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Technology News

Smart Hotel Rooms in New York City 131

hc1379 writes "Back in the 90's, Mark Weiser a Xerox PARC scientist envisioned future computing will weave themselves into the background of our everyday life. People will use computing as natural as they use writing instruments. He called it ubiquitous computing (aka pervasive computing). UbiComp was a good research idea, but did not really find its way into the commercial market, at least not in the life time of Mark Weiser, who died in 1999. One of Harry's blog reports that the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan has smart hotel rooms that can keep track of guests' preferences and change the room conditions automatically (e.g., adjusting room temperature and lighting conditions based on the guest's preference, and alerting maids when the minibar is running low on soda)."
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Smart Hotel Rooms in New York City

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  • by PunkOfLinux ( 870955 ) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:19PM (#14049217) Homepage
    I try a lot to build computers into whatever I can. Making technology useful for anything and everything, thus simplifying life, is really what technology is all about.

    Instead of just making a toaster, why not make a toaster that learns how different people like their toast?

    Or, instead of making a set of speakers, why not make a set of speakers that can automatically adjust to prevent distortion, no matter the volume level?
    • by gkuz ( 706134 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:42PM (#14049320)
      Instead of just making a toaster, why not make a toaster that learns how different people like their toast?

      My toaster has a dial on the front, that adjusts from "lighter" to "darker". It's actually very easy to use, and I don't have to log in before toasting my bagel. It's really pretty well "simplified" already. How much simpler do you propose to make it?

      • Right on. Technology shouldn't be complicated just because it can be. To illustrate this point let's turn to the classic story recounted in a previous /. story:

        http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=15874 7&cid=13299054 [slashdot.org]

      • A smart toaster should recognize you by biometrics and use the settings you used last time you were using the toaster. If the toaster doesn't know you, it should refuse to toast until you set it up.

        That would be even more useful with showers. Different people prefer different water temperature.

        • by xs650 ( 741277 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @11:41PM (#14049570)
          Let me know when the toaster is smart enough to know how I want the toast this time instead of how I had it last time.

          Turning a dial is lot simpler than trying to outwit some appliance that thinks it knows what I want.

          • My friend possesed a toaster that would refuse to toast again if you stuck the toast back after it popped up. You had to turn the dial to a darking setting and then push it down. Apparently it must have sensed a temperature or something instead of just a simple timer...complete pain in the ass.
          • It doesn't mean that the simple phyiscal instruments are removed from the toaster, you can have both.

            Besides, what kind of freak changes the way he likes toasting normal every day bread? a smart toaster would understand what kind of bread is being put in it, and what your preferences are for it.

          • Especially if Microsoft designs the software for it. I mean, with Word for example, when I am writing a paper and use "et al." it automatically changes to the French dictionary, even though this is a common term for English language papers when you are referencing a document with multiple authors. I guess if they designed the toaster, it would assume you want it black because you turned in a particular direction one morning. Then, every morning after it assumes you want your toast black.
        • by mmontour ( 2208 )
          Your "smart" toaster sounds like something that Microsoft would come up with. I'd rather have the talking one from Red Dwarf.

          "refuse to toast until you set it up"? Why not just fall back to the traditional manual control? If I want "smart" mode, I'll push a button for it.

          As for remembering the setting I used last time, that's no good unless it also knows that I'm toasting the same kind of bread as last time. It doesn't allow for the possibility that I might want my toast darker than I did yesterday. Do I ha
          • Regarding the general weirdness of toaster design - how come every toaster comes with the option of making burnt toast? I mean, is there a use for burnt toast which I am unaware of? Surely people can't be eating it?

            My toaster has a rotary dial from 1 to 5. 2 makes perfect toast, 3 is kind of dark and crispy. I suspect that 5 would probably risk starting a kitchen fire... (No, I haven't seen a toaster that goes up to 11 either) ;-)

        • ...and use the settings you used last time you were using the toaster...
          That would be even more useful with showers...

          This brings up an important safety tip; never use a toaster in the shower.

