Sonos to Earthlings: All Your Base Belong to Us. We’re with Trump on the environment, BTW

I’m going to have a grumpy old man rant here, but consumerism is getting evil. Any Sonos buyer renter should be made to play Life For Rent as the first confirmation their expensive new kit works, and to remind them they have a lease on it for about five years. Because despite what you may think, you don’t buy Sonos gear. You rent it for a one off purchase cost, and get an indeterminate term of usage. They get to switch your kit off at a time of their choosing.

if my life is for rent

Sonos is an egregious example of what’s been going wrong with consumerism for a while. Disguising a rental model as a capital purchase. Se also : PCP car ‘purchase’. My Dad was right, back in the day. If you can’t pay cash for your car, look for a cheaper one, it’s a wasting asset. However, Sonos is a deliberately wasting asset.

Back in the day, you got to buy your toaster, you plug the beggar in and welcome to several decades of toast. Now if you decided to get the burnt toast out with a butterknife after a particularly excessive night on the sauce like yours truly did as a student, then all bets are off.  1 Muppetry aside, you could anticipate decades of service.

Heck, you used to be able to change the element in a kettle. Audio gear tends to last a long time, once you are out of your twenties, where either you spend enough money to be able to turn the wick up without overloading the amp thereby trashing the tweeters, or your straitened living circumstances mean you turn it down. Small children and pets are a hazard to speakers, but then they are a hazard to lots of things.

The Ermine hifi has a Naim 250 that wasn’t new when I bought it, back in the early 1990s. My speakers date from then. I owned am AR SP8 preamplifier for over 30 years which was also secondhand when I bought it in 1984, but I sold it a couple of years ago because I moved to streaming my CDs from a NAS box, changing it for Naim streaming gizmo/tuner/analogue preamp.

I can see where Sonus scores – the Naim app has a foul user interface. But at least the back end uses open standards, and I have used an alternative Upnp browser. Mrs Ermine grouses about the control interface each time she tries to use it, But since she is prepared to stream crap from YouTube via bluetooth into the system which is does well, then she is happy because she can understand Youtube and it’s free. As long as I don’t have to listen to it its fine. I can’t stand listening to music in her mode, which is to play three quarters of a track and then jump to something else. But each to their own. I am sure this would be easier with Sonos.

Sonos is the antithesis of that sort of system. It is the Apple of the audio world – you plug it in and it Just Works. You pay for that with a locked in walled garden sort of system with the service life of a mayfly, not because it’s unreliable, but because of software designed to be obsolescent as they please. So you also pay for it with highly unethical business practices, which they borrowed from Apple, which is designed in planned obsolescence. Just that Sonos took it it a new level.

Two of the components of my 1980s/1990s system were secondhand. One served me for 34 years before I sold it and it’s presumably serving someone else. The other secondhand component is still in service. I had it refurbished once and repaired2 by Naim once, but for a piece of gear which has been serving me for getting on for thirty years it ain’t bad. It also had the decency not to take out my speakers when it failed, which is good in a power amplifier.

Sonos – and nothing I have is truly mine…

The Ermine doesn’t do Cloud. I loathe Cloud with a vengeance, because I have been suckered by it too many times. If it needs Cloud inherently, like a web server, that’s fine.

Sonos are taking this to a new level, however, and that’s because they have remote control of your gear in your home. I hate Cloud and Software as a Service3 and shit like that because if it needs Cloud so they can milk you again and again. No. Foul ‘ole Ron was right4. Buggrit, buggrem, spying on me with Rays.

I don’t have a mobile subscription. I don’t use Netflix, or Spotify, or any of that sort of thing. My CDs are ripped to the NAS and if I unplug the ADSL feed I can still play music. I don’t want service providers in my life unless there’s a good reason. Yes to electricity and gas and broadband. No to Alexa, Ring networked doorbells, Hive central heating controllers. And evil bastards like Sonus who use Cloud to brick your older equipment by remote control. Presumably you need a connection to them, else you could blackhole whatever Sonus gear phones home to. If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow as that fellow in the Nixon admin said. And you pay for that?

Sonos is hardware as a service. They want you to upgrade all the time. You aren’t going to be using your Sonos gear in 30 years. You’ll be lucky if you are using it in five. The piss-taking bastards say if you have an old component in your system then you can’t even upgrade newer ones. That’s just nasty. Oh sure, you can get a 30% discount if you set your old component to recycle mode, which bricks it.

