No, but the phone app is. See, for example, the Samsung washer/dryer app. The first review as of today reports:
The app requires permission to access contacts, phone, camera, and location. It does require the camera for linking to the washer and dryer, but there is no reason to need access to everything else. On top of that, if you deny it access to even one of these, it will close the app and not allow you to proceed any further until you allow it access to all it wants.
That guy is being generous about whether the appliance needs access to the camera. Couldn’t Samsung with all their engineers find another way to sync the phone and the appliance without literally allowing it to take surreptitious photographs? No thanks. I bought a Samsung TV a while ago that had a built in camera. Sometimes I have sex in front of my TV. I’m not interested in an audience. Back to the store it went.
Those are great if you actually cook, and need to wash your hands when they’re all chickeny or whatever. You don’t have to actually contaminate the pump mechanism, and you can still get your hands washed. That’s the primary reason it was developed, I suspect, and it’s a very useful tool for that specific purpose.
We’ve got one, and it’s right next to the kitchen sink for the reason I list above. The rest of our soap dispensers are either old-school soap dishes or pump ones we got at the grocery store (and refill repeatedly).
Thing is, people owned private horses, carts, and wagons before they owned private cars. It wasn’t like the idea of having personal transportation sprung up wholly formed when the internal combustion engine was developed. And it’s a little bit absurd to think that people in the late 19th century were going to be prescient enough to see the downsides to it decades, if not more than a century later.
I agree. The vast majority of them are little more than a combination of laziness enabling, spying, and marketing nonsense. I mean, we know some people whose fridge has a screen on the outside and cameras on the inside, so you can see what’s inside without opening the door. Cool in a way, but when you think about it, what purpose does that really serve?
Some things though are very cool when controlled from your phone. My robot vacuum lets me do a lot of nifty things- I can define a map of rooms, specific zones, etc… and set it to clean them as I see fit. I don’t have to just hit “clean” and let it clean everything it can reach; I can tell it to go “ultraclean” the kitchen and only the kitchen. Or any specific 6’x6’ square in the house in fact.
My lawn sprinkler controller has weather information as well as some AI, so it tracks how much it has watered, how much rain has occurred, what sort of plants and soil there are in each zone, and how much rain is predicted, and sets the watering times, dates, and durations accordingly.
But there’s no way I’d get something like Alexa/Siri/Google Assistant and use that with automated home appliances/lights/thermostats/etc…
I kinda doubt that, unless there was a parallel effort to create dense, urban spaces rather than expansive cities with suburbs and sprawling industrial parks. If you did one without the other, you’d end-up with a dense and potentially complicated network of rail lines needed to get people within walking distance of wherever they are going, creating a different set of problems. Cars and roads as we know them provide the maximum flexibility over the maximum area at a high speed, and since the US has had plenty of land it seems development went the way most people wanted. If people a hundred years ago knew the problems cars were going to create, I still doubt they would be willing to invest in Manhattan-style living spaces serviced by cars that only go 20MPH.
The problem is not so much the cars themselves, but the number of cars we have on the roads. An alternate would create the same problems of scale, just with a different flavor.
I see the touchless soap dispensers in public places, like airports, where handling raw chicken is less of an issue. But wherever it is, suppose you touch the pump mechanism and pick up some contamination from the last person who used it? The very next thing you do after touching the soap dispenser is wash your hands.
Okay, but why does your Roomba have to report information about the map of your house to iRobot? All of that could be controlled locally.
Perhaps this has some utility. Interestingly though, that is all data it needs from the internet. None of it requires reporting information (other than location +/-~50 miles) to the internet and yet, I’ll bet, it does.
In the best case, it makes me more tired but less cranky.
(By the time the railroads started dying, it was well into the 20th century; and I’m pretty sure we knew lead was dangerous, even if we didn’t know about particulates. But in any case I wasn’t saying ‘we should have known better!’ but only ‘suppose we’d done this instead!’)
You’re way out in the mountains a lot more than 25 miles from most services, aren’t you?
Yeah, we’d need some other setup for those situations. Just as we do for the people now living in places like parts of Alaska, with effectively no roads.
Those expansive suburbs and sprawling industrial (and shopping) parks are dependent on automobiles, yes. They developed because of the availability of cars, and didn’t exist before them. We’d have differently laid out cities in the first place if we didn’t have cars.
