Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Jan 2018 22:55 UTC
In the News

It's the very beginning of CES 2018, and the first trickles of gadget news are starting to come out. The flood begins tomorrow as the show floor opens and keynotes and press conferences begin in earnest. It's easy to see the broad themes of the show and the tech industry at large already forming: smart assistants everywhere, sensors and radios in every device you can think of, and an eternal hope that something, anything, will be the reason people will finally upgrade their TVs.

All of that is exciting - I love gadgets and am one of the few crazy people that think CES is incredibly fun! - but I want to take a half-step back before it all begins and point out something obvious: most people have no idea how any of these things work, and are already hopelessly confused by the tech they have.

Shoving a display and garbage software on every single possible household item is simply a really, really dumb idea. Add networking into the mix, and it becomes outright dangerous. People end up with products they have no idea how to use, that quickly become outdated, aren't getting software updates, and quickly become dangerous attack vectors for all sorts of possible criminals.

The article also touches on something else - namely, that even things like smartphones are getting way, way too complicated for most people. I, too, am continuously surprised by how little people around me really know about their smartphone - be it iOS or Android - and what certain things mean or how certain functions work, or that they even have said functions at all. Tech companies are doing a terrible job of exposing users to functionality in a meaningful, understandable way.

Order by: Score:
Agree
by gilljr on Mon 8th Jan 2018 23:32 UTC
gilljr
Member since:
2008-01-30

Manufactures are putting "Smart" technology in everything right now. The problem is that many of the devices are buggy and are not actively supported after a year (not that there is much supported to begin with). We are talking "Smart" technology being put into devices that consumers hold onto for 5 to 10 years or more. It is quite dangerous and in many cases is not that much of a convenience, at least in my view of things.

If everyone replaced devices like they replace their smart phones, then it would not be as large of a deal, but that is not the case.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Agree
by Sabon on Mon 8th Jan 2018 23:50 UTC in reply to "Agree"
Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

My opinion is that this is their way of —MAKING— you replace your TVs every year or two. Why should I do that when there is nothing better for me out there?

People think Apple purposely makes their phones stop working after a few years? Apple isn’t the company you have to worry about. It’s all these company’s with their crap smart-tvs that aren’t smart. Maybe for them but not for us.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Agree
by lancealot on Tue 9th Jan 2018 01:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Agree"
lancealot Member since:
2007-02-25

My opinion is that this is their way of —MAKING— you replace your TVs every year or two.


This idea is "Planned Obsolescence": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence

On that page it talks about the type of planned obsolescence we are seeing today such as contrived durability (things not built to last as long such as washer and dryers: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27253103) and prevention of upgrade/repairs (we see this where everything is becoming soldered down in portable/small devices). These are just common business tactics to get people to buy more, and it seems adding "smart" to a otherwise "dumb" device (such as a refrigerator) just gives you another reason to upgrade and spend money to buy into a new device.

I personally think these tactics to get people to replace things more often is horrible for the environment. I doubt many people (especially in America, less so in Japan where trash is handled more efficiently by citizens) properly dispose and recycle a lot of items. Instead the mounds of planned obsolescence products, some of which are dangerous to the environment (including us humans) grow as this mentality of replacing things is normal and human population grows (or become capitalistic) to multiple the effects.

Personally I buy clothes and wear them until they have holes or I outgrow them. When I buy a computer I am willing to spend more if I think it will serve its purpose longer, which is why I still have a Mac Pro 2006 being used as a server (was originally my desktop until a couple years ago and was upgraded from Snow Leopard to Windows 7).

When I buy something "smart" I ask myself is this smart/new device making me dramatically more efficient, or just lazier? Is that smart device making things easier, or just more complex (do I need to learn its voice commands just so it can understand me)? I usually only replace something because it has completely broken (can't be fixed easily), or it can no longer serve its role in a meaningful way. It blows me away that someone would throw out a perfectly working 1080i/p capable TV, to get a new one that is a SMART 4K (could have added cheap smart/streaming device, and there is limited 4K content when it comes to TV and Games). When your 1080 TV breaks, sure buy a new one with the idea that 4k will make it more future proof. I do agree with the other posters, I would prefer a dumb TV, and have a choice of streaming devices to add that functionality (I use a FireTV on my dumb 1080p TV I bought like 10 years ago).

