Saturday, May 28, 2016

cats will 0wn the Internet of Things just like the rest of the Internet

we have a smart cat flap - from a jolly good company called sureflap. we've had it a few years. Our cat is chipped so if she gets lost she can be returned and so the vet can tell what treatments she's had etc etc - all good...

we live in a crowded cat neighbourhood, so many cats try and come into our house to eat our cats food and generally invade her space etc

so we got this cat flap as it reads pet chips, and can be programmed for a given one (actually, a bit like your WiFi AP, for which see more later, it can store up to 30 cats RF-IDs - jolly good, so far).

So then the cat flap goes wrong (starts running batteries flat every day-  normally they last nearly a we go on the company website, and they have a neat diagnostic tool, and we run through it and they say it needs replacing (the smart flap, not the cat:-), and we enter the serial number (of the flap, not the cat) and they say "yes, that is still under warranty and they are sending us a new replacement (very smooth service indeed- arrives next day!).

so we install replacement asap as I am getting fed up with old one using up so many batteries, but I am in a hurry to get to work, so I put the cat flap in the default learning mode, which is that it flashes its little light once a second until the first cat goes through, at which point it stops learning and only lets that particular cat-id in/out.

so i get to work and there's a frantic phone call, and someone tells me some other cat has come into the house first, and eaten our cat's food, and now, only it can get in & out and our cat is stuck in. oops.

so you have to ask how did the alien cat know to try  just then? I mean we know which cat it is and its lived around here for 5 years and it must know it couldn't get in thruogh the old catflap, so what told it that there was a new one? cunning eh.

two things - 1 there is a different learning mode which only leaves a 10 second window, but you have to have a tractable cat that will oblige and train the flap on demand - hard to do. there isn't a way to "migrate" the old cat learned IDs from an old flap to the new one (the way you migrate your contacts lists from old phones to new ones) which would be neat, especially if you had 30 cats! waiting to train all of them could be like, errrrrr, herding cats :-)

on the other hand, alien cats will have it purrrr0wned in 9 1/2 seconds!

No comments:

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home