• Remember the early days of cell phones, when there seemed to be as many OSs as there were phone manufacturers? The splintered OS issue is alive and well in the IoT today. In addition to iOS and Android, there are competing systems for IoT dominance, including Ubuntu, mBed and Contiki — not to mention vendors that are writing their own custom OS for very small “things” and sensors.

    Application testing and protection agents are purpose-built for a platform, which means vendors need to create a specialized version for each OS. While this isn’t an impossible task, it requires significant investment that may not be cost-justified. With so many IoT OS options, strategic vendors will have to wait to see which ones gain market share before they develop security solutions for them.

    How about monitoring the data and communications from those things and apps? Proprietary app logs don’t need to follow a standard format, which could mean new parsers and rule sets for SIEMs. The same goes for unique communications protocols. This is already a reality in the industrial control systems space, where protocols such as DNP3 and Modbus are used.

    Other must-haves for security, such as the ability to discover devices, manage them remotely and interconnect with them via networking and data exchange, are equally up in the air, with at least six different groups working on standards.

     
  • The Jony Ive story from the New Yorker everyone’s talking about. TL;DR for me right now.

     

  • ProSyst employs some 110 associates in Cologne, Germany, and Sofia, Bulgaria. The company specializes in the development of gateway software and middleware for the internet of things. These facilitate the interaction between connected devices in the smart home, connected industry, and mobility segments.


    ProSyst’s solutions are built on the Java programming language and OSGi technology. 


    The ProSyst software also assumes a kind of “translator” role. If things such as central heating systems, household appliances, and security cameras are to be interlinked in a smart home, they must all “speak the same language.” This is especially difficult when the products are from different manufacturers, use different communication protocols, or are not web-enabled.

    “In combination with the Bosch IoT Suite from Bosch Software Innovations and the Bosch Group’s expertise as a leading producer of sensors and appliances, the ProSyst software will enable our customers to launch new applications on the internet of things more quickly and be one of the first to tap into new areas of business,” Kallenbach said. 

     
  • Simblee - Connecting Everyone & Everything”.

    The video is remarkably light for it’s length. That said, Simblee appears to be:

    • a super small BLE platform - a Electric Imp-like idea, but much much smaller
    • a UI construction kit

    I have RFDuinos (ordered from Crowdsourcing) and am happy enough with them, though I tend to think BLE platforms would be better if they were “more general”. The chips are $20, but you need to board them into something else.

    There’s a whole story on Ars Technica.

     
  • Massively funded, with lots of time to go. $60 with lots of time to go. $3 / mo for tons of (small) messages.


    The Electron is an Arduino-like cellular development kit with a SIM card and affordable data plan from the creators of the Spark Core. 


    The Electron is just like the Spark Core and the Photon, except it’s got a cellular module instead of a Wi-Fi module. That means we’ve designed it to be user-friendly and easy to jump into whether you’re an experienced embedded programmer, web designer or just a weekend hacker. The Electron runs the same code as our other boards and uses the same development tools and cloud back-end. It’s a tad bigger, but it’ll still fit on a mini-breadboard. If you’ve ever used an Arduino or heard of a REST API, you’ll feel right at home.”

     
  • A few weeks ago we posted IBM’s Design Language. Here’s Google’s. I prefer IBM’s.

     
  • And non-Canadians for that matter. This article is using a HP Whitepaper on the security of Home IoT security products as a jumping off point.

    Of note in the report, issues with:

    • Insufficient Authentication/Authorization
    • Lack of Transport Encryption
    • Insecure Cloud Interface
    • Insecure Mobile Interface
    • Insecure Software/Firmware
    • Privacy Concerns

    The HP Fortify report, which assessed 10 connected home security devices and their cloud and mobile app components, drew some alarming conclusions: none of the systems required the use of a strong password and all systems failed to offer two-factor authentication.

    "All of the studied devices used in home security contained significant vulnerabilities," HP says, "including enumerable usernames, weak password policy and no account lockout."

     
  • HOWTO fix: “Your device or computer could not be verified. Contact support for assistance”

    I haven’t been able to access the app store for quite some time on my Macbook Pro, after some hardware fault which mysteriously fixed itself after a week. 

