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How Private is that Doggy E-Toy

Thanks to COVID it is the virtual silly season. No more jamming into malls it is online shopping now. Half of shoppers to spend some of their money on pet treats and other supplies this holiday season. If your virtual gift list includes presents for you four legged buddy – be careful there are some

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day Yeah but what a way to go!   Stay safe out there !   Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

5 Ways Taking Notes Can Improve Your Life

Jotting down everything that happens at your daily meetings can boost your productivity and make your workday better. Handwritten notes are a powerful tool for creating the neurocircuitry through the hand-brain complex supporting the brain’s capacity to retrieve information. Here are a few examples of how taking notes with a pen and paper can make

5 Unexpected Things You Can Do With Coffee

The average American drinks over 3 cups of coffee a day, leading to a lot of used coffee grounds. Coffee is good for more than just waking you up in the morning. Most people throw grounds in the trash but before you throw them away, consider some of the things that can be done with

Veterans Day 2020

Thank a Veteran today Veterans Day in the U.S. is observed annually on November 11, celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally

How Private is that Doggy E-Toy

How Private is that Doggy E-ToyThanks to COVID it is the virtual silly season. No more jamming into malls it is online shopping now. Half of shoppers to spend some of their money on pet treats and other supplies this holiday season. If your virtual gift list includes presents for you four legged buddy – be careful there are some puppy toys out there that can compromise your privacy while Fido is entertained. Mozilla’s “Privacy Not Included” project analyzed the security of pooch-gifts and the results are not good for your privacy.

Internet of ThingsAll of these technologies can become part of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT technology interconnects them, IoT connects the camera in your living room with the smartphone on your desk, allowing you to monitor your pet while you’re at work. IoT enables the collection and interconnectivity of data. This is extremely important when considering the your safety and privacy.

Dogness iPet Robot – This doggy toy costs $299.00 and has all the bells and whistles to keep Fido entertained. It moves and chases your pooch. It has a HD video camera with night vision to record your pup, two-way audio to talk to your doggo, a laser to chase, and the ability to toss treats to your buddy with the click of a button in the app. The iPet Robot connects over Wi-Fi so your home network better be secure – otherwise somebody could take over the rolling spybot and catch your pooch – or you – in a compromising position.

Dogness iPet RobotThe Dogness iPet Robot also comes with a “*Privacy Not Included” warning from Mozllia. The bot can roll around your house with a night vision camera and microphone, while connected to Wi-Fi. Mozilla says that both the Dogness device and app can snoop on you. The researchers report the device doesn’t encrypt your data. Dogness doesn’t state what information is collected from the robot, or what they do with it. Dogness uses artificial intelligence but the reviewers could not determine ow the firm uses AI.

If that is not scary enough, in March 2020, it was reported that Dogness left its Amazon ElasticSearch server, containing the usernames, emails, clear-text passwords, and session cookies of its users exposed. The unprotected information has lead to the complete exposure of it’s production SQL database, application source code, and the complete takeover and control of it’s pet feeding devices and associated accounts.

Mozilla could not determine if the Dogness iPet Robot meets it’s Minimum Security Standards.

Cheerble WickedboneCheerble Wickedbone Interactive Gaming Toy For DogsThis $78.99 interactive bone is next on the naughty list. You can control this interactive bone through an app on your phone that connects through Bluetooth. From the app you can make the bone roll around and change colors. When you get bored – there’s a 20 minute interactive mode that can entertain your pup without you.

The app requires access to your phones GPS location data – why? that a good question. Additionally the reviews could not determine if the firm encrypted your data, required strong passwords, or uses AI to make decisions about you. And like most IoT devices it doesn’t seem to have a way to manage security vulnerabilities. For these reasons Mozilla says this pet toy does not meet it’s Minimum Security Standards.

Fitbark GPSFitbark– I first wrote about Fitbark back in 2013. The Fitbark GPS costs $99.95 + subscription + the costs of Verizon’s LTE-M cellular network coverage. It is a bone-shaped tracking device that goes on your dog’s collar and will track her just about anywhere in the U.S. It also connects to Wi-Fi.

The Fitbark monitors your dog’s activity, sleep habits, scratching habits, and stress 24/7. You can link it to your FitBit, Google Fit, or Apple HealthKit apps and you can stress about your doogo’s health too.

Mozilla reports the Fitbark tracks your dog’s movements and whereabouts with Bluetooth. Wi-Fi and GPS. With all that tracking an attacker could keep tabs on you or your pup. The apps does collect personal data including; Name, email, phone number, address, date of birth, profile photo, dog’s health and your dog’s biometric data.

Felik Pet CompanionThe Felik Pet Companion – This mouse-shaped bot costs $129.00. It has a camera and artificial intelligence to track your pet, learn from their movements, and react to how they hunt so it can simulate real prey. Felik connects to the Wi-Fi in your house and has an app where you can schedule play throughout the day.

Mozilla says the firm seem to try and take privacy and security seriously. They built security and privacy aware features in to the dog toy, like the ability to toggle Wi-Fi on and off with a physical button, a indicator light when the camera is streaming, and even and on-device firewall.

Since it has a camera and a microphone it could be sued to snoop on you. And the app tracks your location. The product uses AI to analyze your personal data to make decisions about you. But Users can request an explanation about any decisions taken as a results of automated decision-making by contacting Felix.

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The Felik Pet Companion is the only online dog-toy that I would allow in my home.  