          But I think the real answer is voice recognition.
          That way you can tell the toaster to make it dark or light or "do the best you can in 45 seconds, I'm late for work".
          Same thing with the shower; hotter, cooler, less water, more water, off while I lather my hair, back on to rinse, etc...

          Or as a great fictional ch

        • by jacksonj04 ( 800021 ) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @07:02AM (#14050880) Homepage
          Our shower is computer controlled with user profiles, it's a pain in the ass. Yes, it has shower, rain shower, steam generator, body jets and foot massager features (Sometimes all at once) but all I want is a bloody shower.

          The profiles are useful for getting a starting point (Such as turning off the bits I don't want), but from there on it's manual control.

          On the plus side, the computer control keeps the water pressure and temperature constant at whatever you set it to (On a nice LCD, so you can see the temperature) even when people flush the toilet. *That's* what computer control should be for, none of this profile nonsense.
      • This [ubergeek.tv] much simpler!
      • The toaster as all electrical equipment should report to the computer whenever it is using electricity. Everything in the house that cause flow of any kind(water, gas or electricity) should report when ever they have need of any of those. The computer should know if there is any flow and determine if there is any problem with that flow. Every room in the house should have a speaker and a microphone which the computer could keep in contact with everyone in the house. The computer should know when the res
        • Windows should be double paned with a motorized venetian blinds in the center. The computer would determined by the need of the house for heat whether or not to open them.

          That's just asking for a whole new set of viruses designed to cause the blinds to raise at the most unexpected times after detecting the gender, age, appearance, and state of undress of each occupant.

      • You don't need to use the dial, it already knows what you prefer.
      • Eliminate the 'medium' and 'dark' toast options, which turn your toast into a smoldering mass of pure carbon which no one in their right mind would even think of eating.
      • Hey, buddy, it's called sarcasm.

        (This post was automatically submitted by a Roomba)
      • Duuuude that SO much hard work! I want my toaster to tell me THIS as I walk into the kitchen first thing in the morning: "Good morning Jim. I just finished walking the dog, and based on your average eating habits I started your toast about 45 seconds ago." That is of course after my coffee maker tells me: "Your cup of coffee is ready and waiting for you at your desk. You are still spilling drops "on route" to your desk so your cup is waiting for you already." I like the idea of UbiComp - think "The Jet
      • You don't have to log in? Dude, that's leaving your toaster wide open to a local root exploit.
    • Simple example of technology gone awry: Your phone: You are talking on the phone and someone else calls. It interrupts your conversation with beeping. You interrupt the person you are talking to in order to look at caller ID to see who is talking. You click over to tell them you are talking on the phone and will call them back. End result - ball's in your court. My phone: Automated response system known as busy signal. Ball is firmly in caller's court.
    • Making technology useful for anything and everything, thus simplifying life, is really what technology is all about.

      Sorry, but that's not what technology is all about. That's what geeks want it to be about, but what it's really about is making money, often by convincing otherwise intelligent people that they need more gadgetry to make toast or turn their lights on and off.

      Truly useful ubiquitous computing might someday throttle our credit cards instead of our thermostats, or warn us not to buy things we can
    • by Jerk City Troll ( 661616 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:58AM (#14050105) Homepage

      Source: http://philip.greenspun.com/humor/eecs-difference- explained [greenspun.com]

      Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. &ldquolWhat do you think this is?”

      One advisor, an engineer, answered first. “It is a toaster,” he said. The king asked, “How would you design an embedded computer for it?” The engineer replied, “Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantizes its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a 16-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop up the toast. Come back next week, and I'll show you a working prototype.”

      The second advisor, a computer scientist, immediately recognized the danger of such short-sighted thinking. He said, “Toasters don't just turn bread into toast, they are also used to warm frozen waffles. What you see before you is really a breakfast food cooker. As the subjects of your kingdom become more sophisticated, they will demand more capabilities. They will need a breakfast food cooker that can also cook sausage, fry bacon, and make scrambled eggs. A toaster that only makes toast will soon be obsolete. If we don't look to the future, we will have to completely redesign the toaster in just a few years.”

