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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:28 pm 
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The reason I chose this category is that this piece of hardware connects to your home WiFi.

Has anyone invested in a programmable thermostat that includes connecting to your WiFi? I’m curious if they are worth the investment. What do you gain by having another item connected to your router? I see it as another way an outside intruder can gain access to you network.

I have a standard programmable thermostat that is roughly 15 years old. I can break up the 24 hour period using 4 unique heating (for winter) and cooling (for summer) segments. It still works as it should.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:44 pm 
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The benefit is that you can more easily program the thermostat and that statistics can be captured. If you don't need these features, there's really no benefit to you. And, as you noted, the risk is the introduction of another potential entry point to your network. :-)
-steve

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:00 pm 
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sboots wrote:
The benefit is that you can more easily program the thermostat and that statistics can be captured...
-steve

Yes you can probably use your smart phone or tablet/iPad to assist in programming the settings. I wonder if it monitors the run time of the furnace and A/C unit? Recording those stats might help with control costs when compared to your bill. I don't know if there is added value for home owners. This seems better suited for businesses although you can make the debate that the home/family is a small business.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:53 pm 
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I agree that the added value is limited. :-) I should have expanded that stats are usually available, but I can't say that all models provide that. The ones that do, would potentially be able to provide the run time and temperature data. One other benefit, albeit minimal for most, is that you could control the thermostat remotely. Assuming your normal program is running and you head out to vacation. You could remotely change the settings so as to not waste energy. Another use case for someone who has a really random schedule would be the ability to remotely change the settings an hour before arriving home so that the house was comfy on arrival. I don't even have a programmable thermostat as I have steam heat and window unit air conditioners. :-)

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:36 pm 
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Personally I don't have any 'smart' devices and don't want any. They become part of your network and almost never are in any way secure.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:50 pm 
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sboots wrote:
...Another use case for someone who has a really random schedule would be the ability to remotely change the settings an hour before arriving home so that the house was comfy on arrival...

My programmable model has a 15 minute wake up for the next program time period. In the morning it starts to heat the house, bringing it up to the programmed temperature. The same for the A/C settings in the summer.

jaylach wrote:
Personally I don't have any 'smart' devices and don't want any. They become part of your network and almost never are in any way secure.

You don't use a 'smart' phone Jay?

This is the why I have shied away from buying a Google Home or Amazon Alexa. While these offer convenience the threat of intrusion is very real because they create another portal in your home defense.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:19 pm 
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Actually, Terry, I don't carry a cell phone at all. I just have a landline. I just don't like cell phones. If someone calls and I'm out they can call back or leave a message. :mrgreen: Actually, if I'm out, I probably don't want to be bothered by a call. If I had young kids or something I'd probably have such a phone just in case. Since my kids are adults and just about on the other side of the country I just don't really see why I would have a need for a cell phone. Plus the fact that the cheapest unlimited plan I could get would be ~$55.00/month and I pay $29.00... If I want a mobile device with me I can take my laptop or tablet.

I will say though that a smart phone is a little different in relation to other smart devices. At least you can install security on the thing. With many other smart devices the only security is your router.

Even leaving out the security aspect I don't know that I really like the concept of smart devices. Do I REALLY want to turn on my oven when I'm not there? I don't think so but, if I did, I could get a stove/oven that has a delayed start timer to do the job without having to have the stove on my network. You know that I love technology but I truly feel that we are, as a society, not far away from allowing technology to control our lives instead of us controlling the technology.

I DO believe that such devices have their place. Smart devices can help the elderly and disabled lead a much more independent life. I just think that such devices are adding to the tendency our society seems to have toward laziness and being unproductive. Personally, if I want turn on my oven, I'll get my butt off the couch and go visit my kitchen. :mrgreen:

Sigh, I know..., seems like an odd perspective from one that is so involved with computers. In many ways, when it comes to technology, I am sort of an enigma.