Nobody recycles electronics. We send it to some Godforsaken part of the world for people to strip out the precious metals at massive cost to their health. At least if you ebay the sucker, then someone else gets to use it. My 30 year old preamplifier is still in service somewhere. WTF is wrong with Sonos? Nearly all of the challenges in audio engineering have been solved. You will need to change the head unit which gets your compressed cloud music as things change. The network bit and the distributed speakers and associated clobber presumably all run uncompressed audio. That’s not going to change for the next 30 years. Some of this Sonos crap you build into your house, for God’s sake. Do you really want to remodel your house because Sonos says so?

Sonos. Just say No

Because all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to stand aside. For that sake of your grandchildren. To stand against the needless waste. And to cut greedy bastards and shady business practices off at the knees.

I’d generalise this wider. I don’t tolerate Apple anything. Not because it doesn’t work, or doesn’t look lovely. Again, a controlled walled garden ecosystem makes for a far better user interface. It’s just that you get to pay a thousand pounds for your bloody phone or computer every five years, because the cheeky buggers orphan old equipment, just because they can. That’s when they aren’t slowing them down ‘to be easier on the elderly battery’. Here’s a radical idea, Apple – hows about making the damn battery replaceable, you know, like it’s been done for all the decades since battery-power shit was invented, until you decided to fetishise ‘thinness’ as an excuse to glue you consumer gizmos shut so not bastard can fix them. Evil bastards. And then you weep crocodile tears about how you really care about the environment and talk rubbish like this

downloaded from 23 Jan 2020, doesn’t square with my experience, in particular about updating older devices.

So WTF have you orphaned my damn Ipod Touch and glued the battery inside? Last as long as humanly possible, FFS…

And as for Sonos, the service life of audio gear should be measured in decades, not years. And nothing on earth at all should be intentionally made obsolete by remote control, you evil bunch of punks.

  1. The hot tip here is to unplug the thing first. I had assumed the switch was in the live side but it was on the neutral side despite this being a Class 1 device. Still, at least I got that slice of toast out, after the flash as the element vaporised. And we had a gas grill that you lit with a match. so we were still good for toast. And fish fingers. What on earth could go wrong, eh? 
  2. Turns out I could have fixed this myself. Symptom was it blew 10A mains fuses. I popped the lid and didn’t spot any charred components or magic smoke escaping, so I assumed the power transformer had a shorted turn, and these are a custom component I couldn’t buy. Turns out one of the discrete bridge rectifier diodes had failed short. My hasty assumption cost me a couple hundred quid, which served me right for jumping to conclusions ;) 
  3. Adobe Creative Cloud, we’re looking at you. Evil courses through Adobe’s corporate veins 
  4. Terry Pratchett, Discworld ISTR 

48 thoughts on “Sonos to Earthlings: All Your Base Belong to Us. We’re with Trump on the environment, BTW”

    1. I went with Garmin, because they use DAB to update traffic (and your PC to update the maps). As opposed to TomTom, because: mobile data. Buggrit, buggrem, spying on me with Rays. I know the coppers and GCHQ do that with ANPR but to be advertised to depending on where I drive through is a step too far.

      But yes, TomTom has the same as the Sonos interpretation of Lifetime. Borrowed from Humpty-Dumpty it appears:

      > “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”


    1. Today, the Sonos experience relies on an interconnected ecosystem, giving you access to more than 100 streaming services, voice assistants, and control options like Apple AirPlay 2. Without new software updates, access to services and overall functionality of your sound system will eventually be disrupted, particularly as partners evolve their technology.


      No. Obvs your steam driven Sonos gizmo will always be steam-driven. But saying this incapacitates the rest of your rig is mean-spirited and a bit shit. Once your signal has gotten past the gateway device it is hopefully streamed on your LAN at full-tilt uncompressed, and any legacy product should be able to take the uncompressed signal from the brand-spanking new device. Else I will add the charge of incompetent engineering to the charge-sheet of evil coursing through their corporate veins. It seems a good product, but with a heart of darkness at its core. Makes the Phoebus Cartel look tame. SOSDD


      1. Pretty sure the local transport is compressed by default, it’s only 802.11g. There’s an option to force it to be uncompressed, but there are then caveats about the no of speakers you can stream to.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. > Pretty sure the local transport is compressed by default

        I was coming to that conclusion as I was reading their website, because it appeared that each device did the receiving from the internet on its own, although there must be some synchronizing element to do the multi-room. In that case it’s a bit like Mercedes saying to you that if you park a Fiat Punto next to your five-year old Merc they will downgrade its performance to the Punto. There just shouldn’t be a connection between one bit of gear on the LAN and another. Mebbe the old speakers can’t do the synced multiroom seamless playback to the new device, because the old gear doesn’t support the new Sonos whizz-bang sync protocol. That’s fair enough, but they still shouldn’t dumb down your new kit.

