The problem here is not the refrigerator!
We're building a shitty internet, not an internet of shitty things. If integrating with an online calendar means having to have a software team at the ready at all times for the whim's of some service's API updates.. we have failed society in a deep way.
The API that Google should be releasing for Google calendar is CalDAV, because it's a standard that people can depend on. Google - by choosing to not use that standard AND to not get a different one standardized with their peers, shows they don't want to be part of an Internet.
It also supports a richer API, for features that don't fit into CalDAV:
While I tend to agree with what I think is your point, it's all well and good to say that there's a standard and one should use it (which I support, and have worked on many throughout my career), but standards aren't a panacea either, especially since many of best standards are ones that standardize a previously proprietary (but working!) design.
(No relationship with the calendar team, but I'm pretty sure they'll read this thread if you have comments for them.)
CalDAV is a standardization of a previously proprietary but working design (apple's icalendar work) that most all other vendors support except for Google.
"We have not yet provided a full implementation of all of the relevant specifications, however for many clients such as Apple iCal™ the CalDAV protocol should interoperate correctly."
Every time I see "google calendar" in our issue tracker, I die a little inside.
We have a dozen known vulnerabilities in common software packages every year, and these devices are using IP for communicating often confidential information. It can be disastrous for your toaster to be hijacked, especially if it can be remoted no and burn your house down.
This whole IoT disaster should have been predicated on free software, with some protocol support for authorized local network updates and maintenance. You know damn well that if Samsung cannot be bothered to update the OS on a four year old phone anymore, your Samsung Fridge or TV or futon is a lost cause.
The only solution I could think of from a security standpoint would be to limit functionality on the device itself to such a level that there is not much need for updating, i.e., ideally the fridge becomes a dumb device that essentially offers a vnc-style connection to a central FridgeCo data center, so that the fridge itself would never deal with your passwords etc. other than sending them somewhere in an encrypted connection. This basic layer of functionality (and even that would be a lot to keep secure) would be more reasonable to maintain and keep secure than having separate apps for Google Cal etc.
Of course, this would cause many more problems, be a single point of failure etc., but I think that's the way it's most likely going to go.
How much vendors are willing to use something like this remains to be seen. Personally I resist buying things that I think will have a poor security update record. I'd like to see more pressure on vendors to do the right thing here, especially because there is at least one reasonable solution available.
Disclosure: I work for Canonical, but am not associated with the IoT work in Ubuntu.
I believe Canonical have a grand plan but have just focused on phones first. Since to my knowledge the Ubuntu TV hasn't happened yet, how can it be a flop?
Rather than being built in, this "calendar" should be android/iOS tablet that's attached to the refrigerator with magnets. It should be thrown in the trash every couple years and replaced with a new one. According to the interests of Google/Apple (as evidenced by their software updates).
Same thing with "Smart TVs". Just put some extra powered USB ports on the back next to the HDMI port and bundle it with a TV stick.
I have GPS and internet radio on my phone that I upgrade every few years, why would I want it in my car that I upgrade maybe every 10 years?
I think we're building a shitty internet of shitty things.
By the way, do you know that you can send an email to a server running software that hasn't been updated since the 1960's?
> “From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt's money-gulping door.
> "I'll sue you," the door said as the first screw fell out. Joe Chip said, "I've never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it.”
Then -BAM-, anyone who wants a decent looking model with decent functionality is stuck paying rent.
Companies have many consumer-hostile tools to force people to do things that is against their best interest. And mark my words they are salivating at the thought of all that recurring revenue.
There will be tons of such appliances from the mid 20th century and onwards available on craigslist, flea markets, probably even ebay amaon et al. for quite a while.
I fully expect to see a gradual boiling of the frog. First it will be free features and benefits tied to an online account, then it will be new features that are only part of a subscription plan, and once they have critical mass, killing the free tier or making it near worthless.
Sure there might be a market for used devices, but again, it will be the minority. The rest of the marketplace will be screwed.
 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10272483
You can opt out of using the smart features, but the presence of wifi and bluetooth stacks and cameras and microphones means that you are living with a long list of vulnerabilities and potential intrusive/abusive behavior.
The good news is, display manufacturers all make very, very high end models at relatively low prices without any smart features or gizmos at all: they are called signage displays.
Think of the screens at the airport with the tiny bezels ... you can buy those. They're awesome.
I couldn't tell if that was because they are engineered to be on all the time, or if manufacturers just jack up the list price so they can maintain margin on discounted bulk pricing for 3,000 panels or whatever.
