Simon’s tips and tricks when you’re creating a smart home with a pencil, or hammer. Taking a moment to think about how your plumbing is going to be laid out, considering future upgrades and accessibility for repair and replacement will make things much easier for you
1. Don’t put a shower head or controls on an outside wall.
This one should be obvious – if you install your shower controls on an outside wall, there’s no way to EVER get behind them. This may not be something you’re worried about now, but what about in a few years when you want to replace the diverter valve with the newest technology?
If possible make sure that there’s an interior wall behind your shower controls, and best, a closet – because you can easily cut a hole in the closet drywall to get to the valve, and that won’t mean having to re-tile your shower. Read more…
This week I found another item to add to my infamous “10 Things You Don’t Want to know about Bitlocker” post – research just published by Synopsys hacker Ian Hakan shows there’s been a trivial bypass for Bitlocker without pre-boot for a long time – seemingly since 2000!
So No. 11 – If you don’t use pre-boot Bitlocker can be easily bypassed by someone with a rogue domain server.
Thankfully Microsoft jumped in with a fix in MS15-122 security bulletin – but you have to wonder if this exploit has been known by certain parties for longer?
CIO Review and I have collaborated a few times around the smart home security and IoT space. They kindly asked me to write something for the November IoT Special Edition, published this week.
You can find me at p47, but the whole edition is valuable reading.
At the end of my street, tucked between some bushes and a tree in someone else’s garden, is a weathered beige box. I’d never noticed it before this week, but it’s become very important to me, because that dirty, unloved box is responsible for whether my smart home automation works, or not.
Yes, that beige box in someone else’s garden is where my home cable connects to the community coax network.
I’ve come to the realization that my smart home is actually pretty dumb on its own – without a connection to internet services, a lot of my clever rules and technology simply fail to work. My doorbell camera doesn’t send me video, my IFTTT rules to work the Hue Lights fail, and I can’t even open my Wink-connected door locks.
Amazon’s Echo is another victim of connectivity – it seems so clever, but when you step back and think about it – it only understands two words/four syllables – Ah-Mah-Zon and for the alternate name, Ah-Lex–Ah. All the other language processing is done in the cloud, so you can “turn off” my home voice recognition just by unplugging the coax in that anonymous roadside box. Read more…
This week, 28th October I’ll be participating on the IOT panel at Mobility Live 2015 in Atlanta, GA. The topic is “The New World of IoT” – I’ll be joined with peers from Stanley Black & Decker, Accenture and Siteminis Inc.
A quick followup to my blogs of May 2015 here, September 2014 here and July 2014 here, where the NY State court is trying to compel Microsoft to hand over emails from one of their servers in Ireland. The case is still ongoing, and recently went through a session with the appeals court – you can find the rough transcript online.
In it the two sides argue the legal difference between warrants and subpoenas, and whether our emails should be considered “the business records of a company”.
This far reaching case will have ramifications for governments and service providers which way it goes – Microsoft argue that if it goes against them, that means Russia will be able to obtain records from US Mail.ru servers without the US government having a say, and the US government argue that if they loose, companies can simply offshore their customers data to block US Government inspection.
Which way do you think it will go? Comment below.
This week Theo Priestley of Forbes posted an interesting article, where he posed a couple of interesting questions:
An average home in the UK can potentially run to over 15 or so light bulbs, but how many would a consumer realistically want to be smartly enabled and connected to the internet ? And again, just what is the value they’re going to receive from controlling them remotely ?
As I sit in my office I have 9 light bulbs around me – I know I’m not in the UK, but I’m British and I don’t remember the UK being particularly starved of bulbs last time I visited. Perhaps Theo meant “light switches” in which case I only have 5 – but the first question he asks is why we want them all to be smart?
My answer is the following – when I get up at 4 am for a flight I don’t want to wake my wife up. I also don’t want to trip over on my way across the room to the light switch. Read more…