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VNC Server for Toasters and Light-Switches 292

Posted by timothy
from the everything-needs-a-web-page dept.
An anonymous reader submits: "How about using VNC to configure your toaster, microwave oven, or even your light-switches? Thanks to Adam Dunkels' micro-VNC server it is now possible to run a VNC server even on really small embedded 8-bit microcontrollers commonly found in such devices. The idea is that even low-cost devices that don't have a screen or graphics hardware could have a GUI, accessible over the network. To show that the server can run with very small amounts of memory, there is a demo server running on a Commodore 64. But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"
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VNC Server for Toasters and Light-Switches

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  • by FortKnox (169099) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:29PM (#3980726) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, back in the day we used to say "Lets install Linux on a toaster!" and it was a joke.

    But now someone actually took it seriously, and look whatcha dun!! You should be ashamed!
  • by e40 (448424) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:30PM (#3980733) Journal
    Scares me to think how fast it'll fall...
  • VNC is Fun! (Score:3, Funny)

    by FuzzyMan45 (451645) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:31PM (#3980741)
    Now all i need is VNC for my microwave and oven, and i can control my whole kitchen from my computer.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How many GUIs does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
  • Why? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But why? The last thing I want is someone hacking my coffee maker.
  • X-Server (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maniakes (216039) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:32PM (#3980749) Journal
    Wouldn't it make more sense to draw the gui on the client machine, rather than putting beefier hardware in the toaster so it can send you bitmaps?

    After all, your desktop machine will always have more computational ability than your toaster (the senient talking toaster from Red Dwarf notwithstanding).
  • Pop-UP? (Score:5, Funny)

    by budalite (454527) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:33PM (#3980754)
    So, when your toast is done, will there be a "pop-up" window telling you that? Sorry. Couldn't help it.

    MadDad32
  • /. effect (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wrexen (151642) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:33PM (#3980758) Homepage
    Quoth the page:
    The pages you are currently watching are served by a web server running on a an Ethernet equipped 6510-based system with 64k RAM running at 1 MHz (a Commodore 64 with a TFE cartridge). The same system also exports two displays using VNC and the small uVNC server software.

    Other servers have come down like they were Commodore 64's, but this one actually is one!
  • Good STUFF! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by freeze128 (544774)
    This is Very cool indeed. Imagine a simple VNC controlled front end for your VCR so you can configure it to record your favorite show while you're away.... Or Turn on your A/C from work because it's going to be a HOT afternoon. (Sure could use that today).
    • by brunes69 (86786)

      A device that lets you program a VCR to let you record shows when you aren't there! What'll they think of next, a device to turn your lights on and off while you're away perhaps?? What a glorious technological revolution is ahead!

      ...

      • by Fjord (99230)
        The point is that a VCR doesn't have a mouse or a keyboard, so the interface is limited to what you can do with a remote. While it is workable, it's nowhere near as nice as it could be.
    • Yeah! I have some great names, too! We can call the VCR "TiVo" and the A/C "X10"! Oh wait, I don't need to tell my A/C to turn on. I have a thermostat for that.
    • by scott1853 (194884) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @05:27PM (#3981324)
      I was immediately thinking of how much I could freak out the wife by making all the appliances turn themselves on and off. She still gets confused when the mouse on the home computer starts moving around on it's own while I'm at work.
    • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @09:01PM (#3983073)
      "Or Turn on your A/C from work because it's going to be a HOT afternoon. (Sure could use that today)."

      Turning on AC's now? Wahtcha gonna do, send them Goatse?
  • And straight from the web page ...

    This Server

    The pages you are currently watching are served by a web server running on a an Ethernet equipped 6510-based system with 64k RAM running at 1 MHz (a Commodore 64 with a TFE cartridge). The same system also exports two displays using VNC and the small uVNC server software.

    Please note that this is work in progress and far from something finished.


    Its not going to get finished today!

  • Is this smart? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Your_Mom (94238) <slashdot@@@innismir...net> on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:34PM (#3980769) Homepage
    OK, this is very cool and I can't count how many projects I would love to do with this...