The Mozilla *Privacy Not Included buyer’s guide investigates the privacy and security of connected toys, gadgets, and smart home products. They flag products they think consumers should think twice about before buying. Mozilla looks at how well they can confirm a product meets a Minimum Security Standards.

 

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day

Marilyn Monroe pilgrim

Yeah but what a way to go!

 

Stay safe out there !

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

5 Ways Taking Notes Can Improve Your Life

5 Ways Taking Notes Can Improve Your LifeJotting down everything that happens at your daily meetings can boost your productivity and make your workday better. Handwritten notes are a powerful tool for creating the neurocircuitry through the hand-brain complex supporting the brain’s capacity to retrieve information. Here are a few examples of how taking notes with a pen and paper can make your life better ..

million dollar idea1. Make a Million – How often has a million dollar idea flashed through your brain and then its gone? They can come to you in the shower, at the gym at lunch and if you don’t write them down, you will forget them as soon as you enter the office or sit down at your desk. Carrying a notebook with you, can change that. Just scribble your million dollar idea down and carry on. 

2. Be Better – Taking notes will help you improve the quality of your work (work and personal). Your notes are your personal external memory storage. Your notebook can be a “refresher course” on all the things you have picked up through life. 

Taking notes can make you look good – to your boss. If you’re in a meeting and are seen to be writing all the key factors and ideas down, this is a subtle hint about your character. It shows you have determination, can self-motivate, and are efficient.

To Do list3. Check It Off – Notes can help you keep your To Do list up yo date. Studies have shown that as soon as you walk out of the room – your brain will automatically forget what was discussed. Writing things down can stop this from happening. So when the inevitable change comes thru you have a base to build your new day (or week). 

4. Be Your Own Master – You have a plan. You need to stick to it. But it is all too easy to get sucked into a whole host of conversations, “busy” activities, and, of course, the ever-addicting world of social media. Taking notes can help you stay on track and do the things you need to do rather than put them off for “tomorrow” (or get sidetracked by the never-ending flow of emails, text messages, and phone calls).

thinks their request is the most important thing you’ve heard all dayJotting down as and when you get more requests piling in helps you prioritize them. This allows you to focus on the activities that are really urgent, rather than those you feel are urgent. You don’t have to constantly derail your day because someone thinks their request is the most important thing you’ve heard all day. The world doesn’t work like that, and you shouldn’t either.

5. Reduce Stress – After a meeting (or any activity at work) your brain will be cluttered with loose ends, ideas, and just a boatload of information. This isn’t good for your stress levels – having a cluttered mind can feel unsettled. Taking notes is a sure-fire way to regain control of your thoughts. 

This isn’t good for your stress levelsStudies have shown that stress-free minds are more productive. Being stress free physically increases your brain’s density in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for much of our conscious thought and reasoning, and the ability to focus through emotional turmoil.

Controlling stress is extra critical during the COVID pandemic lockdowns. The U.S. Institute of Mental Health says that long term stress may lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

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pen and paper notebook

For note taking – I use a pen and paper notebook. I can take it pretty much everywhere to capture those million dollar ideas. I know that many like to take their notes on a laptop or tablet because they think it’s easier to edit and organize their notes and tasks.  But research (PDF) says using a laptop or tablet may be slowing you down and cluttering your notes with irrelevant information.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

5 Unexpected Things You Can Do With Coffee

The average American drinks over 3 cups of coffee a day, leading to a lot of used coffee grounds. Coffee is good for more than just waking you up in the morning. Most people throw grounds in the trash but before you throw them away, consider some of the things that can be done with used grounds. Take a look at this list and find the perfect recycling tips and tricks so you can enjoy your coffee again – even after you’ve finished sipping your morning cup of Joe!

funky smells in your fridgeStop Stinks – A whiff of coffee in an unexpected place always puts a smile on my face. You can use use coffee grounds to make your environment better. Instructable Living explains how to neutralize funky smells in your fridge, car, gym bag, or any other place that makes your nose wrinkle. You can make a coffee scented air fresher by collecting dried coffee grounds into an old pair of pantyhose. Not only can coffee grounds get rid of the funk in your fridge – they can get rid of stubborn smells like garlic, onions, or fish from your hands. Just mix a few coffee grounds into your soap and scrub until your fingers no longer smell

Turn Your Plants Blue – According to Healthline, coffee grounds release nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals that stimulate plant growth. Coffee grounds also repel insects that might damage those plants. You can sprinkle coffee grounds directly on the soil and turn your Hydrangea blue.

Pumpkin splice coffee slimeCoffee Slime – Slime is a huge hit, especially with older kids, namely middle school kids.  While on the one hand they’re growing up and want to appreciate adult smells/flavors/tastes, like coffee they also have this incredible attraction to the gooey and gross. You can make coffee slime

Catch More Fish – Outdoorsy web-site Gone Outdoors recommends letting worms wriggle around in coffee grounds for a while before putting them on the hook. They cite “fishing experts,” that almost guarantee anglers will catch a fish if they use coffee-smelling worms as bait. There are even coffee-scented lures on the market. 

se coffee grounds to melt iceWalk Safer – If you live in an area where snow and ice are likely to pile up, keep your used coffee grounds handy. Coffee grounds are “green” and don’t cause the environmental harm compared to the traditional de-icer salt. Save those grounds and sprinkle them along walking areas this winter. The Farmers Almanac says you can use coffee grounds to melt ice. Java Presse explains that used coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, a known ice-melter. More likely though coffee grounds increase friction and reduce your risk of slipping.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Veterans Day 2020

Thank a Veteran today


Veterans Day in the U.S. is observed annually on November 11, celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.