    If you google the error message, you’ll get lots of advice on how to fix this, typically involving “NetworkInterfaces.plist”. This spectacularly didn’t work for me.

    Here’s how I fixed it.

    What causes the error (as far as I can tell) is that the App Store verifies that “en0” is your WiFi connection. If it isn’t, it will give this error message. You can figure out what this is by running “ifconfig -a” (in the Terminal, but if you didn’t know that you probably should be doing this).

    General advice: don’t - as everyone advises - delete anything. Instead, move it aside, keep a copy, &c. In fact, every file you touch in these instructions make a copy somewhere. If things blow up, just copy them back and you’ll be good.

    Let’s for argument’s sake that WiFi has shown up as “en5”.

    $ cd /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration
    $ sudo vim NetworkInterfaces.plist

    • delete all the <dict> in the Interface <array>, example for the “en5” one.
    • rename en5 to en0 everywhere
    • change the value of “IOInterfaceUnit” from 5 to 0
    • save

    $ sudo vim preferences.plist

    • rename any en0 references to en99 or delete the records
    • rename en5 to en0 everywhere
    • save

    Reboot and you should be good. You can add back other interfaces using Network preferences.

     
  • Time magazine article on HomeKit. But here’s the interesting bit - you need an Apple chip to make it work with HomeKit. I had not heard that before.


    While that may come across as proprietary nonsense when it comes to audio, as it applies to connected home technology, it’s smart and secure. Because Apple-compatible smart home accessories pack Apple-approved MFi chips, they’re able to provide end-to-end encryption. In other words, when you say “Unlock the door” to Siri, that command gets encrypted by your phone, it’s sent through the web, and finally lands at your lock, where it’s decrypted. The command can only be unscrambled at the hardware level, so it makes your smart home safer from hackers.

    But those chips are what’s holding up the Apple smart home. Apple has approved three vendors to build HomeKit MFi chips: Broadcom, Marvell, and Texas Instruments. But it’s taken time for them to be developed, approved, tested, and manufactured. The chips began shipping to product makers in November, but according to Apple, they have yet to be approved (or, for that matter, mass produced).

     

  • ARM has strengthened its security portfolio by buying Offspark, the company whose PolarSSL secure communications is widely used in Internet of Things devices.


    PolarSSL will remain open source, under an Apache 2.0 licence and open for commercial use but will be included as part of the ARM mbed platform aimed at Internet of Things applications. Offspark is a Dutch company which specialises in IoT communications security and its PolarSSL technology is already deployed in a wide variety of devices including sensor modules, communication modules and smartphones.

     
  • Stacey Higginbotham + GigaOm + August + Electric Imp + more.


    On Friday March 13th we’ll have an evening event — The SXSW Hardware House — featuring interviews with Jason Johnson, CEO of August Locks; Hugo Fiennes, CEO of Electric Imp; Sam deBrouwer, Co-founder of Scanadu; and Nick Yulman community manager for hardware and design at Kickstarter, all prepared to share their insights and tips about getting your products off the ground and into consumers hands. They’ll have stories to share about manufacturing, crowdfunding, government regulations and finding the right retail partners.

     
  • $1.5m / year from non-accredited investors.

     
  • "Home Remote - Apple Watch Version" - more here.

     
  • A new blog

    I started this blog to share my experience in the design and development of products…  I’m dong this mostly because of Makerbot. I watched the early days and I had to cringe at the way they did things. If you knew what to look for you could tell that they had little experience in how to take their idea and turn it into a manufacturable product.  
     
  • Notes: 3

    Tags: Radio ShackHistory

    A very good summary of what happened to hobbyist electronics and related technology in the last 40 years. Featuring: Radio Shack (duh), Heath Kit, Fry’s, Raspberry Pi, Reflow Soldering, Raspberry Pi, 3D Printing, Drones, TRS-80, &c.

    Most electronic hobbyists have long since abandoned Radio Shack for shopping online or, if in a hurry, the well-stocked aisles of electronics superstores like Fry’s. All too often, your correspondent has found himself going to Fry’s for a $7 cable, only to come out with a new motherboard that was on special offer, plus a further eight-gigabytes of memory—happily handing over $150 or more for the pleasure in store. That is the kind of fat-margin business Radio Shack abandoned for the cut-throat world of selling mobile phones.