      “With this in mind, we can formulate a more intelligent solution to the problem. First, create a class of breakfast foods. Specialize this class into subclasses: grains, pork, and poultry. The specialization process should be repeated with grains divided into toast, muffins, pancakes, and waffles; pork divided into sausage, links, and bacon; and poultry divided into scrambled eggs, hard- boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, and various omelet classes.”

      “The ham and cheese omelet class is worth special attention because it must inherit characteristics from the pork, dairy, and poultry classes. Thus, we see that the problem cannot be properly solved without multiple inheritance. At run time, the program must create the proper object and send a message to the object that says, 'Cook yourself.' The semantics of this message depend, of course, on the kind of object, so they have a different meaning to a piece of toast than to scrambled eggs.”

      “Reviewing the process so far, we see that the analysis phase has revealed that the primary requirement is to cook any kind of breakfast food. In the design phase, we have discovered some derived requirements. Specifically, we need an object-oriented language with multiple inheritance. Of course, users don't want the eggs to get cold while the bacon is frying, so concurrent processing is required, too.”

      “We must not forget the user interface. The lever that lowers the food lacks versatility, and the darkness knob is confusing. Users won't buy the product unless it has a user-friendly, graphical interface. When the breakfast cooker is plugged in, users should see a cowboy boot on the screen. Users click on it, and the message ‘Booting UNIX v.8.3’ appears on the screen. (UNIX 8.3 should be out by the time the product gets to the market.) Users can pull down a menu and click on the foods they want to cook.”

      “Having made the wise decision of specifying the software first in the design phase, all that remains is to pick an adequate hardware platform for the implementation phase. An Intel 80386 with 8MB of memory, a 30MB hard disk, and a VGA monitor should be sufficient. If you select a multitasking, object oriented language that

    • I'm not talking about those futuristic IR sensors they build into toilets these days, but one that could open the door to the future.
    • When it comes to audio, the best way to prevent distortion is to get rid of any computerised anything in the signal chain; keep it pure analog all the way, with as few wires in the signal chain as possible, with good quality, well matched components and listen at levels which represent that which you would expect to hear in a particular venue. Also, the laws of physics will render the computerised speaker concept a non-starter unfortunately. Cheers
    • Ok let me get this straight, a computer to monitor my room for my preferences... Ok first off great just what i need the mini cam on the mini bar, or the mini cam on my bed. Some cleaning crew watching me do my thing at night yeah right thanks but no... on the lighter side... 1: How is it going to know what hair color I want on my female escort? 2: How does it know when i want said escort to arrive 4: Does it know that i locked my wife out ? 5: How does it know what TP i want in the bathroom I dont see the
  • living on the Enterprise-D.
  • by lewp ( 95638 ) * on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:21PM (#14049227) Journal
    Oh, the minibar was never in danger of running low on soda...
    • Oh, the minibar was never in danger of running low on soda...
      Naturally. At up to $5 per bottle of pop and upper $XX per bottle of buzz one can make a really smart minibar that would promptly reorder and refill itself when it runs low on stuff... which is never.
      • Ever send employees to travel on business, had them stay at a luxury hotel? Bringing in your own soda/booze is very declasse, and bad, bad form to be seen doing it at a good hotel.

        Believe me, those minibars need replenishing very often.
        • Bad form? Oh no, whatever will I do if people at the hotel see me not being ripped off?

          That said, my wife and I did partake of the minibar in our hotel in Beijing. The extra 50 jiao was worth the convenience and not too much of a rip off.
          • "Bad form? Oh no, whatever will I do if people at the hotel see me not being ripped off?"

            When your business depends on the image you present to the public... think of sales reps for advertising, or high-end products. Or when your livelihood depends on your rep. It's the same reason people wear designer clothes.
            • Except designer clothes have a reputation for either being cooler looking or higher quality. People buy them for those reputations, knowing the other people who are in the know will see the label and think better of them. The only thing the minibar has a reputation for is ripping you off, and not having nearly enough liquor in it to get you and your associates drunk (which is the universal language of real business).

              People who are rich and have style get the hotel to send up bottles of quality booze (often
    • Five or six months ago I was on business travel and stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. When I went to check out, there were several charges from the minibar that I did *not* drink.