    That being said, is this smart?
    Picture: 10 years from now, some company sells one of these things, and it takes off. Then somebody finds a nasty security hole that fscks the toaster up. Would you like it if suddenly you find your house burnt down by some script kiddie doing a port scan?
    Everything connected to the net is not always a good idea.
    • "Picture: 10 years from now, some company sells one of these things, and it takes off. Then somebody finds a nasty security hole that fscks the toaster up. Would you like it if suddenly you find your house burnt down by some script kiddie doing a port scan?"

      That's why you get it to all run wirelessly on bluetooth so you have to be within the 20 ft limit (or whatever small number it is) so that fsckage is limited and no script kiddie can hit everything at once.

      • Re:Is this smart? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kalidasa (577403)

        That's why you get it to all run wirelessly on bluetooth so you have to be within the 20 ft limit (or whatever small number it is) so that fsckage is limited and no script kiddie can hit everything at once.

        When you're within 20 ft, the obvious solution is TO PUT A &%$#@*! KNOB ON THE THING, not to put bluetooth, a webserver, and VNC on it.

        • When you're within 20 ft, the obvious solution is TO PUT A &%$#@*! KNOB ON THE THING, not to put bluetooth, a webserver, and VNC on it.

          That's what they said about the television too.

          Gotta love humans!

          --
          Garett

      • That's why you get it to all run wirelessly on bluetooth so you have to be within the 20 ft limit (or whatever small number it is) so that fsckage is limited and no script kiddie can hit everything at once.


        I have abetter idea.
        Put bluetooth into every apliance in the kitchen and also put a bluetooth basestation there.
        So that you only need one ethernetcable to control everything.
        Advantage is no wires needed to every device and with ipv6 it is possible to give everything it's own ip-number.
        The only thing we are still missing is a VoIP bluetooth mobile phone.
        If you put a bluetooth basestation in every room you can do some nice things with it.
    • Imagine being able to use remote diagnostics to turn the gas valves ON and the ignitors OFF on a gas stove, and to lock a toaster a few feet away ON.

      However, all this means is that a kitchen appliance, like anything else hooked to the Net needs to be behind a firewall and other appropriate security precautions need to be taken, e.g. any software updates need to be crypto-signed, some form of authentication is required for anyone who wants to access device internals, and even the regular user Web page (e.g. to set your thermostat remotely) needs to be password protected.

    • by Mr2cents (323101)
      I've done some embedded developing, and I have put an applet on a webpage of a TCP/IP enabled 8bit controller. It opens a connection back to the server and displays real-time data. This is much less overhead and the communication protocol separates the GUI from the application code somewhat. The way I see it, VNC is overhead. (It remains cool however).
  • C64's weren't built to withstand a ./ing....

    But they hold up better than I would have thought, nevermind it's down.. (remember that streaming audio one a while ago..?)

    • Auuuh come on, they were built as home computers for kids :) If they can survive me and a thousand other kids screaming at it for the 10000th time after it moans about "syntax error", im sure it can survive a slashdotti.... oh there it goes, ignore me.
    • 1. This is the same place as the streaming audio C-64.

      2. There is a page at the site dedicated to explaining why the C-64 server keeps on running while Linux/BSD servers crumple under the /. effect.

      -jon

  • by mickwd (196449) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:34PM (#3980780)
    ....I thought the title was VNC Server for Toasters and Light-Sandwiches.

    But then I realised there's no such thing as a free lunch.
  • by Etcetera (14711) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:36PM (#3980794) Homepage

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but VNC is a screen-sharing or remote-control system, ne? On a small device where memory, processing time, and complexity is at a premium, why would you waste effort rasterizing a screen image so that VNC can ship it over.

    Wouldn't it be a lot easier to have a tiny HTTP server which sends out an HTML file and processes the results? This seems akin to someone scanning in a print-out of their email as an attachment instead of sending an email directly... =/

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This seems akin to someone scanning in a print-out of their email as an attachment instead of sending an email directly... =/

      As unlikely as this seems, my father communicates with my mother in a similar manner (they've been divorced for 30+ years now..)

      When he wants to send an email, he types it up (on an old, mechanical typewriter) on letterhead.. then scans it and emails it..

      When I first saw my mother open an email from him, I couldn't believe it.. and when she told me that that's how he sends all of his email, I almost fainted..

      some people just don't understand technology.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      See this link [microsoft.com]. Makes a lot more sense than hobbling the device's capabilities to save a few bucks.
    • That was my first thought as well -- HTTP and HTML are really very simple ways to create complex GUIs (since all the rendering is on the client, and the protocol is very simple).

