Sunday, May 1, 2022

Linux - sad case of Insteon

 Gather round, children, let me tell you a sad, sad story of home automation.  A long time ago, a fictional company named ins, no relation to the title or a real defunct company, made a system for automatically controlling your lights in the house.

Since this was 80's tech, they used the very first network over electrical lines.  There isn't even a name for it now.  The system was so bad, it was all shrouded in secrecy like horrible corporate systems.  However, it worked wonderfully.

My poor relative has 30 lights or more.  The big selling feature was cloud connection to a server that could handle Goog or alex talk-talk.  Unfortunately, the fictional people went into the 'dark side' or criminality, by paying for all the cloud stuff for existing people, by hosing the new people.  This was a huge ponzetti scheme (sic).  

Ponz things have a habit of dying suddenly, with all the people scattering to the 5 winds.  That's what happened here.  Everybody wiped ins off their linkled profiles.  Millions of people were left pounding the doors (watch Little Dorrit).  A normal ending would have people releasing the api's (computer code) to the public domain, so somebody could write new interfaces.

Not happening here, as they avoid criminal charges.  It's essential for the 'Stupidity Defence' that you are believed that you had 'no idea' what was going on.  Easy for the old men at the top, very hard for programmers who release the code to the public.  

Enter Linux and the open-source Home Assistant to the rescue.  Nope.  Turns out that nobody is happy with this because they can't penetrate the inner workings of the ins hub.  And you have to pay $10 a month for voice control, which is the legitimate cost you should have paid in the first place.

So basically, we have to wait for somebody on an island somewhere to have guilty feelings and release the code anonymously.  Then, we would have a Linux solution that makes everybody happy.

ps.  please be aware that I have munged up all the names since this is lawsuit city, and possible criminal fraud, like that crazy lady with the blood machine.  So, it is best to hide.

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