Firstborn's infatuation

Firstborn now cares for a Tamagotchi, having seen many of her friends caring for them.

These devices appear to have been Furby-ized since I first heard of them maybe 15 years ago; hers has a little IR window through which it can communicate with others nearby, ostensibly so they can exchange electronic genetic material and procreate. Hers has had offspring.

For all I know, these little buggers can receive data through the screen flicker of a computer monitor (not the first time this has been done). This would enable Firstborn to download changes to her pet from one of the fansites, such as new foods, grooming, tricks or a simpler feeding schedule.

She has already "lost" 3 of her pets in this device, one because of a hard reset (I think), others not because of hardware malfunction, but because it must just have been their times to die. She was devastated the first few times, but now sniffles a bit and starts the pet over, always with the same name.

Gets me to wondering: is anybody hacking these things, distributing communicable diseases through the IR port? And how much protection is their Japanese maker placing on these devices to immunize them? And can the immunity also be transferred from device to device?

There's a networking-security graduate thesis in here somewhere.

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