      But on second thought I imagine it could make sense in some situations. I can imagine there are places where the stateless interaction of HTTP/HTML would be awkward. For instance, if you wanted to give live updates of some statistic (temperature, weight, etc). As a UI, HTTP/HTML is much better for control than monitoring or passive interaction.

      Of course, you could use a much simpler protocol, like another poster suggested, with a custom client that rendered the results. But VNC, like HTTP/HTML, is a portable and well-documented protocol, with extremely clear semantics.

  • .. there WAS a demo server running on a C64. Now there's just a smoking lump o' plastic surrounding a the burnt out husk of a 6502.
  • But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"

    The real question is who (not 'how') here would understand pig latin..
  • ...there is a demo server running on a Commodore 64. Haha... not anymore but seriously (well not really) I would think that that commodore 64 was slashdotted by the article poster before it even got to slashdot.
  • Commercial Uses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lev13than (581686)
    I think that on the residential scale this is all a bit silly beyond the fun/cool hobby level.

    However, there are lots of legitimate industrial/commercial uses for these applications. Take, for example, a restaurant kitchen. You want the cooking/prep time to be as fast as possible so that you can move people through & have more sittings. A waiter with a wireless touchpad could automatically send instructions back to the kitchen incuding special instructions for browning toast to the right level, rareness of steaks etc... Add a few bar code readers to the appliances and you could automate a lot of the routine process while still accounting for the need to customise preparations down to the unit level.
  • by CheechBG (247105) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:40PM (#3980851) Homepage
    Call me crazy, but all the light switches in my appartment, my parents house, and damn near everyone I know doesn't have, nor do they need a 8 bit microcontroller. Anyone care to post a link to a ordinary light switch that has and utilizes this?

    As for the idea, it's not that bad at all, with one small flaw that I can see. It's great if I can access my toaster from my desk at work, but if I have to leave a piece of buttered bread in there all day just so it's toasted but soggy when I walk in the door, I'll just start making it when I walk in.
  • Sure, so one could turn on and off any light switch in the house, but think about trying to control a toaster on the network...

    Will the network actually put toast INTO the toaster? Or will I still have to walk 20 feet to the kitchen just to put the toast in myself, only to walk back to my computer to tell the toaster to turn on?

    Besides, we'll have to invent a new lightbulb joke about computer geeks forgetting how to change a lightbulb...they only know how to turn it on and off.
  • by twoflower (24166) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:43PM (#3980881)
    A Commodore 64 isn't really a small system, and therefore isn't a great demo. Truly small embedded systems have on the order of a kilobyte of ROM and a hundred bytes of RAM available, not 64KB.

    Examples you might be familiar with include things like the BASIC Stamp and other PICs. Your toaster's built-in logic is going to resemble these much more closely than in does a general-purpose 8-bit computer.
    • Last time I checked the embedded systems used for HVAC are all 486s running QNX. Now they are called embedded systems, but they seem to be normal PC's with serial/probe modules. The C64 is about on par with my with my nokia gsm/gprs phone. (tcp-stack/gfx/audio/64K/IR/Bluetooth/etc)

      C64 Seems more impressive now, compared with 2ghz cpus.
  • This is an odd article to see after a marathon battlenet session.

    Maybe someone could hack something using the GBA compactflash adaptor, the link cable and VNC? :)
  • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:43PM (#3980885) Journal
    Techsupport: Hi, how may I help you?
    User: Hi, I got your ToasterVNC, and when i tried to install it on my toaster, all hell broke loose!
    Techsupport: Can you describe what happened?
    User: I opened the box, put the CD in my toaster's CD-ROM, pushed the lever, and a few minutes later the whole thing started smoking.
    Techsupport: I think I know what the problem is. Take the whole thing back to the store, and tell them that you got an ID-ten-T error
    User: Thanks!
  • configure (Score:5, Funny)

    by brer_rabbit (195413) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:44PM (#3980894) Journal
    But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?

    ./configure --with-bread --enable-top-brown-only --enable-honey --disable-butter

    oops, that's the CLI. I don't know about the GUI version.

