Exploring the impact of broadband and technology on our lives, our businesses, and our communities.

Internet of Things, Part III: Encryption slows down HomeKit use

Vendors who want to roll out home security devices using Apple's HomeKit are complaining. Using the HomeKit API allows customers to control the devices (with many more applications than home security) from their iPhone or iPad.

Apple is requiring a very high level of encryption for HomeKit-enabled devices to prevent hackers from taking over these devices. If the HomeKit-enabled device controls your front door lock or the entire house alarm system, a complex encryption algorithm is a good idea.

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Internet of Things, Part II: Hacked vehicles

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to roll along merrily, with manufacturers sticking a WiFi chip and a poorly designed single purpose Web server into anything with electricity. That is not so bad. What is bad is the complete and utter disregard for testing for security.

Railroads and fiber: Repeating history

I've been reading "A Great and Shining Road," by John Williams. It tells the story of the development of the transcontinental railroad, and has much detail in the beginning about the development of rail transportation in the U.S., as it started on the east coast.

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Nest releases home security camera

Nest, the thermostat people, have been busy branching out by developing (or buying) other home gadgets like smoke detectors and security cameras. The company recently announced the Nest Cam, an Internet of Things (IoT) security camera.

Knowledge Democracy:

Popular papers are available on the WideOpen site

I have put some of my most popular papers over on the WideOpen Networks site. You can access them here.

  • My two "Worst Practice" papers have been among the most popular things I have written in the past 22 years.
  • My paper on "The Role of the Local Transport Provider" has also been getting lots of good comments...people are telling me it is a really good overview of open access networks and what they do.

Technology News:

Shark jumping Part III: The wearable cloud

If you needed still more evidence that the Internet of Things (IoT) has become silly, here is another data point: ReVault, the wearable cloud.

It is a watch thingy that you can strap to your arm and it uses Bluetooth and/or WiFi to automatically back up your smartphone and tablet. Your whole backup plan is based on something that sets off the metal detectors at the airport, so you have to take it off and risk leaving it behind at the security checkpoint.

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Is everything going to look like Facebook?

LinkedIn has been slowly adjusting its interface to look and behave more like Facebook, and when I checked it this morning, it had changed again. It now looks almost exactly like Facebook.

On the one had, Facebook is a familiar interface, and I had always found LinkedIn features to be obscure (and I'm trying to be generous). LinkedIn started out as a kind of professional address book, and they just kept adding more stuff willy-nilly. At least they have now tried to bring some sanity to the design.

Technology News:

Internet of things: more shark jumping

The Internet of Things continues to be more hype than substance, and the whole Internet industry is starting to feel like 1998 again, when any Red Bull-addled idea seemed to be able to attract millions in venture capital.

The latest IoT gadget nobody needs is GasWatch, a device that lets you check how much propane is left in your BBQ propane tank.....from your phone.

What?

Technology News:

Social media and hiring

The always interesting David Strom has a great piece here about the dangers of social media in the business world. He recounts a recent incident where a job applicant who received two job offers decided to ask the whole world which one she should take.

Needless to say, it did not turn out well for the young woman. One of the companies, after seeing her "pros and cons" post about each company, took offense and rescinded their offer. Which might sound sensible, but left the company looking thin-skinned and defensive.

Knowledge Democracy:

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There is still an AOL? Who knew?

I was surprised to hear that Verizon has purchased AOL. I occasionally get a message from someone who still has an AOL email account, but I can't remember the last time I actually went to aol.com...sometime in 1999?

Verizon seems to be trying to imitate the Comcast/NBC merger. Verizon says they are after the AOL OTT (Over The Top) content. Really? I have not met or heard anyone say, "Wow, that show on AOL was really great!"

Technology News:

The Apple Watch jumps the shark

The Washington Post is running online ads touting that you can read the newspaper on the Apple Watch. Really? Really? If there is ONE THING that I have never ever wished for, it has to be this: "I wish I could read a newspaper on my watch."

Does it work something like this?

Today in

(scroll)

Washington

(scroll)

the

(scroll)

President

(scroll)

announced

(scroll)

that he

(scroll)

was.....

Have we completely lost our minds over these gadgets?

Technology News:

Why fiber? The work from home problem

We get asked all the time, "Why do I need a fiber connection at home? My Netflix works fine."

I was trying to do some work from home over the weekend, and I needed to move some relatively small files back and forth between my computer at home and a remote server. I was getting dial up speeds consistently for several hours. File transfers that would finish in a second or two at the office were taking many minutes--long enough that I had time to go do other things and then become more and more annoyed as I would check back and see the file transfer was still not complete.

Technology News:

Apple Watch strap is ugly

It's Friday, and I am delinquent in writing about hardware and gadgets. I am mildly interested in the Apple Watch, but I do wonder if anyone besides me thinks that the cheesy plastic strap provided with the entry level models is not only ugly but unpleasant. I have worn watches with a plastic strap, and have found them profoundly uncomfortable, especially in the summer or when exercising. Perspiration builds up under the plastic and the band and watch gets hot and, and how do I put it....sweaty.

Technology News:

Comcast-TimeWarner merger is over

Comcast has announced that it will give up trying to merge with TimeWarner Cable. The company has said that scrutiny from the Feds was a factor.

Is home-based work over-rated?

There is a conversation over on LinkedIn about whether or not home-based tele-commuting is a real thing or not. I don't think the concept of working from home is "wrong," but I would agree that it is over-hyped.

We are not all going to work from home in the future. I first started using IP-based videoconferencing in 1994, and use it now on a daily basis. It is a tool, and nothing more than that. It is not some magic device that eliminates the need for face to face interaction.

Technology News:

Apple Watch reviews starting to appear

Some early reviews of the new Apple Watch are starting to appear. This review discusses battery life. I had to chuckle at this comment:


Geoffrey Fowler, The Wall Street Journal:
"The battery lives up to its all-day billing, but sometimes just barely. It’s often nearly drained at bedtime, especially if I’ve used the watch for exercise. There’s a power-reserve mode that can make it last a few hours longer, but then it only shows the time."

Technology News:

No broadband = No tourist dollars

The "slow or non-existent" broadband service in and around Loch Ness in Scotland is driving tourists away, who flee in horror, not from Nessie, the once and future Loch Ness Monster, but from un-usable broadband.

Broadband is basic infrastructure for community and economic development.

Community news and projects:

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No broadband? I'm selling the house!

This is a hair-raising story that highlights how broadband is changing economic development....no one wants to live in an area with poor broadband.

Just months after buying a new home, the owner is putting the house on the market because everyone told him he could get broadband service once he moved in, and that just turned out not to be true.

Technology News:

The Local Transport Provider: A new way of talking about open access

I wrote this paper to help clarify what local open access networks actually do.

I have found that people continually confuse the local open access network with “service provider,” and thought that coming up with a new term might help.

Design Nine and WideOpen Networks will be at the Broadband Communities Annual Summit in Austin, Texas in April. Be sure to stop by our booth and say hello.

Best regards,
Andrew

Technology News:

The Local Transport Provider: A new way of talking about open access

I wrote this paper to help clarify what local open access networks actually do.

I have found that people continually confuse the local open access network with “service provider,” and thought that coming up with a new term might help.

Design Nine and WideOpen Networks will be at the Broadband Communities Annual Summit in Austin, Texas in April. Be sure to stop by our booth and say hello.

Best regards,
Andrew

http://www.bbpmag.com/

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