The Internet of Shittiest Things: ExtremeTech’s All-Time Hall of Shame

13 min readJul 19, 2022

by Joel Hruska

I’ve written to a lot of topics at ET, from CPUs and semiconductors to archaeology, but cataloguing bad Internet of Things devices has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s not because I hate the IoT — I genuinely don’t — but because so many Internet of Things devices are more properly classified as belonging to the Internet of Shit or Internet of Shitty Things:

The Internet of Shitty Things is here. Have all of your best home appliances ruined by putting the internet in them!

- Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) July 3, 2015

The IoST has delivered quite a few gems over the years. Here are a few of the best. Some of these we’ve talked about at ExtremeTech before and some are new to this article.

#5. GE Smart Ovens That Require WiFi to Cook

When it comes to the …” as a service” model that’s become increasingly popular, legacy brands like GE are at a disadvantage. Many of these manufacturers cut their teeth in an era when a company’s quality was measured by how little the customer interacted with it post-sale. “You know why I buy Whirlpool?” I remember my grandfather telling me as we drove past a local manufacturing plant a few decades back. “Because they never break down. You never have to deal with the company.”

I can’t speak to the merits of Whirlpool appliances circa 1985, but GE’s decision to ship ovens that require mandatory internet connections before they’ll cook reminded me that companies used to literally compete on how rare your future contact with them would be. These days, not so much. This particular “optimization” came to light earlier this year, when David Barnard discovered his brand-new oven wouldn’t use the “Convection Roast” option if he didn’t connect to the internet first.

Merely being connected wasn’t enough. According to a later tweet, his oven wouldn’t unlock convection cooking unless he agreed to share its exact location.

🤦🏼‍♂️ @GE_Appliances won’t let me use convection roast on my new oven without connecting the oven to wifi. After a string of profanities I reluctantly downloaded the app and sat on the kitchen floor 10+ minutes


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