        VLANs will be people’s friend. Don’t let the new gear get wind of the old junk on your system, then you can cut this sort of evil off at the knees. Not that you should have to. If there’s a Cloud element to the control system though, you are hosed, because that will grass on your old gear to your new stuff 😦


  1. Ah for good old British sound technology. My daughter has my Wharfedale Super Lintons which are now 50 years old or more. They sound as good as the day I brought them home from the stereo store. I make do with a pair of Canadian made Mirage speakers from 1985. But I do stream Spotify through them from my Android tablet.


    1. I still run my mother’s old Wharfedale bookshelf speakers on the system in my lab in the garage. Run off a slimdevices now Logitech, now obsolete but still bog-standard UPnP so still serviceable 10 year old streaming gizmo. The speakers must be from the 1980s. Amazingly they survived being misused for a party outdoors on the farm driven from a car amplifier powered off a 12V fence battery, though I did finally buy some plastic housing PA speakers 😉 They don’t make ’em like they used to, eh?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a shame that Google stopped making the ChromeCast Audio devices – turned any normal set of speakers into smart speakers, if you wanted them to be. Alas, they apparently got canned cos the audio makers didn’t like them muscling in on their patch.

    Also, an update on the Sonos situation (not that I disagree with your main argument):


    1. The Chromecast audio devices are great, and there are a few still available at various places online. You can also buy a very decent DAC and/or amplifier for a raspbery pi (I’ve got an IQaudIO DAC plugged into a 20yo Rotel amp) though it was a faff at the time to get the control from phone/laptop setup nicely – I suspect the software has improved in the last couple of years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had a look at Chromecast and it’s pretty much everything to strike fear into a mustelid heart.

        It demands you introduce mobile shit into your home. It requires an Internet connection. Why?

        > Note: We no longer support Chromecast setup on a computer. To set up your Chromecast, please use a mobile device.

        And appears to listen to you. Orwell was wrong. Big Brother didn’t have to install telescreens. He got us to buy the damn things of our own free will 😉 Voice recognition absolutely creeps me out, given the way it works keeping an open mic all the time and sending audio data off to GoogApple. Not so long ago this sort of thing used to be called a bug.

        Personally, if someone favours mobile-first ease over all else, I’d say stream using your phone to a Bluetooth audio sink. You can use your precious phone with a UI you have been trained to use on a screen that clearly makes you happy, you can facetweet at any time and hear your stuff using a bigger system at low cost, and bluetooth probably isn’t going to disappear

        Now as for the Pi and Kodo, that’s the way to do it IMO 😉


    1. > Like who buys all these ex pch/pcp cars?

      Hopefully people who know the value of getting some other punter to eat the first half of a motor’s lifetime depreciation, which happens in the first 3 years 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. A relative of mine who works in the car industry bought a secondhand car from his workplace for his son last year. It was a ten year old car but low mileage, in mint condition and properly serviced. He told me he had “saved” it. I asked him what he meant. He said it was a trade in and normally cars of this age would be scrapped rather than sold on regardless of condition. His possibly cynical insiders take on it was that the company had an interest in taking cars like this off the market to create more demand for new cars.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with Ermine – that’s quite ridiculous isn’t it ? I mean binning a perfectly respectable car just because it’s hit some arbitrary age. We don’t do that with people for Christ’s sake so why do it with a still decently maintainable vehicle ?! I wouldn’t doubt for a minute most of the environmental damage is in creating the thing in the first place.

