Living in the Cloud … NOT for the Technically Challenged

Perhaps Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?

Do you remember in the 1990s telephone long distance carriers became unbundled from your 1+ long distance dialing (I’m assuming that you know what dialing means). A new choice of long distance carriers was given to you (assuming you had an account) where you dialed the prefix 10nnn + the regular toll number where nnn was the particular long distance carrier code.

If that sounded like a lot of work, don’t bother reading on…

Do you have the urge to converge? 

By that I mean leveraging your communication to make greater use of (and dependency upon) the Internet?  Typically the broad strokes would include voice (VoIP), data (browsing the web, email, chatting, messaging, banking/investing, reading news), and video (watching broadcasts, other forms of programming such as podcasts or interactive video (conferencing)), and of course playing/listening to music.

Proceeding from there, reducing your dependency on physical paper typically sent through the postal mail e.g., financial (brokerage, credit card) statements, recurring bills (insurance, internet, cable, electric, telephone, quarterly estimated taxes), and let’s not forget all of those things that you buy online — let’s track them and (be able to) provide shipping carrier instructions and authorized electronic signatures.

Now that we’re not receiving paper bills, we still need to look at the statements since those companies still expect us to read their annotations on “page 2.” Thus, the online accounts almost always have PDFs of those statements and can be saved to your hard drive (do you have one – and if so do you have a backup drive too?). They may even be in a format where you can “search” them. And since you want to live in the cloud, you have cloud-based storage integrated with your desktop, smartphone, and/or tablet where you can save a portable copy of these statements as easily as you saved it to your hard drive.

You may have even progressed to being a digital nomad and have completely unplugged and are living in your RV roaming the concrete and digital superhighways?

Then taking it up a notch, with home automation which includes voice and internet activation / interaction / monitor of appliances, thermostats, switches, some of these might have a geo-location component (where the location of (specific) people in relation to the objects causes an action).

While all of this seems (and is) swell, this convergence comes with a mental price: an ongoing time commitment to maintaining and understanding the intricacies of the particulars, their interactions with your system, worrying about privacy and hacking, explaining / helping your significant other with this new and improved way of doing things, providing various kinds of backup if there is a network, hardware, software, security, or electrical failure.  And as you increase the usage of your little cloud heaven, maybe its time to increase your internet provisioned speed (25+ MBps) along with cable modem and Wi-Fi components that will actually deliver the rated speed?

And like most things in life, nothing stays the same … maybe a password of your home (or cellphone hot-spot) WI-Fi access point a change and you then must update all of the home devices that depend upon that?  Do you remember how (or where those instructions are)?  Finally, you need a method of managing (and using) complex (secure) passwords e.g., a multi platform password manager.

And from time to time, equipment becomes obsolete or has a life-cycle and needs to be replaced.  Maybe your understanding of your needs change or things are not working the way you (now) want?

Welcome to Urge to Converge 2 dot Oh (no).

Having become enthralled by convergence and then going onto the Internet of Things (IoT), you must consider the added risks:

  1. Software is hackable; unmanaged software is a target for hackers since it is not being updated by the manufacturer — what will that mean to your home automation?
  2. Using the internet, and specific web services (which of course IoT uses), provides usage information as well as potentially personal data to those service providers — does that bother you?  What is the relationship of the provider to law enforcement and access to that data?  Is that an issue for you?
  3. Is the IoT taking up too much of your time? Is it a hobby or an obsession? A blessing (especially for those with certain disabilities) or a curse?

PostScript

Not the last word: In my mind, privacy on the internet is a superset of privacy of the IoT; never the less, RISKS may be greater due to real-world consequences.

Some simple Google searches you may want to run related to the IoT (and maybe your searches aren’t private – well – no they are not!):

Plus its RELATED RESOURCES on the RH side, and from the FTC Blog: Blog Posts Tagged with Privacy and Security: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/terms/245

Related articles on beSpacific

Or maybe you want to consider VPN?

Appendix

The following is offered as some information in case you are interested in pursuing products (these are not endorsements). More are in the pipeline.

Posted in: Gadgets/Gizmos, Privacy, Technology Trends, VoIP
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