I can’t find it now; but years ago I read an article saying that people tend to spend about the same length of time, on average, getting to work and to shopping, no matter what the transportation available is. Faster transport doesn’t save us time; everything just stretches out in distance to account for it.
Probably true – there just plain are an awful lot of us. Whether the different flavor would be an improvement, we’ll most likely never know. Not only are the cities and suburbs and so on now built for cars, but in most populated areas any plausible place to put the railroad tracks has been built over.
There is a town of ~400 people about 5 miles away. There is a bar there, so I have that going for me
Grocery store about 15 miles away. Over the continental divide, and it’s switchbacks for about half of it. Very steep. Would be quite a challenge to set up any kind of RR track. It would have to be completely redone, and frankly, there is not enough population to use it.
They have tried for years and years to set up a RR from Denver international airport to the major ski areas. That would be ok. It would be along I70 (more or less) I’m all for it. Get the idiots that fly in, rent a car, and can’t drive in snow off the roads. And they can get off my lawn, well, if I had a lawn. No such thing where I live
I don’t really know if the vacuum reports it to Shark or not. I can’t actually access the robot control interface except via the app- there’s no web interface or anything like that. But I can access it from elsewhere/get notifications about it. Which is surprisingly useful actually.
As far as the sprinkler controller goes, it just asks for your address. The rest is either canned values for “silty clay” soil & “hot season grass” for example, or it is stuff you look up on the USDA’s soil map (water holding capacity) and/or for the specific species of grass you have (stuff like root depth, crop coefficient, etc…). None of it is particularly sensitive. I mean, maybe they can estimate how much water you use for irrigation, but so what?
I’d save the ire for devices that are actually not providing a useful service and yet stealing your data in the process. Stuff like internet-enabled washing machines and dryers, or fridges hooked up to the internet.
At any given moment there are about a million people who are not on the planet, they are flying in one of the thousands of airplanes. The ‘jet fuel’ being used is essentially diesel fuel, blasting out of the engines. Much more fuel is being used by the planes than any need to move products on the ground. Stuck behind a semi truck on the highway and think that something should be done about the pollution? Look up.
You do not need to have a weekend in France, your grandma moved 2000 miles away, write fucking letter or a Zoom call, weekend in Vegas, the ‘boys from Cleveland’ flying out to the west coast next week for an important meeting, no they are just using company benefits to come out and play golf.
All, and I mean all, of the justifications for commercial private air travel are bullshit. None is needed. I have a really hard time taking the save our planet, climate change, pollution, concerns seriously while this continues. It is right there in your face, in your skys, tons and tons of diesel fuel spewing out in the name of what?
Look at all the people in the air, polluting the planet for their own frivilous needs, going nowhere they really need to be. And this is going on 24 hours a day, every day, and I should buy an electric car to off set this shit.
Internet connected devices like kettles and colour changing lightbulbs are notoriously insecure things to add to a network; typically because they are designed to be really easy to set up, and without much thought applied to how they might be abused or attacked (and even if they are reasonably secure when sold, they seldom get security updates, so remain wide open to any exploits that might later be discovered)
A security expert told me a true story about penetration testing at a company where one of the employees bought a wifi-connected electric kettle (the companion app could be used to change the LED illumination of the water, and give you a notification when it had reached boiling). They put the kettle in the kitchen at their small office and attached it to the office Wifi.
All this guy did was to take a note of the SSID for their Wifi, then broadcast his own wifi with the same name, but with no encryption, and offer a stronger signal; the kettle connected to his fake network and he was able to telnet into device and access the configuration file, which was stored as plain text, and contained the WEP passphrase for the actual office network.
Some people like to open the fridge and spend endless time perusing, shuffling, checking to see what’s in this tub or that. It wastes energy AND promotes food spoilage, since the contents all warm up.
This reduces both of those problems.
That way, you can set your frozen dinner or what-have-you in the oven, head off to work, then remotely start the oven an hour or so before you leave. Come home to a hot, fresh meal.
We do use the wifi connected thermostat at our lake cabin, both to check if the furnace is running at all, and also to bump up the temperature setting an hour or two before we arrive. I wish we also had a wifi water sensor in the basement, and maybe a attached doorbell camera too.