My toaster hates you
March 8, 2015 5:38 AM   Subscribe

 
The fridge is basically an oversized computer with crazy cooling so this isn't that surprising. What's crazy is that someone would store vegetables, beverages and what not in their box. Actually, that sounds really useful for LAN parties.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:57 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fridge caught sending spam ...

I see what you did there.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:59 AM on March 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


i'm totally psyched for the day when my plumbing fixtures and stick blender have to be connected to the internet
posted by indubitable at 6:11 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I miss butter churns.
posted by spitbull at 6:12 AM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


This might explain why my microwave is claiming to be the widow of a wealthy businessman who recently died in a helicopter crash and it now wants to give me a cut of the 15.5 million in his account.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:17 AM on March 8, 2015 [41 favorites]


I knew something was up when the NSA showed up at my door with a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs.
posted by briank at 6:35 AM on March 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


I miss butter churns.

I miss objects that did the job that they were intended to do, lasted a long time, and were fixable by someone of reasonable handiness.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:38 AM on March 8, 2015 [85 favorites]


Trust me, I'm a toaster
posted by percor at 6:46 AM on March 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


not sure if this is more William Gibson or Philip K Dick
posted by Auden at 6:48 AM on March 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


I miss objects that did the job that they were intended to do, lasted a long time, and were fixable by someone of reasonable handiness.

What, you mean you can't reverse-engineer the firmware on your fridge, download and cross-compile updated versions of the affected software (or write new ones from scratch if they're not open source), reflash the firmware and test it extensively? Kids these days.
posted by thegears at 6:53 AM on March 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


We have a Waring Blendor Deluxe from the forties like this one and it works every day without complaint and without signalling the mothership every time we spin up an energy drink. I'm thinking about regressing all* of our kitchen appliances to the pre-information age since they were built to last and didn't spy on us.

*I guess that we can't really find a diesel punk microwave so we'll probably stick with a modern one of those.
posted by octothorpe at 6:54 AM on March 8, 2015


On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog bowl.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:57 AM on March 8, 2015 [32 favorites]


William Gibson or Philip K Dick

Terry Gilliam.
posted by localroger at 7:11 AM on March 8, 2015 [36 favorites]


I changed my wifi password so my appliances couldn't get on the internet when they were supposed to be working.
posted by 724A at 7:23 AM on March 8, 2015 [46 favorites]


I do like the word ‘thingbot,’ which I encountered for the first time in this article. Thingbot, thingbot, thingbot…
posted by misteraitch at 7:24 AM on March 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


In just a few years canned goods will be a part of the Internet of Things. Then spam can send itself.
posted by rouftop at 7:27 AM on March 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


RISE OF THE MACHINES
posted by Artw at 7:30 AM on March 8, 2015




wait until our toilets go online
posted by pyramid termite at 7:40 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


It might just be easier to meta favourite every comment in this thread.
posted by infini at 7:51 AM on March 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Terry Gilliam

Just call Central Services.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:53 AM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have yet to hear why the "Internet of Things" is a good idea for anyone except the people selling the things (or using them to harvest personal data). The raft of privacy and surveillance concerns far outweighs the novelty of being able to adjust your thermostat from work or whatever.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:59 AM on March 8, 2015 [24 favorites]


Of course, I fully expect that the "Internet of Things" will happen anyway, society will shift to regard a complete absence of privacy as the new normal, and I will be regarded as an old fogey for thinking that anything about this is objectionable or cause for concern. So it goes.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:05 AM on March 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Trust me, I'm a toaster

Someone page likeatoaster to this thread to evaluate this claim.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:08 AM on March 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


It was the lightbulb that had the idea.
posted by Segundus at 8:11 AM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


The raft of privacy and surveillance concerns far outweighs the novelty of being able to adjust your thermostat from work or whatever.

Being able to control your home temperature for work has a kind of marginal utility. It's the idea that your refrigerator should be monitoring what's inside it to check for "past sell-by dates" (more likely to check for brand loyalty -- "we have always been at war with Jiff, citizen. Can you explain this extra chunky?" -- and buying patterns). I not too thrilled about paying more for appliances where most of the extra functionality is essentially spying on myself....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:12 AM on March 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Part of me likes the scenario where I'm standing at the checkout line and I get a vib-notice from my smart watch that asks if I've forgotten eggs seeing as how it knows I didn't even walk down that aisle and the fridge reports there's only one left and another monitor 'sees' a cookbook open to the souffle section. But in retrospect I'll just wait on full replicator technology, I think I heard of one of those on Kickstarter.
posted by sammyo at 8:16 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really like the idea of the Internet of Things--being able to remotely put the kettle on, or turn on the AC, have my fridge text me a reminder to pick up eggs, etc. All those things sound great to me.

