Posts Tagged ‘appliances’

Monday Moaning

Invasion of the white appliances

This is scary.

Technology at its worst.

Did you know your washing machines, air conditioners, TVs and fridges are spying on you?

Why your washing machine is a security risk

As washing machines get linked to the net, they might be leaking data

“Hello! Do you need any help, sir?”

“No thanks, I’m just browsing.”

This is a lie. I am not just browsing. I am trying to make a smart washing machine on display in this electronics store cough up its deepest secrets.

On this model, that means I need to simultaneously press a couple of buttons on the control panel to jog it into a mode that shows how it connects to wi-fi. But I need to hold the buttons down for five seconds or so and every time I do that a hovering salesman or woman comes over and I have to abandon the attempt.

Maybe there is a better way to plumb the secrets of smart devices. I’m curious about the security on these gadgets as I’ve just bought a washing machine that can communicate its well-being via an app.

More and more domestic gadgets that, since their creation, have been as isolationist as North Korea are now becoming decidedly verbose. And they do most of their chatting via apps. With home routers regularly getting enrolled into scams, I’m wondering if smart washing machines, ovens, tumble dryers and fridges will be next.

Source: BBCNews Read more scary stuff


I find it quite scary that appliances have the ability to transmit information without the user being aware of it. Further, there’s no way you can turn it off!

If this information is intercepted, as the article claims is fairly easy to do, by people with nefarious intent, can they determine when the house is empty?

Does this information make you ripe for the pickings of burglars and ne’er-do-well?

One thing I hate about all this information gathering is ‘targeted advertising’. Which is why I have blocked ALL access to advertisers and beacons from the sites I visit.

The road we are going down is fraught with danger…

Big Brother is watching you more and more, there is no escape.

Personally, I refuse to buy anything, that has this ability, or the potential. Which is why when I bought my new cellphone, I got as simpler model as possible. Smartphones are just too damned smart for my good.


Change the World Wednesday – 9th Jul

brazil-loss-to-germany-memeI’ve had a few days off, more than I realised.

An inspiration problem with a sprinkle of lethargy and a cup of laziness also played their part.

Then there was football (soccer) on Tuesday with a catastrophic loss for Brazil, 7-1 against Germany which put me out for yesterday (moping).

You can read what’s up on my recent posts on Life is but a Labyrinth. Like the news about my guava saga.

Apart from my guava, there hasn’t really been anything ‘green’ to summarise for the week.

So I’m Changing my World on Thursday this week.

On with this week’s CTWW, brought to you at 3:30am, with the help of a lot of coffee…

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Greening the Kitchen…

This week, go into your kitchen and look for at least one way to make it greener. You might choose to do something simple like add an aerator to the faucet, convert to cloth towels instead of paper, replace a light bulb with a CFL or LED, or unplug an appliance (especially those with clocks). Maybe you are in the market for new cookware, dishes, etc. and could look for green options. Does your kitchen need paint? Perhaps you grab a brush and use non-VOC colors. You might even be considering a kitchen remodel and could search out the most appropriate Eco-friendly cabinets, counter tops, flooring, etc. The idea, this week, is to look around your kitchen and make a green improvement.


Well,  first up, my kitchen light blew out two weeks ago. It was my second last incandescent bulb. Replaced it with a 9w CFL; just the bathroom bulb to go.

In the news, Brazil’s new laws about incandescent light bulbs take effect this year. Basically, they are no manufacturing, no imports, no sales.

The only appliances I have in the kitchen are the fridge, the stove (gas, but electric start, standby and lights) and the blender.

The fridge, by necessity is always plugged in, the stove is never plugged in and the blender, while it remains plugged in, it doesn’t use standby power. I light my stove with the flints from my old cigarette lighters; an old lighter can light the stove for 6+ months after the gas has finished.

The kitchen does need painting, but that’s a long way down the ‘To Do’ list.


My pride and joy

I have two bought items in my kitchen, the rest are second-hand, off the street or donated. The small counter I only considered the price; shop demo reduced from R$250 to 99, there was no green consideration.

The stove is a new five-burner and I did check the power rating over various models before I bought it, it was top-of-the-line A. I got the stainless model for easier cleaning.

My fridge was second-hand, I got it from an ex-student who was moving. R$200 for a R$999 model; it was one year old and hardly used (he was a bachelor and kept his water cold and didn’t cook), green options were considered, because it replaced the power-hungry inefficient beast that I had.

So yes, when I buy, generally I consider price first, then green factors, although the stove was a ‘want this’ and the price was considered, but the ‘green’ came first.

Because of my scroogish instincts, and the fact that I rent. I am not considering a re-model.

I look around my kitchen and all I see are the dishes sneering at me from the sink…

So, do I meet this week’s CTWW in general term?

I think so.


Simple green Ideas

With technology advancing at an ever increasing rate, so many things become obsolete so quickly.

The old gramophone became the record player that became the tape deck, that became the CD player…

This obsolete technology is just waiting for ideas, just waiting for a new life.




Got one?

The use your imagination.


Change the World Wednesday – 26th Jun

It doesn't look like much, but when the kids get hold of it...

It doesn’t look like much, but when the kids get hold of it…

This week it wasn’t my neighbour’s dog that littered the praça, but the local kids. One of the neighbours had put out the polystyrene packaging from a new fridge in the kerbside rubbish. The kids found it and broke it into a zillion pieces, it looked like it had been snowing in the praça.

I spent an hour and cleaned up the area in front of my place, about a quarter of the praça, the hardest hit part. It nearly killed me, but when one neighbour showed his appreciation, a bottle of beer, the near death experience was worth it.

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This week’s CTWW, is one that I have already taken in hand, mostly.

This week, find at least one way to reduce energy use in your home. Need some ideas? If you have an incandescent light bulb, replace it with a LED or CFL. If your computer, modem and accessories are always on, try turning them off for a time. Try using table top appliances like a crock pot, toaster oven or steamer instead of your oven. If you use air conditioning or heat, try adjusting it by a couple of degrees. Unplug cell phone chargers, coffee makers or electronic docking stations. The goal is to take one step more to reduce energy use.

Ghostly white light

I have long resisted energy efficient light bulbs in favour of the incandescent ones, on two grounds. Firstly, the ghastly white light, secondly the environmental cost of disposal or breakage.

I did try one about eight years ago, but found that it didn’t last any longer than a regular bulb, about three months. Considering the cost, it just wasn’t worth it and gave up the idea, resisting it ever since.

Recently, I have had to replace my regular bulb three times in as many months. In frustration, I got a CFL type. At first the horrid white light was annoying, but I have got used to it.

When the next bulb blew in the living room, I replaced that with a CFL too. Once again, it took some getting used to the glare while watching TV, but now I don’t notice it…. so much.

I will continue the replacement programme as other bulbs blow.

My one appliance that has a standby feature is the TV. I don’t use it, I manually switch the set off instead of using the remote control ‘Off’. My TV spends more time Off, than On, there’s not a lot that interests me on Brazilian TV, except the news.

Basically, my home is devoid of electrical appliances. The kitchen has a fridge and a blender (the stove is gas); the living room  has the TV and a 12″ fan; the bedroom/office a 15″ fan and a PC which is 24/7, but I manually switch off the screen at night or when I am out of the house. My battery rechargers are disconnected when not in use (I have one for the cell phone, and one USB for the camera). There are only six light bulbs in the house, so my energy usage is pretty minimal.

So that’s it, challenge met.




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