Edited 2018-01-09 02:07 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Agree
by dylansmrjones on Tue 9th Jan 2018 17:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Agree"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Indeed. Planned obsolescence in its most despicable form. Shows the downside of applying use-and-throw-away consumerism to personal data.

And yes, keep devices dumb - that'll keep people smart in the long term. Or at least it will give engineers time to come up with safer implementations - or salesmen more time to come up with stupider ideas.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Agree
by nicubunu on Tue 9th Jan 2018 07:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Agree"
nicubunu Member since:
2014-01-08

Apple devices are expensive, their planned obsolescence has more impact compared with the cheaper alternatives.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Agree
by boing on Tue 9th Jan 2018 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Agree"
boing Member since:
2007-05-22

Apple devices are expensive, their planned obsolescence has more impact compared with the cheaper alternatives.


Completely agree, and one of the reasons I bought Apple hardware (I have a Mac Pro 2006 and MacBook Pro 2012) in the past. I felt it would last longer then something cheap (better quality built, and Mac OS X built to support that specific hardware, so more reliable drivers and OS) and I could upgrade it myself. In addition I got to use Mac OS X, which at the time of my first Apple computer purchase I felt was the best desktop OS (I started on Tiger, and liked Snow Leopard the best). Both worked out well for me since I still use both daily, the Mac Pro 2006 is my server running Windows 7 (it was easier upgrading to Windows 7 64-bit then the latest Mac OS X because of the 32-bit EFI), and the Macbook Pro 2012 I upgraded to the max memory and put a SSD in it. I have the 2012 setup for dual boot, but mostly use Windows 10 on it because of a display bug that never got fixed in Mac OS X, and personally I find Windows 10 is as good then the latest Mac OS X versions (yes I know about the telemetrics which I turn off as much as I can, and the forced upgrades which I turn to the business update chain) for my use case. It continues to add more things I liked about Mac OS X such as a integrated Unix/Linux based command prompt (Linux Subsystem added to Windows 10).

So basically based on Apple's recent direction (everything soldered down and not upgradeable and Mac OS X having a lot of bugs) and Windows 10 being a decent OS (at least at the core for things like multitasking and responsiveness under 100% cpu loads), I am no longer willing to pay extra for Apple hardware since it doesn't have any advantage to me anymore.

Edited 2018-01-09 20:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

How about a NON-crappy 4K TV
by Sabon on Mon 8th Jan 2018 23:46 UTC
Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

By that I mean a non-smart TV that displays at 4K.

The interfaces are SLOW.
Do you —really— trust the security? Me? No!!!

I’d gladly pay $150 extra for a non-smart 4K TV. Preferably an 65” LG OED 4K TV.

In fact, I would go out and replace BOTH my TVs with two of those today right after work.

PS: I don’t need the crap “smart” part of the TVs because I use TiVo Bolts and would buy the 4K TiVo Bolts as well as Apple 4K TVs to go along with the non-smart LG OLED 4K TVs.

Reply Score: 2

Pro-Competition Member since:
2007-08-20

I could not agree more!

Add me to the list of people who would drive to the store right now for this.

Reply Score: 1

RE: How about a NON-crappy 4K TV
by mistersoft on Tue 9th Jan 2018 01:48 UTC in reply to "How about a NON-crappy 4K TV"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

While on one hand you have a fair point with the security angle...

On another - the argument falls down when if you're very security conscious and don't want the "smart" features - you can simply never connect your webos TV (for instance) to the the internet/your home network.

I'd be that impressed by the hacker who can get in via HDMI signal - they probably deserve whatever they're after.

And since the person you sell the TV too after you upgrade may actually like the "smart" features, then it makes sense for the manufacturer not to omit these just for you. If you see my point

{edited for spelling)

Edited 2018-01-09 01:48 UTC

Reply Score: 7

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

While on one hand you have a fair point with the security angle...

