Episode 126: Sonos wants to brick your speakers

The breaking story as we recorded this show was Sonos updating its Terms of Service to prepare for the Amazon Echo integration. As part of this update, the connected speaker maker confirmed that customers who did not accede to the new terms of service would see their devices stop working in the future. This didn’t go over well, but this is a complicated issue. Kevin and I break many of these issues down. We also talk about Google’s Assistant plans, hacked robots, what has happened to the Nvidia Spot, the potential sale of AT&T’s Digital Life service, and answer a reader question.

Accept Sonos’ new terms of service or else.

Our guest this week is Nick Dawson, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Sibley innovation hub. If you want to hear about applying some DIY tech to healthcare, Dawson has stories for you. He describes how his team built a separate network to experiment with Amazon Dash buttons, Amazon Echoes, Sonoses, Philips Hue lights and even using Slack as a way to track patient calls. He’s looking for feedback, so if you have ideas, want to talk security or even hospital IT, you can find him at www.debughealthcare.com or @nickdawson on Twitter.

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Nick Dawson, executive director, Johns Hopkins Sibley Innovation Hub
Sponsors: HiQo Solutions and Eero

  • Are companies selling services or devices?
  • What ever happened to the Nvidia Spot?
  • We advise a reader to check out Blue Iris camera software for Alexa and SmartThings integrations
  • This hospital built a rogue network for IoT experimentation
  • How to use Slack and Amazon Dash Buttons to get quick data

Published by

Stacey Higginbotham

I am a journalist who has covered technology for over a decade at publications such as Fortune, PCMag, Gigaom, The Deal and BusinessWeek.

4 thoughts on “Episode 126: Sonos wants to brick your speakers”

  1. That’s fine…. IF the company is prepared to purchase back your equipment. I purchased a functional piece of gear, and deserve to have it stay functional until such time as it actually wears out. NOT until such time as the manufacturer decides, for their own purposes, to make the gear stop functioning!

    1. And going a bit further, I suspect if the new Terms of Service were in place when you purchased the device you would not have done so at that time. However, do these companies get around this by putting a clause in the clause stating you give them the okey-dokey to update the ToS in the future as they see fit? Just ugly.

  2. Another very informative episode. It sure makes the noon time walk fly by listening to you guys.

    First off, Stacey, I hope you and your family stay safe and are not affected too much by the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Looks scary. To quote Samuel L. Jackson from Jurassic Park:
    ” Hang onto your butts”

    The Blue Iris recommendation was very timely considering I have someone I work with that is looking to install cameras to the outside of their house. They wanted wireless cameras and the ability to record to a cloud service. I did suggest the Arlo having heard you guys talk about them, but was not sure if that would fit their purpose. I did pass on the Blue Iris suggestion though. Another option for your reader/listener is OpenHAB especially if they are looking for a DIY option. OpenHAB runs on pretty much anything and might be a good option for them.

    The work that Nick Dawson is doing in the Hospital is simply awesome. Having been in the chemo chair myself and then see my brother go through his ordeal in 2015, having something that takes the mind off of the whole hospital experience I suspect would be welcomed by a great many of folks. Sounds like something I would enjoy working on. Funny, listening to this had me think about the Ray Bradbury short story “The Veldt” from “The Illustrated Man.” In “The Veldt” a couple is struggling with the changing behavior of their scene changing Nursery which transforms into a virtual environment complete with visuals, sounds as well as smells, in particular of an African Savanna due to what the children were reading. The stories were written around the ’50s time frame and to get an idea of how far advanced Bradbury’s imagination was, in the beginning of the story he describes the couple’s advanced “soundproofed Happy-life Home” – “… this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them.” Sounds like we are getting their in real life.



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