You had me worried at the start there, Dabsy, but as usual your brilliance came through in spades.
Well done, good start of a Friday afternoon and wonderful justification of my opinion on smart-anythings (especially locks).
Help, I forgot my keys! [rummage] Oh yes, of course – ah don' need no stinkin' keys, my front door locks smartly. I took some convincing before taking the smart lock plunge but now I'll never go back. Carrying the immense weight of two metal keys on my person, and suffering from all the discomfort and inconvenience that …
OK so I didn't have a smart lock but managed to lock myself out with the keys inside one night. (The house key and car keys were on the same key ring, a friend came over and we went out in his car so I didn't take my car keys...) When I got home I realised I didn't have the key. The only window I could get to was the one over the kitchen sink. I managed to get in but some how my foot got caught up on the tap and I was plunged head first onto the kitchen floor. I busted my nose and left a pool of blood on the floor. After that incident I secured a spare key in a well hidden spot and ensured I had another in my wallet...
With my new place I have a mate who lives 15 mins walk away so we have done a "Key escrow" swap... One summer afternoon I had to walk, in my swimmers, to his place to get the key when the back door slammed shut and locked while I was in the pool.
I also keep a key in a safe place, after me and the other half left the country for a few days and left the in-laws to look after the cats. Turns out that they didn't have a key to the back door and there was a key in the other side of the front door's lock, rendering it unusable.
We now have a key safe in an outbuilding. This has the added benefit that anyone who knows us can give us a ring and, if necessary, gain access to the house by means of a five digit code (which I can then change when I get back home).
"Just the code, or are you properly paranoid, and so change the locks and keys as well? :-)"
I bought one of those Weiser Smart key dead bolts. It lets you reprogram the mechanical lock to use a different key.
As long as you don't lose the special little tool that lets you make the change...
Yes - I do something similar.
After a car accident, during which my keys went AWOL, I fitted a keysafe hidden out of sight.
The code is changed to an obvious number if a trusted workman (mate of many years) needs acess then changed back to one my wife and I know. Not been used in a lost key situation yet, but it does mean I can give my next door neibour access in a minor emergency. Anything major ... well the door is'nt that strong!
"With my new place I have a mate who lives 15 mins walk away so we have done a "Key escrow" swap"
I do the same thing. Not only do I have a spare key somewhere that isn't as obvious as under the only rock next to the front door. If I leave for a weekend and can't remember if I've switched off the HVAC, I can ring up my mate and ask him to check when he has a chance. Of course he can help himself to anything cold and wet in the fridge . If I can't get back home as planned, he can stop and make sure the cat has food and water. If fact, I have a couple of people I know well that have keys to get in and I have theirs. If they installed a "smart app", I wouldn't have keys anymore since there is no way in hades that I'd install the app on my phone.
My sister has a new car. Fancy digital display, auto connects to her smart phone, allows access to all her apps and auto locks once you leave the car. Well it is supposed to. To ensure it locks the automatic transmission must be in the Park (P) position. Now to the casual observer you would think the illuminated (P) next to the selector would indicate the transmission is in the park position. Not according to the autolock. The doors remained stubbonly unlocked and the car accessible to the world.
Turn it off and turn it on again, put it in drive, put it back into park.... nope just a helpful "tranmission must be in (P) postion - please take to your nearest service centre"......
Turn it off, turn it on, put into drive, drive around for a few minutes, put it into park and finally the autolocks are working.
Progress - isn't it wonderful?
There are many things technology can do, but as is often the case, it is not whether it can be done, but why.
On home automation, I have never desired the ability to lose control of the place because my power / 4G signal went out and as for the voice assistants...
I really don't even need an alarm clock (the cats wake us up when they think it is breakfast time, usually around 5am).
I have designed some home 'automation' in the past, but that was my design and completely self contained (some sensors to automatically change in which room the sound system speakers were on) although visitors found that a bit spooky.
I will happily design and build IoT that might actually be useful (there are such applications).
I'm just starting out with home automation, but I'm taking it slowly, and with a finger in the ground.