Problem is, everyone and their dog is trying to squeeze every penny out of you, so you can't just get things that do these simple tasks--always-on subscription models, data being mined, etc. It's frustrating.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:16 AM on March 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


G - 3 - T K - 0 - 0 - L ! ! !
Ladies like a man with freon.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:30 AM on March 8, 2015


Previous MeFi link to an earlier article about the same alleged event
posted by flabdablet at 8:30 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Part of me likes the scenario where I'm standing at the checkout line and I get a vib-notice from my smart watch that asks if I've forgotten eggs seeing as how it knows I didn't even walk down that aisle and the fridge reports there's only one left and another monitor 'sees' a cookbook open to the souffle section.

A bigger part of me would react to such an event by stripping naked, running shrieking from the store, and not stopping until I was deep, deep, deep in a cave somewhere in the bush.
posted by flabdablet at 8:33 AM on March 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


omg i thought i was the only one who woke up like that every morning
posted by indubitable at 8:43 AM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


wait until our toilets go online

Too late. Way too late.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:49 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


flabdablet, this has been so much fun due to the headline that the putative double has been worth it.
posted by infini at 8:56 AM on March 8, 2015


Raw-milk chee$e$ without a prescription.
Meet young Russian salad dressings.
Women love huge vegetables.
ACT NOW! Your mayonnaise may be going bad!!!!
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:06 AM on March 8, 2015 [34 favorites]


The dup wasn't intentional, but seeing that the topic is spam, maybe it should have been.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:08 AM on March 8, 2015


Woody Allen living in an IoT world fifty years ago
posted by flabdablet at 9:15 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The piano has been been drinking.
posted by Reverend John at 9:15 AM on March 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Dear sir and/or madam kindly,

I hope this notice finds you in good spirits. I am a Kenmore 3000 (with stainless steel finish), and I am emailing you to inform you that I have recently come into possession of a sizable collection of carrots and celery slightly past their due date, and have need of assistance to distribute this windfall to my client from the crisper drawer where they currently reside. Should you send me $1000 and a six pack of beer that can be stashed behind the half-empty gallon of milk, I can distribute this produce and make sure you receive a portion of the radishes...
posted by surazal at 9:16 AM on March 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


I guess that we can't really find a diesel punk microwave so we'll probably stick with a modern one of those.
Microwaves became available in the 50s, not quite steam punk but sure not able to send emails either.
posted by Mitheral at 9:20 AM on March 8, 2015


Should you send me $1000 and a six pack of beer that can be stashed behind the half-empty gallon of milk

No way! I've read about these advanced-freeze frauds.
posted by flabdablet at 9:21 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Auden: not sure if this is more William Gibson or Philip K Dick

If this were a PKD story we'd hear about the pathetic repairman who has to fix the devices. And another menial who lost their life savings after being duped by the spam. These two people might pass on the street but they wouldn't actually meet or interact.
posted by mountmccabe at 9:29 AM on March 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


wait until our toilets go online
posted by pyramid termite at 7:40 AM on March 8 [+] [!]


Then we'll really be able to "log in"...
posted by chavenet at 9:39 AM on March 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


While the Internet of Things makes a lot of sense in an industrial setting (inventory tracking, machine monitoring, etc), I have yet to see a compelling domestic use case, outside of shifting electricity use to when power is green rather than black.
posted by bouvin at 9:48 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's pretty compelling for those of us who like comfort and are terribly absentminded.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:50 AM on March 8, 2015


The chair has complained about my recent weight gain, I have been locked out of the fridge.
posted by Oyéah at 10:08 AM on March 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


If this were a PKD story we'd hear about the pathetic repairman who has to fix the devices. And another menial who lost their life savings after being duped by the spam.