  • This Server

    The pages you are currently watching are served by a web server running on a an Ethernet equipped 6510-based system with 64k RAM running at 1 MHz (a Commodore 64 with a TFE cartridge). The same system also exports two displays using VNC and the small uVNC server software.


    When will the Slashdot editors learn that what they are doing to servers is totally rediculous? Will it take a lawsuit to stop the slashdot effect? Why shouldn't this poor machine be mirrored?

    This is like the third time today. Blah.

    -molo

  • by J4 (449) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:49PM (#3980940) Homepage
    Linux will never make proper toast
    without Pantone for calibration.
  • But the real question is: [who] would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"

    I like my toast darker than my rommmate does. We could set up personal preferences for the toaster and have 3 or 4 'personal setting' buttons on the toaster. It's not worth putting a full gui on the toaster, but you could put some memory into the servo settings and have it controlled over the 'net.

    The 'pop up window' when your toast is ready idea is, at worst, a good pun -- but which machine to pop-up the message to could be included in the 'personal prefs' button.

    Then, of course, there's the original purpose of the 'MIT internet pop machine' -- which was to notify you of when the machine was out of pop, so you could save yourself a (fruitless) trip to the machine (which was a good distance away from the computer labs)..
    If the toaster says it's in use, you can spend a couple more minutes surfing before you go down to make breakfast (or sneak in and steal the toast from your roommate when it's done).
    Then again if your roommate is cute, and likes to make breakfast in sensuous undies, you might want to set the toaster to notify you when {s,}he hits the appropriate prefs button.

    The possibilities are about as endless as the possibilities of attaching a video camera to a web server (I mean, who'd really want to do that?).

  • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:53PM (#3980980) Homepage Journal
    I design products with 8-bit embedded processors. The typical scenario is a single chip with 2k to 16k of eprom/flash code memory and 64 to 1k of RAM. That's quite a bit smaller than 64k of ram in a C-64.

    The most popular 8-bit chips today are the 8051 (multi-source), AVR (atmel), PIC (microchip), and HC08/HC11 (motorola). Cost is usually the primary consideration, and projects with volumes of 20k/year and up, it makes a lot of sense to do some or all of the project in assembly language so you can get the code into a smaller chip that costs $1 less. Multiply that $1 by 20k (or whatever production volume is expected) per year over the life of the product.

    At the beginning of many projects, there's usually a list of "got to have" features, and "would be nice to have" features (as long as they don't add cost or significantly delay the product release). A good designer (and there are many) will ask a lot of questions about the actual application and make changes to the feature set that still meet the customer's needs (often times an improvement) but allow the code to be smaller, run at a slower speed (increase battery life or reduce the cost of the power supply circuitry), and use less RAM.

    It's a very different world from PC software. The 8051, PIC, AVR and HC08/11 are available in many different flavors with different mixes of built-in peripherals and different amounts of code and ram memory.... and an amazing amount of work goes into making VERY efficient code so it can fit in a less expensive chip. On top of that, most products that ship with those 8-bit chips ARE UNDER WARRANTY for years, and a bad bug in the firmware usually means replacing the product for everyone who's effected.

    I just can't see a VNC server on that "got to have" feature list, and I can't see it not increasing the cost enough to get quickly axe'd from the "nice to have" list. Even using an additional 128 or 256 bytes (yes, bytes, not Mbytes, not kbytes, but individual bytes) will almost certainly push a "normal" 8-bit microcontroller project up to a chip that costs $1 to $2 more. That's a lot of money when you go into production and start shipping thousands every month!!

    • I just can't see a VNC server on that "got to have" feature list, and I can't see it not increasing the cost enough to get quickly axe'd from the "nice to have" list. Even using an additional 128 or 256 bytes (yes, bytes, not Mbytes, not kbytes, but individual bytes) will almost certainly push a "normal" 8-bit microcontroller project up to a chip that costs $1 to $2 more. That's a lot of money when you go into production and start shipping thousands every month!!

      I don't know, even if you figure each unit costs $2 more each, if all other things are equal, distribution costs, etc... Then a $5 increase in wholesale price would cover this and then some. And for a "new tech gadget", its not unusual to see an increase in cost of at least this size. In the cheapest case (likely the toaster) The increase in cost would be maybe 5%-10% to the consumer, in a something more expensive, like a VCR, that percentage is much less.