      It turned out that the "smart" minibar recorded a purchase when I took an item out (it was some crazy $10/bottle Norwegian spring water or something, which I decided wasn't worth it) and didn't realize that I had put it back without drinking it.

      The desk employee apologized profusely and credited my account, e
  • by Senes ( 928228 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:23PM (#14049232)
    Would be amusing to see what one good hacker or software glitch could do with a room like that. As if being able to scan people's important info out of a key card wasn't enough.
  • by imboboage0 ( 876812 ) <imboboage0@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:24PM (#14049238) Homepage
    When they figure out that I would prefer not to pay and adjust accordingly, then we're talkin.
  • by AutopsyReport ( 856852 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:24PM (#14049242)
    "This is Seth from the Mandarin front desk. The following DVDs have been automatically charged to your account: Drunken Hussies, Backdoor Patrol, and Mona Lisa Smile. Thank you."
    • That's not pervasive computer. That's perversive computing.
    • I remember in a hotel (belgium i think) looking at the card with the in-room movie choices. It came with an assurance that your movie choices would not be visible to the staff at the front desk or on your bill, yet hollywood films were 5 euro and porn was 6.
    • "This is Seth from the Mandarin front desk. The following DVDs have been automatically charged to your account: Drunken Hussies, Backdoor Patrol, and Mona Lisa Smile. Thank you."

      Hey! I didn't rent Mona Lisa Smile. It was Mona Lisa's Pearl Necklace.

      • I believe that the movie list was a reference to the movie Dodgeball. Oh look, I'm right [imdb.com].

        This is Seth from Videorama. The following DVDs are now overdue: "Drunken Hussies 3", "Backdoor Patrol 5" and "Mona Lisa Smile". Thank you.
        • Damn! You are a fucking stallion! I knew I'd seen that somewhere before. You sir are a master of film dialogue trivia and memorization and I admire you for it. Really, I do, this is just one of those ways that guys can do that drives women crazy because they just don't understand it. You frigging rock. You must drive your girlfriend/wife crazy.

  • It really took that long to develop this and implement it commercially? Some things seem so slow to markey it's unbelievable.
    • Ok, I'm a nob, I meant to say

      Some things seem so slow to making it to market it's unbelievable.

      I have no idea where those extra words came from, and others disappeared to. Further to this, isn't this a simple database setup, post data as the client arrives and then next time query those values. I could write that in about 2 minutes. Maybe a minute to design the table ;)
    • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:50PM (#14049363) Homepage Journal
      I had a hotel in italy where the room lights were activated by your room key. This allowed them to know exactly when you left your room. One day we took a nap in the middle of the day, wandered round the town for an hour or so and returned to find that the bed had been remade.

      The offered otherwise excellent service (Hotel Panorama, Venice btw) but using technology for a few extra touches makes all the difference.

      The Mirage in las vegas had a minibar that was monitored by computer in my suite. I'm not sure if they'd have come and restocked it, but it stops you replacing that $4 bottle of aquafina you took with an inferior quality one from safeway.

      My point is that these smart features wont make a craptastic hotel better, but they can make a nice one nicer.
      • The Mirage in las vegas had a minibar that was monitored by computer in my suite. I'm not sure if they'd have come and restocked it, but it stops you replacing that $4 bottle of aquafina you took with an inferior quality one from safeway.

        You don't need a computer for that. The hotel I stayed at, actually sealed the tops of the drinks bottles/cans with some gold shrinkwrap plastic. I guess that way, they would know whether the minibar had been opened and nothing/something taken out.
  • by lashi ( 822466 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:26PM (#14049250) Homepage
    I would love to know what products the hotel is using. I would like to automate my home.
    • hehe... X10 (www.x10.com) - whatever happened to that mass marketting company, every site had their popups.
    • The types of products used there generally don't scale down to a small facility very well. There are several variations on this theme, including "smart occupancy" detection, where motion and door sensors combine with some logic to calculate the correct "room occupancy state," such as Occupied, Maybe Occupied, Not Occupied (but rented), Not Rented, and Out of Service.

