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Why "The Internet of Things" may not be such a good idea

fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

Refrigerators are now spambots: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25780908

There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Stephan van Hulst
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  17

A.K.A. "Why "SMTP" was not such a good idea".
Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
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    5

There is no news here. The media have always used an invented term: "server" that is some megalith super brain like in Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe. It was made more popular in the 80s by things like NetWare, which used the term for the big PC, and talked a lot about client PCs. The traditional CompuServ and AOL models continued the tradition.

The internet is a peer-to-peer network. Always had been, always will be. Anything that can talk TCP/IP protocols can be a "server" to other computers. Huge numbers of embedded systems include Apache HTTPD or something similar -- on computers far smaller than a Raspberry PI.

The real story here is that all computers need serious security designed in. Its not acceptable to take an insecure OS and slap user code, say McAfee Anti-virus, and claim that its OK because its secure.

Of course, the real problem with the refrigerator as example in Internet-of-things stories is that they are stupid ideas. You'd have to have so many bar code scanners that it would be like going through a light saber just to put the butter back. And how is it going to know how much milk is in the container?
Paul Clapham
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    8

Pat Farrell wrote:Of course, the real problem with the refrigerator as example in Internet-of-things stories is that they are stupid ideas. You'd have to have so many bar code scanners that it would be like going through a light saber just to put the butter back. And how is it going to know how much milk is in the container?


And yet whenever you read an article about the Internet-of-things it's always the refrigerator which gets dragged out as an example. Yes, I know that reporters usually don't have a clue what they are talking about, but if that's the best idea they have then that says to me that the Internet of Things is pretty pointless.
Pat Farrell
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    5

Paul Clapham wrote:And yet whenever you read an article about the Internet-of-things it's always the refrigerator which gets dragged out as an example.


Given that the Nest thermostat is a very good example of the Internet of things, and that Google just paid 3.2 Beeelllion dollars for the company, why don't they use that as the example?

I want three smart thermostats for my house, so I can have one back in the bedroom wing, another in the office and a third out in the family room/kitchen area.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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  67

Some things make sense to be connected (thermostat == good example, fridge == not so much).

Another good example of a bad example: the connected egg crate.



I mean really. How hard is it to keep track of which egg to use next without using your smartphone?

If the IOT (Internet Of Things) is to take public mindshare, we need better examples of things that actually solve problems, rather than things that simply appeal to Valley geeks because they're, well, geeky.

(And when it comes down to it, how ticked off would you be to find out that your whiz-bang useless but geeky egg crate contributed to identity theft because it created a vulnerability into your smartphone data?)


[Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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  67

And remember:
brown eggs are local eggs, and local eggs are fresh
.



Martin Vajsar
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  60

And as a consequence the hen that lays white eggs is not local anywhere. The poor creature has no home!

After some digging I've found that in the good old days, brown eggs had indeed tasted better.
Stephan van Hulst
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  17

White eggs look weird to me. I wouldn't even know where to get them over here.
Saurabh Pillai
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Posts: 509
What's The Difference Between White Eggs And Brown Eggs?

None. According to this article.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

Saurabh Pillai wrote:What's The Difference Between White Eggs And Brown Eggs?

None. According to this article.

After reading that article, the main question i have is...

Chickens have earlobes?
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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  67

Saurabh Pillai wrote:What's The Difference Between White Eggs And Brown Eggs?

None. According to this article.

But to the type of person who would buy an Internet egg tray, the fact that the eggs match the aesthetics of the phone might be very important.
Pat Farrell
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    5

Bear Bibeault wrote:But to the type of person who would buy an Internet egg tray, the fact that the eggs match the aesthetics of the phone might be very important.


Wow, I'd have bet the opposite. The Internet Egg Tray for your On-The-Network-Refrigerator is for the uber geek. The stereotypical uber geek wears block glasses, corduroy pants and hasn't showered in a week. Most are color blind. Aesthetics? what aesthetics?
Bear Bibeault
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  67

Point conceded.
Martin Vajsar
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  60

Wait, what does stereotypical uber geek needs eggs for?
Steve Luke
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  21

Paul Clapham wrote:And yet whenever you read an article about the Internet-of-things it's always the refrigerator which gets dragged out as an example.

Mainly because it is one device where you can expect 1) to invest money into and expect long-term benefit, 2) is something people are familiar with and interact with on a daily basis, and 3) has the ability to demonstrate the point with a number of different sensor types. It can be used as an inventory system (barcodes or NFC tags), how much milk you have (by weight of course), plus the obvious temperature control and feedback (put your food in a special compartment, keep it cool, then begin warming it/chilling it further remotely or on a timer so it is ready before you need to start meal preparation). You could think of a bunch of things that you wish a refrigerator could do and then provide examples of how IOT could do them. It doesn't matter that they are impractical. Having one device to let your imagination run wild with beats considering half a dozen devices which would be practical single-purpose devices. So the 'connected refrigerator has a purpose as a concept to explain the idea (though probably not as a product).

