The CD Principle

I still marvel at the Interweb.

Today's kids have all grown up with it, and to them it's as commonplace as electricity or indoor toilets, but to me it is new a new and marvelous invention.  I wonder what modern yoof would make of the concept of having to dial up a special number [which had to be paid for] and then sitting for ages listening to a screeching noise while those two emails struggled to download themselves, and the phone bill racked up quite a few notches?  What would they make of web pages that had no images because images were too bulky?  In fact I remember a time before dial-up when the BBC tried an experiment, playing the ZX Spectrum programme screech so we could record it onto tape to load into our Spectrums.  That never worked!

I still wonder at the ability to carry my laptop around the house or garden, and apart from a power cable I can hook into a virtually infinite resource of information.  I wonder at the ability to type out a brainfart here and have people [very strange people] read my outpouring the other side of the world.

But now they are trying to do things which even I find bafflingly strange.  They are connecting cars to the Interweb.  They are connecting wrist watches, kettles, their home heating and just about everything they can.  Why?  Why the fuck would I want to connect my kettle to the Interweb?  It gives me the ability to call my kettle from my mobile phone to tell it to boil?  For fuck's sake, why not just haul your arse out of the chair and switch it on yourself?  Why is it so important to control your central heating from a mobile phone when the damn thing has all sorts of fancy timers?  Now [apparently] I can phone up my car and get it to start the engine.  This is just a thought, but presumably if I want the engine to start it means I am planning on going somewhere and would therefore need to be in the immediate proximity of the car where I can use a fucking key?

I call it the CD Principle.  That stems from the early days of computers where someone produced a top of the range model that had some extra gizmos and features.  One of those features was a little fob, where you pressed a button and it remotely ejected the CD tray.  Why?  What fucking use was that when you still had to physically go over and take out or put in a CD by hand?  They did it because they could, and not for any other reason.

Now they are worried that all these useless connections to the Web are going to cause security problems.  Of course they are.  If it can be hacked, it will be hacked.  And frankly I don't relish the prospect of lashing along the M11 at a hundred miles an hour only to discover that some cunt in Afghanistan has taken over my car from his back bedroom.  I know it's a minor detail but I like to be in control of the car I'm driving.

What worries me is where it's all going to end.  Are they going to try to connect my clothing and furniture?  I suppose you never know when you might get the impulse to re-arrange your sitting room layout, and it would be nice to be able to do it when you're on your holidays?  How about connecting your burglar alarm so any smart kid with a mobile phone can switch it off before cleaning out your house?  Or why not put webcams in all your rooms [supposedly for security] and allow the world watch you go about your daily [and nightly] life?

There are times when I think dial-up had distinct advantages.

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Comments

The CD Principle — 9 Comments

    • Fair enough, but I would argue that if the people that are running this plant call themselves sane, then I am proud to call myself insane.

  1. There are a couple of items you mention, which being connected to wifi would be slightly beneficial – the house heating for example – I work constantly changing shift patterns and it would be handy to switch the heating on just before the end of a shift, so I come home to a warm house. That's better, money-wise, than leaving it on a timer where it comes on/goes off a few times when I'm not at home right now but will be when my shift changes again.

    The car has to be the worst and most dangerous. Two guys have already demonstrated the hacking of a Jeep Cherokee from 400 miles away, whilst it was being driven. They had access to brakes gears and steering, not only the small things like the radio.

    In my opinion the only reason this tech is being integrated into everything is so that it can phone home. Your car can report on your driving habits, speed, whether you have an MOT, insurance etc. We live in a world of snooping busy bodies.

     

    • I can see some advantages in the heating being connected but that is about the limit.  Personally I try to keep as many things as possible off the net, so apart from the 'puters and the television, that's about it.  There is no fucking way I'd have messing around with my car.  The SatNav is my limit, and that's receive only.

  2. A couple we know have one of those building management systems. When the ould fella is away on business and goes out on the lash he shows off to his mates by operating it from afar. Back home the missus is woken up in the middle of the night with all the lights and the TV coming on and the curtains opening and closing. I think she has taken it off him.

    • Heh! Love it!

      And frankly I don't relish the prospect of lashing along the M11 at a hundred miles an hour only to discover that some cunt in Afghanistan has taken over my car from his back bedroom.  I know it's a minor detail but I like to be in control of the car I'm driving.

      As Ripper points out, this has already happened.

      It's a great advert for buying and driving old cars. If I could afford to, I'd always drive classics. I've had more than a few (I like old cars), and apart from the minor drawbacks of the inherent unreliability and the difficulty obtaining spares, they are a joy to drive, and usually very simple to fix, not having any of this computer shit in the system.

      • I know it has been done and that's what has me worried.  If a system has an entry, and I don't give a shit about how secure they claim it is, then it can be hacked, and it probably will be hacked.

        I mourn for my old Austin Mini.  It was the bare essentials – a dream to do maintenance on and simple to drive [apart from getting through CV joints faster than oil].  I'm holding on to my Focus now.  A few more years and it'll class as vintage!

  3. I wonder at the ability to type out a brainfart here and have people [very strange people] read my outpouring the other side of the world.

    Ah, I see you're referring to my good self. Of course you are.

    And haven't you heard of wearable computers sewn right into the fabric of your shirt or pants? That incudes a paper thin flexible battery that's charged by the heat of your body and if your body temp is too low the computer takes control of your shirt and pants and moves them about in certain ways in order to increase your thermal output. I can imagine what it would look like if women started wearing these wearable computer clothes and they suddenly got a chill?

    Oh, and these computerized wearables are connected to the Internet in order to receive security updates and therefor no one could possibly hack your underwear (for example). Of course, if you suddenly find your shirt grabbing you in a head lock you'll know that there's a zero-day exploit running around.

    Lastly, I hear these "Smart" garments run Windows CE.

    Okay, enough of this silliness.

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