      These states are useful for any number of things, not the least of which is calculating (for a large facility) steam and chilled water requirem
  • How about if a respect for grammar were to "weave themselves into the fabric of our everyday life?"
  • Smart hotel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aktzin ( 882293 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:37PM (#14049305)
    A good example of advanced computer intelligence in a hotel (not just the rooms) is in the detective/science fiction novel "Altered Carbon" by Richard K. Morgan:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-fo rm/102-8961702-9548145 [amazon.com]

    It's set mostly in San Francisco in the 25th century, and there's a "Hendrix hotel" that's actually controlled by a self-aware AI inspired by its famous namesake. There's a very violent scene where some thugs attempt to commit a crime in the lobby. Let's just say the hotel had really good security.
    • It's set mostly in San Francisco in the 25th century, and there's a "Hendrix hotel" that's actually controlled by a self-aware AI inspired by its famous namesake.

      I like the bit where Kovacs was told the AI hotels are actually programmed to crave guests the way animals and humans crave sex.

      Which just goes to show that "ubiquitous computing" has a long way to go before it reaches the current state of cyberpunk fiction.
  • Not Cheap (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Check out the room rates:
    http://www.mandarinoriental.com/hotel/532000009.as p [mandarinoriental.com]
    • For those prices you could get an ordinary hotel room and rent some services that gadgets can't match (at least not yet)
  • PervComp (Score:1, Funny)

    by elinden ( 155827 )
    ...He called it ubiquitous computing (aka pervasive computing). UbiComp was a good research idea...
    if ubiquitous computing = UbiComp, i guess it's best they didn't choose to primarily use the term Pervasive Computing instead... might have attracted a completely different audience.
  • by fizze ( 610734 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:54PM (#14049383)
    I spent a few days in a hotel in London, around march. The mini-bar in the room was RFID-equipped and would automatically charge your account if an item was removed.
    So I guess thats not really new, then.
    • If I had known that, my entire stay would have been spent trying to drink the contents without removing the containers from the mini-bar !

      I wonder how they would prove liability against you ?
      What if you removed a bottle, read the label then put it back ? How would the system know ? I would imagine that a real person had to verify the charges before billing you.

  • ...up my expense account, make it concrete, and then I'll read the fucking article. Otherwise, we mouse-drivers over here ain't holding our breath.
  • by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:55PM (#14049387) Journal
    This kind of stuff makes me a little uneasy. On a practical level, the more complicated something is, the more ways it can mess up. Think about how often you have to fix your computer versus your refrigerator.

    It also makes me think about how we can use products and gadgets to define ourselves. Your room will "match your lifestyle," it says. How much thought do we really need to perfecting our environments and making everything around us customized for our tastes? Everything from the color of your iPod to the way you drink your coffee is supposed to express your personality, and the world is supposed to be exactly the way you like it.

    I mean, this is neat in theory, but you're going to pay a lot for the service, I'm sure. (I don't know which rooms have it, but the first reservations their site showed me were between $600 and $700 a night.) The question is, are you paying for the convenience, or how important it makes you feel?
    • As a brief reply, I don't think that the repair argument holds. How often do you repair your clock radio, how often do you repair your television? Not really that often. Just because it is electronic doesn't mean it will break. This is especially true when people aren't allowed to tinker with the software of the device. If the software behind these devices is handled well, I don't think you will have to worry about reinstalling the OS on your thermostat.
    • You're paying to not have to be bothered with calling the front desk. The idea is that everything is at your fingertips, without you having to take action.

      Believe me, if you're in NY, and not by choice, it's VERY nice having a few hours where you don't have to interact with anyone at any level.

      Plus, this won't affect the room rates much, since it makes service more efficient -- reducing personnel costs.

      There's nothing the tech in this room offers that isn't already done by humans at fine hotels (repe
    • This kind of stuff makes me a little uneasy. On a practical level, the more complicated something is, the more ways it can mess up. Think about how often you have to fix your computer versus your refrigerator.