My first automation was a fan. It's connected to the kitchen, the bathroom and the closet(the closet is a 'wet' room with the hot water tank, and fittings for a waher and dryer. ) I know the fan is important, but... I CAN HEAR IT. Particularly late at night when I can't sleep... So now it shuts down at 11pm, and starts back up at 7am. In the unlikely scenario that I would want to take a shower before 7am, I plan to add a wireless button outside the bath and mark it with 'shower' which will start the fan back up again. (I'd still have to stumble into the kitchen to kick the fan into high, but... )
Next is m garage door opener.
Yes I have a remote for it. Two actually. And I can't count the number of times I've managed to 'pocket dial' tthe remote and left the garage open...
Soon I will not only be able to see the status of it, and close it with my phone, but if someone comes by with a delivery of say, car parts for my dilapidated car, I can remotely open the garage for them to place the package there, the nclose it again.
Oh, and windowblinds...
I'm going to toss out the old IKEA wood slats, and install roller blinds. That goes down automatically if the system detects sunshine... Or later, only does it if I'm home to be bothered by it...
No, I don't think that will be 'upgraded' soon.
Wife's friend has one of those. Push the button to start it...except the fob which needs to be "in range" had a weak battery. No fob signal, button is useless. No way to put a key in and turn it (how quaint!).
They consulted the manual (luckily they were able to use the backup key hidden in the fob to open the door) and discovered that if you hold the fob "just there", some kind of backup RFID tag allows you to start the car.
There have been tales of older folks overcome by CO because they parked their car in the garage and forgot to push the button to turn it off.
I'm not giving up my key without a fight. Just because technology makes something possible, does not make it a good idea.
// keys in the pocket, natch
// prevents me from leaving and forgetting my coat as well
As a wheelchair user I find proximity keys an absolute godsend, particularly in inclement weather.
The ability to wheel up to a car and open the door rather then wheel up, put brakes on, dig around in a bag for a key, unlock, open door, put key back in bag, load wheelchair, stagger round car, dig around for key again (how is it already at the bottom the bag?)...
last time I had a proximity key it was a gimmick - not any more.
The closest thing I have security wise to automation is an ancient gamekeeper's trip.
It consists of a metal slide with a catch, when a trip is triggered the slider containing a 12 bore shotgun blank slides diwn under it's own wait onto a firing pin. Anyone trying to break into my workshop will be lucky to get away with a change of underwear, if they have a heart attack, I'll take the advice of the Policia Local and borrow the neighbors JCB.
Bought a 3 year old car a year ago with keyless ignition. But it only had one key. So her indoors has been wittering ever since about getting another one. Only £300 + at the local Citroen dealer. So when shopping a couple of weeks ago Timpsons advertise replacement keys for 95% of cars. Check them out, no problem - cost between £190 and £220 so went ahead. They have to send of to Citoen for coad to program new key so tols to come back week later.
So .. on way to Timpsons got to local Ferry queue, pressed button to turn of engine. Message "Key fob not present. Long press to turn of engine". So like an idiot I gave it a long press. So ferry came in, queue moved, went to start car - "Key fob not present". This on the way to get new key!
After looking in manual and extracting hidden key in fob and trying to work out if it was any use, put fob back in and l and behold it started. Ferry refused me carriage in case I broke down on ferry, so 30 mile long way round to Timpsons. They cut new key, and programmed it but could not program central locking and could not clear errors in ECU.
Went to local garage, 3 pages of errors - could not clone central locking either.
I do believe in conspiracy theories - Any one know how I can find out if Citroen have nobbled my car remotely?
I had a Citroen once - a BX Diesel - that was simply boringly reliable. Even the suspension never gave any trouble. When at last it was just too decrepit we sold it to the local milkman who ran it for years. One day his wife told me that had finally replaced it at about 20 years.
The things they sell nowadays are not Citroens, and that's part of the trouble.
The BX had central locking built to the traditional quality standards of French automotive electrics. A backup was therefore essential, so to get into one all you do is prise up one of the rubber grommets beside the rear number plate light, press the microswitch you'll find inside and bingo! - doors open, alarm off. "Security through obscurity" kept this vulnerability from the scrote population for several hours.
So you have to weigh which is more secure. A physical lock with an old fashioned brass key that could get picked or an electronic lock which may stop working requiring you to leave the car open/running.