      Personally, I'd pay the extra money for the ability to control all kinds of gadgets in my home, from the browser on my wireless PDA. I'm sure I'm not alone.
      • Ahh, but all other things are NOT equal. If you're looking at a $20 toaster, that moves it up into the $25 range. These are typically very price-sensitive items, especially when you're talking about the lower-end, high-volume ones. And that's only if it's made by a big manufacturer with an existing distribution chain who already sells to the discount retailers.

        Smaller manufacturers have a harder road to hoe just to get in the door, and woe be unto you should you happen to sign a contract with WalMart. That little smiley-face on the commercials is simply your assurance that some sales rep got his nuts squeezed in a vise until he lowered his price.

        If you just decided to start up Cheeko's Toasters, Inc., you probably wouldn't make a profit selling them at $50 a pop. Trying to compete with $20 toasters will end up with you getting burned.

    • will almost certainly push a "normal" 8-bit microcontroller project up to a chip that costs $1 to $2 more. That's a lot of money when you go into production and start shipping thousands every month!!

      I don't disagree with what you said, but I think you're dismissing the value of uVNC too quickly. Assuming it's not a hoax, that is! I imagine this would be extremely useful as...

      ... the GUI for modern touchscreen phones in large organisations. Instead of running the GUI on the handset itself, run the GUI on the PABX and export it to the handset using uVNC.

      ... the GUI for kiosks dotted around those larger buildings. The ones where you can lookup somebody's office number or phone extension, or get a map of the building.

      ... wireless tablets, like the new Microsoft one. Being able to use an 8bit CPU would give a new lower-cost option for the manufacturer. The consumer will just be happier that it costs less.

      I don't see this uVNC thing appearing in your toaster! But proving it can be done gives us all more options, and isn't that a good thing?

  • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:54PM (#3980988) Journal
    If we run it on the coffee machine, will we have to run the JAVA version of the VNC viewer?
  • I hate to see Linux lending its credibility to such an ill-conceived scheme.

    There's just no excuse for cooking your bread twice in completely separate processes. And don't even get me started on bagels; boil, bake, then toast? Wake up, people!

  • I once had two computers sitting next to each other, but was getting sick of hopping keyboards when going one from another. What I ended up doing was using VNC to link the two computers similar to how a KVM works. Instead of watching the update on the client computer, I'd watch the monitor on the host computer. It was neat, it was kinda like rerouting my keyboard and mouse on one computer to the other! Pity, though, I wish I could find a version of VNC where I can turn the image signal off. When using it like that, I don't need to waste the bandwidth/runtime. Anybody know of a flavor of VNC (or another App for Windows) that does that?

    The cool thing is that because it's VNC, doesn't matter which OS I'm using. So my computer (or computer like device, heh.) could benefit from this type of interface as well. It'll be an interesting day when I can get my TV to work the same way.
    • I worked at a place that developed server software. We had to have so many devleopment servers ( for testing, development, etc), that we didn't bother getting keyboards mice. Many were in racks with switchable KVM, but many weren't. They just all ran VNC servers. I had about five under my desk... in two subdomains. worked great. A hell of a lot cheaper..
    • Re:VNC as a KVM? (Score:2, Informative)

      by waxed (1538)
      x2vnc [hubbe.net] aabd win2vnc [hubbe.net] both open a 1-pixel wide window on the edge of your main monitor that picks up the keyboard and mouse input and diverts it to your other VNC-controlled machine that you can still see the monitor of. Works great.
  • by An. (Coward) (258552) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @04:57PM (#3981018)

    Earlier today, Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-Disney) announced legislation to allow copyright holders to use otherwise illegal hacking techniques to disrupt toasters, light switches, and other devices used by individuals believed to be pirating copyrighted works.

    RIAA chair Hilary Rosen hailed the effort as a milestone in attempts at combatting Internet piracy. "The development of Internet-enabled toasters offers us vast new opportunities to hit the pirates where they live. 'Smoking out the bastards' will no longer be a figure of speech. It will be a reality.'"