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:07 am 
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I'm with you Jay. The only electronic device I like (a lot) is the TV remote control. :lol:

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:24 pm 
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Don't get me wrong Terry as I DO like the possibilities associated with smart devices and other technologies. I just don't like the security risks that many include.

To be honest all three of my HDTVs could be termed as smart even though they are not smart devices. For instance I have a 32 and 42 inch HDTV connected to my main media system and a 32 inch HDTV connected to my second system in my bedroom. One could give decent argument that, since the HDTVs are connected to computers it makes them smart devices even though they are not on their own.

My setup is not what would be considered the norm for most people. If I didn't have the HDTVs connected to computers for things such as Netflix would I have a smart TV to have Netflix? Possibly, I just don't know. One can never know how they will really react to a situation until they are presented with that situation. I DO know that I would not have a smart device unless I could turn off automatic firmware updates. From what I've read fake firmware updates are a large venue as to hacking smart devices.

Just looking at cost, why would I consider a smart TV? Since the TV is connected to a computer I would gain nothing except for a potential loss of security. Take my 42 inch LG HDTV for instance. If I had gotten the smart version it would have easily cost me $200.00-$300.00 more than the dumb version.

So, OK, a smart device gets hacked and messes with other stuff on your network. This can always be fixed even if it requires a clean install of a computer OS. How about being killed by a hacker getting into your pacemaker? 465,000 pacemakers have been recalled by the U.S. FDA due to risks of being hacked which would allow the hacker to drain the batterie and/or change the user's heart rate to the point that death could happen. Not a source that I'd normally use but still an interesting read.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/ ... are-update


As a note I will add that any that have smart devices should turn off automatic firmware updates if possible. Manually do a manual update when you first connect but don't allow auto updates.

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:48 pm 
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I own four "smart" devices in my home theater. All are connected to my network and set up to receive updates automatically. I never gave any thought to device hacking through this service until you mentioned it.

The pacemaker or any medical equipment tampering is very serious. This definitely lessens your peace of mind if you have to be a hospital. I remember a while back that this scenario was used as part of a plot in a TV series or movie, not the whole plot but it became a concern. I watch too much TV. :rofl2:

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:37 pm 
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I heard on the national news last night where someone hacked into a couple's baby monitor. The hacker made it sound like he/she was in the baby's room and threatened to kill the baby. There are really some sick people in this world these days!

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:36 am 
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bbarry wrote:
I heard on the national news last night where someone hacked into a couple's baby monitor. The hacker made it sound like he/she was in the baby's room and threatened to kill the baby. There are really some sick people in this world these days!


:-( There are indeed. very sad.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:35 am 
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This was part of the Bing Headlines this morning.

Amazon Admits Alexa Device Eavesdropped On Portland Family
and
Amazon error allowed Alexa user to eavesdrop on another home

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:12 am 
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Ritzter13 wrote:

Need I even say that I rest my case of not trusting nor wanting smart devices? Not just the included quote but, also, previous cases posted. ;)

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:16 pm 
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I just thought of another item that has been out for quite some time. That is the WiFi compatible garage door opener. My Lift Master model has the option to add the "Q" system so that you can add the opener to your home network. This allows you to operate your door while away from home, if you forget to close it. I didn't get the extra device for this option.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:10 pm 
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I don't have a garage, so I'll never have a wifi enabled opener. :-)
However, I have an update on my thermostat situation. Not long after my post last month about not having a programmable thermostat, replacing our steam boiler became imperative as I was needing to add water daily or risk having the boiler shut down for low water. After almost 40 years of service, 20 before we bought the house and 20 since, it was time. A new boiler was installed just before Christmas and they also replaced the thermostat. And -- I can access it via an app on an Android phone. :-) We just spent 5 days away, visiting my wife's family in VA. I lowered the temperature before we left and 2-1/2 hours before arriving home, I upped the temperature so that we would come home to a warm house. :-) Very convenient!

