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Domestic Appliance News

Water Filled Weights
Water Filled Weights
More Connected Appliance Woes
More Connected Appliance Woes
Spied On By Your Vac
Spied On By Your Vac
Water Filled Weights

You might have noticed there's been a bit of a fuss in the media about water filled weights being used on washing machines instead of the traditional concrete or in a few cases, iron weights wet, here's our thoughts on it.

Apart from that the failed Reason washing machine was set to use them and, it failed!

Here's the problem. Space.

Concrete or iron has a higher weight density so, especially large capacity machines that everyone seems to want to buy these days where space is at a real premium internally, the notion of taking up yet more space for weights just ain't gonna happen.

Then look into the costs.

If it costs more in a market where cost is at an even greater premium than space do you really think that manufacturers will spend more to please the media or whatever?

But I hear some cry, what of all the environmental benefits touted in the media then with lower fuel costs for lorries and whatever?

Well, you need to think logically about the whole thing, not just focus on the bit that suits your premise.

From what we can gather the idea is that it's a plastic box (in effect) injection moulded we assume that has a silicon injected layer coating the internals to prevent leakages (ha ha) and apart from thinking, "good luck with that on skinny front weights that break when you look at them wrong". Our thoughts were, well that's nice so instead of some natural rocks and stuff we're going to use oil based synthetics that use a boatload of energy and water to make to replace what is a pretty efficient, tried and proven manufacturing process.

But more, manufacturers would need to retool to do all that as well at a huge cost.

Then if you want the same capacities you need bigger cabinets... etc, etc.

Bigger cabinets = less on the truck in a container = (probably) zero net gain or even a reversal.

If you can as market forces might demonstrate you can't as the things won't fit in a standard slot or, you get more capacity with a machine using conventional weights so the market will just gravitate to that anyway.

All in all, we can't see this idea flying and we're really sorry to seem a bit negative but we're afraid that the realities of the market will prevail over idealistic notions.

Nice idea but, not new and probably not practical in the real world so we doubt the concrete weight is dead yet.

More Connected Appliance Woes

We're on a roll this week with stark warnings about connected appliances and the security (or lack thereof) surrounding them with new warnings from a police chief constable now.

Chief Constable Mike Barton, national lead on crime operations has warned of smart connected devices allowing back door access to criminals to steal people's details and potentially more from owners.

Mr Barton told the Telegraph: “It’s not just that they [cyber-criminals] are going to get into your fridge and find out how many yoghurts you eat a week.

"The fact is that your ‘internet of things’ are all plugged into the same network and that provides the criminal with a back door into your network.

“The more you connect up your devices, the more you give people the opportunity to invade and the more there is a very real challenge to your security.”

Mr Barton explained that since many appliances are now fitted with cameras, hackers could even use them to spy on people in their homes. That's important as if criminals know you're not there, on holiday etc then breaking in becomes a whole lot easier for them!

He also pointed out that integration of the devices with bank details, such as a fridge that can order milk online when it runs out, posed an added risk. And when we consider the lax security we've seen the far on appliance implementations and the widespread criticism of it we strongly urge people not to conduct transactions on these appliances.

Mr Barton's warning came as the government said it plans to let tech firms like Amazon and Google provide gas and electricity to British customers.

Rules banning firms that are not dedicated energy providers from entering the market are set to be relaxed by energy regulator OFGEM and the Department for Business, Innovation, Energy and Skills.

The government hopes billions could be wiped from electricity bills as tech firms “disrupt the market”.

However doing so will require homes to use internet-connected meters providing information about energy consumption, leading to fears over hacking which, given what we've seen so far with appliances, we can't say we blame people from being skeptical on the security of these devices.

Spied On By Your Vac

We've been on about this for ages now, smart appliances are not good and we've got lots of reasons to be skeptical about them, we've just been given another. Robotic vacuum cleaners might be spying on you in effect.

The story has unfolded in the USA where Reuters have reported that connected Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners have been collecting data and mapping owner's homes.

No big deal owe hear many people cry, what's the problem?

The problem is if that data about your home is sold to online shopping giants like Amazon, Google and so on to sell you more stuff and, they know the size of your home, how many rooms you have and so on.

iRobot who make the Roomba's don't seem to fussed about sharing this data either with Colin Angle the CEO of iRobot, saying “There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared."

Now it's important to point out here that the data has to be "allowed" although there's no detail on whether that is shared by default or not.

But at any rate, we're pretty confident that owners of smart products really don't want all this intimate data "out there" being shared by huge corporations or, ending up in the hands of criminals. After all, if a map of the inside of your house can be that easily obtained, what else can?