  • my toast allready takes to long to pop up without a microprossessor involved.
    im waiting for windows TE (Toaster edition)
  • by VValdo (10446) on Tuesday July 30, 2002 @05:00PM (#3981040)
    An anonymous reader submits: "How about using an external control, made of plastic or metal, to configure your toaster, microwave oven, or even your light-switches? Thanks to Adam Dunkels' "dial", it is no longer necessary to run a VNC server on really small embedded 8-bit microcontrollers commonly found in such devices. The idea is that even low-cost devices that don't have a screen or graphics hardware could have a physical control, like a GUI only in 3-d space, accessible right on the device...But the real question is: who would want to 'configure' their toasters using a physical dial?"
  • Pity, the C64 seems to be slashdotted already. I thought they said it was on an 8 megabit connection?!

    Oh wait . . . never mind.

  • by irix (22687)

    Guys,

    Please stop slashdotting my C64. I am trying to watch some streaming video and play Counterstrike.

    Sincerely,

    Junis in Afghanistan [slashdot.org]

  • But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"

    How about customer service?

    Toast isn't browning right? Reflash the portion of EEPROM that governs the relationship between control setting and level of brownness. Now, you don't have to return it to the store for warranty replacement.

    There are lots of little adjustments that now have to be done by a service person onsite that could easily be done by remote control if the appliance is Net-enabled in some manner.

    Of course, if security isn't part of the Web setup, it isn't just service personnel who'll be inside your kitchen appliance.

  • With every new toaster I go through at lot of bread trying to find just the right "Darkness" setting. With this, I could just have a web-based slider with a picture of a piece of toast that gets darker or lighter as you move the slider. You could even have a drop-down with pictures of Bagels and Pop-Tarts (after all, they toast to different darknesses on the same setting). The possibilities are endless!
  • As if I don't have enough to worry about at work, in twenty years or so everything is going to be on the freaking internet. I'm going to wake up at 4 am to repeated flushing noises because a 1337 h4>0r has r00ted my Microsoft Toilet (tm). And it's going to take hours to cook dinner because the oven runs Java.

    'scuse me. I think someone just 0wned my cellphone.
  • Actually, I spent half of a summer working on a microcontrolled toaster.
    It has an 8Mhz Microchip PIC and 1K of RAM. The design intent was that you set the knob to the color toast you wanted and it always came out that color, no matter how recently/how much the toaster had been used. The thing even compensated for variations in line voltage. I think it's actually patented too. It looks like a normal 4 slot toaster though, so you could have used one and never even know it.
    BTW, I made a LOT of toast that summer.
  • Been wanting to setup a dedicated VNC station. Trying to get DirectFB [directfb.org] and DirectVNC [adam-lilienthal.de] to work. Not much success, but after seeing the screenshots, this looks ideal for a central VNC console. And with VNC supported on almost everything, including some toasters would rock. (BTW, we call some network appliances toasters at work, aka, a simple server with no internal disks, throw away, replacable.)

    I can see allot of potential for uses of vnc and directfb, and micro-vnc embedded appliances. (Software KVM, VideoCapture, Security, Service controls, Monitoring applications, etc..)

    BTW, Gentoo has built in support for DirectFB. Now if DirectVNC just came preconfigured also...
  • The IPic [umass.edu] won the 1999 Slashdot World Smallest web Server title [slashdot.org]. It is based on the world's smallest implementation of a TCP/IP stack(256 bytes) -- which is implemented on the PIC (a small 8-pin low-power microcontroller) .. using a mere 512 words of program ROM. At the time I thought this is great. At a dollar a chip, we will have this in all our toasters and light bulbs in a couple years but it has been three years and I have not heard of it since then. So, as noted in yesterday's Globe and Mail - After two decades of hype about 'smart homes' with computerized brains that control lights, stoves and stereos, The Clapper still rules the living room. [globetechnology.com]
  • But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"

    The real question is now how, but who. :-)

    It's funny though, I went toaster shopping the other day and found an interesting new (new to me...) trend: cancel buttons. No shit. Like lifting the lever to get the toast out early would be quaint.

    I'm gonna write 'ESC' on my toaster's cancel button. Much cooler.

  • The rabbit semiconductor module that powers my etch-a-sketch is about equal in power to an original Mac. Getting a server on a C64 is impressive

Memory fault -- brain fried

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