        My immediate family still run a 15 year old Fiesta, a 17 year old Lexus and a 25 year old Toyota MR2. Going by the above “wisdom” all three of these would’ve gone for “recycling” years ago, yet if you saw them you’d agree with me that’s insanity, pure and simple. The Fiesta is a really nice low mileage Ghia with near perfect cream leather seats – the one previous owner REALLY looked after this ! The Lexus is not far into six digits mileage-wise but that 2JZ straight six really is a work of art – so damned quiet. As I’ve come to expect from Toyota-based stuff, everything still just works, apart from the boot lock – a result of the fact that in 17 years I suspect most people have opened it using the in-car release and not the key in the lock. As for the MR2, well, I have the complete workshop manual and full electrical diagrams for it and it’s a breeze to work on compared with the ludicrously gadget-laden rubbish being sold these days. Sell any of ’em and PCP something new, do me a favour ! Actually various people on pistonheads are evidently “shedding” some, by the sounds of it, perfectly good cars until the bill that’s significantly more than the car’s worth finally sends them on their way.

        Just as an interesting aside for a minute, when was the last time you came across a workshop manual that told you how to check that an ABS sensor is working within spec, huh ? Well the MR2 one does – it tells you what speed to rotate the wheel hub at (presumably on a rolling road, but a front one could be done without it at a pinch) whilst you have an oscilloscope plugged into the ABS wiring and what the resulting signal should look like ! I am NOT kidding – you don’t get that kind of information for anything modern that I know of these days.

        I am also of the same mind regarding the Cloud – sod that, I’m not having all my apps and data hosted “for my convenience” on some other bugger’s server. Things like that are getting hacked all the time. Lose your broadband because the ISP’s having a problem and you’re completely stuffed until they fix it. No, I’m sticking to what I know – it may be the product of 20+ years ago but I know what I’m doing with that. There’s a thread ( asking if we’ll end up renting everything in due course. The way things are advertised these days (not that I pay much attention to such stuff) rather suggests it’s largely already here. Everyone seems to be sucked in by “it’s only £X hundred/month”, presumably as everything is treated as “disposable” now, so you can’t advertise a car as having a purchase price of £X tens of thousands because nobody wants to pay that much for something they don’t expect to last more than a decade (at absolute best, as above again).

        I also remember Emine’s thread a while back about the lunacy surrounding modern gas boilers too – had a wonderful conversation with someone recently who said the old ones were well built, lasted for ages, whereas all the damned faults they get with newer ones are circuit board problems generally, not the guts of the boiler itself – marvellous. I heard one person’s boiler failed because of a “wifi board” ?! I think I heard that right – WTF does a gas boiler need with one of those ?

        Have a look at the last episode of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin series two ( Whilst I find the three interviews towards the start of the episode amusing I also find an (increasingly) disturbing truth in them (especially the start of the second one around 6:25 in). Yes, things are getting increasingly obsolete before their time. Change smart phones every six months, a year ? I’ve never wanted one in the first place personally …

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Chatted to the folk collecting ex fleet cars for auction in the past and a lot of ex fleet go to taxi drivers who then drive them into the ground as they’ve plenty of life left. The worry as a private purchaser is the previous driver may not care for something they don’t own but many will.


  3. Santa Claus was kind to me; speakers were found attached to my Mac on Xmas day. They seem to be of a brand called Madeinchina. They do have a logo which resembles the rather fine badge of Swansea FC.

    Our old HiFi stuff sits unused on a shelf, having been put up there to avoid the attention of ankle-biters in the 80s. The good stuff is all British: the tape deck is rubbish from the orient. But then that was a present.

    Our car is fifteen years old so should be good, we hope, for at least another five. Then we should be able to replace it by a drone to carry us around, don’t you think?


  4. When we lived in NZ we leased a car. It worked out well – I never could see why I was getting such a good deal. My charm and grace, I suppose.

    By the way, I googled your hearts and minds quotation. Nobody seems to know who first said it but there’s a 1967 record of a Democrat saying it in the House of Representatives. You may be too young to have absorbed the fact that back in the sixties the savages were in the JFK and LBJ administrations – Nixon, by contrast, seemed civilised. In fact, even now he seems civilised compared to those two Dem gangsters.


    1. > we leased a car

      There’s now’t wrong with leasing a motor, or a Sonos fro that matter. As long as it’s up front. Should electric cars ever be a thing I’d prefer to rent rather than buy, because of the capital cost of replacing the batteries. Bit like renting a TV made sense in the Seventies.

