Monday, March 13, 2017


If it were up to me, we'd have this
in our kitchen.
The recent Wikileaks documents detailing how the CIA has been hacking into "smart" appliances willy-nilly makes me glad just how hopelessly out of date our home is. The HDTV is seven years old; our refrigerator lacks wi-fi; and a toaster oven sits in the place of our microwave, which broke a decade ago.  

Not that we're completely in the clear. We've got a smart Blu-ray player. Since I purchase Blu-rays maybe once or twice a year, it's used primarily for Netflix, which, last I checked, isn't a conduit for ISIS. 

What passed for cool graphics under
President Brezhnev.
Of course, we've got a laptop, and a couple of tablets. And while I've covered the camera lens on the PC and Kindle Fire with a piece of Scotch Tape smeared with correction fluid, I'm aware that someone in the government could be following my surfing habits -- and for good reason. 

Way back in my younger days, you see, I listened to Radio Moscow's English-language programming via shortwave. Not that I was a budding Commie; it was just funny listening to ham-handed propaganda interspersed with the dullest music (mostly MOR and the occasional military march) ever recorded. I never understood how this was supposed to convert me from rock & roll, the First Amendment, and Mad magazine.

I figured there was no way anyone in Washington knew I was listening at home. But the envelope containing Radio Moscow's monthly guide was always open by the time it got to me. Either the USSR was going through a glue shortage circa 1970, or the Feds were doing a pretty piss-poor job of spying on me.

I think we're actually doing Washington a favor by our appliance choices. If we had a smart TV (something of an oxymoron), the gumshoes would hear conversations along these lines:

Some people's idea of hell.
ME: Oh boy! There's a 24-hour Wheeler & Woolsey festival on TCM next week!

WIFE: Legally Blonde is on TBS again tonight. I can't wait to see it for the 15th time this year!

ME: Look at this! TCM is running Vitaphone shorts all day!

WIFE: Hooray! The Matrix is on this afternoon. This is only the 12th time I've ever seen it!

ME: Holy cow! TCM is running Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler, restored to its original four-hour version for the first time since 1922!

WIFE: Quick, turn it to ABC. I want to watch The Sound of Music for the 37th time  -- and they pad it out to four hours with commercials!

Thank God the CIA never listened in to my wife and me. They'd have thrown us in Gitmo just to protect the rest of the country from us.

To sum up: by and large, we're unhackable. So you tell us whose appliances are really smart.


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