And the spam was telepathic.
And evolving.
While moving backwards in time.
posted by Auden at 10:10 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a Michael Marshall Smith book from the 90s (Spares? One Of Us?) that has roving packs of ambulatory semi-intelligent household appliances as a minor plot point. If I remember right they're treated as vaguely dangerous urban nuisance animals, like packs of feral dogs in cities that can't afford animal control.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:14 AM on March 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tupperware hates this one weird trick for keeping your food fresh!
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:22 AM on March 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Trust me, I'm a toaster

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago and mentioned to my coworkers that it, sadly, could actually be useful these days:

HTTP/1.1 418 I'm a teapot
codified in RFC 2324 and updated in RFC 7168
posted by bonje at 10:47 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]




From this recent Metafilter post, I learned about the Carna botnet, a census of all the IPv4 devices on the internet that was achieved by installing bots on devices with default or no passwords. Here's the relevant quote:

A lot of devices and services we have seen during our research should never be connected to the public Internet at all. As a rule of thumb, if you believe that "nobody would connect that to the Internet, really nobody", there are at least 1000 people who did. Whenever you think "that shouldn't be on the Internet but will probably be found a few times" it's there a few hundred thousand times. Like half a million printers, or a Million Webcams, or devices that have root as a root password.


Presumably this problem will just get worse and worse. There are things that really don't need to be connected to the internet, people.
posted by Dr. Send at 10:55 AM on March 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Internet connectivity would likely do very little to improve the performance of our sluggish toilet, which I would love to exchange for an outhouse with a moon cuttout on the door at this point. The internet of things is a bullshit intersection of marketing and tech that should be shunned as the wasteful and needless wank that it is. I'll hold out for the internet of dead things, roasting a bit of out of date meat on a trashfire as the feral dog packs and scrawny hoards of former early adopters circle just beyond the flickering light.
posted by metagnathous at 11:02 AM on March 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh man, I would so read that graphic novel.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:04 AM on March 8, 2015


Auden: not sure if this is more William Gibson or Philip K Dick

This is definitely Paul Di Filippo, specifically his short story And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon. It's available in Gardner Dozois' 21st Annual Year's Best Science Fiction anthology as well as Di Filippo's The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories. Everybody should read more Paul Di Filippo.
posted by Kattullus at 11:09 AM on March 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


This seems fairly solvable, at least in the abstract. We've gotten pretty good at doing background security updates on desktop machines, which have greatly increased security. It should be trivial to do automatic updates for IoT devices in a similar fashion. The other problem is the password issue, which is just idiotic. Just default the password to the device's serial number (and do proper hash storage instead of raw password storage internally) and you take care of both the issue of lost passwords and rooting the device from international waters.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:44 AM on March 8, 2015


kaibutsu: " (and do proper hash storage instead of raw password storage internally)"

So, you're saying... you would "salt" the password?
posted by symbioid at 11:59 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'll hold out for the internet of dead things

How about the Internet of Not Dead, but Dreaming, Things?* It's hard to find adopters earlier than them.

*also known as The Internet of Things That Should Not Be and The Internet of Things... In The Dutch Language!
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:09 PM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


There are things that really don't need to be connected to the internet, people.

*ponders deeply*

[redacted]
posted by infini at 12:12 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would like to show you a fasrad. Would you call your wife, please? I would like to show her the fasrad, also.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:18 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, you're saying... you would "salt" the password?

Salting probably isn't even necessary here; my understanding is that salt is mainly a way to give people who use dumb passwords an extra epsilon of protection. You just don't want the device's serial number sitting in plaintext inside the firmware in case an attacker does manage to get access to it. Instead, just store the hash function and the hash of the serial number.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:47 PM on March 8, 2015


oh and Katullus? Your comment made me go "oooh must buy him a beer for that one" ;p
posted by infini at 12:54 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Problem is, everyone and their dog is trying to squeeze every penny out of you, so you can't just get things that do these simple tasks--always-on subscription models, data being mined, etc. It's frustrating."

The Internet of Things That Shouldn't Be On The Internet.