      > I googled your hearts and minds quotation

      Me too, and I failed to detect a signal in the noise, though Chuck Coulson with it on a plaque sounded good. But it was too good to pass up. Aggrieved Sonos owner on the prospect of excavating his drywall: “I own this dang thing, what’s with Mr Sonos and his mitts on my goolies all of a sudden…?*%$&”


  5. I really am behind the times as I had no idea what “Sonos” even was. Maybe it’s my age but I can’t be doing with mostly what seems to be pointless technology. Though I do own an iPad. On my second one and sold the old one through ebay, I was surprised how much they retain their value.
    Actually we also use Netflix and Spotify.
    My latest technological discovery which I am really pleased about is the ebooks and audio books I can download for free to my phone from my local Library. Didn’t know there was an App that did that. Love listening to books whilst driving to work etc.

    With regards to the short life span of equipment. Doesn’t save landfill but I have been buying the cheaper versions with the same guarantee. So a £100 microwave breaking after 2 years isn’t quite as annoying as £400.

    Read a quote the other day “hopefully the next generation will achieve better not more.”
    If only those who are in charge of Government and big business would have that outlook. Unfortunately it all comes down to greed,
    and with the rampant consumerism I see around me change for the better won’t be any time soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m one of the suckers that’s got hit by the latest SONOS announcement. I bought SONOS kit around 10 years ago and on the whole it’s been faultless. However this latest move is nothing but corporate greed fuelled by rampant consumerism as alluded to above.
      Corporations today are becoming larger, more ruthless and taking consumers for a ride with their hard earned money. The top people in these corporates have no care whatsoever for the product they manufacture or the customers they sell to provided the profits keep rolling in. SONOS was different when it started but it’s gone the way of so many others.
      I won’t be accepting their kind offer to brick my perfectly working hardware and add it to landfill. I shall switch off the updates and accept the system for what it is today. Yes I will probably face problems in future with control of the system through their apps but there’s ways round that. What I won’t do is be held ransom and forced to pay huge amounts of money to “update” my hardware. I hope others follow suit and not feed this monster.
      It does seem that all the negative feedback regarding this has prompted a possible rethink from SONOS with the CEO emailing every customer to apologise. Whether that’s just trying to crawl back some PR I don’t know. Time will tell.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I feel your pain. Not that much changes in the world of audio, most of the basic challenges have been solved. There’s no reason why your 10 year old gear shouldn’t serve you for another decade or two.

        I envy the Time’s headline-writing talent ‘Made to Break‘ . Cheeky devils…


    2. I have to confess over the years I have become much less interested in consumerism and whatever guff various people with an angle want to flog me at stupid prices (well ANY price really since I’m really not interested in 99.9?% of it in the first place).

      More or less in parallel with that, one of the few things worth watching on the box (in my opinion anyway) is some of Ben Fogle’s visits to the many and varied people (often single people – what’s happening that so many of us prefer to live on our own these days ?) who have sold up and moved somewhere completely different and live an incomparably simpler life.

      I can’t say I’d be able to do what most of them have done, but I do find time spent out and about helps, especially in the greenhouse (preferably with a mug of tea and Aggers and the Test Match Special mob going off at tangents between every ball …) AND away from technology and temptation … All these people busy trying to fill my screen with unwanted adverts and the like still haven’t got an answer for the one thing in my favour – the ON/OFF switch 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The latest in the unfolding corporate communications crisis…
    “We heard you. We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward:

    First, rest assured that come May, when we end new software updates for our legacy products, they will continue to work just as they do today. We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away. Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honour that investment for as long as possible. Whilst legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible. If we run into something core to the experience that can’t be addressed, we’ll work to offer an alternative solution and let you know about any changes you’ll see in your experience.

    Secondly, we heard you on the issue of legacy products and modern products not being able to coexist in your home. We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, whilst legacy products work together and remain in their current state. We’re finalising details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks.

    Whilst we have a lot of great products and features in the pipeline, we want our customers to upgrade to our latest and greatest products when they’re excited by what the new products offer, not because they feel forced to do so. That’s the intent of the Trade Up programme we launched for our loyal customers.

    Thank you for being a Sonos customer. Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. I hope that you’ll forgive our misstep and let us earn back your trust. Without you, Sonos wouldn’t exist and we’ll work harder than ever to earn your loyalty every single day.

    If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Patrick Spence
    CEO, Sonos ”
    Unsurprising I guess. I’ve been on the corporate comms side in this sort of situation. Decision made by “senior management team” turns out to be “less than optimal” and customers are up in arms. Cue hasty backpedalling by CEO until things calm down…


    1. That’s just warm fluff. It’s obvious that if SpotiAppleTidify service is launched after you buy your control head then that may not work with legacy products/software. I am not familiar with exactly how Sonos works as there’s no technical overview, it seems the components are decentralised and each are possibly standalone running independent software that goes back to some Sonos Cloud service.

