Prediction #7: Internet of Things becomes a security nightmare

2016predictionsJust because IBM suffered a marketing hiccup doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about doing 2016 predictions. This one is simple — a confluence of anti-hacking paranoia combined with the Internet of Things (IoT), which will lead to any number of really, really bad events in 2016.

Remember how the CIA or the NSA or whatever agency it was hacked a few years ago the Iranian nuclear centrifuges making enriched uranium? The centrifuges updated their software over the Internet, loading doctored code that eventually caused the machines to overspeed and shake themselves to pieces, putting the Iranian nuclear program months or years behind.

Now imagine much the same thing happening to your Internet-connected thermostat, baby […]

Predictions 5 & 6: Drones and driverless cars? Not this year

2016predictionsWhen it comes to predictions it is often easiest just to take some really popular new technology and point out the obvious time it will take to be actually adopted. You could say I’m doing that here with drone deliveries and driverless cars, but I like to think my value-added is explaining why these will take so much longer than some people expect.

Amazon.com has been making a lot of noise about using small helicopter drones to deliver packages. I’m not here to say this is an impossible task or that drones won’t at some point be used for this purpose, but what I am saying is that it won’t happen this year, won’t happen […]

Last chance to get a Mineserver™ for Christmas!

newmineserverlogo.jpgIt took only two days for our three sons to reach their $15,000 Kickstarter funding goal and visions of building a kit car were dancing in their heads. Almost three weeks later, however, total pledges are just nearing $30,000, which puts profits more in the deluxe quadcopter range. Still good, but not a Manx dune buggy. But there is one more day to make your pledge — the only way to get a Mineserver™ or Mineserver Pro™ in time for Christmas.

Along the way we gained the attention of Mojang, owners of Minecraft, who didn’t like our logo so the boys held a contest with the winner (from Hamilton, New Zealand!) getting a […]

The Cringely boys Kickstart Mineserver™, a $99 Minecraft server

When my three sons, ages 13, 11, and 9 decided to do a summer business together I thought it could be almost anything. After all, they’ve visited three dozen tech startups with me in our RV and they’ve been surrounded by technology entrepreneurs their entire lives. What business would it be?

I just never expected a $99 Minecraft server.

It’s brilliant, really. Minecraft is hugely popular but the Minecraft hardware market is almost nonexistent. It’s not that nobody thought to do such a server but that it’s a business idea most entrepreneurs would see as not having legs. It will scale, sure, but will it endure? In a few months someone — no doubt someone in Asia — will copy the idea, […]

Google’s OnHub router may save WiFi from itself

OnHubGoogle this week introduced its first WiFi router and my initial reaction was “Why?” WiFi access points and home routers tend to be low-margin commodity products that could only hurt financial results for the search giant. What made it worth the pain on Wall Street, then, for Google to introduce this gizmo? And then I realized it is Google’s best hope to save the Internet… and itself.

WiFi is everywhere and it generally sucks. WiFi has become the go-to method of networking homes and even businesses. I remember product introductions in New York back in the 80s and 90s when we were told over and over again that it cost $100 per […]