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The internet of stuff: When modern conveniences become inconvenient
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When Amazon cloud computing network services were interrupted this week, the internet of things was in trouble. Doorbells and security systems, refrigerators and robot vacuum cleaners stop working. Package deliveries were interrupted. Multiple websites and streaming services were affected. Voice assistant Alexa wasn’t talking and automated Christmas lights failed to come on.

The incident at Amazon Web Services mostly affected the eastern U.S., but it knocked out a surprising amount of services people have come to take for granted or rely on. The Associated Press had trouble reporting news, some people couldn’t make airline reservations and others couldn’t get into Walt Disney Co.’s parks – even some pet feeders wouldn’t work.

Some Ring users said they weren’t able to get into their homes at all without access to the phone app.

The service was down for about five hours.

Earlier this year, Facebook and Instagram experienced a crash and a major outage. That meant millions of people could not post photos of their pets or what they ate for lunch. It also cost Facebook in the neighborhood of $60 million, according to DigitalSignage Today. In some countries, businesses use social media apps such a Facebook to communicate with clients.

Between the two events, we’ve seen a shutdown in the metaverse and a disruption in The Force That Is Amazon. The most common inconveniences we face in the 21st century include intermittent wi-fi connections, spam callers wanting to extend our warranties, forgetting passwords and having our phones auto-correct our texts.

We may wax nostalgic about the good old days when telephones weren’t “smart” and cars without computer chips could be fixed by shade-tree mechanics, but this truly is the best time in history to be alive. Having gadgets with all the bells and whistles used to be a luxury, and too many bells and whistles were bound to become an aggravation. 

If the conveniences in your life become inconvenient, it’s good to have a backup that works even the internet goes away or the power goes out for a spell. Enjoy your Ring doorbell, but keep a spare key just in case.