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.

Computer History – Pricing

Having been into computers for decades the one thing I’ve noticed is the normal price brake for a USEABLE base model computer.  Since my Atari and  Apple II days, the high end, or best computer models always ran about $1200.00. To this day, this price point has continued to hold true.

If you want a computer that will be functional and not go obsolete in a couple of years, expect to pay around $1200. This does not include printers and other peripherals and add ons..

Cheaper options include upgrading an older computer.  You can upgrade RAM and Hard drives that’ll help but most of the time only a stop gap solution.  Giving you a year or so of usability.

This price does not include extended warranties. Plus just because you spend $1200 doesn’t mean you will get a good computer. If I recall IBM and Coleco produced computers that were just junk at any price. Again, just my thoughts.

Observation – Video

For the last few days I’ve been converting old 8mm film to digital and I’ve made some observations. The first is the ‘video’s are short, like old YouTube Videos, only 2 or 3 minutes long. Second, people didn’t know how to focus which  I am sure this was caused by the technology itself not really allowing much ‘reviewing while recording’.  What you shot was what you got, in most cases it was garbage. And people paid lots of money for it, film, developing, etc. And sadly I haven’t found a cheap reliable way to convert film to digital. But haven’t given up hope.

There was no sound either. I had to edit the videos and remove the sounds made by the converting process.

In the end I was able to covert 22 8mm files and a Hi8 tape to MKV and MOV. Taking about 5 gb of space of a total of 16 gb thumb drive. I also provided copies of media players and instructions for use on the thumb drive.

CloudAtCost – VPN

After a friend that works with IBM suggested I try vpn, and a company called CloudAtCost, I figured I’d give it a try.

Ended up buying three packages with CloudAtCost. One cost less than $13, 1 node, 2 ip numbers, 1 cpu and 512 megs of ram.  So figured for the cost I’d try a bigger option, but made a mistake when purchasing, and ended up with 2 developer packages, both at less than $28..

configured one node to be a vpn server. Using OpenVPN was able to create a vpn server and client, that worked pretty well. So tried to manage many web site clients though this system.

Soon i couldn’t access any of our clients sites from my home where I work remotely. Took two weeks to resolve the issue.

Our ISP blacklisted my home static IP.

After removing all VPN software, getting a new router and modem, sending at least 3 tickets to ISP over a weeks time. They finally replied, oh, you were blacklisted.. I wasn’t happy, but wasn’t too mad, since the problem was resolved.. And it wasn’t on our network (my job), so. New equipment that was getting old was replaced. Just wish ISP would have informed/resolve their issue faster.

UPDATE: After a couple months of using CloudAtCost, we ended up having a password issue. We requested help, many times, never received any answers! .. So basically the system is useless. Do not recommend this service!