      That’s unlike UpNp/DLNA systems I am familiar with, but if the decentralised hypothesis is correct there’s no earthly reason why if you have scumbag Sonos legacy system in your bathroom, it can’t continue to access Old Spotify, while your new whizzy device gets SpotiAppleTidify. Something actually has to link the fact that the new device is in a system with Old device and tell NewDevice to work in an impaired mode. It’s a bit like VW’s cheat software, it was developed expressly to disadvantage the customer.

      Patrick is claiming he will roll back this deliberate and needless crippling. My experience of life to date is that bad character never reforms…


  7. Spot on rant. There’s not much to add really. The good news for the grumpy generation is that the ‘renters’ have rid themselves of all their software, so that CD’s, DVD’s & books etc can be bought for less than a quid a time in charity shops. I often talk to yoofs* at work about the renting culture. Forty odd years of buying LP’s, CD’s, books has left me with a sizeable collection, one of the LP’s sells for £1500 on Discogs (bought for £8 in 1984). What will future generations have to pass on ? Here son, one day all these obsolete devices will be yours, and here’s a hard disk as a heirloom, full of stuff you can’t watch or play !

    Good comment about the libraries. As well as audio & ebooks, I can also download popular magazines. It must save me hundreds every year.

    *Anyone under 40


    1. > CD’s, DVD’s & books etc can be bought for less than a quid a time in charity shops.

      This. When I see what Amazon want to charge for for MP3s I ask myself why on earth I would do that if I can get the CD s/h for less. And I d/l MP3s from the library for stuff that’s nice ot have but not enough to buy. It seems to be legit. Or I could pay Spotify forever to rent the same. This choice really isn’t hard, guys.

      Although I stream CDs from a local server, I have come to the conclusion that for classical the CD is an easier addressing problem. You usually want to listen to a whole work, and finding classical music on a server based system is a bear. Although I am sure Sonus would make it eaiser, I can’t say that picking out the CD form my limited collection of classical is that much of a tribulation.

      Part of the difference is in listening pracitces. I still usually listen to an album as such, of a playlist of the same sort of duartion. That’s not how younger folk listen. Perhaps my habits were shaped by physical media issues and theirs by Spotify…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. If my father wants to pass on his gigantic collection of cold war and WW2 fiction hardbacks to me, I’ll be passing them straight to the charity shop.

      (Sadly he sold his Linn/NAD hifi stack and LPs already, and replaced it with some godawful Chinese streaming that, dumb git)

      Liked by 2 people

  8. And how about recently purchased ‘smart TV’ sets that stop being ‘smart’ because their makers won’t upgrade the software to allow them to run the latest versions of iPlayer or All4 and you suddenly find you no longer have catch-up on the big screen in the home?

    Enter Fire Stick, Roku and all the temptation to purchase subscriptions to Prime etc.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In the end I went for the Firestick, which I could slot into one of the HDMI ports and connect to the home WiFi. I complained to the manufacturers of the TV and they agreed to compensate me for the cost of the Firestick.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Never thought of that. Just assumed would eventually have to update all TVs to Smart TVs. Never thought about just adding an external, doh.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m all for a separate box to do any munging from t’internet, because these things change frequently – it is the domain of software and computers. Then HDMI to something working as a monitor and a Toslink out to the hifi. Mrs Ermine uses her PC for prime stuff, it has a HDMI socket.

        With the audio, the Naim device can do Spotify but I don’t. UpNp seems to work on having one element doing all the conversion and then sending uncompressed of FLAC losslessly compressed to the endpoints, which a relatively dumb.

        Smart TVs give me the creeps anyway, in the same way as Alexa. I just don’t want to install a telescreen in my own home that sends everything I say to some server farm for the convenience of not pressing a few buttons. And I don’t want needless people knowing what I watch and concentrating the data. That’s what used to be really nice about broadcasting, and physical media come to think about it, no darn eavesdroppers and hangers-on feeding off the data exhaust.


      4. I’m replying to Ermine’s “Smart TVs give me the creeps” comment really – I’ve just done a quick Google on the subject of “home automation security vulnerabilities” and can’t find the article I read a few months ago. It was written by a tech savvy guy in the States I think who basically observed that many of the devices coming onto the market to automate various stuff around the home (why ? I still don’t get the need to close curtains without touching them or switch the kettle on from up in the loft, whatever) are fundamentally insecure.