No, you just turn those off. I bought a TV recently and didn't have any option (for this particular model line) of getting a "non-smart" version. I simply turned off the TV's networking. The only cables attached to the TV are power and HDMI, so it's effectively a dumb TV with zero attack surface.
2020's hottest new major: Archaeological Computer Security
In fact, I have newfound urgency around this because I'll bet very soon I won't be able to find any Windows 8 computers on the market.
Its pretty easy to find computers that aren't Windows 10 (e.g., OS X machines are readily available, as are Chromebooks, and there are even sold-with-Linux computers); its harder to find ones that are Windows-but-not-10, but that's a different thing.
But they're still readily available. I just checked a Dell Precision tower workstation and it comes by default with Win 7. The Dell Optiplex Mini Tower comes by default with Win 8.1, but Win 7 is an easily selected choice.
Still, I've been buying OS X machines exclusively for over a decade. There's not a lot that Windows offers me, except their nice Freecell game. But I'm not a FPS gamer, so that probably makes a big difference.
You can just buy it, ignore what you don't want, and use it 'traditionally' (though still digitally..).
If no theater around you shows non-3D movies at all, that might, but that's more a consequence of your decision to live in an area where 3D movies are apparently unusually popular (or non-3D movies unusually unpopular) than anything else.
Not being on Facebook is conspicuous enough already. :/
> Pop open the cover and install an aftermarket control board that runs Free software.
Appliances will get redesigned so that it's hard to do it. If they really want to drive the message home, then like 'maxerickson said, it's epoxy time.
> Eventually, this will be more user-friendly (better interface one doesn't have to relearn every monthly update)
> convenient (better software features)
See all software.
> and economical (how many appliances are thrown out due to software malfunctions).
Again, see mobile.
I haven't opened too many post-infopocalypse appliances but the ones I've seen have been dead simple, apart from their over-"engineered" control boards. These things used to run off mechanical timers, and that is still the underlying philosophy, with new "smart" features mostly UI-based.
It seems to me that one could design a general sequencing board to run many models. Some types would be harder than others (washing machines with brushless motors), and moreso if manufacturers start to add digitally-communicating sensors, but these don't seem insurmountable to handle pretty generally. So a total end-user installed cost of say $400? That seems within the price differential between "low end" and "high end" models that differ in software.
It just takes will since it requires not just picking from what the advertising says, like anything Free. But IMHO this is a social momentum issue and the disadvantages of proprietary trash-land will only be more and more pronounced as there are ever-more features for manufacturers to fuck up.
And as far as epoxy? Manufacturers don't really care if you mod things they've made, they just don't want to be on the hook for supporting this. The protectiveness is rooted in thinking their shoddy software is some kind of "competitive advantage". Completely replacing the control board sidesteps this.
This isn't an exaggeration. 50%.
I've installed and run Linux on many computers over the past $WAY_TOO_LONG. Anecdotes aren't data, but your experience is an outlier these days.
Regardless. I gather that you're trying to slyly imply that your bad experience with Ubuntu means that Free Software is synonymous with low quality or something.
That's a silly thing to do.
One broken machine isn't an indicator of much of anything.
Turns out drag-and-drop between folders had been implemented, but no one had decided to code drag-from-folder-to-desktop as a feature.
... I wish I was kidding.
Ironically, the all-in-one controllers also tend to be missing some of the more popular pinball machine models, as the IP owners for those machines had the legal muscle to boss around the companies that make the all-in-one boards. As a result, some of the more popular pinball machines are dying as their control boards wear out and they cannot be replaced, because even the popular manufacturers either rotated what they make or went out of business / got bought. :-p
Flying advert drones projecting adverts onto pedestrian's retinas; home appliances like fridges that refuse to open until sufficient coinage is inserted - a prescient vision.
Or rather, advertising makes you feel it has always been this way.
Ubik is a Madison Avenue version of Orwell's 1984, rebranding the past. In this everyday dystopia, we've never had it so good despite having so little.
But Dick was not just prescient, he was writing what it was like where he was, when he was. All the dystopian elements of his Sci-Fi were his contemporary struggles.
Paraphrasing Gibson: Dystopia is already here, it just hasn't hit home yet.
Dick's protagonist argues with his fridge, he wants the milk but the fridge is demanding money it claims he owes the refrigeration company.
Even if it were the best thing ever, I know technology and I know that fridges last years longer than any gadget ever has. Any choice of touchscreen, OS or even network connection technology would probably be a "bad idea" in 5-10 years.
My microwave has a MyPlate.gov button on it. May have seemed like a good idea when our home's previous owner renovated back in 2011, but it's silly now.