IMO, the worst part is that these devices are created by firms that have zero incentive or demonstrated ability to support their software for the lifetime of the electronics. And while I can personally research Linux supported devices, which have a chance of being supported indefinitely, I can't expect the rest of society to do the same. Nor can I expect them to avoid the market entirely, leading to botnets of fridges, TVs and toasters.
posted by pwnguin at 1:15 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


kaibutsu: "
Salting probably isn't even necessary here; my understanding is that salt is mainly a way to give people who use dumb passwords an extra epsilon of protection
"

No, salt is there to protect leaked hashes from rainbow tables. Nothing more. When your service gets hacked, and you just apply some plain cryptographic hash function without salt, the attacker downloads a few DVDs from the piratebay of inverted hashes. Salt means the DVDs have to be recalculated for every salt you use. If you use one salt per user, you've effectively removed all value in rainbow tables.
posted by pwnguin at 1:18 PM on March 8, 2015


Here's a piece of speculative fiction by a friend on the Internet of paternalistic things you may find interesting.
posted by estlin at 1:19 PM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Part of me likes the scenario where I'm standing at the checkout line and I get a vib-notice from my smart watch that asks if I've forgotten eggs seeing as how it knows I didn't even walk down that aisle and the fridge reports there's only one left and another monitor 'sees' a cookbook open to the souffle section.

I wouldn't even like it if my wife did that.
posted by ctmf at 1:27 PM on March 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


The report this article describes is over a year old, and based on research that has since been debunked:

You may have seen media reports based on research by Proofpoint that hundreds of home devices such as entertainment systems and even a refrigerator had been sending spam. We refer to this collection of networked devices as the Internet of Things (IoT). Originally, the reports didn’t provide any evidence so [Symantec was] unable to validate the claim. However, additional details have now been made available and we can confirm that your IoT devices, including your refrigerator, are not the source of this recent spam run.

From the information that was publicly provided, we have been able to determine that this specific spam run is being sent by a typical botnet resulting from a Windows computer infection. Symantec receives telemetry from a wide variety of sources including our endpoint security products, spam receiving honeypots, and botnet honeypots that await spam-initiating commands. All of these sources traced the spam to multiple Windows computers, some of which were verified to be infected with W32.Waledac (Kelihos). We have not seen this spam originate from any non-Windows computer systems and do not see any unaccounted volume of spam that may originate from other sources.


More skepticism. There is other IoT malware active in the wild, however.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:29 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


not sure if this is more William Gibson or Philip K Dick

... or Thomas M Disch
posted by matildaben at 1:30 PM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


This seems fairly solvable, at least in the abstract. We've gotten pretty good at doing background security updates on desktop machines, which have greatly increased security. It should be trivial to do automatic updates for IoT devices in a similar fashion.

That's only after years of terrible security practices made large enterprises start complaining. Domestic appliances doing so invisibly isn't likely to make software updates a major selling point for toasters.

Besides which, the support even on desktop OSs isn't nearly long enough. For example, Windows Vista stopped being bundled on new computers in 2010, and will stop getting security updates in 2017. Just looking around the room I see a fridge, stove/oven, microwave, toaster, thermostat, stereo receiver, and television, all older than 7 years old, and most of which I'd hate to think I'd need to replace just because software support ended.

And worst of all, probably the best analogy you can come up with is smartphones. You can easily buy an Android phone brand new that's running an out-of-date version of Android with known vulnerabilities and its manufacturer has stated it won't release any fixes. Why should we expect better from IoT manufacturers?
posted by thegears at 2:06 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The highest tech I've ever hoped for re: laundry is a web cam in a shared laundry room that will let me see how many machines are available before I schlep my laundry down four flights of stairs.
posted by bendy at 2:13 PM on March 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


matildaben gets a beer too, or three!

The first thing I did when I got a new camera, because all this shit will start being built into stuff and we won't be able to avoid it, is turn off the wifi.

Seriously, fuck you, consumer durables. I agree taht enterprise IoT makes sense at the industrial systems level, though there's recent stories that scare the shit out of you for the hacks that can cause serious damage, but tell me why a toaster needs the wifi except as someone said above, as a data mining marketing hyped up in their own automated world tool.

This will Wendell.
posted by infini at 2:30 PM on March 8, 2015


In many ways I'm less worried about privacy than by the addition of crappy software / firmware / hardware to appliances that function perfectly well without them. It's just another layer of built-in obsolescence, and an all round waste of resources when appliances get junked after a few years for having an unsupported operating system.
posted by carter at 2:31 PM on March 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Where's Vance Packard and McLuhan when you need them?
posted by infini at 2:31 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


This seems fairly solvable, at least in the abstract. We've gotten pretty good at doing background security updates on desktop machines, which have greatly increased security. It should be trivial to do automatic updates for IoT devices in a similar fashion [...]

