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With Internet Of Things, Functions Are Increasingly Glitches

The engineers who design gadgets connected to the Internet claim that they’re making our lives easier. More often than not, however, Internet of Things devices require their users to work harder for an experience that doesn’t really deliver much benefit, with the added bonus of increased surveillance.

The new Internet of Things coffee cup sold by Ember, designed by Ammunition, is a recent example of this problem.

The concept of the Ember coffee cup is that the cup enables coffee lovers to finally overcome the problem of forgetting to drink their coffee before it gets cold. To that end, the Ember coffee cup is filled with electronics that allow it to heat the coffee, and to communicate to the Internet through its owner’s smartphone.

This is where the function becomes a glitch. If you’re an Ember user, you can’t have a cup of coffee without using your smartphone first, to report that you’re planning on having a cup of coffee.

Ember communicates with your smartphone using Bluetooth, an infamously glitchy wireless format that often just doesn’t work. What if you’re doing something else with Bluetooth and want to have a cup of coffee? You’ll have to put that activity on pause to go through the hassle of electronically synching with your coffee cup.

The Ember coffee cup provides another opportunity for hackers, government agencies, and unscrupulous corporations to conduct electronic surveillance on your private life. There’s no product benefit to creating a data trail every time you have a cup of coffee, but that’s what happens with the Ember coffee cup.

Internet of Things engineering makes Ember a fussy object. Unlike a regular coffee cup, the Ember coffee cup can only be washed by hand.

There’s no cover on the top of the Ember coffee cup, which means that the constant high temperature of the coffee will create an increased rate of evaporation, thickening the coffee and making it taste more bitter.

A regular coffee cup, once you buy it, doesn’t have service fees. The Ember coffee cup costs you money every day that you use it. You need to recharge it in its own special charging station, which takes up counter space in your kitchen. Your electricity bill goes up, and the resulting carbon pollution ramps up climate change just a little bit faster.

It costs $80 plus shipping charges, to buy just one Ember coffee cup.

If you commonly have the problem of getting a cup of coffee and not beginning to drink it until it’s become cold, the problem isn’t that you don’t have the right gadget. If you really love coffee, you’re going to drink it before it goes cold.

The problem is that you’re not paying attention to your own life.

Fix that problem. Keep the $80 plus shipping.

Keep your coffee private.

3 thoughts on “With Internet Of Things, Functions Are Increasingly Glitches”

  1. Al Hopfmann says:

    Good analysis! But what is the cause for the popularity or subservient acceptance of such things? Is it conspiracy or stupidity?

  2. Juniper says:

    It’s an attempt by people to get rich quick from what has become a cultural reflex in our society: The presumption that adding digital information technology to an object or process will make it work better for us. Sometimes, this presumption bears fruit, but often, it’s a load of bull pucky.

  3. Dave says:

    Though it is pricey, it looks like this is being offered as a great gag gift for the holidays. I’ll wait for version 2.0 in the hopes that it will be sophisticated enough to communicate with my flip phone.

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