My "smart" TV has an app called WebVideos on it, which does nothing but apologize for being shut down.
This trend of timely design rather than timeless design in appliances is not great for the consumer. It reminds me of bundling crapware OS-extensions onto budget PC laptops. Design that respects the orthogonal-nature of connectedness to a device's primary purpose should be praised.
One counterexample that comes to mind is my Nest thermometer. It's super convenient, works great. And if Nest ever goes under and turns out the lights on their API, or if wifi becomes an irrelevant network connection technology, it reverts to being a thermostat with a really nice UI.
They didn't have any of the 2015 models at the time, so we test drove a 2014 model. Except for the inadequate number of pedals, it seemed fine. I was ready to place an order. Then the dealer, who was riding with us, said "and the new 2015s will all have the new infotainment stuff!" "Oh," I said, knowing he meant a shitty touch screen. "Can you show me?"
We get back to the dealership and he walks me over to some other, larger model with the new infotainment system. He sits down, turns the key, and what do I see on the infotainment system?
A loading bar.
I walked out and bought a 2011 Mazda3.
I wonder if the app was prepared for that or if some poor fellows are maintaining servers whose sole purpose is responding to you with this apology.
You know this Moore Law thing, about software getting twice slower every two years to compensate for increasing transistor density... except that already deployed hardware doesn't grow these extra transistors in the meantime.
I think centralizing smartdevices on your phone makes a lot of sense. I don't need yet another remote or config to worry about. If IoT happens correctly, it'll be mostly headless. The head end will be your phone or smartwatch.
As a side note, the Amazon reviews for this thing are pretty terrible in regards to loud buzzing, ice maker issues, etc. We bought a new place three years ago and I was really tempted by the shiny Samsung fridges (LED lighting, little smart display, etc), but ended up going with a more conservative and pricier GE which has been rock-solid. Feels like I dodged a bullet here.
For example, a mile before a left turn it'll tell me to bear left instead of the way google suddenly springs it on me half a mile before a turn on a super busy road during a traffic jam.
Instead of having to glance at my phone every little bit it displays the directions on my heads up display along with the lanes that I should be on to make the turn. It also knows how to deal with music already playing on the car speakers by muting the driver side of the music while reading directions so my passengers can keep listening.
Along with all of this, even though it's quite fiddly to view it, if I connect my phone to the car and have internet on it can grab traffic data to overlay onto the map, so I get the best of both worlds. <3 Mazda
Another thing I've noticed is take anything fast, implement it in software, and latency becomes a killer. Software is so terrifyingly slow compared to hardware. Its hard to believe that people who write disgustingly slow UIs are in the same industry as people who write anti-lock brake code or real time fuel injection code.
> I'm using google maps on my phone anyway due to the
> better interface and constant updates.
Rather than relying on it for guidance, I use it as a reference for routing around small inconveniences (road work/construction, accidents, etc.) on familiar routes. I've found it quite useful in this regard, and the large screen size definitely comes in handy for at-a-glance usage.
I don't really rely on it for traffic information or anything, just maps. If I'm driving on local 'main' roads and visually pick up on indicators that there's something inconvenient ahead, I'll use the nav unit to identify appropriate sidestreets to take instead.
A one time mistake, for sure, though!
I found the hotel just fine! It was just a bit of a "should've seen that coming" type of moment, is all.
Ethernet via RJ45 has really good staying power; IEEE standard in 1990. A refrigerator at 10Mbps is probably sufficient, but if not, 10GBase-T is approaching affordability, and a standard for 40GBase-T is expected next year, although you may need to pull new wires.
Everything I've ever seen with a 2GHz radio supports b,  and with a 5GHz radio supports a.
 Even though some AP admins deactivate 802.11b support for entirely valid throughput raisins. AIUI, 802.11a doesn't suffer from those issues.
Example: I created wifi drivers for a handheld platform back in the 90's (Magic Cap), including support for the earliest 802.11 PC cards. Fans of the platform (both of them) encouraged me to update the drivers so they could continue using their handhelds over wireless, but it's simply not possible to get a 1999 wifi card on a modern wifi network in any half-secure fashion.
True. It's a damn shame about WEP, and WPA2 didn't happen until 2004. But, 2004 is eleven years ago. Disgregarding the shitfest that is WPS-PIN, WPA2 with CCMP is looking rather good.
Are you aware of breaks in WPA2 with CCMP-only crypto and either a well-chosen passphrase, or WPA2-Enterprise with a proper client authorization scheme?
