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Internet of Things? *All I want is a proper cup of coffee…

Posted by on March 3, 2016.

I was delighted to find out today that I can buy a coffee machine I can control from my smart phone. Well, maybe not. Given my coffee habit, the strain on my bandwidth might not be negligible. I’m not so stressed that I need to save the time I’d spend going to the kitchen, switching on the machine and waiting for it to deliver, rather than using the app to make sure it’s made and ready to go by the time I get there. What if I forgot to make sure there was already a cup there to accommodate the flow of liquid caffeine? What if my wife hacks my cappuccino? What if my coffee machine turns out to be subject to a vulnerability that will allow some gangster to infect all my laptops and my smart TV with ransomware?

OK, I exaggerate wildly. I don’t even have a smart TV. It might be nice to have a TV that could provide me with fewer dumb programmes, but I think that’s a bigger ask. (When did ask become a noun, anyway?) But I do have a major concern about the extraordinary escalation of the Internet of Things. Some things just don’t need to be connected to the internet: well, perhaps there’s a niche use for a connected coffee machine, but I can see a time when unconnected devices become the niche. Rather like the way that it’s now sometimes cheaper to buy a smart phone than one that just makes and receives phone calls. (As opposed to my wife’s new smart phone, which turns out to be able to do anything apart from making phone calls. That one will be back with the manufacturer shortly…)

It may be an age thing. (I’m sure it is.) And if I were a complete Luddite, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do very effectively. (Some may say I’m not very effective anyway, but I’m not going to offer them any coffee.) But I like the idea of having corners of my life that aren’t afflicted with the usual drawbacks of connectivity. Like enhanced complexity, fragility, and an enormous attack surface.

*http://monologues.co.uk/musichall/Songs-W/What-I-Want-Is-Coffee.htm

David “I’m not sure about that copper coffee pot though…” Harley 


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