I'm not convinced that electronic keys are any more secure vs the hassle. Lots of cars are stolen every year, but in many years, I've never had one stolen from me as I never get one on the hot list and I'm careful about where I park and always lock up. A bigger concern is getting locked out of the car in some manner since insurance will cover theft.
Oh yes, I like Abloy. If you're ever in the process of deciding on new locks, do some digging on Youtube where people pick locks and see how easy it is with some. Abloy seems to be pretty on the ball with counters to what they come up with.
Disadvantage: if you lock yourself out you really will have a problem :).
By the way, the smart thing to do with a neighbour key escrow is to place each others' key wrapped in cardboard in a signed envelope. The signed envelope adds a layer of protection for the holder to prove they never used it (important for insurance), the cardboard around the key is to prevent someone rubbing a print.
Fun stuff you develop when you have to clean up a company that has never implemented physical controls "because they have paid guards". Sigh.
Very few locks are resistant to being frozen with plumbers pipe freezing spray, villains will lower the temperature of your expensive padlock sufficiently with one can, to make the metal very brittle, then whack it with a hammer and watch it disintegrate.
I know Abus make locks that are supposed to be freeze spray resistant.
or a crow bar inserted / spanner on side and another vertical using same tactic (key slot can be as strong as you want but the mech that holds the shackle due to the cut outs is weak
or the other option - cordless angle grinder with slit disc...even serious padlocks are gone in sub 8 seconds (and yes I've had to resort to this on my own stuff where the key has gone missing / padlock seized)
"I'm not convinced that electronic keys are any more secure vs the hassle. "
From what I've heard, some of the more expensive cars have been stolen using repeaters. One thief stands by the car in the driveway/on the street with one radio repeater and the other goes and stands by the front door/back door/kitchen window and hey presto, the car thinks the key is nearby and unlocks for the thieves who push the start button and drive away.
A physical lock with an old fashioned brass key that could get picked
You must have a higher class of burglar than we do. Here, the height of sophistication is to check to see if the doors or windows are unlocked, before just smashing things until they're in. They once smashed a window in my truck to break in, without noticing that the door wasn't locked. Stole a GPS that I'd paid $10 for at a rummage sale.
I believe certain locations are problematic. Down at the docks, not far from where my mum lives, there is a spot where I have often experienced difficulties getting the car started, forcing me to put the fob close to the ignition. Luckily there is a small pocket there for the fob, so quite intuitive.
Probably some interference and it rarely happens. It is still more convenient than a regular key.
Technology- Stuff that doesn't quite work yet.
It "sounds" handy, but as with every devised to be more convenient, it's much less secure. It's also more things to go wrong. You don't want to be faffing about with trying to get the doors to lock when you are racing to catch your train. If you have to drive around the lot, you miss your train. If you don't lock your car, you'll return to it with everything rummaged through and a bum having a kip in the back seat.
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At work yesterday there was an announcement requesting that the person owning a vehicle with a certain license plate number return to their vehicle as it was still running. I presumed that it was one with a presence key and a start/stop button that had not been pressed to stop the vehicle when the driver departed it. Personally, I think that vehicles with presence keys should auto stop when the key isn't within presence range of the vehicle.
The problem with a lot of devices are that the developers/engineers don't get the process flows correct. I bought a cheap £50 after market alarm from China, nearly 20 years ago now, to secure an old school motor.
- Bump alarm
- Shock (hard hit) alarm
- Remote start
- Anti Hijack
- Auto lock
- Auto Arm
- Pager with range of 800 meters
You may be thinking, "£50? I bet this story ends with his motor missing or some other woe"... Not even.
Remote start would start the car but keep all doors locked and the alarm armed. If someone tampered with the car while it was still armed the engine would cut, the alarm would go off, and the immobiliser would activate (would also get a pager alert)
When the car was unlocked, and the engine started, the doors would lock once the driver touched the brake pedal, (which is one of the first actions a driver takes when switching from neutral to first) preventing a GTA type situation. Other brand name alarms (over £400) would lock when the RPM's reached 3000. Anything could happen during that time if done naturally
When the car was switched off, the alarm would wait. The alarm would only auto arm and lock if the driver door was opened, and then closed (process for the driver getting out the car. It would wait 20 second then beep to warn the driver it was about to lock, then another 20 seconds to lock and immobilise. (Other alarms would simply lock the doors with the driver in it should they not get out in time)
If the car was unlocked but then no doors were opened within 45 seconds, it would lock the doors then re-arm.
