One main reason, for which Smart Home Appliances are cloud-based.

Like many other consumers, I have some ‘smart appliances’ in my home, and a harmless example which I will use, is my Dyson Air Purifier. It gives me features (beyond) what I would have requested, but a feature which I do appreciate, is the ability to access its settings etc., from an app on my smart-phone, regardless of whether I’m connected to my own Wi-Fi, the way the appliance is, or whether I’m outside somewhere. And this is a feature which most smart appliances offer.

Screenshot_20191223-122814_Dyson Link_c

But a question which I could easily picture a consumer asking would be, ‘Why is it necessary for this device to log in to a cloud server, just so that I can access it? Why can this arrangement not work autonomously?’

And I can visualize all sorts of answers, which some consumers could come up with, that might include, ‘Because Big Brother Is Watching Us.’ I tend to be sensitive to certain privacy issues, but also know that in this case, this would not be the main answer. Is Big Brother really so curious about what the air quality is in our homes?

A big reason why these devices need to be logged in to a cloud server, has to do with that last part of what they offer: To give us access to the appliance and its controls, even when we are not on our own LAN (Local Area Network).

Continue reading One main reason, for which Smart Home Appliances are cloud-based.

Just performed a wanton reboot of my Modem/Router.

The modem/router which I use for my LAN is a Bell Hub 3000, which I still hold to be a good modem. But lately, I discovered a slight glitch in the way it works. I have given it numerous specialized settings, such as, for example, a “Reserved IP Address” for my new Chromebook.

The problem I ran in to was, that the modem was executing all my settings without the slightest flaw, but was failing to commit changes to certain settings to non-volatile memory. Apparently, the way the modem is organized internally is, that it has volatile as well as non-volatile memory, which mimic the RAM and the Storage of other, modern devices.

In certain cases, even a full-blown PC could be running some version of an operating system, in which a user-initiated change is accepted and enacted, but only saved to non-volatile storage, when the user logs out successfully.

Well, earlier this evening I had a power failure, after which the modem restarted, but restarted with settings, that predated the most recent settings which I had given it. This was its only offence.

Now, I could go through the ritual of changing all my special settings again, after every power failure, but in reality, that would not do. And so, what I did was to soft-boot the modem, which, just like that poorly programmed desktop manager would, saved all my settings to non-volatile memory. After the reboot, those settings have stuck.

But what it also means is twofold:

  1. This blog went down again, from 20h15 until 20h25, in other words, for an extra 10 minutes.
  2. And, if there are any readers who examine the IP address log in the side-bar of my blog, they will notice an additional IP address change, simply due to the modem reboot. This will be, between 20h10 and 21h10. This one was not due to any malfunction, but was deliberately triggered by my action.

The process was short but painful, and had to be done. :-)

Dirk

 

Change Of IP Address last night, Downtime

I take the unusual approach of hosting my site and Blog, on my private PC at home, acting as a Web-server. It’s the computer I name ‘Phoenix’. Because of that, the visibility of my site is only as good, as the presence of my LAN on the Internet.

At the same time, my connection to the Internet is ‘only’ a domestic DSL, which achieves speeds of up to 50Gbps. This means that my ISP, is capable of changing the IP address at any time, with which my LAN is connected to the WAN. This is a right which they have, and is referred to as conventional ‘DHCP’.

Last night, my ISP did change the IP address, with which my LAN connects to the Internet. And what this means to my readers is, that from about 2h47 until about 3h17 this morning, local time, my Blog was also off-line.

I should also note that this minor interruption to my service took place at a time, when most domestic users don’t use the Internet, but during which many customers are sleeping. Therefore, this would also have been an ideal time by conventional standards, for my ISP to carry out any maintenance they had to carry out.

But nevertheless, I apologize to any readers for the fact that during this brief interval in time, they would not have been able to access my site.

Dirk

 

My IP address was reassigned last evening.

I am hosting this blog on a personal Web-server, which connects to the Internet via a personal DSL. This may also be why downloading some of my content could have been slow for the readers.

I don’t own my IP-address. So my ISP can just cut that off, and reassign me a new one whenever they feel like it. When they do this, my LAN is still up – thankfully – but my link to the WAN – the Extranet – is gone for a  few minutes.

I have software which updates my IPv4 address automatically in this situation, so that this URL finds me again afterward. And I need to update my IPv6 address manually. But with any luck, these things can even take place without my being present, and most of my software just reconnects as it should.

And yet for the 5 minutes this can take, the readers might not have been able to retrieve my blog last night.

Dirk