Ever feel like everything is just one step from broken?

While I’m in the tech industry and I see this stuff a lot, it’s starting to feel like the platforms we’re operating on are getting progressively better at looking stable (not rebooting/crashing,) while the underpinnings are closer to one step away from total collapse due to complexity and sloth.

I guess my worries started when Google Home/chromecast/etc started killing routers earlier this month, it progressed when Google Assistant started failing to open apps giving me a vague and unsettling warning after showing me what it would have done had it worked, it was compounded by finding out all the intel devices and most ARMs probably had sandboxing defeated, and it goes on day after day as we load up our houses and cars with more and more poorly maintained connected stuff that shouldn’t have escaped a lab.

Libraries of code being shared among programmers being damaged, edited in ways that not everyone is entirely sure of, and corporations who are quite ready to just say “we screwed up, we’ll fix it” rather than risk testing a product long enough that a competitor could get something to market.

It’s a cold February day, I realize my main source of employment revolves around the fact that everything breaks, keeps breaking, and I should be glad but I’m looking at a building full of computers I don’t manage and realizing I might only be a WiFi chipset bug away from my network being shut down by a rogue piece of consumer equipment a building over.

For now, I think I may wall off my critical home devices from each other. Put the beta level stuff (looking at you Chromecast,) on a router I just don’t care about, lock the critical devices down so they can only speak to certain IPs, and just realize that none of that is really going to matter too much when a service I don’t maintain that’s the back end of my connected thermostat gets owned because someone managed to fake a certificate authority and an SSL cert by hacking a router with a rubber duck that had WiFi capabilities and no updates and got brought in by a network admin’s kid.

I worry we’re going to lose the net a few times in the coming days. At some point someone’s going to figure out that all that core equipment can be owned by jamming a series of fnords in a routing table.

Yeah, I had bad dreams about having to fix all of it last night ;)

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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