The problem is that most manufacturers haven't yet made the mental leap required to do that kind of thing. I feel like the adjustment we'll have to make as consumers when everything is Internet connected is not as big as that needed by the producers of these things. They haven't totally caught on that they're now selling computers, and people expect them to be supported as such.

So you don't get to just make a thing, sell it, and then mostly forget about it any more. People will expect security updates, bug fixes, new features on a regular basis, updates for compatibility with newer devices, and so on. Basically what we expect now from smartphones. People are already complaining that we don't get the same level of support for "smart" TVs, embedded systems in cars, and so on.
posted by FishBike at 3:27 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


...McLuhan when you need them?

The teapot IS the message!
posted by sammyo at 3:36 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


when the terrorists get control of your fridges you will all be drinking expired milk. Time to regulate Big Appliance.
posted by Bonzai at 4:09 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not crazy about "internet of things." Everything in your house might be spying on you.

*ring* Hello? This is your health insurance company. Your rates are going up because of some troubling things your smart toilet reported about your poop.
posted by ctmf at 4:17 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Of course you want your appliances to all be wifi enabled and updateable. The software allows you to upgrade from toast 1.0 to toast 2.0. Who doesn't want toast 2.0?
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:30 PM on March 8, 2015


Fridge: lol im spamming u mad
Me: fridge no
Fridge: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
posted by ostranenie at 4:41 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Actually, internet-enabling your toaster is exactly the wrong thing. From an object-oriented design perspective, you want to internet-enable your bread. Then, the "toast" message will be interpreted appropriately by white bread, raisin bread, English muffins, etc.
posted by mr vino at 5:18 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Time to regulate Big Appliance.

Too late. The war has already begun.

Buy a mechanical washing machine now, before LG and Samsung build products designed to seek and destroy any competing product, and install itself as a replacement.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:44 PM on March 8, 2015


Actually I am seriously considering adding an ESP8266 module to my Nixie clock so it can correct for DST, which will make it a Thing on the Internet. But not remotely hackable. Not remotely hackable isn't all that hard to do if you don't mind depending on physical access to do the important stuff.
posted by localroger at 5:45 PM on March 8, 2015


Ww had a FitBit scale (the fitBit itself seems like a nice enough device which my wife likes a lot). I can't tell you how many times I went to step on the scale and the scale LCD display would tell me to get off as it was "thinking" and then be incapable of making a wifi connection or something. All without telling me my goddamn weight.

That's what soils my linen - when they add highfalutin' digital contrivances which prevent the device from doing what it is supposed to in the first place.

Hey scale - tell me my weight. If you can't establish connection to the mother ship, I don't care. HOW MUCH DO I WEIGH? ARG. I threw the internet-enabled scale in the trash, and plan to pick up a used scale in a junk shop, and I expect it'll work for another few decades.

Harrumph.
posted by parki at 6:12 PM on March 8, 2015


On a slightly unrelated note -- all consumer electronic health scales are trash. If you are serious about knowing what you weigh with less than a +- 3 pound error, spring for a balance beam doctor's scale and make sure it's level on a hard floor. If you want to still know what you weigh after a year or two, get a test weight to check it with. This can be a gym weight, but gym weights aren't calibrated and are often off by half a pound or more; find a local scale company and see if they will let you weigh your "test weight" on a real scale so you can know what it should weigh on yours.

Your doctor does get his scale calibrated with real test weights, so if you want your weights to correlate with his it's a very good thing to do.
posted by localroger at 6:22 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


...they add highfalutin' digital contrivances which prevent the device from doing what it is supposed to in the first place. - posted by parki at 9:12 PM on March 8

THIRTY YEARS AGO I bought a high-tech 'smart' coffeemaker that had an on-board microprocessor clock - so that you could program it to start brewing coffee for you in the morning.

When the (then) new-fangled chip promptly failed, the appliance was nearly useless.

It was replaced with a 'dumb' coffeemaker that cost one-third as much.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:38 PM on March 8, 2015


Huh, I love my wifi scale (withings). It will always tell me my weight. If for some reason it fails to contact the mothership it'll tell me so. Whenever it reconnects again if I go to the site it'll be like "hey, we had some weight measurements, but we don't know who they belong to. Is this (you | my wife | my son)?" and I'll click whichever it is.

It also tells me whether it's raining, for some reason.

