the customers to self-immolate, to destroy their perfectly functional product so they can get a nominal savings off the inflated price of a new item.
I've had several perfectly functional things become degraded and eventually unusable due to manufacturer upgrades. Anything that's got a processor and some level of connectivity, no matter how limited, is at risk. I know that I'm risking missing out on a 'enhanced user experience' but in reality this is mostly BS - I could happily process sound and video on devices a decade or two ago and all that's changed over the years is that functionality and usability have been degraded in the name of rights preservation. Now they're coming for my toaster...
(One example. I have a couple of Squeezebox table radios. These Logitect products are well made, sound good and are versatile, they can both stream locally and off the Internet. The modern equivalent is the same hardware with different software called "UE". The newer stuff won't function at all without being able to call home all the time -- essentially it becomes a peripheral to some central music server. So to maintain functionality I have to defend the equipment from manufactuer's updates. I just don't trust them -- I saw what happened to another brand of similar product.)
"I've had several perfectly functional things become degraded and eventually unusable due to manufacturer upgrades."
Indeed. This applies to all software, not just the embedded stuff, as well.
It's why the past several years have taught me to fear all upgrades, and to avoid any products that phone home or don't allow me to stop automatic upgrades.
I cant remember the games title but there is an indie game recently released in episodic form that has you play as an android who begins to uncover a conspiracy in your android populated world that everyone else is oblivious to.
All this because you, as the android, disabled automatic updates and did not get the most recent OTA update from the government.
I'm starting to lose enthusiasm for connected products that don't have a usage cost associated with them.
Any such product where the only time I pay the maker for it is at the time of purchase seems to me like it's based on a "Ponzi scheme" type model. If I keep the product for a long time it will keep consuming back end resources that the maker has to pay for, using up the profit they made from me until my usage of it turns into a loss for them. Once a product ceases to be desirable and people stop buying it the supply of cash from new signups will stop and the back end becomes ripe for getting shut down when the beancounters see it's costing thousands a year to run but generating no revenue.
I'd much rather pay a company like Sonos a small annual subscription (Say £10-20 per installation) so that I was paying for the resources I consume and they didn't have an economic incentive to discontinue the services it needs and I could continue to enjoy it, hopefully for as long as I want.
It's not just hardware. There have been a number of examples of software, like games, becoming unusable when the servers went away. I wonder if it would be a good idea for companies to be given some incentive, like a tax break, for open-sourcing their back end software when they discontinue products to allow the user community to carry on if they wish.
The subscription's the problem. Sonos isn't a content provider, they merely make the box that allows the content provider to keep making money from you via subscriptions and advertising. Unless you can build some kind of obsolescence into the device -- difficult to replace batteries that fail after a couple of years, for example -- they're stuck with a single sale that's not going to be repeated.
Yes- within limits an excellent idea.
I'm a great believer in using high quality previously owned products, especially those whose life is likely to be good and have not been superceded by genuine technical inovation.
While there are undoubedly improvements to the newer models offered by SONOS many of the simpler aspects on which they were originally sold remain valid and their quality, both percieved and actual, good.
Given the need to produce a product aimed at the higher end of the market and that part of that mandate must be quality, it seems counter productive, particularly in todays more ecologically aware climate, to effectively destroy a perfectly good product mainly to promote new sales.
Certainly there is the issue of on-going support but the underlying philosophy is evidently driven by sales and developement. The challenge in the wings from Google and Amazon must be intimidating given they seem to be closing in on the same market and the need to promote new and technically adept product high but the marketing might be better suited to a reverse logic 'we didn't brick your old sonos because that would hurt the planet'.
I'd pay- not $20 a year- but I'd pay a small sub. to keep my kit vaguely up to date and to have an altewrnative to Alexa or whatever.
Netgear now has a management mode which - I kid you not - overwrites the DEFAULT password of their devices. The moment you add a Netgear device to their "Insight" cloud it overwrites the password originally set in firmware and that would normally get restored on a full reset. That's only a great idea if it's covered under so many warnings and must-enable-first switches that it cannot be done by accident (I can see it have some function in making equipment theft pointless), but it seriously screws up any recycling of their gear because the passwords printed on the device become useless after such an "update" unless someone takes a careful note of the new setting.
What on Earth inspired them to do something this daft I don't know, but it's caught us out once. It sparked a general discussion about discontinuing the use of Netgear altogether, also because they also pretty much force you to register each device, but refuse to re-register a returned device/serial number* to a new customer, and quite a lot of their management modes demand access to geo location or flat out refuse to work which happens to conflict with privacy laws in so many ways we're of a mind to lob this over to the regulator and see if it creates some fireworks.
So, in summary, don't think it's just Sonos trying to pull a fast one. Netgear got there way earlier.
* Due to online purchasing laws which allow a purchase to be returned (in decent shape/state and working order) within 30 days.