Needed a key to start and turn off the engine but the process behind the security device was solid.
If the fob failed, one could get into the car with the key. The alarm would sound and the car would remain immobilised but if you knew the pedal and key turn combination, like a safe, one could disarm the alarm and immobiliser and start the engine.
I'm not sure why companies can't simply make things that make sense.
I can't possible BEGIN to list the nuisances you're subjected to in cars because some designer has been pressured by lawyers to make it "safe" from what I can only assume to be idiots who should never even have their aura near a car. Furthermore, don't get me started on robotic transmissions - I had the intense displeasure of driving a cheap car where this was implemented. Frankly, if I want to kill myself I think *I* should make the decision, not my transmission.
Back on topic: my next car will have a proper ignition switch, not a on/off button which relies on my key being near. If that feature becomes an unavoidable victim of "modernisation", then the first mod it will get is a kill switch as is mandatory in rally cars. I have seen too many flawed implementations of car electronics and the total absence of protection not to distrust something that I can only switch off when IT wants, and not me. I work in a business that encompasses a modicum of danger to start with, so I'm not keen to have some idiotic car designer add to that.
And it will never be a Mercedes again - I kinda object to mandatory built-in tracking and intercept facilities.
I don't mind the on/off button - nowadays the "proper" ignition switch relies on the proximity device so it isn't much different - but on/off pushbutton handbrakes?
I know why they did it - so many people cannot be bothered to apply handbrakes correctly; I once had to get our forklift truck driver to rescue the car of a social worker who decided to park on a steep hill in neutral with a barely applied handbrake because "she was in a hurry". But that way you lose the function of the real emergency brake that continues to work if the engine stops or the hydraulics spring a leak. Me, I would have gone with a sensor to measure the tension on the ratchet, that triggered an alarm if the car was left in neutral with the brake only partly applied.
..it's helpful to have a smart brick handy. This will open any residential window, usually in one try, and many doors too. Also useful for autos. It can also be used for personal defense in a pinch, and can be networked with other similar devices to build a defensive perimeter or even an attractive dwelling if so desired. It doesn't require firmware updates. (it's already pretty firm) Or hardware updates. (it's pretty hard) It is portable, but is more of a luggable. It requires no electricity to run, but does have a solar function that makes it pleasantly warm after exposure. If a smart brick isn't your style, there are similar devices available from Pebble and Fossil. It's rumored that the original makers of the Pet Rock are going to be releasing their own version as well.
Odd to have those two words in close proximity without also mention of operating system boot media.
I used to regularly visit a client in the Danfoss building in Perivale. Lots of environmental controls in evidence. The blinds on the rear of the building had a tendency to spend all day cycling between up and down, which was a regular distraction for their bookkeeper. So these IoT problems are not so new, in actual fact.
Which poses a question, or rather, several: Visit a very large number of dwellings across the globe. What are the chances of finding:-
The heating thermostat/timing devices being used as a manual switch?
TV/Media clocks flashing to indicate they need to be set?
Ditto with oven timers?
A calendar showing the correct date?
An electronic photo-frame displaying photos? (If not consigned to a drawer somewhere).
Telephones where none of the programmed buttons has been set?
(To mention a few).
With that observation, I think it likely that a similar fate awaits all these fancy new gadgets in the not too distant future.
"The blinds on the rear of the building had a tendency to spend all day cycling between up and down"
We have automatic blinds where I work. I've worked there for over a decade and have always been mystified by when they decide to open or close. On a bright, cloudless day, they will suddenly open wide for no obvious reason. On a rainy day, sometimes they will close all the way. There is supposed to be a sun sensor, but I think it's located on another world, or possibly in the employee refrigerator, detecting when the fridge light goes on. Perhaps it's a sophisticated mood sensor and closes the blinds when it's raining to avoid unnecessarily depressing the staff..
