Sunday, June 24, 2018

IOT: Switching a Chamberlain MyQ WiFi garage door opener WiFi network

When our garage door opener died our service guy installed a LiftMaster Contractor Series Garage Door Opener. I think it’s an 8155W, 8164W or 8165W.

You can enable smartphone app access to monitor and control the garage door — assuming your home WiFi extends that far. Yeah, it’s Internet of Things (IOT) device.

There are obvious problems with doing enabling wifi access:

  • Chamberlain security is probably fairly typical. As in … lousy. Assume whatever credentials you use to setup this account are now public. Also assume that the garage door is accessible by anyone who wants in badly enough.
  • Even if there are no known exploits in the device OS (hah-hah) it will never get updated. So there will be exploits eventually.
  • It’s made in China. Presumably it comes with a backdoor.
  • The standard setup is to connect it to your home network. Which means you are, basically, toast.

On the other hand an additional remote is $50 and you can set alarms if the garage door is open after, say, 10pm.

Our garage is not connected to our home, but our Apple AirPort Extreme does reach it. So, despite the risks, I did an initial experimental connection and installed the LiftMaster.app.

It worked ok, so I enabled the Guest network on my AirPort and decided to switch it over. I couldn’t find documentation on how to switch to this network though.

The web page of an error message did give one way to force it to connect:

MyQ Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener: press and release the round yellow Learn button three times on the opener's motor unit. The motor unit's blue LED will be blinking on and off and the opener will beep once.

It turns out there is documentation in the product manual (available online), it just doesn’t contain the keyword “reset”. Instead it uses “erase”. To erase/reset the WiFi network you need to use the controls on the opener, not the remote. There’s an “up arrow” called an “adjustment button”. Press and hold it until 3 beeps are heard. Then start over with the WiFi. (I ran into some issue and Chrome seemed to work around it, so if Safari doesn’t work for you …)

The garage opener is on my Guest network now, so theoretically isolated from my home network.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Things old persons don't understand -- what happens to all those school Google Docs?

Two of our kids are ending their St Paul Public School careers. Both have a collection of Google Docs.

The school does not seem to provide any mechanism for mass reassignment of document ownership to a personal Google account. From what I can tell the school actually blocks ownership reassignment. (Ownership management is one of the several significant issues with Google’s document sharing infrastructure [1].)

So what do students do with all those documents [2]? Olds like me have no idea. They don’t just let them all evaporate … do they?

(I use CloudPull, one of my favorite macOS apps, to create a local repository. The download process converts Google “docs” to Office files. Of course there’s nothing like this for iOS.)

- fn -

[1] Only owners can truly delete an owned document, and ownership cannot be transferred for non-Google “docs”. I think all own/share privileges are at the document level, but documents may inherit some properties from their folder “container” — but not ownership. Yeah, I don’t understand this. Not sure anyone does :-).
[2] Due to some cognitive disabilities and temperaments my guys can’t answer this question… I guess I should ask my daughter …

Update: of course I just write this and today I get for all my CloudPull accounts: “CloudPull was unable to export your backups”. It turns out CloudPull had lost track of my backup directory. I don’t know why. I relinked in Preferences:Advanced and it worked again. It didn’t write anything to console when that happened. Support was great at helping me fix this.