You may notice that I’ve posted (okay, maybe reposted) something every day this week. I’m on vacation next week and unlike Spring Break ‘13, I may not write at all while I’m away.
On to the point:
In the last week, the story about Keurig working on the next iteration of their coffeemaker has made the rounds. If you haven’t hear, here’s CNET’s story and I’ll condense it real quick as well.
Keurig makes pod coffee makers that use K-cup, which they also sell. They are far from the first pod coffee maker, but they are undoubtedly the biggest and best know. You start with this:
Drop it into this:
And get this:
Not a great cup of coffee, but it could definitely be worse. It has no place in my kitchen, but at the office…?
So this thing took off and of course it did. Why not? Then, a bunch of companies started making competing K-cups. A little different in form and vastly different packaging. Keurig no like, so now they are working on getting DRM into the cups so that only their’s will work. You know how your HP printer whines when you use someone else’s ink? It’s like that, but it won’t work at all. So really, it’s more like trying to play your Audible audiobook on a “non-standard” device. No worky.
My immediate reaction was revulsion. There are so many efforts in so many places trying to close the ecosystem. You use Company X’s platform, and you get only their content. Unless you work continually to get around it, which I do, but not everyone knows how.
Especially not the people most devoted to these machines. As Rob Beschizza at boingboing pointed out, people paying a premium for the convenience of a Keurig are quite likely to go back to shelling out more for official K-Cups because they others won’t work.
But that pisses me off. Part of me wants to say if they won’t put in the work, screw ‘em. But the more mature part of me says that we work together to make this suck less and I told my lady, upon hearing the news, that I would likely buy a Keurig 2.0.
I don’t want one. I don’t even want the one that doesn’t try to screw the buyer. But I want to make it work. I want to reverse engineer it and make it work like it ought to. I have no engineering background, but I’m good at troubleshooting and I’ve hacked enough hardware to think I’ll do a good job. Then, when I’m done, instructions go up online and I sell the bastard contraption and go about with my life.
It rather amuses me that a coffeemaker I don’t even want is the first device about which I feel so motivated.
As I’ve written recently, there’s not a lot of case-law on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the law that prohibits “circumventing…effective means of access control” to copyrighted works. In the past, we’ve seen printer companies and garage door opener manufacturers claim that the software in their devices was a “copyrighted work” and that anyone who made a spare part for their products was thus violating 1201. But that was 10 years ago, and it’s been a while since there was someone stupid and greedy enough to try that defense.
I think Keurig might just be that stupid, greedy company.
Cory found the positive in the charlie foxtrot to come. I’m inclined to agree that this may be just the “awful stupidity we need.” I hope that works out for the best.
I think I’m still gonna hack Keurig’s stupidity out of the first gen of 2.0.
Anyways, enjoy the week. For those of you who have it off, drink some proper coffee and kiss a loved one often. For those who have to work, maybe drink a cup of Keurig with a resounding hatred, courtesy of your old pal simsian.