30: The Internet of Twitter Logins

I don't have many things on the Internet of Things, but I'm always looking for better ways to integrate them and make them smarter. HomeKit has been a disappointment, mostly because it's invisible, surfacing core features only through third party software. The one first-party access point to HomeKit is Siri, and she frequently suffers bouts of amnesia over whether there are lightbulbs in the living room of my house.

Given that it's third party or bust with connected home devices, I was excited when the release of Thington popped up in several places on my Twitter feed last week. Yes, smarter and easier connection of my devices! Yes, not just HomeKit supported devices! Let's do this!

I was at work when I heard about and downloaded the app, so it wasn't until I got home that I tried it — after all, it's pretty common for these apps to require local network access at least to set up the devices they control. I was hit immediately with an "allow notifications" modal. No worries, I'll ignore those and turn them on later if I need to. But then I was really stopped in my tracks: "Let's start off with a proper introduction. Login [sic] with your Twitter account to tell me a little about yourself."

I live on the internet and this is no proper introduction (it's almost akin to awful popover feedback surveys that appear before you've even seen the website they're hiding). What on earth do my Twitter credentials have to do with switching my lights on and off? I can't even concoct a useful IFTTT recipe that involves the two. Perhaps this is where I reveal myself to be a crotchety old man, but I refuse to use Twitter or Facebook logins as the lazy way into other services. Segmenting accounts keeps them secure and well-behaved. Relying on an API that has no features in common with your app is shoddy design — its not as bad as single-function package dependencies, but my Hue bulbs are rated to keep shining longer than my most pessimistic forecasts for Twitter.

Back in the Thington app, I hunted and poked for an alternative. I read the FAQ on Thington's site and confirmed I'm not allowed to create my own login. The introduction did not go well, and the app went in the trash. No ton of things for me.