Tag Archives: IOT

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Maybe Ballie the ball robot is a device we don’t need in our homes

Ballie is the cute little yellow ball above. Samsung unvailled ‘Ballie’ at the 2020 Consumer Electronic Show. If you go to the link, you can read all the things Ballie can do for you. What you don’t get to read is what Ballie is going to do for others. Because there’s never been a more potentially intrusive device in your house like this one. It can go around your house 24/7, recording not just sounds but images. Images (and sounds) that anyone back on the Internet can process.

Until companies and other organizations can demonstrate proper stewardship of such data, I wouldn’t recommend anyone get one of these things. They are far from essential and potentially harmful.

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Philips Hue – the missing manual

If you have Philips Hue products or are thinking of getting them, then I recommend you read this: Philips Hue super guide: How to set up and use your Hue lights.

The Hue is a great product, but it may not be the easiest thing to set up. This guide will help.

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The Raspberry Pi 4 is out


I love Raspberry Pis. They are great for playing around and learning about technology.  But until recently I would not recommend them as an every day computer, if anything because they are just too slow. Or they were before the Raspberry Pi 4. With the capabilities of the new Pi 4, they may be ready to become your main or at least backup computer.

If you are interested, you can Google them and get alot more information on them. Here’s two sources more:  Raspberry Pi 4 Computer | Uncrate and Engadget.

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An innovative IOT device from WestJet


Is this: Flight Light.

You can use it to track night flights of the ones you love. I don’t know how much traction it will get, but I personally find it appealing.

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A smart poster that knows the weather (and a great alternative display)

Is this:

It uses smart ink, so it’s low power. But it changes throughout the day, based on the information it gets from the Internet. It looks great, and it’s around $134, which is not bad.

I’d like to see more tech do this. A fine marriage of high tech and aesthetics.

For more information, see A smart poster that knows the weather | Yanko Design

A little story about why I think Tile is awesome

I lost my keys the other day and I figured they’d show up but after a few days I concluded they were lost. Luckily I didn’t have to do a search of the house because I had a Tile attached to them. (Yes I should have used it right away.) So I opened the app and figured it would tell me they were in the house, but it said they were up the street, approximately half a kilometer a way.I used the app to go right to the location was: a gas station where I was getting my bike tires pumped up a few days earlier. The keys must have fallen out when I was doing this. Great! I went inside and asked if someone had turned them in. Clerk says: nope! I was sure they were there. I start the app and get it to play music on my key fob. I can hear them! Another clerk comes over and opens a drawer with a bunch of keys, including mine! So no thanks to the first clerk but thanks to everyone else including Tile.

Some thoughts on this:

  • Don’t assume that if someone finds your keys or wallet that they will turn it over to you if you show up. The staff may be busy, or someone may have misplaced the items, or maybe the person working there just can’t be bothered to look. Let Tile help you here.
  • If you think: I can’t afford a Tile, consider the alternative. Consider the time and money it costs to replace your keys, wallet, etc. Chances are it’s less than a Tile.
  • Even when the items you lost are nearby, having the Tile saves you a lot of hassle of going around looking for the item.
  • Consider attaching your Tile to a remote control if you have people in the house misplacing it all the time.

What happens when you fill your house with smart devices?

Just how bad is it to have your house filled with smart devices? Kash Hill attempted to find out by connecting many of them up in her house and then track all the data that they sent out. The results are fascinating. Some of them send the data out in the clear, which is terrible. But even the ones that encrypt your data and leaking things about you via metadata.

Essentially whatever value smart devices provide — and some of that value is doubtful — they are monitoring equipment that you set up yourself. Just how much they monitor can be seen here in her study: The House That Spied on Me.

It’s a great read, and for some, it will be a great revelation.

Image via Home Depot’s web site.