Wink – Update – Subscriptions

All I can say to Wink is, “WTF”!! They have dropped Spotter and Nimbus and now they want to charge $5 a month, FOR WHAT!! I’ve tried to contact them. Had to settle for a contact form asking if they are planning on adding support for Spotter and Nimbus, since they are basically adding nothing, but charging us $60 a year for their service.

Not a happy camper!

This is a copy of the eMail they sent us:

Dear Wink User,

Wink’s mission for the past 5+ years has been to provide users with a ‘Simpler, Smarter Home,’ while maintaining privacy for our customers. Our approach to simplicity and security has driven our design from the user experience to the technology behind the scenes.

We understand that a smart home is something that needs to be trusted and dependable, and we recognize that recent events have created some uncertainty around the reliability of the system. We apologize for these inconveniences and want to share some background information as well as the path forward.

Since 2014, Wink has grown to support more than 4 million connected devices. During this time, Wink has relied solely on the one-time fee derived from hardware sales to cover ongoing cloud costs, development and customer support. Providing users with local and remote access to their devices will always come at a cost for Wink, and over the years we have made great progress toward reducing these costs so that we can maintain that feature.

Wink has taken many steps in an effort to keep your Hub’s blue light on, however, long term costs and recent economic events have caused additional strain on our business. Unlike companies that sell user data to offset costs associated with offering free services, we do not. Data privacy is one of Wink’s core values, and we believe that user data should never be sold for marketing or any purpose.

We have a lot of great ideas on how to expand on Wink’s capabilities and satisfy the many requests from our user base. In order to provide for development and continued growth, we are transitioning to a $4.99 monthly subscription, starting on May 13, 2020. This fee is designed to be as modest as possible. Your support will enable us to continue providing you with the functionality that you’ve come to rely on, and focus on accelerating new integrations and app features.

Should you choose not to sign up for a subscription you will no longer be able to access your Wink devices from the app, with voice control or through the API, and your automations will be disabled on May 13. Your device connections, settings and automations can be reactivated if you decide to subscribe at a later date.

Our user community is integral to Wink, and we want to continue to be your trusted smart home provider. Visit subscription.wink.com to subscribe.

Wink Automation Future

A few years ago I started using Wink to automation and home monitoring, there were issues with loss of contact with sensors, and relocated to a new state. We packed up and forgot about the Wink hardware and planned on using it again some day. Well that day has come, and sadly, passed.

The hub, was tiny, and absolute, and we had 5 of them. Wink now had a new Wink Hub, much bigger, and a Wink Hub 2, now with an Ethernet connection.

Ok, first off, you need a smart device that has the newest bluetooth in order to configure and setup the Hub(s). Using an iPhone 6, didn’t work. But an iTouch ken 6 works. (Just a heads up.)

After just a couple of times, I was finally able to setup a pivot power strip, which has two switchable outlets and two un-switchable. Excitement builds.

Finally I can try the Spotter, the little environmental sensors, and to my surprise, they are no longer supported.

And finally, we were very sad to see they no longer support the Nimbus displays. That was heart breaking, we were so looking forward to using these.

Spotter
Pivot
Nimbus
Hub 1
Hub 2

We were really wanting to use these items, but without support we are at a loss. Wink as a company seems to have had gone dormant, no new product, lacking real support. It is hoped a larger company like Google, Amazon or Apple purchases Wink and revive life in their product line.

rtl_433 mhz

One of the most difficult problems I’ve attempted to resolve in the last few years, is how to capture and record (into mysql database) data received from 433mhz sensors..

rtl_433 -M utc -F json -G

{“time” : “2019-09-25 19:11:54”, “model” : “Acurite tower sensor”, “id” : 2766, “sensor_id” : 2766, “channel” : “A”, “temperature_C” : 22.700, “humidity” : 44, “battery_low” : 0}

{“time” : “2019-09-25 19:12:01”, “model” : “Acurite Lightning 6045M”, “id” : 253, “channel” : “A”, “temperature_F” : 72.100, “humidity” : 41, “strike_count” : 26, “storm_dist” : 27, “active” : 1, “rfi” : 0, “ussb1” : 0, “battery” : “OK”, “exception” : 0, “raw_msg” : “c0fd6fa9d12d9a1b88”}

{“time” : “2019-09-25 19:12:04”, “model” : “Smoke detector GS 558”, “id” : 8078, “unit” : 14, “learn” : 0, “code” : “63f1ce”}

Trying to parse and collect the data using LiveCode has proven to be difficult. First problem with rtl receiver, is it isn’t seen as a com port, or other readable device. It is seen as its own terminal device. I’ve tried piping, didn’t work. Basically everything I’ve tried, hasn’t worked.