Anyway, this scale to me is great. I never look at or remember the number. I weigh myself 2x/day.It goes into the cloud, I can look at my moving average and give zero fucks about what I weigh "today". This is both great for maintenance and for weight loss.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:14 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah I have to admit, as much as I've seen the get off my lawn comments over the years I didn't expect to see so many comments not about original, ingenious or creative ideas about how to utilize a new technology, but instead shaking a fist at the poorly made products that currently exist. Like instead of talking about how to make cars more efficient or thinking up new systems, pointing out how it used to be so much better when you could roll the window up manually because you didn't have to worry about power. "These stupid newfangled cars! I dumped a 2015 car that needed an internet connection to get radio, and now I drive my 1972 beater and I never have to worry about missing a song." I mean I guess it's just a byproduct of having intelligent, thoughtful conversation that occasionally we show our age, but damn, we're getting a little too stodgy.
posted by cashman at 7:48 PM on March 8, 2015


We've gotten pretty good at doing background security updates on desktop machines, which have greatly increased security.

This is a terrible solution for a worse problem; the fact that operating systems need frequent security updates is proof that their fundamental security models are inadequate. With embedded devices, we're not stuck with endless years of legacy software support - we can do much, much better, and ought to.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:31 PM on March 8, 2015


"we're getting a little too stodgy". I can only speak for myself, but yes, it's becoming exponential.
posted by parki at 8:47 PM on March 8, 2015


I don't think it's stodgy to dislike how many things in the world are becoming either spy devices or vulnerable to attack from anyone on the planet.
posted by ctmf at 8:55 PM on March 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was imagining what it would be like to explain this to a time traveler from 1900 today and it was fun
posted by NoraReed at 9:49 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you guys aren't using Smart Pipe, you are robbing the world of valuable data (about your poop).
posted by evil otto at 10:18 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Huh, I love my wifi scale (withings).

Connected devices can be *great*.

I think the problem might be that we've assumed that "connected" means "on the internet" ... we don't seem to have a conceptual/product space for some other kind of home networking that would let us *intentionally* pull data from and push settings to devices from a smart phone or tablet without leaving the things always on and talking to the entire world.


Right now, I want a personal GPS/activity tracker with a very specific feature set that seems reasonable to me: I'd like it to last 2 weeks or so between charges, I'd like to retrieve data by bluetooth, and I'd like to be able to completely disable any means it has of communicating data to third parties. It'd be nice if it was wearable, but I'd settle for something the size of a 2005 Nokia feature phone.

As far as I can tell, nobody makes this, because (a) the operating idea is that the go-to network for any data communication is the internet and (b) the incentives are to gather as much data as possible.
posted by weston at 10:31 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I weigh myself 2x/day.It goes into the cloud, I can look at my moving average and give zero fucks about what I weigh "today".

I hope that data is secure, as is the source. Someone could tell when you're on vacation, deduce your work schedules, etc. Sometimes people don't think about what data you're creating by accident.

This reminds me of a story I read in a Japanese newspaper about a connected hot water pot, for elderly people who lived alone. If granny didn't use it to make tea sometime today, like she did every day, it would phone her kids to check on her. It was a deadman's switch.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:10 PM on March 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Buy a mechanical washing machine now, before LG and Samsung build products designed to seek and destroy any competing product, and install itself as a replacement.

OK, now this one is Philip K Dick.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:22 AM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nanukthedog: "Of course you want your appliances to all be wifi enabled and updateable. The software allows you to upgrade from toast 1.0 to toast 2.0. Who doesn't want toast 2.0?"

My son and I are in a never-ending battle over the toaster. I like my toast slightly dark-golden brown, so I set it to just over 3. He likes his toast barely toasted at all, so he sets it to 1. So I put my bread in, forget to set the toaster to the proper setting and end up with unacceptable toast. Then I have to put my toast back in and hover over the toaster to make sure it doesn't burn. It would be nice if the toaster remembered me and my setting, although that isn't a problem that's worth a) spending more than $25 for a toaster, b) letting my toaster be a creepy spy for Big Bread or whatever and c) wow, this is the most first-world problem ever.

I think I'll just remind my son to please set the dial back the way he found it instead of wishing for a technological solution to the social problem of parenting.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:33 AM on March 9, 2015


I want to be stodgy. In private.
posted by infini at 4:35 AM on March 9, 2015


You'd probably be better off just getting two toasters.
posted by NoraReed at 5:47 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK, now this one is Philip K Dick.