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:33 pm 
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WOW! A WI-Fi door opener... If a hacker can get into a baby monitor or a pace maker why not just leave a key to the house hanging on the porch. ;)

I'm sorry but I'm just not going to add anything to my network that I cannot secure.

@Steve: I fully understand why you would like your new thermostat and feel pretty certain that you have enough security on your network to probably be safe. Still I have to think in the direction of the 'normal' user to whom the words network and security put them into a fetal posture. ;) I know that I am over reactive on this topic and the risk of a specific user being hit are small. Still... previous posts show that specific users are hit even if in a small minority. I just don't like the idea of a device being connected to my network that has no security specific to itself.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:24 pm 
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Yep -- security is key. :-)

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:33 pm 
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Like you Steve we don't have a garage, and we had a new boiler fitted a couple of years ago and that now has a portable temperature control gadget. We've had a smart meter fitted today for our electricity which has a gadget to show how much we're using and other things. They seem to think it's the normal thing that people will download an app onto their smartphones to make payments and check things out, no way, as far as I'm concerned I don't put any payment details on any phone I'd much prefer to use my main computer that has the security for things like that.

I passed a remark to my mobile library man on Tuesday that technology was great when it worked but a lot of today's generation wouldn't know how to do something old school if the technology stopped working. :-)

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:47 pm 
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JoanA wrote:
I passed a remark to my mobile library man on Tuesday that technology was great when it worked but a lot of today's generation wouldn't know how to do something old school if the technology stopped working. :-)

Shoot Joan, don't need tech to fail. You would be amazed by how many younger folks cannot read an analog clock. Also cursive handwriting, I guess, is no longer relevant. Schools here in Wyoming even quit teaching it. From what I understand though is that there were so many complaints that it is back in the schools.

I actually worked with a young girl that was studying forensics in college. She literally could not read cursive and could barely read an analog clock.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:00 pm 
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Yep -- people are actually entirely too dependent on technology to the detriment of basic knowledge!
-steve

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:32 pm 
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sboots wrote:
Yep -- people are actually entirely too dependent on technology to the detriment of basic knowledge!
-steve

Agreed Steve! Lord help you if you were caught in a math class with a calculator when I was in school but today one is usually required for such classes.

As an example I presented that same forensic student with a math problem... Of course I don't remember the exact problem but it was such as:
x=3; y=-2; z=x-y; solve for the value of z. Of course the answer is 5. Put in formula form it would be :
3-(-2)=5
She pulled out her calculator and I told her not to use. She actually said that such a problem was impossible to solve without a calculator. This scares me to death. This is a girl studying forensics in college.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:06 am 
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Calculators were not something that ordinary students had in my days at school, maths was not my best subject at school and I never did algebra or other fancy stuff. I know that after a maths lesson our teacher would have us all lined up and fire a % question at us and if we got it right we could go but if you got it wrong you went to the back of the line and had to go round again till you got one right.

I was more into spelling, reading and all the artistic lessons plus history and geography. I had to leave school at 15 and was sent into a factory to work so was unable to finish the shorthand/typing course I wanted to. As for analogue clocks I'll take those over digital any day I still get lost knowing the time after 13, it's much quicker for me to just look at the clock than have to work out the time of day via digital. :-D

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:25 am 
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It amazes me how basic math is beyond so many people working as cashiers. Without the register telling them how much change to give, they are lost!

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:51 am 
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I had one of those strange happenings at the store the other day. Strange and perhaps not rare as I almost always pay via Debit card. I was paying cash and the total came to $2.02. I was paying with a 5 dollar bill so I naturally gave the cashier the 2 cents so as I did not want a fist full of change. I was given in return 98 cents then my she did some mental calculation and realized I needed 2 more cents...
Help!
However I loved math in school and always was able to see one more fraction on the slide rule than was expected (and I was always correct).
Personally I love gadgets, especially electrical, even the trains I put under the tree are run by Bluetooth. And yes I still have trains under my Christmas tree, currently running the Polar Express.

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Last edited by BillG on Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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