        His article, if I remember it right, was that they’re about as secure as the default factory settings on a wifi router, with many of them not configured (if they even have it) to use https. Yet people are happily bunging these things in all over their homes so they can put the central heating on from 200 miles away using a sodding smart phone ! Why ?

        I believe he stated in the article he’d actually got in touch with the manufacturers of these devices and explained the problems to them, why they were vulnerable to being hacked, etc and they generally didn’t appear to be interested in fixing them !

        I genuinely don’t understand this supposed dash towards automating every conceivable “thing” in the house. Really, why does my fridge need to be connected to the sodding Internet ? It keeps my brain active working out what I want from the supermarket and not having yet another tiny piece of decision making removed from me. Besides, being a person, and not a machine, I might just occasionally decide to try something different once in a while – the “i fancy a change this time” moment – predict your way out of that one Mr Fridge !

        Smart TVs are another “thing” I don’t “do” either – still got a 15+ year old Panasonic that’s working fine, thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. > dash towards automating every conceivable “thing” in the house.

        There’s actually two things going on here. Earlier generations did their automation entirely within the house and a computer system inside it, and X10 or whatever. I don;t have a problem with that. Heck, I used a wireless remote to switch the coffee machine on in the morning when I used to work.

        What’s happened now is They have decided that the smartphone is the UI of choice. There’s some logic in that in that there’s no need to provision it. However, some smartphone browsers do some munging in The Cloud of the provider – I discovered this when I tried to view a temperature graph which was produced by a raspberry Pi on my LAN. Despite the phone being connected to the same network segment I couldn’t see the graph because the damn phone was viewing the output of the pre-munging server out in the internet, which couldn’t see into my LAN, natch.

        The implications of the pre-munging server were deeply troubling. But I guess having all your home automation crap being stuck out in the Cloud as well fixes that sort of problem, and gives the supplier lots of useful data. The Ermine doesn’t do Cloud. The smartphone, as well as being a tool of gig-economy worker oppression, a surveillance device and tracker, seems to be pushing everything out onto the interwebz.

        Which then leaves you with the non-trivial hurt of how so you allow the Cloud to see specific things behind your firewall, without inviting World + Dog along for the ride.


  9. Ah, I’ve missed the dulcet tones of Dido!

    Anyway, I can’t say that Sonos appears on my ‘wants list’, never mind my ‘needs list’. Something which is probably nice in someone else’s house, I reckon.

    The music I listen to on my ipod Nano is mostly ripped from my CDs, although it’s been a good few years since I last purchased a physical CD.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This kind of saga makes me feel lucky that we are generally late adopters, so still living with our 10+ year old Denon. Pleasingly old fashioned build, as I found out last weekend when we discovered that the CDs (this is how old-school we are) that our kids had been losing were actually *inside* the CD player (turns out you shouldn’t put 2 in at the same time: serves us right for putting the thing at 2-year-old accessible height!) Anyway, unit came apart very simply with aid of a screwdriver, and works perfectly now reassembled (minus 3 internal CDs). Unfortunately the tape unit hasn’t survived the 2 year old’s attentions quite so well (yes, tape, what of it?!?! 😀 )

    This replaced a previous 10ish year old version that didn’t do digital radio. I don’t mind buying something new to get access to a genuinely new technology that wasn’t foreseen when I bought the old one – but this behaviour by Sonos seems genuinely mendacious. I feel lucky I’ve been looking at Sonos for years and thinking “still not really worth the money for me” as I would have definitely blown a few gaskets over this if we were customers.

    I think we got lucky with our TV: ours is at least 15 years old now but still going strong thanks to a (10 year old, £100ish) YouView box. It is slowly getting worse at talking to the internet so we now have a FireStick for that (£20) – but still works perfectly well for watching and recording live TV and taking everything together our TV does everything we could want it to, without having to consign things to landfill every few years.

    I generally avoid Apple due to the non replaceable batteries (and general controlling attitude) but I do have an ancient (8 year old?) iPad and it still works well to be fair. No sign of needing a new battery and still seems to load whatever games/apps we choose to put on it without a problem. Never signed up to iTunes though as I don’t want them to own/control my music!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. > serves us right for putting the thing at 2-year-old accessible height!

      I think jumping to only one CD at a time is asking a bit much of the cognition of a 2-yo 😉 Full marks to ’em for the high-level stick shiny thing in here and get noise out, they’ll go far!

