Fantastically deep history of plug & play videogame consoles

Back in the early 2000s, cheap plug & play videogame consoles became ubiquitous. I remember spotting them for sale everywhere from toy stores to Walgreens. Self-contained systems, they integrated one or many games instead of allowing users to swap in cartridges or CDs. Today, Frank Cifaldi of the Video Game History Foundation shares the deep and geeky history of plug & play as a launching point for his research on the TV Guide Quizmaster, "something so rare it might not even exist." Below are a few bits from the thread. See the whole thing on Twitter!

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Enjoy watching this fancy smartphone car entry system fail utterly

"Unlocking your €100,000 car is now easier than ever," writes Álex Barredo.

Not to worry: I hear they're developing a durable, solid-state device that weighs only grams and comes with a custom encryption profile. It's called a "Serrated Analog Authentication Interlock Disengagement and Reengagement Shard" and they're working out the kinks. Read the rest

A year later, giant Chinese security camera company's products are still a security dumpster-fire

A year ago, Chinese white-label CCTV/DVR vendor Xiongmai announced a recall and security update for its devices, whose weak security meant that they had been conscripted into a massive, unstoppable botnet. Read the rest

Vtech covered up a leak of data on 6.3m children and their families, then tried to force us not to sue - the FTC just fined them $0.09/kid

Vtech is the Taiwanese kids' crapgadget vendor that breached sensitive data on 6.3 million children and their families, lied about it and covered it up, then added a dirty EULA to its products that made us promise not to sue them if they did it again. Read the rest

Gallery of awful tech garbage at CES

Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, the annual festival of stuff not made by Apple. This year's big themes include drones and home automation, but there's an ocean of bizarre, obviously-nightmarish Internet of Things crapgadgetry. And they found all of it.

Hot take: contraptions are what makes CES fun. When it's just this year's TV sets and spec-bumped laptops, CES is like staring in to the sun. Read the rest

Not just crapgadgets: Sony's enterprise CCTV can be easily hacked by IoT worms like Mirai

The unprecedented denial-of-service attacks powered by the Mirai Internet of Things worm have harnessed crappy, no-name CCTVs, PVRs, and routers to launch unstoppable floods of internet noise, but it's not just faceless Chinese businesses that crank out containerloads of vulnerable, defective-by-design gear -- it's also name brands like Sony. Read the rest

A visit to the crapgadget impulse aisle with Meh.

I have a soft spot for crapgadgets. During my first stretch living in Silicon Valley, one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday was to get a friend to drive me to Fry's and just buy a whole whack of stuff from the impulse aisle: stuff that some optimistic entrepreneur had made an unsuccessful bet on, sold off to a jobber, who then split it into lots that were sold on to import/export places that eventually dumped it into Fry's: black-and-white digital cameras without a viewfinder (I called it the "point-and-pray"); stuffed bootleg Windows 2000 logo plushies; digital walkie-talkies that looked like the Incredible Hulk.

WiFi ResetPlug power cycles router whenever Wifi fails

Plug your router into it, and the WiFi Reset Plug does just one job: it monitors your Wifi network and resets your router whenever it loses its connection. If you're thinking it's a great idea, maybe… you need a better router? It's $60! [via The Internet of Shit] Read the rest

Crapgadget apocalypse: the IoT devices that punch through your firewall and expose your network

Cheap Internet of Things devices like Foscam's home CCTVs are designed to covertly tunnel out of your home network, bypassing your firewall, so they can join a huge P2P network of 7 million other devices that is maintained and surveilled by their Chinese manufacturer. Read the rest

Vtech, having leaked 6.3m kids' data, has a new EULA disclaiming responsibility for the next leak

Last December, Vtech, a crapgadget/toy company, suffered a breach that implicated the data of 6.3 million children, caused by its negligence toward the most basic of security measures. Read the rest

Transvaginal foetal sonic bombardment: woo-tunes for your hoo-hah

Babypod is a wireless speaker designed to be worn by pregnant women in their vaginas so as to bombard their foetuses with music with minimal distortion. Read the rest

Crapgadget watch: toys of unimaginable ghastliness

Funny or Die scoured the Web for ten genuinely awful toys that were discovered in the wild -- toys that transcend mere poor quality assurance and enter the realm of non-Euclidean ghastliness that defies all reason. Read the rest

Vtech toy data-breach gets worse: 6.3 million children implicated

The Hong Kong-based toymaker/crapgadget purveyor didn't even know it had been breached until journalists from Vice asked why data from its millions of customers and their families were in the hands of a hacker, and then the company tried to downplay the breach and delayed telling its customers about it. Read the rest

$35 Firefox OS smartphone - back to the drawing board

Ron Amadeo's review of the much-heralded Cloud FX phone, a $35 smartphone for the "rest of the world," paints a gloomy picture of a poorly thought through first outing. Read the rest