On another - the argument falls down when if you're very security conscious and don't want the "smart" features - you can simply never connect your webos TV (for instance) to the the internet/your home network.


You assume the user/owner can actually disable the tvs networking "features". We know all too well that just because you disable something in the tv gui, it doesn't mean it's actually disabled. A lot of tvs have wifi built-in now as well so it's not simply a matter of not plugging an ethernet cable in.

Reply Score: 1

Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

"wifi built-in" doesnt mean it can actually connect to my wifi without my consent (ie entering my password).

So no ethernet cable, no wifi password, it simply cant reach my network...

Reply Score: 4

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Until they refuse to let you use it without connecting. I'm sure that's coming.

Reply Score: 2

Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

I have already run into this is looking at chargers for an electric car. Most chargers ***MUST*** be controlled by an app on your phone.

I thought I had found a charger that did not need an app to run, only to find out "I MUST" logon onto the manufacturer's website to activate the charger before I could use it.

WHY???

Edited 2018-01-10 00:03 UTC

Reply Score: 3

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

I'm all for saving the environment, but if my car asks me to put in a password to charge it, i'll stick to dinosaur juice TYVM

Edited 2018-01-10 11:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

The builtin chargers in the cars can plug into the 120V and 240V plugs in most houses, but they charge at a slower rate for safety reasons usually about 10-12 amps.

The chargers that let you program for the max power you can safety draw thru your wiring can be programmer to pull as much as 40-50 amps if your house wiring can handle it or a dedicated line is installed.

I just want one that does not need communication to the manufacturer to use it.

Reply Score: 2

Morty Member since:
2005-07-06

"wifi built-in" doesnt mean it can actually connect to my wifi without my consent (ie entering my password).

So no ethernet cable, no wifi password, it simply cant reach my network...

Then the guy next door runs his wifi open and passwordless...

Reply Score: 2

Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

Then the guy next door is an idiot :-p

Jump on and start your torrents. Free bandwidth and the legal liability is his, not yours..

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I have a smart TV in my home.

1. It becomes less usable when I don't connect Internet.

2. I'm not to happy about a Wi-Fi connected TV, so I disabled Wi-Fi.

3. So I did connect it using UTP.

4. But I can use Google Chromecast from my phone from an other room.

I suspect this is even true if I disconnect the UTP port.

What does that mean ? It means Wi-Fi is not disabled, it just means: Wi-Fi is not connected to my home Wi-Fi network (!)

Reply Score: 2

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

"wifi built-in" doesnt mean it can actually connect to my wifi without my consent (ie entering my password).

So no ethernet cable, no wifi password, it simply cant reach my network...

That doesn't mean it can't reach *any* network. There's nothing stopping it from hunting for an accessible network and connecting once it finds one. And people and dumb enough to have unprotected wide-open networks. One of your neighbors may be one of those people, and in such a case, how do you prevent your tv from being connected then? Simple, you can't unless you want to build a Faraday cage around it.

Reply Score: 2

smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06


I'd be that impressed by the hacker who can get in via HDMI signal - they probably deserve whatever they're after.


there already is ethernet over HDMI...

Reply Score: 2

nicholasj Member since:
2008-12-10

Show me a single shipping device which implements the Ethernet over HDMI standard.

(No, not HDbaseT, just pure Ethernet over HDMI, which is at least part of the HDMI 1.4 standard, possibly earlier)

Reply Score: 1

No kidding
by MechaShiva on Tue 9th Jan 2018 03:36 UTC
MechaShiva
Member since:
2005-07-06

When I get called in to do house calls these days (something I am loathe to do anymore), I usually start by telling people it's amazing that any of this stuff works in the first place. They usually laugh as if it's a joke, and I smile and carry on but a part of me dies a little. On the one hand, it's 2018 and I hate hearing "I just don't 'get' computers". On the other, I'm going to need to start using that line. Sigh.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Tue 9th Jan 2018 05:25 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I don't want every damn electrical or item containing electronics to be turned into a wifi-capable spying tool. I don't need my washing machine to let me know the rinse+spin cycle is finished. I don't need a refrigerator that texts me when the milk is low, and that I can order things from Amazon with. I don't want a digital picture frame that will live-stream tweets or Facebook updates. I don't want any of this stupid crap. Just because you can shove networking and a screen onto/into something doesn't automatically make it a great idea.

