Blacktip Island do-it-yourselfer Harry Blenny said his microwave and other electronic devices have taken on lives of their own after he activated a home-made, smart-home network. (photo courtesy of Jstapko)
A Blacktip Island inventor this week accidentally created the island’s first autonomous internet network while attempting to turn his home into a smart house with locally-sourced items.
“I was killing time during the quarantine, rigging up a smart house with whatever tech gizmos I could find on the island,” Harry Blenney said. “Couldn’t get all the stuff I needed ‘cause of the quarantine, so I made do. That may have been a mistake. First sign I had something was wrong was when Alexi told me to go get stuffed. Guess I should have spent the extra money for Alexa.
“Next thing I knew, all my gadgets were talking back to me. Rudely,” Blenny said. “Using that refurbed Chinese router may have been a mistake, too. I cut the internet connection, but that didn’t help. Everything’s still yapping at me 24-7. I’m calling it smart-ass tech.”
Local authorities were quick to isolate Blenny’s house.
“We yanked the fiber optic on the pole out at the street,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Would have been a nightmare scenario, this—whatever it is—spreading to the rest of the island, or over to Tiperon. Luckily the house is up on the northeast coast where there’s not any nearby homes or businesses.
“Folks had talked to Harry about his tinkering with things he didn’t understand,” Marquette said. “He’s had that dream of making an experimental house for a while. Problem is he’s using makeshift parts and devices. We’re also looking into the possibility of some outside hacking, too. In the meantime, I’m not letting him out of the house, even for groceries.”
Residents worry the seemingly-autonomous network will spread, despite island authority’s efforts.
“Whatever it is Harry built, it’s got a mind of its own,” Ernestine Bass said. “He has no idea what he did or how he did it. Who’s to say this thing can’t spread, despite him being cut off and cooped up? Can it spread through the cell tower? We’ve all got our phones turned off until this gets sorted.
“There was talk of people going over there and tearing up all his electronics, but Rafe has the place pretty well locked down,” Bass said. “And no telling if it can transmit itself to people, so we’re keeping our distance.”
Blenny says many islanders are blaming the victim.
“It’s my house that’s acting up. I’m the only one affected,” he said. “All day the coffee maker makes fun of me. The microwave plays Bananarama songs. The security system touch screen keeps printing obscenities. And TV shows Howard the Duck non-stop.”