      Impressed with the 8y old iPad still working though!


      1. To be fair it doesn’t have to do much: just show the kids Peppa Pig or (if I have any say in the matter) Numberblocks/Alphablocks while I’m in the shower in the morning, or to take a bit of downloaded TV/games with us on holiday. Still, I remember I have at least once in my life upgraded a laptop/PC/phone because the current generation of software simply required more processing power or memory than my old kit could deliver – and so far the iPad has not suffered that fate.


      2. 9-year old ipod shuffle still going here, and used daily for podcasts. Separate objects that do one thing and do it well. Out of date thinking I know.

        What worries me is these Hive heating controls etc, when they stop getting updates won’t it be a massive cyber attack waiting to happen? One that could overload the national grid I imagine.

        Touchscreen controls in cars is another one. Not only likely to not last long but also requiring you to take your eyes off the road to operate them…


      3. @GoodbyOldReggie I think for energy we are going to need to have connected smart meters whatever happens (and by smart, I mean actually smart – not the “smart” meter I have that is actually essentially a brick since I changed energy supplier….). If we all have batteries sitting on our drive, possibly unused much of the time, combined with increasingly electric central heating systems and intermittent power generation then there are huge potential benefits to connectedness that only a networked system can provide. On the plus side I think it means green energy in the form of e.g. nuclear (if we can work out how to build and decommission it at a reasonable cost) could really suck carbon out of the system. But it’s going to be radically different to what we have today and will raise lots of new and interesting questions for the next generation like:
        – Who owns the battery?
        – Who makes the profit from allowing your car battery to be flexibly drawn on when you’re not using it?
        – Who owns and profits from fast charging stations? There are various state aid schemes being permitted now to build the things – but are we doing enough to ensure that the taxpayer gets their money back if/when they start to turn a profit, and owning the charging stations on the M1 turns out to be worth something?
        – How do we pay for charging stations to be installed on-road in cities?
        – Are we going to see a big shift towards car-clubs in cities and maybe even towns: where you can see how charged up the available vehicles are, and pay more for a fully charged one?
        – If so, and given the network economies involved in car clubs, can we sustain enough of them in each city that consumers can benefit from competition?)
        – Or is the future hydrogen anyway?

        Should be fun! But there are huge benefits to being vigilant to try to set these things up in the right way, rather than having to unpick problems when the thing that is “expedient” now turns out to hand a future Amazon or Google (or Shell or BMW or whoever turns out to be smartest about this stuff) massive monopoly power in the future.


      4. The iPad comment’s just reminded me that I have a cheap Fire7 tablet which I reprogrammed to run Lineage OS thus doing away with all the Amazon installed guff I didn’t want on it. All I did want was Internet connectivity to run a simple browser and a decent PDF reader and, given it’s a wifi device, DEFINITELY nothing personal. I am happy with shielded cables. I do not trust wifi at all – there’s only the strength of the encryption between you and everybody else out there. Personal banking ? No way.

        This and related pages are useful ( as a starting point for bending a Fire7 to do what YOU want for a change 🙂

        Also nice to know that once you know how, they’re relatively ease to open up and gain access to the battery, etc. Not tried looking for replacement battery packs for one but might give it a look when it gets to that point.

        Apple stuff ? No thanks. Not taken a serious look at anything from Apple, but if they’re effectively sealed so you end up destroying it if you try to open it then definitely not interested. I repair stuff when I can and buy new as an absolute last resort.


    1. I wonder if it really is millions in current use? iPhone 4 (mentioned in the story) seems to be 10 years old now – can’t be that many Apple users with a 10 year old phone.


  11. I think it’s worth considering if the rise of renting instead of owning possessions might be related to the vastly more expensive cost of housing for the younger generations.

    If they bought all these things, where would they put them? And how would they move them from rental to rental? Far better to have your music, videos, etc. streamed from the cloud, where you don’t have to stuff them in a cardboard box on moving day.


    1. > And how would they move them from rental to rental?

      It seems the obvious conclusion, but I had 14 addresses in my 20s. Hell, I humped 200 LPs up four flights of stairs for a six-week stay once. Daft as a brush, but it sort of mattered at the time.

      I’ve taken the shaft from several cloud services in my time. Maybe it takes time to experience that sort of tail risk… And maybe there’s more media about now, we probably listen to far greater variety of titles, but far less deeply.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s