I just need my washer & dryer to be a washer & dryer. I just need my oven to be an oven. I just need my electric toothbrush to be an electric toothbrush. And so on...

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Tue 9th Jan 2018 07:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Good thing you can just abstain from buying any of that stuff, eh?

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sat 13th Jan 2018 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

...for now, until the potential data mining and/or ad revenue potential becomes too tempting.

Reply Score: 2

Blissful future
by wigry on Tue 9th Jan 2018 11:27 UTC
wigry
Member since:
2008-10-09

Why the concerns? Instead be happy about the future where being a super-dangerous haxor does not take nothing more that couple of lines of javascript with some known hardwired default passwords. People don't need to know how computers work anymore and they can bring their magical powers of destruction upon us with next to no effort. Life really gets easier (for some) by the ubiquitous presence of connected smart appliances.

/s

Reply Score: 1

RE: Blissful future
by Soulbender on Fri 12th Jan 2018 17:47 UTC in reply to "Blissful future"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Being a haxor never required any skills.

Reply Score: 2

Everything old is new again...
by bryanv on Tue 9th Jan 2018 12:37 UTC
bryanv
Member since:
2005-08-26

2001 Called. It wants it's fridge with a webpad on the front and it's BeIA focus shift back.

Reply Score: 4

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

I have a BeIA appliance waiting in the post office. I should go pick it up...

Reply Score: 1

Comment by romma
by romma on Tue 9th Jan 2018 12:52 UTC
romma
Member since:
2016-09-22

When consumers read news that a country's cheese supply is contaminated, they shun that country's products and all the producers suffer.

It may go the same way with IoT, as consumers just start shunning all gadgets, even from manufacturers who are making the effort to secure their stuff. "Smart" will be as appealing as "mouldy".

And now that we have started having cameras and microphones and internet banking and smart locks everywhere, this stuff is going to actually matter to people, as much as food poisoning does.

Code hygiene is going to have to become a regulated licence-to-do-business, just as food hygiene is.

Technical solutions are on the way... I am guessing, as with how they are starting to be able to formally prove microkernels, and in the meantime, the industry has to take a big step back and say, look, we are going to wait until we have stuff which works a lot better than it does now.

Likewise, all this human interface stuff. We are way past being able to get away with throwing unusable crap at people and expecting them to buy it. The people at large are not hobbyists.

But there is a long way to go. Hopefully the consumer backlash will be "shock and awe" levels so they can just stop this silliness in its tracks.

Maybe there should be a new consumer group to champion this specific cause. Or maybe we should all be writing to existing consumer groups.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by romma
by dbox2005 on Tue 9th Jan 2018 18:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by romma"
dbox2005 Member since:
2017-11-22

You are correct and wrong at the same time.
Wrong side:
- your point of view comes from consumerism
- capitalism is build on consumerism
- consumers need to buy more for economy to work
- if you stop consuming does not matter what product you are buying what is happening to economy ?
- all companies exist to profit they need to sell more
- you as consumer need to educate yourself before buying
- companies don't care about you, but only about their bottom line

Correct side:
- companies need to employ people and build a culture where quantity over high quality does not suffice it
- high quality of any given consumer electronic product is doubtful nowadays...quality is a thing of the past only written in history books.
- when you have high quality then your bottom line may be affected because people are not buying as much as you want them to, so you need defined obsolescence for that product.
- nothing wrong with having high quality products which will increase your user base and create more business over time.

Intelligent TV's, fridges, washers are only meant for consumers who believe that more features are good for them. Especially the ones who wish to have Twitter or Facebook updates from their appliances. Why not ?That is where all that useful data will be heading anyway... ;) Next we will have companies mining that data and sell you what is needed in your fridge. That will be the day I will shut down myself from the open internet and only using encrypted connection for anonymity purposes.

