Two Troy Hunt articles today. The first concerns the latest push to make everything in your household Internet-accessible. This idea was around during the ’90s (smart refrigerators could tell you when you’re out of milk, for example), but we’re getting to the point where our current infrastructure can support a growing number of “smart” devices. The problem is that security tends to be a lagging feature, and embedded device security additionally so. What happens when you need to flash the firmware on your refrigerator because of a bug that lets anybody on the Internet change its temperature?
The other article relates to Windows XP. Microsoft’s support window for Windows XP is closing quickly, and Troy does a great job working through some of the implications of having so many people still on XP. Most interesting was the “IE tax” that some sites have come up with. By making laggards pay an additional cost, these companies give a small incentive to move (or for people stuck in 2005 to shop elsewhere).
But some part of the XP problem is that subsequent Windows versions have been, shall we say, less than commercially viable. Vista was a horrible flop, and 7 has been OK but not great. 8, meanwhile, is kind of a drastic change, and isn’t very good if you don’t have a touchscreen. This means that we’ll have a new sticking point at Windows 7, which will probably be around until the next decade, regardless of Microsoft’s official policy regarding obsolescence (after all, XP was supposed to be done in 2007, five years after its initial release).