Similar to my car's automatic headlights. Yes they do always switch on when it's actually night or nearly so. But they'll also come on during bright sunshine. Or going under a bridge. OTOH on a dark day driving along a long lane with an overhanging tree canopy they remained resolutely off. And then there's the allegedly self-dipping electronic mirror.
hurrah for the side gate that I always leave unlocked that leads to the garden side gate that I always leave unlocked that leads to the patio door that I always leave unlocked that leads to my living room. It's a bit soggy and boggy today, and so is my garden, my grass, my shoes and my old carpet. But honey, I'M HOME!!!
p.s. failing that, there's a front-door key buried in the garden, SOMEWHERE. Now, if only I could somehow extract my metal detector hidden in the staircase cupboard...
That's why having 'leet DIY skills are essential.
Smart locks controlled by anyone else but me are in my book not locks.
I'm pretty sure I'd have that lock re-rigged in hours to a new RFID pickup plus a backup system (depending on the lock failing open or closed on power fail) and a trip to warn me if anyone ever tried the card.
That said, there's no possible way I'd accept such a lock on a premise anyway, there is no way I would allow anyone but me to control who gets in. About the first thing I do is preserve the existing locks (for when I leave again) and replace them with my (expensive) own, and that's just part of the whole premise security review I'd have to do. Some side effects of my work are not bad :)
I must remember when I order my smart lock to also order a smart rock under which I can store a spare mobile phone with the app for my smart lock and a wireless charging pad.
Every time I see one of those hotel ads starring Anna Kendrick (Hilton I think, might be wrong though) and she enthuses about being able to open her room with her phone I want to throw something at the TV.
"Plus it couldn't be pickpocketed or lost."
Yes, it could. Everything can be lost, and anything small enough to keep in a pocket can be pickpocketed. Worse still, if a metal key is lost or stolen, much more is lost than when a plastic card is lost. The hotel must choose either to replace the lock with one that doesn't respond to that key or take the risk that someone stole the key (or found the key and now intends) to wait a bit and start exploring the room for things of greater value to steal. There's a reason that pretty much every hotel has adopted temporary keycards. I definitely prefer those to a phone app, but I think I prefer them to metal keys as well for the temporary lifespan of a hotel.
Many, many years ago, I had one of my first jobs, which was delivering food. We'd often go to hotels in the area late at night. We were friendly with one of the local hotels that was a pain to get to, as you would have to go to the front desk, then walk through the whole facility to the room. There were exterior doors that guests could use with their key card to get in, so they didn't have to walk all the way through the hotel.
This was back when key cards were just making their debut. The cards were plastic and had numerous holes punched in them and no mag stripe or RFID chip. We made so many trips to that hotel nightly, that the manager was kind enough to gift us with a card that would open the exterior doors, so we didn't have to make such a long trip each time. However, when I tried it on a whim on a closet, and then on the door of a room that was being cleaned (door was open), it was apparent that they'd given us a master key to all of the card-operated rooms. Yikes. I informed the manager and she was rather indifferent to the situation, but grudgingly gave us a different card that was fit for its intended purpose.
That is, taking the battery out for a while and re-inserting it.
This can be far more effective on so called smart locks (as long as it doesn't forget who you are entirely). Most are far from smart, and indeed far from secure.
Unsecured Bluetooth is a favourite, hotly pursued by open screws to simply take it apart, and in a close third place, mechanisms made of chineseium that will simply bend open if a small bird happens to land on the handle.
I'd probably guess that the smart catflap is more secure, particularly as it is too small for anything other than a baby criminal to access the house through, and I'm fairly sure these unfamiliar babies would probably be subjected to a destructive testing methodology if they attempted this form of ingress.
Although there has been some convenience for AirBNB landlords for this sort of thing, there is no way at all I'd trust a third party with the keys to my house, virtual or not.
In this matter, I identify as the grumpy old luddite at the back...
Clearly you are not familiar with cats. The giant dump smack in the centre of your kitchen is your own cat's comment on the effrontery which the human servants have shown by facilitating the ingress of the huge tabby from down the street. Said huge tabby does not crap in his auxiliary snacking spot.
I had a chip-activated catflap at my previous home and it worked well enough. My cat didn't like it because the flap door was heavy with magnets in it and he sometimes got his tail pinched. So he would sit at the French back door and miaow every 10 seconds.
Given the level of obnoxious and/or useless error messages from MSWindows, and it's propensity to surrender (blue-screen) at the slightest provocation, perhaps MSWindows **IS** French...
