A Connected Christmas?

Just this week I came across this fascinating pre-Christmas post on Yougotobejoking.com.

“Get connected this Christmas. That’s the message coming from the IT world. The Internet-of-Things is everywhere, and now … the connected Christmas Tree!”

It gets better. You don’t even have to buy the decorations for the tree, or the presents around its base. It all comes courtesy of the cloud. Search Amazon or Walmart, Alibaba, Google or Facebook for the very latest Christmas sensation… XaaS (Xmas-as-a-Service for the uneducated). Its super cool. Just plug-in, go online and select your decorations and your presents. They will appear as lit-up 3D holograms on the tree. The tree itself can be bought online as a TaaS, in reality a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) embedded in the plastic-laminated connected tree that comes in five different shades of green and green-blue. The basic package from online stores is the tree and you have to buy the decorations separately. With the Santa Special bumper pack, the tree comes together with decorations of your choice, and you can even change when you realise the first set doesn’t match the curtains or upsets the dog.

Presents come separately. Again, holograms will appear around the base of the tree in the form of small 3D boxes. Opening them is simple. Just point the smartphone at the gift box and connect it using Bluetooth. The box opens up to shower the room with digital one-time passwords (OTPs) which can be caught using the Pokémon app. The OTPs can then be used to access an online gift shop or can be used to buy from participating high street stores and coffee shops.

Enjoying the Christmas spirit of consume, consume, consume has never been more fun. These singers know the score[1].

And it’s all in the cloud. No more dirty smelly trees in the living room. No more decorative litter to clear up after the party. No more gift wrapping paper and gift boxes to throw out. It’s the new smart way to spend Christmas. And remember that fairy on the top of the tree? The one with the wand? Well now you can have as many wishes as you like… online! Press the smartphone next to her wand and hey-presto a world of “wishes can come true” will open up for you. Select your wish and you will receive a voucher offering you a 15% discount on any wish to you wish to exercise. (25% if you buy the Santa Special bumper package).”

But… and this is to show you the sincerity of this blog, there is a WARNING. There are stories   that folk who have invested in their connected Christmas Tree have ended up being hacked! Instead of decorations and gifts appearing as holograms, a Santa appears wearing a Phantom-of-the-Opera mask and the Christmas Greeting “Happy Christmas, this is a Ransom. My reindeer don’t come cheap!” Your tree will remain unlit, no decorations, no gifts unless you agree to pay the price. In the USA, the President-Elect has called this the act of an Anti-Christ who will be deported upon arrest. He has pointed a finger (thought to be the middle one) at the Chinese, and the Russians, and the Saudis, and the Iranians, and the Mexicans, and the Clintons. The other warning is that connected Christmas trees are now being infected by malware and turned by bots into channels to launch DDoS attacks on other Christmas trees, simply overwhelming them with decorations and gifts. However, the Santa Super Special bumper packs are offering a way to turn disaster into opportunity by offering unlimited bandwidth on Christmas Day so the arrival of more and more gifts means more and more free offers and discounts! Isn’t technology bountiful? Just like Christmas itself.

[1] Video source: https://www.facebook.com/100001180632979/videos/920347391347940/?type=2&theater

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