Thursday, September 23, 2021

Chatty refrigerators

As is well known, I have no use for a lot of modern technology, particularly anything involving the "Internet of Things."

I really don't want my toilet talking to my garden hose talking to my chest freezer talking to my rocking chair talking to my lamps talking to my credit card talking to my automobile talking to my carpeting talking to my windows talking to my doorbell talking to my vacuum cleaner talking to my oven talking to my mattress talking to my ... well, you get the idea.

Which is why the following tweet made me chuckle. Chuckle in relief, that is, that we don't own this particular model of refrigerator:

Yes, you're reading that correctly. This guy's fridge sent a scolding email that his refrigerator had been opened too many times that month.

That's not all. This man's Twitter feed includes other communications he's had with his fridge: the amount of fresh food he's put inside, how much water he's drinking, and other jolly reminders that he's being monitored.

Ever since the Internet of Things arose, I’ve been wary of anything "smart." I cannot for the life of me fathom why anyone would voluntarily purchase something that monitors everything they do and reports it back to some central location. As the saying goes, "There is no Cloud. There’s just someone else's computer."

That's why this meme always amuses me:

M preferred oven:

Writer Joshua A.T. Fairfield equates the Internet of Things with modern-day feudalism, in which we (the peasants) don't own anything, but instead must lease it from their overlords: "In this 21st-century version, companies are using intellectual property law – intended to protect ideas – to control physical objects consumers think they own."

That's why I'm suspicious of smart technology. I don't want some Google overlord telling me what I can and cannot do, locking me out of my home, preventing me from turning on lights, and tracking not just my location, but my heartbeat, tone of voice, and digestive output. Since I'm online, I'm tracked enough anyway; I don't need to spoon-feed Big Tech any more data than it already has.

Look, folks, 2021 is already dystopian enough. Why would anyone make their lives even more so by buying one of these horrible "smart" devices? Do you really want every conversation spied on and every location documented? Do you really want to live in a home that ceases to function if Google is having a bad hair day?

Meanwhile, let me show you my ideal refrigerator:

Yes, really.


  1. A friend of mine is separating from an abusive husband. We've had a bit of a rush to disconnect various devices from the internet. For a time he seemed able to surveil his abused wife and kids through the television, or just to turn up the volume remotely. He enjoyed turning on the sprinklers while the wife was mowing the lawn through the IoT sprinkler controller. Had the "smart oven" not fortuitously decided it needed its entire brain replaced, he could theoretically have turned it on remotely. I'll take the dumb devices any day.

  2. Patrice, this hits the nail on the head precisely. This is why I will maintain and drive my car into the ground and never replace any appliance with a "smart one".

    Also why I am trying to scale back my online and app related presence instead of increasing it.

    1. Toirdhealbheach, you will love this.

      Montana Guy

  3. There is one thing and ONE IoT THING ONLY that I see as a benefit on refrigerators/freezers; net-enabled temp sensors. None of my units have these. They do now though. Someone in my house walked away from the big upright freezer in the garage, thinking a casual push on the door was enough to close it. It wasn't. The thing sat there in the Desert Southwest heat in that garage for around fifteen hours before I discovered it. Needless to say, almost everything in there was trashcan material. I licked my financial wounds and ordered a Sensorpush wireless gateway,

    and some sensors for it and my other regrigeration:

    The gateway provides the connectivity to the wireless router and sends alerts to the app on my phone if something isn't right. I can also check temps real=-time on the app.

    These may seem expensive, but given the price of meat these days, one "door ajar" scenario can cost way more than a set of these things.

    Funny this came up on your blog. I was doing my workout yesterday in the 100* Desert Southwest heat, and got an alert from Sensorpush. That same freezer was above temp. When I got home I found that the plug had somehow backed out of the outlet. I wouldn't have known about it for possibly days, until someone opened the freezer! Given the amount of meat I have in that unit, this one "save" MORE than paid for the WiFi bridge and ALL of the sensors in ALL of my refrigeration! Given the extent and cheapness of the technology, net-enabled temp sensors should be STANDARD on new fridges and freezers!

    This is as far as I go with IoT refrigerators though... Most of this stuff is just plain NOSEY!

  4. I'm with you! Our dishwasher emails my husband when it needs rinse aid. That's stupid, unnecessary, and not a direction I want to go in in appliances. 😕

  5. ...And if any of these devices have voice command functions, you know what that means.

  6. Patrice, an icebox might be just as bad as an IoT fridge. Not the icebox itself but the iceman who delivers the ice could be the nosiest gossip in town.

  7. I have 2 grown daughters and the 3 of us like to go on shopping trips every once in a while. So we have found that if we talking about something we might want to buy our smart phones advertise that or similar things. Ok folks someone is listening.

    1. I'm a glorified telephone man who works in a world of geeks at a software company. We got to talking about this very thing and decided to experiment with it, talking about something completely off the wall, to see if the phone picked up on it. Yup; a couple of minutes later, we were all getting splash ads on our computers for the very thing we were talking about. Yes, you ARE being listened to on your phone...

  8. yes, this is and has been true for MANY,MANY years -some head the warning and some quote Colonel Klink
    " & " 3-2012
    In early March, at a meeting for the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, CIA Director David Petraeus reportedly noted that “smart appliances” connected to the Internet could someday be used by the CIA to track individuals. If your grocery-list-generating refrigerator knows when you’re home, the CIA could, too, by using geo-location data from your wired appliances, according to SmartPlanet.

    “The current ‘Internet of PCs’ will move, of course, toward an ‘Internet of Things’—of devices of all types—50 to 100 billion of which will be connected to the Internet by 2020,” Petraeus said in his speech. He continued:

    Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters—all connected to the next-generation Internet using abundant, low cost, and high-power computing—the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.

  9. I live in a very dumb house with dumb furnishings and appliances. The only thing smart in my house is me, and my phone apparently. I have a nice smart 4k TV but I keep it disconnected and dumb. I like dumb things.

  10. We leave our phones home when we go out...just like the old days. Call and leave a message. Our cars are old enough not to have GPS or digital maps. Alexa doesn't live here, either.

  11. My friend was cleaning her smart fridge...and her son who lives with her got a verbal notice during his Bible study across town alerting him that the fridge had been open too long...funny yes...but also we have been getting sent info about how much money we in our savings account..shouldn't that be between us and our bank??

  12. Truth be known, we would all be much better off using your pictured preferred stove and fridge. And if this circus continues along its intended path much longer, we all may be forced to that level. Once again coming face to face with the real things that are important in life, and for life.

  13. ^^^ Good stuff today, all of it. ^^^

  14. I'm with you on not wanting to have conversations with my appliances. My grandson is completely aghast when I ignore my GPS device's recommendation on which road to take, and go my own way. He, at 5 years old, can't understand why I'm not obeying (grin).