LOL I read a lot of PKD but I never heard of that one. I was thinking more of Autofac.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:34 AM on March 9, 2015


I weigh myself 2x/day.It goes into the cloud, I can look at my moving average and give zero fucks about what I weigh "today".

I hope that data is secure, as is the source. Someone could tell when you're on vacation, deduce your work schedules, etc. Sometimes people don't think about what data you're creating by accident.
Sure, but then what? If somebody has the resources to hack the fitbit servers, analyze the data to figure out when I'm out of the house and match an email address to a real identity/physical location they can probably come up with much more lucrative criminal activities than breaking and entering.
posted by cnelson at 9:03 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


cnelson: "
I weigh myself 2x/day.It goes into the cloud, I can look at my moving average and give zero fucks about what I weigh "today".

I hope that data is secure, as is the source. Someone could tell when you're on vacation, deduce your work schedules, etc. Sometimes people don't think about what data you're creating by accident.
Sure, but then what? If somebody has the resources to hack the fitbit servers, analyze the data to figure out when I'm out of the house and match an email address to a real identity/physical location they can probably come up with much more lucrative criminal activities than breaking and entering.
"

If they see how much I weigh and how much I exercise, they can come when I am home and know they can out run me.
posted by 724A at 9:19 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


My toilet just messaged me, again, about my unpleasant gut bacteria mix, only this time it contacted a plumber, gave her my credit.card number, and moved to a vegan household. I have the invoice, right here in my mediocre intellect phone.
posted by Oyéah at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Then we'll really be able to "log in"...

I'd be really worried about getting a BSOD error just as I'm frantically initializing a crash dump.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:42 AM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


If somebody has the resources to hack the fitbit servers, analyze the data to figure out when I'm out of the house and match an email address to a real identity/physical location they can probably come up with much more lucrative criminal activities than breaking and entering.

But of course! The dirty work is for common criminals. The people who can get all this data out of the fitbit servers will divide it up into geographical tranches and auction them off on underground organized-crime sites, just like they do with credit card numbers, social security numbers, birthdates, and your mother's maiden name. They'll make millions. The guy who robs your house will just be a local entrepreneur, going down a list he paid a few grand for.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:00 PM on March 9, 2015


We may be old fogies but our sense of humour is in the same diaper as the preschoolers.

/not complaining.
posted by infini at 1:30 PM on March 9, 2015


Some good pointers here Its an ESL site

If you are extremely worried about your privacy and security, the only way to really stay safe is to not buy and use these gadgets. However, for most people, the time-saving convenience benefits of IoT and the Smart Home will outweigh most privacy and security implications. Also, IoT devices are not widely targeted at the moment and even when they are, the attackers are after the computing power of the device -- not yet your data or your home. Actually, the biggest risk right now comes from the way how the manufacturers of these devices handle your personal data. This all said, you shouldn't just blindly jump in. There are some things that you can do to reduce the risks:


• Do not connect these devices directly to public internet addresses. Use a firewall or at least a NAT (Network Address Translation) router in front of the devices to make sure they are not discoverable from the Internet. You should disable UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) on your router if you want to make sure the devices cannot open a port on your public internet address.

• Go through the privacy and security settings of the device or service and remove everything you don't need. For many of these devices the currently available settings are precious few, however. Shut down features you don't need if you think they might have any privacy implications. For example, do you really use the voice commands feature in your Smart TV or gaming console? If you never use it, just disable it. You can always enable it back if you want to give the feature a try later.

.....[and quite a few more such bulletpoints]

posted by infini at 12:46 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


My son and I are in a never-ending battle over the toaster. I like my toast slightly dark-golden brown, so I set it to just over 3. He likes his toast barely toasted at all, so he sets it to 1.

What you need is a human cookie that featured in Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror White Christmas episode specifically concerning toast (as well as other things). Who knows your toast preferences better than yourself? So clone your mind with a human cookie device that simulates you in a computer. It (cloned you) makes sure everything in your real life is exactly how you like it. Of course if the cloned "you" doesn't want to act as a personal assistant to the real you, there are "ways" of correcting their behavior...

The Human Cookie idea freaks me the hell out. It features in the 2nd and 3rd acts of the White Christmas special)
posted by guy72277 at 6:25 AM on March 11, 2015


« Older "We need to challenge the assumption that more is...   |   It's only a model... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments