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The Internet Hardware

Japanese Firms Create Home (Appliance) Network 175

JOstrow writes "The Japanese companies Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Sharp, and Sanyo are teaming up to create a standard for home appliances communicating over a network. Usage examples cited are ovens that download recipes and heating systems that can be adjusted remotely with a cell phone. The first products adhering to the standard, called iReady, are expected to be available by next year. The iReady adapter will be ready for use '...not only with commercialized Bluetooth and low powered wireless appliances but also wireless LAN and future transmission media.'"
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Japanese Firms Create Home (Appliance) Network

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  • Recipe Networks? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @03:59AM (#7816384)
    Wow, soon I can cook meals controlled by my bluetooth enabled phone! Wow! How useful. The aspect of downloading recipes seems kind of interesting, however. Just make sure when you are downloading a recipe you don't get tricked into hitting the recipe link that is the equivilant of a goatse redirect *shudder*.

    Seriously though, perhaps we could use peer-to-peer networks to share recipes, with a rating system kind of like what Shareaza uses. I have a cookie recipe [snopes.com] that I can share... It would be kind of interesting to join a network of like-minded recipe people and have recipes downloaded each day.

    • Wow, soon I can cook meals controlled by my bluetooth enabled phone

      Slightly off topic, but has anyone seen the remote control car for the t610 on bluetooth? Makes me regret buying a t310 insteead...
    • Just make sure when you are downloading a recipe you don't get tricked into hitting the recipe link that is the equivilant of a goatse redirect *shudder*.

      Actually, that might make a good weight-loss plan. Would YOU want to eat after having seen that?

      Simmons, Atkins, and goatse. Oh MY.
  • by adoll ( 184191 ) *
    So will this allow my Palm to replace my TV Remote control?

    • Actually I'm pretty this is already possible, and I found something on google that already has a set up for it. Heard about it on TechTV today. http://www.pacificneotek.com/ It's interesting, but I have no clue about how well it works.
      • That will work with the IR, but Bluetooth is still outside the realm of TV tech (to my knowledge). But I guess I could build an IR xmitter with a bluetooth connection so I can bluetooth the xmitter that IRs the TV.

        Hmm. Where is Rube Goldberg when you need him?

      • I didn't read the link but I was using a program called Remote something around 3 or 4 years ago that you could use to train the PDA to send certain IR signals. It came with a nice UI for a tv/vcr/dvd/amplifier/etc. remote. Worked quite nicely. Free, too.
      • It is. My Sony PDA does that right out of the box.
  • cant wait (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I can't wait until my oven prints out emails.
  • will I be able to view my p0rn collection with it?
  • iReady? (Score:3, Funny)

    by R33MSpec ( 631206 ) * on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:03AM (#7816399) Homepage
    So, when you walk into a department story are you meant to ask if the appliance is 'iReady ready?"
    • In the right places, and for a few years, yeah. I've never seen a standard like this stay around for more than a year or two. In 5 years there'll be a few japanese homes with appliances that have unusable features, having cost twice as much as normal ones, but now working no different.

      My prediction: this will be as useful as televisions with built in Beta tapes, CD players with built in organisers, and computers with a built in weather display on the front.

      I give it 18 months
    • yup.

      I really hope they dont fuck this up. Anything developed for this purpose *must* be based on ipv6. If I'm gonna work with any of these products after ipv6 accually kicks in, I'm gonna want it globally routable.

      • I have to question if having your cooker globally routable is necessary or even desirable.

        Still, it would be peotically satisfying to be able to route all spam mail to a honeypot in your fridge i suppose.

        Laugh. It's Funny.
  • Good Thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <.slashdot3. .at. .phroggy.com.> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:04AM (#7816402) Homepage
    I have difficulty imagining the usefulness of this, but I'm really glad they're working together to develop a common standard instead of each company doing their own thing. I suspect someone will find something really cool to do with this technology that nobody's thought of yet, now that the framework exists.
    • I have difficulty imaging anything useful or cool about this. And apparently so does the otherwise gadget-happy Japanese public: "Net-linking home appliances without iReady are already available in Japan, though they have yet to catch on." Well, DUH, because the whole concept is pretty useless. I can't wait to stand in front of my refrigerator and surf the web.
      • How about a firdge that detects that you're getting low on milk, or beer, or whatever, and automatically adds it to your shopping list for you, or perhaps even places an order for more?

        Networked computers aren't just about surfing the web, you know.
        • How about I look in the fridge one in a while and check whether I'm low on milk/butter/beer whatever, instead of Hal 9000 figuring it out for me?

          What they need is a standard to unfuck the back of my entertainment system. I mean, really, why does there have to be over a dozen wires going to/from my home theater? It *should* be 6 speaker wires, and a couple USB/firewire connections. Is it that hard to produce?
    • I have difficulty imagining the usefulness of this

      The example of controlling the heating from a cellphone seems geniuinely useful (but not via bluetooth, as you want the house warm before you get within bluetooth or even WiFi range), but all the crap about fridges and ovens that is the usual poster child for these systems is nothing more than gimmicky really.

    • I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies a few weeks ago, but I didn't have a recipe handy, so I looked up the Consumer Reports ultimate god-killing cookie recipe online.

      My printers aren't hooked up at the moment, and even if they were I probably wouldn't feel like printing a recipe up that I'd eventually jsut lose again in the cluter on my floor, so I trotted back and forth until I had the mix all ready.

      Sure, it isn't something that would make or break an appliance, but it would have been pretty handy for
    • Every device that allows flow of any type(gas,water or electricity) should communicatie its status to a computer. The computer should know if there is any flow and the reason why. The computer should be able to take corrective action if it determines there is not a good reason for the flow. Expensive devices should be able to be programmed so they work only when they can communicate with their owner's computer. When gps becomes cheaper I see the devices being able to broadcast their location so they can
    • The computer senses that your stove is using a milliliter/second of natural gas yet the burners haven't been activated, disables the stove and warns you so you can fix it before any accumulates.

      The computer senses the coils in the refridgerator are getting too hot and warns you before the compressor dies so you have time to figure out what to do with your food.

      Remote monitoring of the status of your clothes in the dryer, the amount of hot water left in your hot water heater, the efficiency of your boi
    • I don't see the need for this in household applicances but something like this could be VERY usefull in medical equipment. I'm thinking about IV drips that communicate with pharmacies to let them know how much supply is left all over the hospital and heart and brain monitors that communicate with breathing apparatus and the like.

      I think the possibilities are endless for the medical application of this as long as you keep in mind that it should never replace or override a doctor's judgement. With nursing s

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:04AM (#7816403)
    Oh, I understand the i-thing now. It shows the generation of neat, but possibly mostly useless or very successfull new personal technology.

    e-mail, emac, ecommernce, etc etc... for 1990's technology.

    imac, iRiver, iTones, iReady etc for 2000's technology.

    So next we have

    oMac, oMan, oRobit, oBeowolf/playstation3/cluster etc etc... for 2010,


    uMac, uBrain, uBenevolentRobotMasters, uMars,
    for 2020's technology.

    The only question I have is what about "y" and sometimes even "w"?????
  • iWife (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:05AM (#7816405) Homepage
    "The first products adhering to the standard, called iReady, are expected to be available by next year."

    Anybody know when they'll be releasing the iWife module?

    • They already released it, but it was recalled because it was found to be trojaned with the iNlaw exploit.
    • What was it, 4 years ago, Slashdot had an article just like this about a company making a home appliance network? IIRC, someone made this same joke.

      It's still funny, though.

      I think I first read about appliance networks being under development maybe 15 years ago. The example mentioned was that your stereo could turn itself down when the phone rang. Something like 7 years ago, Novell hired a CEO out of Sun who decided home appliance networks represented the future of the company. The networking medium was t
  • As I understand it this essentially X10, except actually feasible.
  • A/V network (Score:4, Insightful)

    by myov ( 177946 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:17AM (#7816437)
    I think some form of A/V network would be more useful than linking appliances. Why can't I just link my TV, VCR, Digital Tuner, DVD, Receiver, etc with a single cable and let them figure themselves out?

    Play on DVD tunes the TV to the right input, sets the receiver surround mode, knows to control the receiver's volume instead of TV's, etc. Watching TV, press record and the VCR knows what to do. Let me walk over to the kitchen and continue watching my DVD there. Etc.

    A universal remote doesn't really make things that much simpler (constant mode switching, two different volume modes depending on where audio is routed, needing to know what plugs into what, etc). The alternative is an extremely complex/expensive crestron-type system.

    Of course, under the DMCA/etc, you'll probably see this as a "what we're allowing you to do" connection instead. :(
    • Now that's more like it. A/V devices have a REASON to be networked. Unless maybe... you could get the VCR could make toast. Oh wait, Vyvyan already did that [ironworks.com].
    • Isnt InfiniBand coming out soon that will allow TVs, DVDs and the likes to connect to each other without wires?

    • A universal remote doesn't really make things that much simpler

      I remember in the early 90's seeing a programmable remote, which could send multiple signals on a single button press. A single button to switch the receiver to DVD, turn on surround, turn the volume up, skip the copyright disclaimer and start the movie playing. Most TVs in Europe already switch channels so that signal is optional.

      • I have a programmable remote with a macro feature, but the problem is that my TV cycles through inputs with a single key. So, I have no way of knowing what input it's on in order to "press" the button the correct number of times.

        The digital tuner also adds to the confusion. I'm still trying to figure out how to wire the VCR. Would it have been that hard to have separate TV and VCR outputs? I'm now out of inputs on the TV, so either I chain things on to each other, or use an external switchbox. A single cab
    • I beleive what your looking for is firewire it has the bandwith to move video and audio and can be used for control as well. The design allows things to be daisy chained for less clutter. Now you see them on the current DVHS decks and some TV's and receivers. Unfortunatly DVI is taking over that segment because firewire gasp dosent have any content protection and it's digital. DVI is substandard in it's control function and routing though it seems to be more common as a video out than firewire (would be
  • but yet hails the future of technology in the homeplace. Smart networked appliances working together in unison with a 'master-of-the-household' system are what dreamers, and architect-dreamers have been thinking of something to do with for years now, but only to be foiled by incompatabilty and privacy issues. The only point of reference we have now in current age technology are the giant private corporation printers, and servers, that call back to a datacenter to report need of repair, need of future mainte
    • I think a crucial aspect here is the tendency of Japanese competitors to work together on advancing new technologies. Japanese companies also have a history of actually HELPING each other in diffucult times, especially companies with a similar business. Obviously, this is in direct contrast to Microsoft, which has the kill-all-competition mentality.
      • "Business is War."

        Any mention of Japanese and fair in the same sentence is a invitation for laughter. Japanese companies have a recent history of helping each other due partly because of recent anti monopoly regulations from decades of monopoly abuses, and now competition from other asian markets. Microsoft may have helped develop "embrace and extend", but the Japanese developed "dump and pump". Flood the market with inexpensive products, and when the competition keels over, pump up the prices. Now they'
  • by jhobbs ( 659809 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:21AM (#7816446)
    Westinghouse has a new line of connected apliances [beyondconnectedhome.com] available. They do such interesting things as, your alarm clock tells you if the coffee maker is not filled with water and coffee, when you go to bed. Or you can use the barcode wand on the microwave to scan your tv dinner, and the microwave will look up how to cook it on the internet. They are already available to purchase at Amazon. The appliances are about average for luxury appliances, but the "home hub" (an alarm clock + windows CE pda, the one require piece) is a bit pricy at $500 if you ask me.
  • by servasius_jr ( 258414 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:25AM (#7816457)
    The future, as supplied by mega-corporations: More and more of what you need less and less.

    Do you really want your toaster to be twice as expensive, half as reliable, licenced instead of owned, and subject to planned obsolescence?
    • Actually, if I could use that toaster with Power-Over-Ethernet, I might be impressed. :) Granted, if I miswired the thing my Cisco switch wouldn't be very happy. ;)

      The only useful thing that I really want is to be able to pull up a web browser and see how much time I have left on my laundry in the washer/dryer.

      This could be a HUGE hit any rental market (i.e. is someone else using the dryer downstairs before I lug all my crap down there?). I think some students at MIT did some project to show remaining t
  • until a virus burns your house down, or turns the gas on the stove on and it doesn't light, then no one notices...

    Although it'd be worth if if the fridge has an auto-update :)
    • until a virus burns your house down, or turns the gas on the stove on and it doesn't light, then no one notices...
      Or when a virus causes your phone to randomly dial people long distance. Or when a hacker takes control of the little computer in your car and makes you drive off a bridge...

      Or maybe this isn't as big a problem as everyone makes it seem...
  • Another Bad Creation. Need I say more.
  • by Babbster ( 107076 ) <aaronbabb@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:31AM (#7816472) Homepage
    To me, downloading recipes to a stove is just silly (assuming the presence of an Internet-connected PC) unless it has robot arms that prepare the meal to the recipe's suggestions. Automating and remote-controlling home-heating and air-conditioning systems has been going on for YEARS. Here's but one example [smarthome.com] using the X10 system (I refuse to link directly to X10 because of their evil internet advertising practices).

    Another use I've heard/read about is a "smart" refrigerator that can tell you, for example, when you need milk. Of course, most homes have solved this complicated problem with the extremely advanced pen/paper system (some VERY rich people substitute a dry erase system, but I've only read about homes so equipped in magazines) combined with opening the refrigerator door.

    I really wish manufacturers would come up with something truly useful and unique to do with these appliance-connectivity solutions. I love spending money on mostly unnecessary gadgets, but I need a LITTLE justification.

    • What I want to see is an apartment complex with a centralized food storage/delivery system. Instead of going to the supermarket, the supermarket sends a delivery truck to stock up the apartment's central store. When your fridge runs low on milk, it orders some from the central store, and it gets delivered via a pneumatic system (either that, or some delivery guy just does rounds inside the building.) No need to stock sodas (taking up valuable fridge room) - if you suddenly have a bunch of extra guests, j
    • To me, downloading recipes to a stove is just silly (assuming the presence of an Internet-connected PC) unless it has robot arms that prepare the meal to the recipe's suggestions

      I think it depends of the oven. If the only control of the oven is temperature, then it is, indeed, silly. Now if you have an oven that can control temperature, humidity, the strength of the blowing and is able to control the speed at which those variables changes, this are different. Being able to load "programs" that describe

    • As is mentioned in any article related to X10 home automation, the X10 in this case is *not* the same as those annoying camera advertisements we used to see all over the place. It's unfortunate that some shady advertisements gave a legitimate technology a bad name in that kind a of way.
    • Mate, linking them on slashdot is what you do to sites you don't like.

  • by wedg ( 145806 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:38AM (#7816477) Homepage Journal
    "Honey, the toaster's been hacked again." *sound of sirens in the background, getting louder* ... Can anyone else think of some appliances that could potentially be broken into and cause damage to someone's home? Hell, no system is perfectly secure. There's always a way in, and always someone willing to find it. So what if some happy-go-lucky hacker finds his way on to the net.appliances with a modified >appliance-of-choice and a laptop? Suddenly your oven's on while you're away being a Salaryman and the little ninjas leave their homework on deadly types of blowfish on the oven, and poof, someone's house goes up. Or an apartment complex.

    But maybe I'm just pessimistic.
  • by rohan_leader ( 731431 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @05:01AM (#7816506)

    RIAA or similar: You are hereby charged for downloading copyrighted content from this internet account.

    YOU: No no! The Virus did it!


    RIAA or similar: You are hereby charged for downloading copyrighted content from this internet account.

    YOU: No no! The Oven did it!

    RIAA: Did you realize that the recipe for those cinnamon rolls was copyrighted?

    YOU: WTF! You can copyright a cinnamon roll recipe?

    etc etc etc.. ad infinitum.

    (and other possible encounters... too)
  • by akc ( 207721 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @05:03AM (#7816511) Homepage

    There already is a whole raft of standards for home interconnection, and then home to outside world.

    How does this new standard add to that?

    Look at OSGi [osgi.org], uPnP [upnp.org] and LonWorks [lonmark.org] just to show a few of them

  • yes, eventually this will be cool, but a stove with a recipe is worthless if it cant fix the meal for you...

    But hey, let 'em at it, maybe something cool will come out of this.

    Atleast it is a standard!
  • WLAN (Score:3, Funny)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) * <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @05:04AM (#7816514) Homepage
    Great instead of war driving there will be war cooking

  • by Qweezle ( 681365 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @05:06AM (#7816519) Journal
    Most new "modern" appliances with features that are anything near digital are already too difficult for the run-of-the-mill house caretaker, whether that be a woman or a man.

    People want something simple that WORKS....I doubt there will be a widespread acceptance of this until the technology generation, the kids of the 90s, grow old enough to have to use household appliances(and take care of a house/apartment), which won't be for another 10 to 15 years.

    Until then, therefore, I predict these things won't catch on too well. But you can never really predict consumer acceptance of a radical new idea, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.
    • You got that right. Appliances are supposed to be appliances: usable by anyone quickly with minimum fuss. I've been so peeved by those modern microwave ovens, with all their silly "pizza" and "bagel" buttons, since I'm an oven purist who thinks that [power dial] + [time dial] = [good enough for any heating job] ... but I admit the designers understand that things like "idiot buttons" make it more of an appliance. Programming your appliances is not the way to go.
  • As far as networking kitchen appliances goes, this has the potential of being exceedingly silly, the bullshit net-ization of something just for the hell of it.

    The idea of remote-controlled ovens makes me nervous. These just aren't the kind of things you leave unattended. Automatic drip coffee makers, which have been around for a couple of decades, are acceptable because you're at home, and the device is really just heating and pumping water on a timer; little chance of burning a pyrex pot of Yuban. It's co
    • If you are the sort who thinks you left your oven on while you are away on a trip, you could assuage your OCD checking behaviors if this were implemented in a secure manner.
    • go to amazon
      search for Beyond WBYMW1

      Scanning wand programs microwave to cook foods with a swipe of the package UPC code
      Over 4000 UPC codes programmed at factory
      New UPC's added automatically via Beyond Information Network
      Clock time and day of week set automatically via HomeHub

  • ECHONET (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AoT ( 107216 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @05:19AM (#7816543) Homepage Journal
    One part of this which is definitly novel is the talk of using appliance networks to minimize environmental impact. Not a bad idea. Thats the ECHONET [echonet.gr.jp] they talk about in the standard.
    • eh? Talk? What talk?

      I actually went to the echonet site. While they imply that echnoet will be good for the environment, there wasn't one single shred of information about anything to do with the relationship between "echonet" and "the environment".

      eg. nothing explaining in what way ECHONET will "sve the environment" or whatever.
  • by some old guy ( 674482 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @05:24AM (#7816551)

    Let's see now, my garbage disposal locks up, causing a buffer overflow in my toilet. Meanwhile, my Smart Car fails to map my driveway and crashes.

    Welcome to the brave new world.

  • by Bishop, Martin ( 695163 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @05:25AM (#7816553)
    "Hacker burns down womans house with cell phone" "Malicious user ruins families turkey" "Woman not amused by recipe for 'Cooked lart'" "Top 10 ways to keep your refrigerator from BSODing"
  • HooBoy! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Mutant ( 167716 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @05:53AM (#7816584) Homepage
    I just hope these folks think a lot about security; I had to configure my Apple Base Station to use MAC address for all my wireless devices (two iMacs, a G4 PowerBook and two 5450 iPaqs) since the little bastards across the hall took to fucking with it whenever they could see it.

    For once I'm actually glad someone is just a PC user; if they were using Linux or OS X and knew about Kismet or KisMAC I'd have an ongoing problem.

    Why can't kids just do graffitti throw rocks through windows like I used to?

  • Possible uses (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheJorge ( 713680 )
    So of course this tech will wait until we find that one great use. But until, then there's plenty of druggery to be avoided:

    You finish the orange juice, and scan the SKU. OJ is added to your shopping list, which your spouse can sync to their palm at work and use at the market on the way home.

    Upon returning from shopping, you scan stuff as you put it away, or punch in produce codes (we all get jobskills as checkers as a side-effect). If you're like me, you buy some tomatoes, throw them in the crisper, a
  • ... hmm, definitely not. Even SIEMENS [siemens.com] has a thingy called instabus [siemens.de].

    However, this reminds me of the hero in UBIK (the author was honored here [slashdot.org]) who always had difficulties with his appliances refusing to work as he was chronically out of credit.

    The door refused to open. It said, "Five cents, please." He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. "I'll pay you tomorrow," he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked. "What I pay you," he informed it, "is in the natu
  • Hello people, anyone remember Maximum Overdrive [dyamba.com].
  • And what happens to my Eggos when I have the pop-up killer running?
  • From the ECHONET / iReady article :
    Download from the internet a recipe or washing machine instructions to ensure ideal operations.

    I hope these aren't meant to be downloaded to the same machine. Getting a washing machine and an oven mixed up could produce some strange results:

    "Okay, so I just put the clothes in the washing machine like this, and push this button to get the wash cycle."
    "Um... why is it adding a tablespoon of oil to the wash?"
    "Now it's heating the clothes without water... they're turning b
  • argh (Score:2, Funny)

    by burntoutjoy ( 618425 )
    What a bloody awful name.


    Apple should have excusive rights to the i prefix so they can use it tastefully.
  • Old folks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by presearch ( 214913 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @09:09AM (#7816847)
    One of the best things that this technology could do is
    to standardize on how devices talk to their control panels.
    This implies that the control panel is separate and distinct
    from the device it controls. A washing machine's panel
    for example isn't necessarily hard-coded and hard-wired
    to the washer itself. Now, it would be possible for grandma,
    who can hardly see, to have just three big buttons for the
    washer, with loud audio feedback. But the slashgeek could
    have the mega-LCARS interface that sets the washer based
    on the rfid tags on the clothes that are tossed in, along with
    woolen-color vs. cotton-whites incompatibility warnings.

    Big, simple interfaces for seniors is overlooked by most
    device makers these days. Lots of tiny, low contrast buttons
    with nested menu structures only confuse most non-geeks.

    Downside of this will be that you'll need a monthly subscription
    for -everything- and selecting interfaces will also be an additional
    charge, like cellphone ring tones.
  • I built a home application network I termed an Information Furnace [spinellis.gr] a couple of years ago based on machines running slightly customized versions of FreeBSD, Linux, and NetBSD. My system handles Internet access, the PBX, MP3 music distribution, an alarm system, and a door opener. It can receive commands from remote controls, DTMF, and the web.

    What I gained from connecting these systems under one roof was

    • a better user interface; e.g. no more cryptic PBX commands to change quick-dialing codes
    • enhanced f
  • White Westinghouse has made the beyond line now available at amazon.com

    submitted for a story by yours truly a few months ago

    go look for WBYCM1 wbyhh03 wbymw1 and wbybm1
    the microwave sounds neatest, scan a UPC and the microwave is ready to cook..

    they all interoperate, and you can access your appliances from the internet (i.e. slow em down if you are running late)
    'no privacy policy listed though

  • Seems to me that this is a technology that not only doesn't fill a need, it complicates the problem it's allegedly solving. I'll bet Diebold is behind it!
  • A NTP server (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jhines ( 82154 ) <john@jhines.org> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:23AM (#7817178) Homepage
    A time server would be a really handy thing to have in a home network, imagine all the clocks in the appliances having the same, correct time all the time.

    Sure beats the blinking 12:00 syndrome.
  • I am very skeptical about this also.

    But one possible use would be for a single control by your door to put everything into power saving mode when you go away for a trip. Eg stove, turn off clock display, thermostat turn down.

    Notication from the fridge if there was a power outage (and how long) so you know food might be spoiled.

  • by El Camino SS ( 264212 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @12:24PM (#7817416)
    Serivice Rep: "Hello, this is customer service."

    Guy: "Yeah, I uh, think my microwave is broken."

    Service Rep: "Yes sir. See it right here. It's broken."

    Guy: "What do I do to fix it?"

    Service Rep: "Buy a new one."

    Guy: "I just bought this a month ago."

    Service Rep: "Actually it was thirty eight days sir, according to this, and on September 25th you put something metal in there, and that is your problem that caused the failure according to the info it sent. The machine locked itself up automatically for "safety" purposes, it's a child lock feature, you know, litigation and all these days, oh, and it really is broken. If you would have read the manual like it told you to, which is under menu 72-d on you microwave's display, you would have noticed that you just voided the warranty, and your unconditional, money back guarantee just expired eight days ago... (Like a chipper jerk) anything else I can do for you?"

    Guy: "Uh, I, uh..."

    Service Rep: "Thank you for calling our service line." (Click)
  • Okay, let's review. I have to shield my EZ-Pass and pretty soon my credit cards to keep from being tracked with those, install a fm tuner field dampener to keep people from checking which radio station I listen to in the car, carry around an RFID chip jammer to keep the chips in my clothes from ratting me out, turn my cell phone off so people can't track me with that. Pull the plug on my OnStar so the fibbies can't use that to listen in on my car conversations. And now have to have a Bluetooth jammer to ke
  • Hey, /.ers! Why so negative?!?

    I think it's something quite cool! Really, I want a computer in my house to know exactly what food I've got in my fridge, and whereever I store that stuff. I want it to know what I need to buy, and what is about to get too old to be eaten. Why should I spend my time looking after these things, when it could be done well by a computerized system?

    OK, so on my way home from work, I tell my PDA-like gadget what I want for dinner. It connects to my home system, which contains th

    • I want a computer in my house to know exactly what food I've got in my fridge, and whereever I store that stuff. I want it to know what I need to buy, and what is about to get too old to be eaten. Why should I spend my time looking after these things, when it could be done well by a computerized system?

      Hear, hear! This is something I could use as well, and right now it means building a system and having to remember to scan the UPC code of everything that enters or leaves a cabinet or the fridge.

  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FreekyGeek ( 19819 ) <thinkstoomuch.gmail@com> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @01:48PM (#7817723)
    Everytime someone gets excited about a "home appliance network" (which seems to be every year, like clockwork, for the past 20 years or so), I ask myself: "Why? What does my toaster have to say to my lamp? What does my microwave have to say to my toaster?"

    Other than a very few uses (your PC talking to your A/V components, for example) this is a technology in search of a problem.

    Do that many people really spend so much time using their appliances that they need to have their own network? And, of course, this is just one more thing to break - maybe it's a conspiracy by appliance manufacturers to reduce the reliability and "it-just-always-works" nature of most appliances.
    • Why? What does my toaster have to say to my lamp? What does my microwave have to say to my toaster?"

      Probably nothing. But in plenty of cases it would be nice for appliances and even some storage areas to be able to talk to a central server in your home.

      -I'd like my fridge to tell that server exactly what's in it and what I've used up and need to replace.
      -I'd like my medicine cabinet to tell that server that the box of DayQuil in it is expired, in case I don't notice the next time I get the sniffles and
  • Bob: "Damn...had to throw away the contents of my freezer again this morning...all my clothes ran in my washer as well...and now my TV is stuck on PBS..."
    Fred: "Script kiddies got into your home appliance network again?"
    Bob: "Yeah, li'll bastards..." ;-)


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