Samsung released a new huge fridge at CES with a bunch of bells and whistles and they explained why they put so much tech in a refrigerator. It came down to two reasons: 1) there is a professional segment which would find it convenient and 2) house parties always end up with people congregating around the refrigerator, so if you have a gadgety fridge you have something to show off to your house guests.


Steve
Bear Bibeault
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  67

Steve Luke wrote:So the 'connected refrigerator has a purpose as a concept to explain the idea (though probably not as a product).

I understand what you are saying, but disagree that it serves the purpose. By using such a preposterously impractical example, it makes the whole concept seem ludicrous.

Sort of like a concept that [huge telecom company] wanted us to noodle on (but has since backed off of): bluetooth slippers (so a doctor could tell if a patient had fallen). We have a lot of fun with that one to this day.

so if you have a gadgety fridge you have something to show off to your house guests.

Ah, back to the geek-sters.
Jim Venolia
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Joined: Sep 07, 2013
Posts: 154
    
    2

Back in 2000/2001 I was consulting for company A that had a contract from company B (italian, if it matters) to put appliances on the internet. We had a working washer, dryer, and vacuum cleaner. Then company B went toes up and company A hired me to work on a combination TV/DVD/web browser you could hang from a kitchen cabinet. Had a flatscreen that folded up out of the way when not in use. That one actually made sense, you could either watch TV while cooking or pull up a recipe on the internet. But our BOM was over $1,000 and the clients price point was $500, well, not like they were a government or anything.

/ BOM - Bill Of Materials
// In other words, what it cost to buy all the parts
/// doesn't include assembly, marketing, or engineering.
//// amazing how far things have come in 12 years.
///// No, I don't know why you would want your vacuum on the internet
///// Nor your washer/dryer
////// Nor your fridge, stove, dishwasher, lawn mower, electric knife, can opener, nor beer cooler either.
/////// OK, the beer cooler could tell you vital info, like you're almost out of beer.

It's a no-brainer. We just need to take it to the next level to turn this into a win-win situation. The best practice is to get rid of the low-hanging fruit first. Ping me with an agenda so we can go flag up on this thing
Paul Clapham
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    8

My prediction: Connecting refrigerators and vacuum cleaners and bicycles and whatever to the Internet will turn out to be so that people can send you more advertising.
Winston Gutkowski
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  23

Pat Farrell wrote:The stereotypical uber geek wears block glasses, corduroy pants and hasn't showered in a week...

Hey, I'll 'fess up to the bin's and cords; maybe even the odd anorak. But I've got a damn fine shower.

Winston

Isn't it funny how there's always time and money enough to do it WRONG?
Articles by Winston can be found here
Jayesh A Lalwani
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  28

Pat Farrell wrote:
Bear Bibeault wrote:But to the type of person who would buy an Internet egg tray, the fact that the eggs match the aesthetics of the phone might be very important.


Wow, I'd have bet the opposite. The Internet Egg Tray for your On-The-Network-Refrigerator is for the uber geek. The stereotypical uber geek wears block glasses, corduroy pants and hasn't showered in a week. Most are color blind. Aesthetics? what aesthetics?


Actually that's a nerd.. a stereotypical geek is someone who pursues interests passionately, and looks for other people who shares his/her interest. Think of the typical IPhone geek who enjoys camping outside the Apple store for days with other geeks just to get the latest IPhone. A nerd is someone who is more interested in solitary pursuit of their interests and likes to go in great technical detail. THe biggest differrence is geeks are social creatures, whereas nerds aren't. Yes.. there is considerable overlap.. some people are nerdy in some things and geeky in others. or some geeks might have less than stellar social skills. However, there are lot of geeks who aren't nerds. For crissakes.. we have knitting geeks on PInterest now.. Knitting.. I mean, there's not much technical know-how in knitting. There are maybe 6 basic knots. But these people enjoy sharing patterns and coming up with new ones.. and yes it's all about the aesthetics.

Yes.. I realize.. there's nothing more nerdy that discussing the differences between nerds and geeks on the internet.
Jayesh A Lalwani
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Paul Clapham wrote:My prediction: Connecting refrigerators and vacuum cleaners and bicycles and whatever to the Internet will turn out to be so that people can send you more advertising.