The best advice I have received to is send data out to flat file, then read the file. Which basically mean lots of file activity and parsing. Unsure if I am willing to do that for what should be a simple task. That would cause a great deal of read/write activity on the SD drives and possibly wear out the drive faster.

Heard of a new program that outputs the data to files specific to the device id, trying to find it. Will keep everyone informed.

Reducing number of domains.

Over the years we have acquired a few domain names we thought we’d end up using someday. Some have gone up and value others have not.

So we’ve decided to start cutting down on the number of domain names we have and better combine those we want to keep.

LittleSoftwareBarn.Com is our ‘see us, see what we’ve done’ site.

LittleSoftwareBarn.Net is our locally hosted domain and allows us to interact directly with our internet of thing using local systems.

Other sites that were purchased thinking they would fit a future need, are being let go.

Sites we see as investments, in the name, are being kept.

We will be keeping http://travelingmickey.com it seems very popular, lots of visitors.

And N4N.us we will keep, because we like the WordPress blogging system.

Thoughts on Subscription Services

Everyone hates paying high cable bills, or monthly satellite service fees, cable cutters have caused a market shift. I do not feel this shift is for the better. Personally I hated paying over $100.00 a month to my cable company, so I switched to satellite, saving almost $25 a month. Now people are getting rid of both services and just using HDTV (over the air services) which in my area are VERY VERY LIMITED, or subscribing to an online service such as Sling or TubeTV. These offer many of the same nation wide services found on cable and satellite.

Hulu And Netflix enter the mix. There are times you want to watch movies or newly released shows and movies not found on the big streaming services. So you start to add on more subscription services..

There is also a HBO and CBS streaming services… And NOW there are a rash of new “+” services coming to market….

In my opinion this is just going to cause a rash of add ons and force consumers to pay even more than they would with cable, who is now raising their rates to cover the losses (smart!!?? <really>)..

UPDATE: As it stands I tried both SlingTV and TubeTV. I canceled SlingTV after a few months, it didn’t provided the channels we were looking for. TubeTV has been good, except for the rate hike of over $10 a month, but they did add channels, so it wasn’t too painful.

OH and as a, just a heads up. When after a few months, when TubeTV raised it rates we checked out SlingTV service again. And the sneaky buggers, re-subscribed us to their service. So they soaked me for a months service. So be VERY CAREFUL when reviewing their services.

LiveCode Project

Got a job writing a program to track a client’s, client’s. Can’t go into do much detail. But it is reawakened the joy of Programming in LiveCode again. LiveCode is up to version 9 now, haven’t done any major projects in it since version 6. SO, lots of new features and changes. Having to relearn a few things. This project will be using SQLite, which I haven’t used in a LONG time, but so far going fairly well.

UPDATE: You can see what the finish project looks like on LittleSoftwareBarn.com, Projects >> Boat tracker. Project took under two weeks to complete.

Low cost Ham Radio’s

Baofeng UV-5R for less than $25

Having been a Ham for awhile, I lost track of my radio. Finally dug it up and of course it was dead. Out of date and no updates, so worthless. Heard about Baofeng handhelds, and they were programable. Found a couple for less than $22 each, in different colors. I tried to program one using “CHIRP” and a low cost cable, never got it to work. Ordered another, hopefully better cable and will try again.

It all looks good. Low cost. Small and fairly easy to use. Programming however is another story.

Hopefully new cable resolves my issues.

UPDATE: Yes using a BoaFeng Labled cable worked the first time every time. So I do not recommend buying or trying to use a knock off. My two cents!