Thinking about buying a Wink Hub?

A while back, I bought a Wink Hub, a futuristic device that allows you to control electronic devices in the home via the magic of Wi-Fi. I paid around $40 for the Wink Hub on Amazon and then bought two Wink compatible LED light bulbs locally at Home Depot or Lowes. I don’t remember which.

Basically, the living room lamps now turn on after a set time if the Wink Hub detects my iPhone in the near vicinity. In other words, if I’m home. I can then turn both lamps off by pushing a button on my iPhone or on my iPad.

That is, when everything is working.

Last night we couldn’t turn the lamps off with the iPad. We then noticed our Wink Hub was displaying an orange light instead of the normal blue light. We turned off the lamps the old-fashioned way (by hand) and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning, I found an email in my inbox from Wink. It reads:

Hi Rick,
We’re writing with some unfortunate information about your Wink home. Our commitment to delivering the most secure smart home platform possible has had an unintended consequence.Your Wink Hub is now so secure that it is unable to connect to the Wink Servers. This means that you are no longer able to control your Hub-dependent devices with your Wink app. It also means your schedules and robots will not function.To cut to the chase:  We need your Wink Hub back. We’ll update it and get it back to you within a few days. We’ve done all we can to make the process as simple as possible  — Just click hereWe’re terribly embarrassed by this whole situation. This outage was completely preventable and caused by a security measure that was put in place to protect you and your family. Unfortunately we failed to make an update to a security measure that was expiring, and therefore locked down your Hub’s access to the server.

As part of our response, we’re immediately suspending all sales of Wink Hubs across all retail channels and expect to resume sales within the week.

We are incredibly sorry for the inconvenience caused here. As an apology, we’d like to extend a $50 gift card to Wink.com (Valid only for the next 48 hours on wink.com to make purchases, not redeemable for cash) —  Use code “WESOSORRY” at checkout.

If you would like to talk to a service representative, call us at 844-WINK-APP or find us on Twitter @TheWinkApp.

The Wink Team

So if I understand this correctly, they failed to do something on their end, and as a result, my Wink Hub was bricked. What if we were out-of-town? One of the reasons I wanted to begin automating our home was so that even if we were out-of-town, in other words, on the other side of the country, we could turn the living room lamps on and off, giving any would-be robbers the impression that someone was home.

If I was in California now visiting my family, instead of Maryland where I live, our lamps would be on 24 hours a day.

We normally use an electrical timer when we’re in California, but one of the disadvantages to using a programmable timer is the lights go on and go off on set times. I wanted something that looked more organic and less programmed.

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Wink wants $12.56 to ship this?

I took a look at the $50 gift code they extended to me to show how sorry they are. I think the code “WESOSORRY” sounds kind of flippant when it’s read aloud. Also, I tried to use it to buy a $50 wall outlet compatible with Wink Hub, and the good people of Wink, the same people who say WESOSORRY for bricking my Wink Hub, wanted to charge me $12.56 for shipping a wall socket.

They sure have a funny way of showing how sorry they are for something they say was “completely preventable” and caused by their negligence.

If I had it to do over with, I wouldn’t buy a Wink Hub. In fact, you can even say that ISOSORRY that I bought a Wink Hub.