Reply Score: 1

Recap
by fretinator on Tue 9th Jan 2018 14:35 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Get off my lawn you ignorant millennials!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Recap
by darknexus on Tue 9th Jan 2018 14:58 UTC in reply to "Recap"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Get off my lawn you ignorant millennials!

Well, I don't want them on my lawn. However, they can pay me to come fix these things as many times as they want ;) . Joke's on them, since most people who buy these things can't set them up worth crap.
So yeah, get off my lawn, but I'll take your money, suckers.

Reply Score: 1

Internet of Shitty Things.
by tunkaflux on Tue 9th Jan 2018 16:22 UTC
tunkaflux
Member since:
2006-01-25

Remember kids, the "S" in IoT stands for Security!

Reply Score: 4

How did we get here?
by Sobakus on Tue 9th Jan 2018 16:58 UTC
Sobakus
Member since:
2009-11-28

You are absolutely right, Thom. This has been my mantra for the last few years.

How on earth technology has evolved to such a level of performance and capabilities and yet usability is, sometimes, still stuck in the era when even programming a videotape recorder was like an arcane art of sorts?

How the gap between the regular user and technology has grown so much instead of making it more accessible?

This puzzles me every day while using the boatload of tech stuff I have at home, as a programmer and as a very involved tech freak.

This is going to end really bad...

Reply Score: 2

RE: How did we get here?
by wigry on Wed 10th Jan 2018 12:44 UTC in reply to "How did we get here?"
wigry Member since:
2008-10-09

The way I see it is that as tech evolves, the less people want to think about it. They assume that more advanced tech means less need to worry or think about tech. Also advanced tech will instantly create reason to not think about it as its too complicated anyway. People don't want to know how stuff works as long as it does what is requested. How many people know how to fix cars or how they even work? The more cars there are, the more commodity tool it has become. Just something you use without thinking how and why. Same with any other tech.

Reply Score: 1

v RE[2]: How did we get here?
by dbox2005 on Wed 10th Jan 2018 18:44 UTC in reply to "RE: How did we get here?"
Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

You CANNOT turnoff wifi on “smart” tvs. You can only stop them from accessing YOUR wifi. But like someone said. You always end up with neighbors with open WIFI.

The only way to stop a “smart” tv from spying on you is to create a mesh around it that blocks all wifi from in/out of the TV. Then once you are done using the TV, literally destroying it so that nobody else uses that TV and allows the TV to connect to the mothership and send all your data back. And yes, it does keep a lot of everything that you watch and does try to transmit that information back as saleable data.

I’m thrilled that Apple (and other companies) have included security in web browsers so that advertisers can’t track you from website to website. I have nothing to hide but it is none of their nor the government’s business who and what I hook up with as long as it is legal. And until they can prove to a court that I’m doing something illegal, which I’m not, then they can get a court order to monitor my viewing habits.

PS: Unlike they like the Olympics and Discovery channel they will be bored.

But that’s not the point. It is all too easy for “Don’t be evil” (cough cough) companies from doing everything they can to see (steal) your data which you did not give permission for them to see, use, and sell.

PS: If you don’t think they will mess with the functionality of your smart tv if you block them from seeing your viewing habits, then I’m laughing hysterically at you. It’s already been proven by multiple hacking (good and bad) groups that smart tvs DO transmit people’s viewing and internet habits back to the mothership.

If I want to hook up “smart” features to my TV. It should be up to me which smart features and from which companies I want to connect to them. And I should be able to turn off and be assured those things are turned off that I want to be turned off and not stealing my data without my permission behind, beside, and in front of my back without my knowledge!

Reply Score: 0

dbox2005 Member since:
2017-11-22

This boils down to anonymity on the internet concept, which Trumpo and other fellows like him don't comprehend why is this even possible and with this in mind companies are using it also to sneak upon you. If internet is censored both ways : user side and entities doing the spying by having a third neutral party entity (router) to scrutinize and physically approve or disallow the content being forwarded from or to that device, we will not be in this mess. Thing is freedom on internet can be used both ways.

Reply Score: 1

v Orwellian
by Dr.Cyber on Thu 11th Jan 2018 21:23 UTC