Actually, yes.. it's to collect more data to send you more targeted advertising. Imagine, if that advertisers knew you were running low on OJ, they can send you an ad for OJ while you are browsing the internet on your phone. They just need to know that your fridge and your phone are owned by the same person.. and guess what, if you are controlling your fridge from your phone, you helped them tie them together.
Pat Farrell
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If I'm low on OJ, I don't want an ad for OJ, I want Amazon to deliver it.
Martin Vajsar
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Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Imagine, if that advertisers knew you were running low on OJ, they can send you an ad for OJ while you are browsing the internet on your phone.

I wouldn't have such a big problem with this. If the advertiser really needs me to see some ads, then let them be ads for something I actually need.

(The dreck that comes through spam filters offers me money, medicine, and jobs - I'm clearly a poor, ill, unemployed wretch in spammers' profiles. The only good news is that all spammers believe there is a woman in my life, even if thoroughly unsatisfied. )
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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  67

"The door of the refrigerator will unlock once you've watched this 15 second ad for OJ"
Jim Venolia
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    2

Martin Vajsar wrote: If the advertiser really needs me to see some ads, then let them be ads for something I actually need.


Just what I need, a mailbox full of penis reduction ads
Martin Vajsar
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  60

Bear Bibeault wrote:"The door of the refrigerator will unlock once you've watched this 15 second ad for OJ"

Nothing a good ad-block couldn't take care off.



Winston Gutkowski
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  23

Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Actually, yes.. it's to collect more data to send you more targeted advertising.

Sounds like you read their advertising blurb. Personally, I highly doubt it has anything to do with better "targeting"; seems much more likely to me it's just about directness and inability to avoid it or turn it off. Just one of the reasons we Brits like our Beeb.

Winston
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:Just one of the reasons we Brits like our Beeb.
I thought Justin Bieber was Canadian.
Winston Gutkowski
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fred rosenberger wrote:I thought Justin Bieber was Canadian.

No, no, no - the Beeb - a.k.a: "Auntie".

Winston
Ulf Dittmer
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  70
Bear Bibeault wrote:"The door of the refrigerator will unlock once you've watched this 15 second ad for OJ"

There'll be a premium fridge available that does not show ads.
Pat Farrell
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Ulf Dittmer wrote:There'll be a premium fridge available that does not show ads.

Right. Like how when you pay for a subscription to the New York Times, they don't have ads?
Paul Clapham
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Martin Vajsar wrote:I wouldn't have such a big problem with this. If the advertiser really needs me to see some ads, then let them be ads for something I actually need.


Or even things that I'm interested in. But that seems to be a very hard thing to do. When I signed up for Gmail it said "Archive all your mail, that will help us target your ads better." Well, it doesn't. Or maybe the ads are a little bit less useless, but they still aren't what I would call well-targeted. Even using Google to search while signed in to Google isn't that helpful. Two months ago I was looking for plane tickets to Norway. It didn't take long to find out that I could fly from Vancouver via Reykjavik to all over northern Europe on Iceland Air. The tickets were booked, but still after two months I'm still getting Google ads for Iceland Air from Vancouver. Give it a rest Google.
Bear Bibeault
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Pat Farrell wrote:
Ulf Dittmer wrote:There'll be a premium fridge available that does not show ads.

Right. Like how when you pay for a subscription to the New York Times, they don't have ads?


I think that reading a newspaper online is rather different from getting that last piece of Boston Cream Pie. Why should I have to pay extra to get at my food without being harassed by ads? Unlike a newspaper, I've already paid for the content.

Seriously, I will buy Internet-enabled appliances only when there is no other choice. The last thing I want to do is to give Google, Facebook, and yes, even Apple, more insight into my private life than they already have.

I don't need to control my oven, refrigerator, washer, dryer, water heater, crock pot, egg tray, slippers, or toilet remotely. There's no advantage to me at all to have them "smart". The advantage is all to the Googles of the world.
Bear Bibeault
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  67

And get off my lawn!
chris webster
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  16

Bear Bibeault wrote:I don't need to control my oven, refrigerator, washer, dryer, water heater, crock pot, egg tray, slippers, or toilet remotely.

Well I think you're just being selfish. The rest of us could have a whole lotta fun if we could control your devices remotely!


No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Ulf Dittmer
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Why yes, it would be fun to control chris' appliances from my phone while standing outside watching his house :-)
chris webster
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Ulf Dittmer wrote:Why yes, it would be fun to control chris' appliances from my phone while standing outside watching his house :-)

Good luck with that. My TV, video recorder, cooker and phone are all much smarter than me already, and now I suspect the fridge is taking evening classes too...
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

More evidence here.

TL;DR version - hackers can take over your toilet and spray you with water
 
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subject: Why "The Internet of Things" may not be such a good idea