Sunday, February 11, 2018

A disconcerting email that makes me a little paranoid.

So I got an email this morning that made me a little uneasy.

It really shouldn't have, as I knew all about it, but the ramifications of it are a little staggering.

The email was this:

That's right-- my car sent me an email saying that my windshield wiper fluid needs refilling.

It's been snowy here, and yes, I've been using the windshield wiper fluid maybe a little too much.  and the light did go on yesterday, and I do need to bring my excess fluid out and fill it, but I did not really expect to get an email about it.

The Internet of Things issue from Wired
This is the Internet of Things I've been dutifully reading about in Wired Magazine, and other than getting a quarterly report from my NEST account or Alexa reminders that I manually requested to be sent, this is I think my first experience with it.  (Do low battery warnings on my smoke detector count?  I have never gotten an email from my smoke detector,  just an occasional annoying beep.)

I'm not sure how I feel about this new development.  On one hand, I see this could be pretty useful (see smoke detectors), but I drove my car about 30 minutes yesterday, and every 30 seconds the flashing windshield fluid signal chimed and flashed with no obvious way to shut it off.  (well the one obvious way is to fill the fluid, which I will do today without fail.)  Telling me stuff I already know is not exactly the future I was hoping for!

I wouldn't mind a text from my water heater telling me it's about to explode or a friendly reminder phone call once a month from my recumbent bicycle telling me it misses me, but when is enough enough?   I'm a little concerned that my cookie jar will start sending regular messages to my wife about its relative emptiness, and she will start to draw conclusions about my consumption that I would prefer left undetected.

Yes, I know that Alexa is listening to everything I say, but it's not going to act on the information it receives.  If I thought Alexa would send an email to someone every time I dropped an f-bomb, I would have a very different feeling about it (One that, coincidentally, has an f-bomb in it.  Maybe that's not so coincidental?)

How about you? Have your appliances been texting you?  Please let me know in the comments.

I'll respond as soon as I am able--  there's a Nigerian royal refrigerator that needs my urgent assistance...


Spike said...

Totally understand. I really want a Alexa, but I haven't convinced my wife yet it's safe. (The eavesdropping thing really bugs her).

Spike said...

should read "an" Alexa.