The Gate Labs Video Smart Lock Secures and Monitors

Welcome to the Gate smart lock – a front door smart lock that incorporates a traditional keyed deadbolt, multiple access keypad, person identification camera, and two-way audio system all in one. I’ve had this installed on my house for about 2 weeks now, and it’s been an interesting intro to smart home locks.


Everything old is new again – even camera lenses

There is no end to “old” stuff that’s brought (sometimes kicking and screaming) into the current day and age. Sometimes it works out great (say, the reissue of retro video game systems in new compact packages) and other times, it just falls flat. Will the new Petzval camera lens be the former or the latter? Time will tell, but funding levels seem to point it to being a success.


Want to watch your surroudings? The Arlo Pro 3 wants to help you do just that

While the camera’s from Nest and Ring are definitely the known names out there (and, well, Ring has some problems), they’re not the only ones out there. In fact, Arlo lays claim to the most popular wireless camera brand out there, and they announced earlier today their newest, the Arlo Pro 3.


Camera sales have cratered

DSLR and mirrorless camera sales have crated, falling far below 2018 numbers in Q3 2019. Estimates point to about 3 million cameras sold in 2019, down from 9 million in 2018 and similarly dismal number sin 2016 and 2017.

The numbers truly began to fall in 2012 when smartphone cameras began to do DSLR tricks like bokeh and artistic lighting simulations. As a result, most photos are taken on phones and viewed on digital screens.

“Let me bring the parallels between servers and cameras into focus for you. Sony and its brethren have taken a page from the Sun playbook. They keep pushing cameras that have features, like higher megapixels, that most people don?t use or don?t care about. And the executives don?t seem to get a key fact about the market reality: what we do with with cameras and photos has changed,” wrote Om Malik, an investor and photographer.

A long time ago, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy quipped, ?Technology has the shelf life of a banana. By the time you buy it, implement it and train people on it, it?s obsolete.? He was talking about servers, but I can?t help but think that his words are just as true for cameras,” he wrote.


The new Snapchat Spectacles are awful

We swore on Knapsack to be positive. We’d post reviews of the things we loved, things we’d use, and things worth knowing.

I just broke that promise. Why?

Ugh. Look at these things. And think about these things.

While the design is fair to middling, think about the context that these things were created. They’re designed to capture amazing moments of your life, unfettered. Fine. If your life is one big party then they’re great.

But they invade everyone’s privacy by their very existence. In an era of untrammeled surveillance they add another set of cameras to the mix. And they will quick become obsolete because in an era where everyone is being watched no one will want another set of eyes.

The techlash – the tech backlash – is real and these are tone deaf and silly. While the idea of the rise of the influencer is fine and egalitarian, the chaff is always thrown out in the winnowing and the long tail of influencers will eventually settle back into the unknown. That’s sad but that’s real.

To suggest that your life is important or exciting enough to “snap” 24/7 is unhealthy to the point of danger. I realize the irony of saying this on a public blog dedicated to sharing my own silly ideas and I welcome discussion on the topic of “spectacle journalism” – the idea that we must make ourselves the observer and the subject of each story, of each action. But come on…

Anyway, these things are dumb and cost $380. Don’t buy them.


Researchers create ransomware that encrypts your DSLR camera photos

Ransomware is usually associated with PCs run in the bowels of some antiquated IT department. Now, however, researchers have figured out how to move the stuff onto your DSLR – with catastrophic results.

The ransomware essentially infects a high end camera and then encrypts all of the photographs on the card. Check Point has create a proof-of-concept that lets hackers connect to a camera via Wi-Fi and inject the code, essentially shutting down the camera until a ransom is paid. They write:

Our research shows how an attacker in close proximity (WiFi), or an attacker who already hijacked our PC (USB), can also propagate to and infect our beloved cameras with malware. Imagine how would you respond if attackers inject ransomware into both your computer?and?the camera, causing them to hold all of your pictures hostage unless you pay ransom.

The researchers used an open source OS for the Canon EOS 80D, by probing it for exploits, were able to upload the ransomware and activate it. Once a malicious payload is uploaded wirelessly the camera will load it automatically and go into lockdown. “There is a PTP command for remote firmware update, which requires zero user interaction,” wrote the researchers. “This means that even if all of the implementation vulnerabilities are patched, an attacker can still infect the camera using a malicious firmware update file.”

The result? Your camera is toast unless you pay up.

Luckily this is just a proof-of-concept and the attack isn’t in the wild yet. That said, keep your camera close by when you’re in sketchy areas. You never know when a hacker might strike.

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