> ...it's simply not possible to get a 1999 wifi card on a modern wifi network in any half-secure fashion.
Not saying that there are any WiFi cards that behave in this manner,  but would a hypothetical WiFi card that only knows how to how to establish and pass around -er- frames(?) on a 802.11a/g link and relies on the client PC to use the frames passed back and forth to do link crypto & etc be
* Reasonably sufficiently fast, given enough CPU power on the client
* Able to cope with any likely enhancements (such as the addition of WPA2 back in 2004) with a driver update, rather than a firmware update
 Even though I thought that pre 802.11ac Atheros cards had open firmware and open drivers, so one got pretty close to this.
This is what I don't think people quite understand.
Same with (Android|Apple)Auto that's coming out. By the time you've paid it off, who is going to buy it?! You'll HAVE to trade it in at the dealership. That limits you in so many ways.
In fact, the Android Auto/Carplay functionality is largely driven by the software on the phone, the headunit really just acts a dumb terminal when entering that mode.
If anything, this is a WAY more future proof design than the current in-car entertainment and navigation functions which rarely see updates. It is likely that Android/Apple will be around in a few years with regular updates you can take advantage of in your car, vs a navigation system that will never see a change, even a security update.
If the fridge for example, used "Android Fridge" or "Apple Chillplay" it is likely this problem wouldn't exist. An OTA on the phone which pushes the calendar to the fridge would solve this. This is how Android Auto and Apple Carplay work.
First of all, it's in addition to the built-in systems which have AM, FM, SD card reader, HD radio, Sirius XM, navigation, Sirius NavTraffic, local gas prices, sports scores.
Secondly, why would nobody buy older tech?
Third, if the car was worthless because of outdated tech, why would a dealership buy it?
Fourth, even in this day and age, people still upgrade/replace the factory electronics.
You are clearly holding^W using it wrong. You are supposed to buy new fridges way more often, duh...</sarcasm>
home, do I have milk?
home, turn off the stove
or whatever control word is used to indicate you want to talk to your system.
"The upper-class kitchen, designed to be entered only by servants, is identifiable at once: it's beat-up, inconvenient, and out-of-date, with lots of wood, no Formica whatever, and a minimum of accessories and labor-saving appliances like dishwashers and garbage disposals. Why tolerate these noisy things when you can have a silent servant do precisely what they do? The upper-class kitchen does have a refrigerator, but so antique that it has rounded corners and a big white coil on top. Neatness and modernity enter as we move down toward the middle class, and the more your kitchen resembles a lab, the worse for you socially." -- Class, a Guide to the American Status System
What a time to be alive.
The take away is that IoT under capitalism is going to suck.
Maybe even Intellectual Ventures has a patent on it.
I have a mini fridge in my shop that is usually unplugged and has some weird problem with the temperature sensor relay jamming closed the first time after it is plugged in after a period of being off. "Rebooting" it seems to work.
If only there were other ways of checking or sharing an electronic calendar! The future is now.
Typically it is cheaper to buy a regular fridge and add an iPad than a smart fridge.
Also it is cheaper to buy four(!) iPads and back-seat tablet holder for a minivan than an integrated DVD player. Easier to replace when it dies too. Those DVD players can easily run $1500+.
iPad mini: $399
kindle fire: $49.99
I don't know enough about the Fire to say whether it's a piece of garbage or not; all I know is that I have a bunch of iPad apps that I've paid for and Apple's ecosystem makes it easy to add another iPad and transfer my settings over.
It may not meet a techy's high-end needs, but the $50 is perfectly credible now. Not like a $50 tablet two years ago, which was slow, had an immediately-noticeably-crappy touchscreen, and was latent in everything it did. I suspect Amazon's still subsidizing it a bit even at that price, but probably not that much. Those SoCs are really pushing things along. (Pity they're so proprietary.)
Going off the usual price for apps ($2.99?), and a 'bunch' is probably about 25 apps, then replacing all your paid iOS apps with paid Fire apps would probably cost you $75.
So ignoring anything else, a lot of people would actually value their $75 sunk app costs greater than the $350 difference between that iPad and the Fire. It's a pretty interesting lesson in humanity.
And there is always this one little app whose substitute would be perfect if only it didn't miss this one little feature.
Every review of an Android tablet complains about how the software is buggy and the ecosystem isn't there yet. Still. Again, I was never convinced there was a larger market for tablets; just a market for iPads.
In my experience, it's very difficult to find the same apps in the Fire store.
You can just install android on the Kindle Fire and be happy, though.
Too much is proprietary. We need open and free protocols. I don't want to live in a world where I have to buy all my appliances and devices from the same manufacturer.