(AC because even us Huguenot descendants don't like to cop to being French.)
Chineseium is what all the screws are made of that come with various hardware such as hinges, brackets, light fittings etc. Chineseium screws are designed so that the groves in the head all rub off when the screw is halfway inserted, so you can neither insert it any further or remove it.
Chineseium screws are designed so that the groves in the head all rub off when the screw is halfway inserted
On the other hand, the center of the screw is somehow made of harder material that will firmly deflect the drill bit when you absolutely have no choice other than to drill the jammed screw out. Achieving all this in one simple, inexpensive metal device was apparently invented by the Chinese in the seventh century BC and has been perfected in subsequent millenia.
I doubt the Chinese use this technology in screws made for domestic consumption.
Watch the Lock Picking Lawyer and Bosnian Bill on YouTube for lock evals. The "smart" locks are described as something a Silicon Valley startup with EE's would come up with rather than somebody that knows how to build a proper lock in the first place.
All the ones I've seen reviewed have been utter trash. They open with just slightly more than a very stern look.
My new heating has a Hive controller. So I can do stuff with my phone to make it turn on or not. And so on.
I'd quite like a smart door bell ( no locking just a camera like they show on the telly box).
But Hive don't bother to make one (why ffs!?) and the other makes aren't compatible.
It works, I'm warm. It was part of the installation. No issues there.
The fact that the installers (British Gas, which is why it's a Hive) advertise "First service free" in the deal, but then say that the first annual service has to be paid for, "because we serviced it when we fitted it, that was the free one" is more of a gripe. Conniving lying bastards also comes to mind.
Note: Our reliable Gas safe installer of many years has retired. As have a few other trades we used. And BG turned out to be best quote from the big companies. My getting older is less of a problem than other people I've relied on getting older at the moment.
Our boiler broke the other day and we got a bloke around from British Gas. He insisted that along with a new boiler we had to have a Hive thermostat as our old wifi based thermostat wasn't complaint. Erm, no we don't. The cheeky sod had already ticked the relevant boxes on his computer to say we were having one.
Things went downhill from there. I then noticed he'd turned up on a company horse and was wearing a Stetson and spurs. He continued to speak fluent bull shit until he gave me his silly overpriced quote listing more stuff I hadn't asked for and didn't want or need.
I've now arranged to get a better boiler fitted by our regular gas-safe plumber for £1500 less than BG's quote. He also confirmed that our existing thermostat is perfectly satisfactory and complies with current regulation.
"I've now arranged to get a better boiler fitted by our regular gas-safe plumber for £1500 less than BG's quote."
And he'll undoubtedly do a better deal on servicing than the extended warranty the makers will try to foist on you no matter how many times you return their letter-box litter as unwanted junk.
I put one of those wifi thermostats in my daughter's new house. The hardest part was running the new wire to the control on the heater (needs a third wire for power). She has had it for a year now and is delighted with it. Cost me $60 off Amazon. It's a Honeywell, and you can check your house temp on your iPhone. Very handy if you travel a lot in the winter.
And if for whatever reason, the wifi part stops working, it works just fine as a normal thermostat.
Best part is that it's not a Nest, which is so sophisticated that it's unreliable. Honeywell is the standard HVAC control in US homes, and this seems to be up to the standard. Their gear isn't flashy but it does seem to go forever.
The idea is that we can ( and do) operate the heating from our phones.
And would operate our smart door bell/camera from the phones too.
And they connect through a box (hub) that is connected to our internet box (hub) through an ethernet lead.
And we don't want a second one. Apart from being a nuisance, they cost money.
First, if the wife was home, why didn’t she just open the door?
Second... if the power went out, why didn’t the door lock have a battery backup?
Third... if this was a house or a flat, why is there only one entrance? Most homes have 2 or more entrances. Apartments are a different story.
Fourth... how is it that the wife didn’t know that the power was out?
I realize that AD is being a bit sarcastic and not to be taken literal, but really?
And no, I don’t have an electronic door lock ... yet.
Before I do that, i’’ll purchase either a natural gas powered generator... or a solar backup system....
but that’s just me...
Before I do that, i’’ll purchase either a natural gas powered generator... or a solar backup system....
