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Everything is too complicated
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-01-08 22:55:11

It's the very beginning of CES 2018, and the first trickles of gadget news are starting to come out. The flood begins tomorrow as the show floor opens and keynotes and press conferences begin in earnest. It's easy to see the broad themes of the show and the tech industry at large already forming: smart assistants everywhere, sensors and radios in every device you can think of, and an eternal hope that something, anything, will be the reason people will finally upgrade their TVs.

All of that is exciting - I love gadgets and am one of the few crazy people that think CES is incredibly fun! - but I want to take a half-step back before it all begins and point out something obvious: most people have no idea how any of these things work, and are already hopelessly confused by the tech they have.

Shoving a display and garbage software on every single possible household item is simply a really, really dumb idea. Add networking into the mix, and it becomes outright dangerous. People end up with products they have no idea how to use, that quickly become outdated, aren't getting software updates, and quickly become dangerous attack vectors for all sorts of possible criminals.

The article also touches on something else - namely, that even things like smartphones are getting way, way too complicated for most people. I, too, am continuously surprised by how little people around me really know about their smartphone - be it iOS or Android - and what certain things mean or how certain functions work, or that they even have said functions at all. Tech companies are doing a terrible job of exposing users to functionality in a meaningful, understandable way.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40
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RE[2]: Agree
By nicubunu on 2018-01-09 07:09:56
Apple devices are expensive, their planned obsolescence has more impact compared with the cheaper alternatives.
Permalink - Score: 4
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RE: Comment by ilovebeer
By Soulbender on 2018-01-09 07:55:28
Good thing you can just abstain from buying any of that stuff, eh?
Permalink - Score: 7
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Blissful future
By wigry on 2018-01-09 11:27:06
Why the concerns? Instead be happy about the future where being a super-dangerous haxor does not take nothing more that couple of lines of javascript with some known hardwired default passwords. People don't need to know how computers work anymore and they can bring their magical powers of destruction upon us with next to no effort. Life really gets easier (for some) by the ubiquitous presence of connected smart appliances.

/s
Permalink - Score: 1
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Everything old is new again...
By bryanv on 2018-01-09 12:37:26
2001 Called. It wants it's fridge with a webpad on the front and it's BeIA focus shift back.
Permalink - Score: 4
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Comment by romma
By romma on 2018-01-09 12:52:17
When consumers read news that a country's cheese supply is contaminated, they shun that country's products and all the producers suffer.

It may go the same way with IoT, as consumers just start shunning all gadgets, even from manufacturers who are making the effort to secure their stuff. "Smart" will be as appealing as "mouldy".

And now that we have started having cameras and microphones and internet banking and smart locks everywhere, this stuff is going to actually matter to people, as much as food poisoning does.

Code hygiene is going to have to become a regulated licence-to-do-business, just as food hygiene is.

Technical solutions are on the way... I am guessing, as with how they are starting to be able to formally prove microkernels, and in the meantime, the industry has to take a big step back and say, look, we are going to wait until we have stuff which works a lot better than it does now.

Likewise, all this human interface stuff. We are way past being able to get away with throwing unusable crap at people and expecting them to buy it. The people at large are not hobbyists.

But there is a long way to go. Hopefully the consumer backlash will be "shock and awe" levels so they can just stop this silliness in its tracks.

Maybe there should be a new consumer group to champion this specific cause. Or maybe we should all be writing to existing consumer groups.
Permalink - Score: 2
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RE[3]: How about a NON-crappy 4K TV
By Adurbe on 2018-01-09 14:32:42
"wifi built-in" doesnt mean it can actually connect to my wifi without my consent (ie entering my password).

So no ethernet cable, no wifi password, it simply cant reach my network...
Permalink - Score: 4
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Recap
By fretinator on 2018-01-09 14:35:05
Get off my lawn you ignorant millennials!
Permalink - Score: 2
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RE[4]: How about a NON-crappy 4K TV
By darknexus on 2018-01-09 14:56:56
Until they refuse to let you use it without connecting. I'm sure that's coming.
Permalink - Score: 2
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RE: Recap
By darknexus on 2018-01-09 14:58:54
> Get off my lawn you ignorant millennials!
Well, I don't want them on my lawn. However, they can pay me to come fix these things as many times as they want :D. Joke's on them, since most people who buy these things can't set them up worth crap.
So yeah, get off my lawn, but I'll take your money, suckers.
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE: Everything old is new again...
By The123king on 2018-01-09 15:50:22
I have a BeIA appliance waiting in the post office. I should go pick it up...
Permalink - Score: 1

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