From kettles to fridges with some beer for good measure

31st August 2016
Joe Bush

Steve Rogerson looks at some of the recent news that may have missed the front page.

We all know Blackberry has been struggling a bit in a mobile phone market where it was once a key player, but it was still trying to show just how good it is at security at a recent summit in New York where it demonstrated how to hack a kettle. Yes, you read that correctly, a kettle. This is the type of kettle that can be turned on remotely using an iPhone. Well, in just under 15 minutes, Blackberry showed you can actually hack this and turn it on from another phone. I suspect there are security boffins worldwide now losing sleep. In fact, stop trying to sleep, just get up and make a cup of tea - you never know, it might already be ready for you.

Talking of mobile phones, Vodafone is back in my bad books. This time one of its customer service people was quite rude on the phone, so I emailed to complain and the person who rang me to deal with the complaint was the same person I was complaining about.

For many years I have been moaning about the industry’s weird love affair with the word ‘solution’ and how it misuses the word constantly by describing every product under the sun as a solution. I did think it could not get any worse until I read the ‘about us’ bit in a press release from a company called Periscope. I can’t tell you any more about them because the blurb was so full of jargon it was impossible to decipher.

On the subject of naff jargon, when someone asks what was the “main takeaway” they had from a meeting, I can’t be the only one tempted to reply: “Chicken fried rice and prawn crackers.”

Perhaps the best way to put the jargon behind you is to go down the pub, which is what NXP’s Hillary Cain did in Santa Cruz, only to be met by more high tech. She went into the Pour Tap Room and was given an RFID bracelet and a beer glass and told to help herself, she said in a recent blog. This means customers can go around the 50 beer taps sampling or pouring full glasses and the wristband tells them how much they have consumed. You have to hand your credit card in first presumably so that if the staff end up dragging unconscious customers out of the bar they can still charge them. Sounds good to me.

Some people keep their beer in the fridge - not me, I don’t like it too cold, but if I did I may be joining the women who like to get friendly with their fridges. In fact, a survey by Go Assist reckons that women are more intimate with their fridges than with their boyfriends. Then again, Blackberry might be able to hack the fridge but probably not the boyfriend.

Image: Sometimes surveys produce totally predictable results, such as a recent one by Ford that found young British drivers were the most likely in Europe to be distracted by attractive pedestrians. However, I don’t think Ford was being totally serious with the idea of a “blown-up” - an imitation grown-up that inflates whenever it detects reckless driving.

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