Nice try. Neither will work when you need them to because of fouled sparkplugs, an IGBT blowing to protect its fuse, the switchover widget deciding that it'd rather choose 'none' instead of what power source is actually available or simply because Jupiter is in Sagittarius (or the other way around).
Just a proper key, TYVM.
2. Ask the product designer, not the end-user
3. That would have spoiled the story. By the way what's the difference between an "apartment" and a "flat" in your world? In mine, apartment is an up-market (or left-pondian) word for flat.
5. I wouldn't bother reading any more of SFTW if you don't get satire.
I'm with Gumby.
I manage access control among my many IT hats. At least here in the states, you have to have a system that fails to unlocked in the event of a power failure. Otherwise the doors stay locked in an emergency. Such as, fire, tsunami, power failure with fire and tsunami, etc.
If the garbage you are buying fails to locked, I'd dump it. Seriously, what if your house was on fire and your wife was inside and couldn't get to a window? What garbage.
"Seriously, what if your house was on fire and your wife was inside and couldn't get to a window?"
Internal mechanical over-ride. Panic bar, panic button whatever you want to call it. Fail to locked is secure. Mechanical override is safety. Both are basic requirements.
In addition to avoiding "smart" locks
I've also stopped using the key fob supplied with my car.
The reason is a bit convoluted and evolved...
To begin, my daily routine includes a short drive to a health club for a swim.
The club provides lockers, bring your own lock (key padlock in my case) but, as I found out it is not exactly secure.
Simple enough but a few years ago, a group of kids had figured out that locker doors could be defeated, simply by applying force to a wedge.
One night I found myself in front of a mangled door and an empty locker.
It is more than a little disturbing to stand there naked and dripping wet in front of that emptiness.
No towel, no cloths, no phone and no key fob, as that reality set in, a flood of questions followed.
How am I going to dry off, what am I going to wear, who can I call (do I even remember phone numbers anymore) and finally... how will I start my car and get home? (it was 15 degrees F that night).
Luckily for me, the thieves were interrupted before they could actually make off with anything.
A club employee had found the breached locker and secured all of my belongings at the front desk.
In discussions afterwards I have learned more about locker break-in details, patterns.
Groups of "smash & grab" thieves were focusing on wallets, phones and key fobs.
In at least a few instances, location and theft of vehicles were enabled by key fobs.
Since I REALLY don't really want to worry about walking home, wet partially clothed.
I now use a key that came with my car instead of the fob.
An elastic band allows me to keep it with me while swimming ( as fobs are not waterproof ).
I know it can seem like overkill but...
"Does not work nearly so well if they key has one of those little immobilizer widgets in it."
This was a while ago, but my current car has a door only key that doesn't have any electronic guts. it won't start the car, but I can get in and retrieve the key that will.
couple of boots applied to where the lock is, generally works well
That or something wedged in and force applied to push the door/frame back (many locks don't have enough throw to prevent this, wood gives...a lot even under a short pry bar, locksmith told me that, hence why my locks have extra long throw, also said the mark1 brick opens windows reliably....hence I have a few somethings with 4 legs, teeth and a severe dislike of uninvited strangers in "their" space
"Maybe though it's all made up. Why would Dabsy install such a system?"
You really should read the grey box at the bottom. It changes on every article.
"Alistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling tech journalism, training and digital publishing. He does not really have a smart home security system. He has been put off from investing in such a thing by all the horror stories he has read about them. Admittedly, he wrote those stories. @alidabbs"
We've all suffered through the sci-fi movie(s) where the intelligent house of the future turns on you. All of these systems have quite obvious system design shortcomings which invariably come down to a single point of failure and so no backup. After sitting through yet another of those movies I'd say "But then this would never happen in real life" but stories like this and personal experience from staying at my daughter's house suggests that we're doing it to ourselves. The fix is obvious -- when you design a system, no matter how trivial, you have to take into account error conditions and unit failure and you have to recognize that the more links you put in the chain the greater likelihood of something going wrong.
I work with industrial equipment, I'm used to automation. I still use light switches, key locks and the like. Its not that I don't like this new fangled stuff, I think it has amazing potential, but our house has to work from a *systems* perspective.