Unfortunately, there's a law clash here. Because it's a wireless device, it is bound (by law) to not transmit on certain frequencies which vary by location. And given how many restricted frequencies there are in the world, assuming the worst will net you a brick.
For the duration of your stay, quite possibly. It's especially noticeable transiting to and from the US, where certain bands in common use abroad are verboten (like LTE Band III): due to the military calling dibs on them years before. And the WiFi frequencies around 2.4 and 5GHz can be even murkier.
The best (worst?) thing about this is that they're not even taking the product back for recycling.
Once the consumer bricks the product and provides the proof in order to get his upgrade credit, he's left with the responsibility of disposing of it (taking it to the local tip/chuck it in a canal/etc.).
The only thing being sustained here is Sonos' profits.
The dumb speakers I had on the desk lasted for more than twenty years. They still work but got some new and even better bookshelfs. I really don't get all wireless fancy stuff. Having said that an old mac mini from 2011 does bluetooth audio to the amplifier. The previous nine years I used a cable.
Did I miss something? It's a trade-in program, not a promotional discount/sale or forced bricking. When I sell or trade in my car or phone, I no longer possess it, and therefore it's bricked to me. Sonos is just skipping the whole ship it to them hassle--not to mention not burdening their brick (ha) and mortar dealers with logistics they're not set up for.
Besides, nobody is forcing a Sonos owner to use this trade-in program, so I'm not sure why all the hate for what amounts to at worst a bungled PR move. I can still sell a Sonos product to someone else. I can also take it to a local audio dealer and sell it/trade it in. I just can't "trade it in" and then turn around and sell it, too.
Even though I think Sonos does a great job in supporting old and EOL'd products, I'm willing to concede that this may be a sign that having gone public is forcing some, uh, creativity to drive revenue. (Not any different from the tech industry as a whole.) But that's conjecture that belies their history.
Just a tadge curious about what great (or small) value is added to a set of wireless speakers wot stream your audio-digital fancies from Teh Interwebs to your ears? When I stream Classic FM or Heart FM etc etc via my laptop, it seems to do it all quite well without Sonos-like servers lurking in the background. Yes, it (laptop) doesn't suggest things I might like to listen to, based on previous selections yadda yadda. But it works fairly well for my admittedly lowbrow purposes.
I mean, they're 'nice' devices ... but where's the added value?
Confused of Clodworthy Copse
Think of the Sonos speaker as being a dumb terminal which uses WiFi for connectivity, rather than Bluetooth/Airplay as other "wireless" speakers tend to use.
When you use the smartphone app to start a radio stream from Radioplayer/TuneIN or a track from Apple Music/Spotify, Sonos' cloud service establishes a direct connection between the stream source and your Sonos speaker.
Your smartphone app is merely a glorified remote control. Your smartphone is *not* used as a gateway device in the same way as it would be if you're using Airplay or Bluetooth etc.
I find this approach gives several advantages:
1. Syncronised grouping - you can play the same radio station/music track through several speakers, and they're all sync'd perfectly. So, no more going from room-to-room with the same radio station being played several seconds ahead/behind the neighbouring room's speaker.
I believe the Sonos achieves this by presenting the same source stream to all grouped speakers rather than needing to open a seperate stream for each speaker.
2. No drop-outs caused by your smartphone and speaker becoming out of range of each other.
3. Alexa/Google Home integration - probably doesn't need explanation.
Hope that helps?
"Alexa/Google Home integration - probably doesn't need explanation."
No. Just needs justification.
From your explanation getting the merest squeak out of your speakers requires internet connectivity to work, which is fine until it doesn't, and Sonos' service to remain in place, which s fine until they go bust or someone like Icahn't buys them and shuts them down or a software update bricks them.
It's becoming even harder for smaller companies to thrive as the large slowly bring in new products under their umbrella. Companies like Sonos have been cut down with the sudden explosion of 'smart' speakers from both Google and Amazon that not only play music, but work with the AI assistants that we all seem to have to buy into now.
Unfortunately the majority of people can't tell the difference in music quality but as long as Alexa is singing, their happy.
Why not allow these products to be resold or reused?
What and be paid twice? If someone gets the 30%, they are technically being paid for their old device. Then if they want to sell it, they would be getting paid again. Why should people be paid twice? If I take my old car in to get a new one, I am not able to resell the car to someone else after trading it in.
“ Please note that because Sonos is a system, all products operate on the same software. If modern products remain connected to legacy products after May, they also will not receive software updates and new features.”
So apparently my brand new Sonos kit won’t get updates if I don’t bin my old Sonos kit. WTAF?!
I have a PC I first commissioned in 2005, still running an expensive proofing printer and high resolution SCSI scanner (also from the same year) for which there are no drivers beyond Win XP. Both work perfectly, so they're going to stay in use. Sorry churn brokers.