Casting Google’s Speakers Aside

See what I did there? As mentioned recently, I have switched over to Apple Music from Spotify. Part of the decision was based on personal preferences around the 2 services, but the reason that I was reluctant to drop Spotify in the first place was the lock-in I had with Google’s Chromecast ecosystem. As it […]

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Automatic shuts down service, asks customers to recycle adapter

From Automatic:

We will be shutting down all operations at 11:59 pm, PT, on May 28, 2020, and, as a result, your service will end at that time. All features of your Automatic service will remain active up until the shutdown. At that time, all features of your Automatic service, including Crash Alert and Real-Time Location & Sharing, will stop. We ask that you please discard your adapter by following standard electronic recycling procedures. You do not need to send your adapter back to Automatic.

Automatic, if you aren’t familiar, makes a little car adapter that sends all sorts of into about your trip (MPG, distance travelled, fast starts/stops and more) to a web service so you can track how you’re driving over time. This could be especially useful for folks that travel for business or folks like me that have an older car that doesn’t display MPG data.

I’ve had one of these in my car for nearly a decade now, and at the end of the month, it’ll be useless. I can only assume the reason they’re just shutting it all down and asking folks to dispose of the adapter is that the IP is more valuable to the company’s parent (Sirius) than it would be to open source the website and APIs.

Just another reminder that most smart home and IOT hardware is just pre-trash: it’ll be eWaste as soon as the company can’t keep growing or turn a profit. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been looking more and more into IOT stuff that works with HomeKit and doesn’t require a web service to run.

Project Connected Home over IP

Apple Newsroom:

Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance today announced a new working group that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet. Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are also onboard to join the working group and contribute to the project.

While this is just a press release, it’s still good to see these companies trying to move closer together, not further apart. I’ve been slowly migrating things in our house over to a Homekit / Homebridge setup but still using our Google Homes to trigger a lot of actions with voice. Ideally, keeping things platform-agnostic would allow me to just choose the best tech and then all of the main voice assistant vendors would work with them.

The nameĀ Project Connected Home over IP really rolls off the tongue, eh?