internet of things

FBI Office Determines Refrigerators are an Online Security Risk

FBI

Episode 1650

Looking at Internet of Things phenomenon, the Portland FBI issued a blog post talking about how connecting your computer to the same network as your internet-enabled refrigerator could pose a security risk. They advise changing the device password settings from the default, make them as long as possible and unique. Leo says that it's not practical to have a separate connection for your IoT devices. But regularly updating your devices and giving them a good password is a good idea.

Can I bring my Echo with me while traveling?

Amazon Echo Dot

Episode 1647

John from Indianapolis, IN

John recently returned from vacation to Prague, and he brought his Amazon Echo dot with him. He connected it to his travel router and reconfigured it for the Czech Republic, according to Leo's instructions. John had no problem with it. He could listen to music, podcasts, news from home. And it was his alarm clock. It worked great. Leo says it's a great idea to take that along with you.

Do I have to pay a monthly fee to use a NEST Thermostat?

Episode 1643

Jerry from Hatfield, Pennsylvania

Joe was thinking of getting a NEST thermostat, but he doesn't want to pay a fee. Rich says the only fee you pay is for buying the device. NEST uses WiFi to connect to the internet, where you can control it using your mobile device. But you don't have to pay a subscription fee to use it. Can you control it using your computer? Rich says you should. But the NEST doesn't have to be programmed since it uses machine learning to learn how you want it to operate. Also check with your energy company. NEST also offers a $50 rebate.

Can I Run an Open Source Home Automation Hub With Google Assistant?

 Google Voice Assistant

Episode 1612

Dan from Hallifax, NS CAN

Dan is running home automation in his home with plenty of products. He wants to run ZWave and needs to know which hub to get? Leo says it's usually best to keep within the set ecosystem. They don't like to play cross-platform.  Check out Stacy Higginbotham's Stacy on IoT podcast. She also uses WinkHub, which allows her to use ZWave. 

Can I call Google Assistant anything?

Google Assistant

Episode 1591

Richard from California

Richard wishes he could name his Google Assistant something else so it wouldn't go off when he doesn't want it to. Leo says that the Hey Google in the mobile phones can. So why can't the assistant? It may be that it just doesn't have a powerful enough processor, and as such, it couldn't read it fast enough. It's likely comparing waveforms with what it has on the device, and then, activates. Then again, it may just be marketing. 

NEST Goes all Google ... rebrands

Google Nest Hub

Episode 1591

NEST has officially become Google NEST, and will solely become a Google Product. Leo says that while Google has owned NEST for a while now, it had kept it largely autonomous, including the data it collected. No longer. No Google owns all the data it collects and will use it. Even worse, Leo says that Google is already phasing out support for other IoT devices and will solely be supported by Google Assistant.  Leo says it's annoying when a company encourages you to deep dive into a product's ecosystem and then changes it so that it can't be used with other products.