I think the market has proved that it doesn't particularly think about anything past "Does it work right now?" And proprietary-in-a-box formats satisfy that just fine (usually at a cheaper price point).
We'll no doubt eventually get integration, as there's too much opportunity not to. But yes, the near future is probably going to be an ugly period for interoperability. Good time to start selling IoT bridges though...
In the connectivity sense, or the "I have a bridge to sell you" sense? :)
But generally my perception is that the evolution of the network before surplus CPU power made wonderboxes efficient (a "home router" that does everything!) is that network hardware evolved from simpler pieces into more capable but complicated (save on routers by using switches, save on switches by using hubs, save on hubs by using repeaters, etc etc).
So the original intent of my comment was that if we're faced with a network incompatibility issue (e.g. AppleTalk vs TCP/IP), then it'd be good to be in the business of making translation hardware.
Now I'll grant it's possible that the IP suite was developed as an isolated set of standards divorced from those outside networking practices, but the timeline makes me feel like it's at least possible that there was some lesson-learning incorporated.
Of course, I wasn't involved and I don't know offhand. I'll have to do a bit of reading later for self-edification.
At some point IOT products will emerge with well designed features that solve important problems (i.e. electric water heaters that cycle on to absorb intermittent renewable electricity when it is available).
My apartment's fridge looks to be at least a decade old - somehow, it's not clear to me that spotty integration with AltaVista Calendars, or whatever it is we used back in the dark days of 2005 would be any kind of value add.
Do we need to create a universal standard to measure how close/far we are to/from The Jetsons?
"The lights are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them go on again in our lifetime. Or until we jailbreak the firmware."
I assume, anyway, eventually my attention wandered and I skipped to the end, where a charming young lad does indeed go unhinged over “samsucks” and heroin-addicted mothers.
It's also a little funny that the report ends up on the Google product forums, given that Google doesn't make refrigerators. Such is life in the Internet of Things world though; when the network breaks, everyone and no-one is to blame.
The Internet-connected refrigerator was predicted and/or introduced, in some form, at least once a year even back then. It became our punchline when talking about poorly conceived converged devices. Reality continues to bear out that opinion.
The problem was never the cost of the computer part--people will pay ridiculous amounts of money for "high end" appliances. The problem was always: how will the manufacturer meet consumer expectations, and then keep meeting them over the typical lifespan of a refrigerator?
People even today have a hard enough time managing the computer they know they have--how will they manage a computer buried in a fridge? Answer: they can't, as illustrated by that Google support thread.
And worse, appliance manufacturers are no better at managing computers than consumers, again as illustrated in that thread. Samsung did not plan to support their fridge computer, and now that they are being asked to do so, they can't find their ass with both hands. Every appliance company is this bad or worse with software and networking.
So, an underpowered embedded computer that doesn't function as advertised is not shocking at all. That doesn't mean it's not amusing how stupid/terrible it is.
This is confirmation of that, and people love confirmation.
If someone as geeky about this stuff as me thinks like this, there's no hope for connected appliances actually catching on anywhere.
Not to be all "get off my lawn", but some things don't need to be smart.
Like stream Netflix with your laptop, or play games with your Xbox.
Rather than have the thing that does everything poorly.
There has to be some solution to the problem of low quality and ill-maintained vendor software - but to them it's not a problem so much as a push for the user to do a device upgrade.
I look forward to a day when the internal components of home appliances are salvaged on the off-chance that a user's credentials could be found in them.
You can bet that off-brand devices will ask for a username/password and store it locally in plaintext.
With many copiers, all scans are kept in memory. So copies of things with SSN's or other confidential information are just sitting there in the copier's memory, waiting to be retrieved by the next owner.
These things are sitting out in public with little attention and it's frequently trivial to pull this stuff down via network...
That said, integration with calendaring software in particular is way harder than it should be.
Sounds like your fridge needs a software update to use the new API version."
> software update
Seems someone needs a new fridge.
This comment terrifies me. It sounds like that I kind of future I've read about in dystopian literature.
TL;DR fuck Samsung; stop keeping those assholes in business
* admittedly a bad example, but whatever you choose it will fail to convey their true awfulness anyway
As I posted on Facebook at the time: "I'm not sure if I'm more appalled that there are fridges with WiFi, or upset that mine doesn't have it."
20 November 2014 - problem reported on fridges costing in excess of $2,000
23 Feb 2015 - problem on some models resolved
4 June 2014 - original poster from 20 Nov has working fridge
Dec 2015 - still not fixed for all fridges