(About the daughter's house experience. Trivial, again. S-I-L had equipped the guest bedroom with an Echo and a smart plug to turn the bedside light on and off. He had written on the mirror the name of the plug and the system. Fair enough. Read the mirror, speak the incantation and off goes the light. Great. Now you need to turn it on a couple of hours later. Its dark. Spot the deliberate mistake.) (As deserving a mention is the Internet service went out later that night and literally everything stopped.)
Read any account of a technical disaster, such as a plane crash. The problem is never one failure - nearly all systems, except perhaps cheap IoT, can handle that. It's a chain of disasters that spiral down to the point where there is nothing left keeping you alive except Lady Luck.
There have been a couple of services that have gone dark in the last few years leaving people with a bunch of kak that no longer functions. Didn't Google drop support for some older models of a brand they hoovered up?
While splashing out £200 for a door lock isn't a great financial move, having to do it again a year later and the year after that.........
My 40 year old Abloy* front door lock is still going strong. (It needed a clean out a couple of years ago as it had accumulated too much of the filth that blows around central London, but I'm now anticipating another 40 years of secure locking.)
On the other hand these IoT locks seem as reliable as those Yale rim locks that became vulnerable once plastic credit cards appeared, yet many UK houses still have them 80 years later!
* popularly known as the "eff off" lock.
I know someone who lives in a high crime part of London and has a door with massive bolts and locks and a complicated alarm system.
I dare not tell them, but I have worked out at least two different and easy ways of burgling the house and being gone long before anybody could make it from the local police station. One of them would not set the alarm off.
Really in the 21st century the most reliable and not too illegal system would be one that was able to make a small hole in a burglar and extract a DNA sample.
Recently the decades-old digital-analogue security system at the office started locking people out on a whim. For reasons equally lost to history we have a "wireless doorbell" consisting of a charming little tune box (synthetic chimes of Big Ben, no less) and a light-as-a-feather self-contained push-button transmitter with no obvious means of securing it to a wall. Velcro was the original method of attachment, improved under mysterious circumstances to a screw.
No sooner had the security system done a snit than the wireless push-button also failed with a dead battery, hardly surprising since the battery's brand name was in hieroglyphics. This left a peripatetic IT person unable to get in to finalize a shift to a better ISP, a long overdue improvement.
The battery, one of the smallest imaginable, puts out 12V. Amazingly its replacement was for sale locally at a reasonable price. So matters were eventually all settled.
The security system is waiting for its next opportunity....
...but my mind turned to the scenario where both occupants are in the house with the power out, but cannot get back outside to reset the breaker.
I'll stick with my physical keys. As time passes, fewer and fewer crooks will know how to pick locks; they'll all be IoT exploit experts instead.
First of all there is a HAL joke somewhere in there but I can't quite figure it out. Something along the lines of "I can't let you open the door Dave" but your name isn't Dave, so I gave up.
Second of all unauthorized residential valuable movers are not picky when it comes to avenues of entry, what for doors often being locked so forcing an alternatives entrance generally doesn't seem to big of a deal in the profession, especially since they do not worry about when the glazer will have time to stop by, or if their insurance premium will get hiked because of claimed break-in damage.
This whole discussion triggers memories of a Dutch monthly electronics mag (Elektuur, you may know it as Elektor) that always published a summer edition with 100+ circuits to cover both July/August. One or two of the circuits published were always jokes in that the circuits would indeed work as advertised, but would be somewhat pointless.
In one of these they published a key defroster circuit which generated heat to defrost a car lock. All you had to do was plug it in the cigarette lighter socket to power it ..
I ask Mme D if she would mind restarting the router. Mme D asks me if I would mind telling her where the router is, what it looks like and how to restart such a thing. I ask Mme D if she'd mind paying attention the next time I install important new devices around the home
Mme D sounds like she could be Mrs Flywheel's sister - there's no hope is there?
At first glance, the only major problems I can see are
* There's not a single smart lock on sale that can't be unlocked from the inside. In fact it's a requirement, you know, so you don't burn to death in a fire.
* Mains electricity? Again, approx 0.0% of smart locks use the mains, they're powered by batteries so you don't have to route a cable across an opening door.
* It's not losing keys that's the problem with a conventional lock, it's who finds the keys - so a lost key at £5 actually becomes a snap-resistant £70 lock cylinder.
But well done otherwise.
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