      Funny story. About 2 months ago my oldest son opens up the refrigerator and all of a sudden I hear a big "crash". I walk into the kitchen with a "WTF" look on my face, since I'm looking at our frig door on the floor. ha! The computers are running fine, but the damn frig crashed. ;)
    • Think about how often you have to fix your computer versus your refrigerator.

      I have a PowerMac, so for me it's a tie.

  • Like a 'hotel prefs' wireless usb key ring that worked across all the hotel chains, the room would read and write to it while I were there and but wouldn't store it.
    • That's exactly what I envisioned when I first thought about it.

      It would be very easy to have a tiny filesystem readable via Bluetooth or whatever, with something like


      Imagine your waiter coming up to you at a restaurant you've never been to and saying, "Welcome sir and madame. Your usual?"

      Imagine they don't have to ask if you want sour cream or butter or cheese, or how you want your stea
  • But we must know what they receive on a typical IQ test!
  • why hotels? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drewxhawaii ( 922388 )
    it seems this type of technology is better suited for homes.

    the vast majority of people are not repeat visitors to the same hotel...
    • Re:why hotels? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Red Flayer ( 890720 )
      "the vast majority of people are not repeat visitors to the same hotel..."

      No, but the vast number of frequent travelers are. Business travelers, jetsetters, etc... Not only that but for people who rarely travel to the same destination a lot still tend to stay at a particular chain. Incentive programs have made a big difference with this.

      Even those of us who only stay at hotels 5x a year tend to stay in the same ones, if we go to the same city every year. Find one you like, stick to it.
  • by puto ( 533470 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @11:19PM (#14049478) Homepage
    I stayed one in Rittenhouse in Philly, well almost three years ago.

    They had a console by the bed where you could control lights, tv, temp etc.

    The best featue is you could set the temp of the shower and it would turn itself on when it got to the promper temp it would notify you.

    It also had movies on demand. So my girlfriend and I decided to watch a video on demand. The movie Barcelona. She had never seen it. I told her about it. I got in the shower after the movie started, or was supposed to start.

    I come out of the shower and she is seated on the bed with a funny look. And this is a girl who spent ten years working in Turkey and various other countries. Unshakeable.

    The automated system had decided to lock on some weird shemale porn flick that was in a loop.

    She figured it was glitched, and it wasn't me.

    True story...

    I thought the automated room would be romantic.

    The next day they fixed it and gave us a free night.

    True story. Nothing like shem porn to be a mood killer.

  • by stevens ( 84346 )

    Let's get our /. submission ready:

    • Lots of buzzwords. Check
    • Tenuous tie-in to famous geek. Check
    • Link to my own blog to try and make some AdSense money. Check
    • Speaking of my own blog in the 3rd person to sound like a disinterested party. Check

    Now you too can pass yourself off as Roland Piquepaille!

      • Someone that doesn't pay a dime for the content on the site but still complaints, even though he could as well have skipped the article in question. Check
      • Someone that doesn't pay a dime for the content on the site but still complaints, even though he could as well have skipped the article in question. Check.

        My eyeballs are counted in the numbers that OSDN uses to court advertiser dollars. I paid, whether I have a '*' next to my name or not.

        And I bitch because I love. :-) Seriously, though, the slashvertisements that are interesting don't bother me. But this was poorly written, and boring as hell. A bar fridge with a sensor? Oh dear me, what will

        • I have to be honest and say that the idea, or the implementation itself, didn't look too spiffy to me either, but I do think that pervasive computing has to start -somewhere- (even if that idea/implementation is simple, or perceived as simple).

          I just think that when people complaint about how an article/post might be a slashvertisement, they forget that the real information-gathering lies within the comments-section (such as, but not limited to, this post [slashdot.org]

  • Enterprise integration with Building Automation Systems is a hot topic. All your major IT integrators are exploring this while the BAS community is actively working on web services standards. Google oBIX and BACnet Web Services. The process control industry also has OPC which is often used in buildings too; OPC is working on their web services spec called Unified Architecture.
  • People will use computing as natural as they use writing instruments.
    And they still won't have or use a grammar checker. Progress!
  • http://slashdot.org/articles/05/11/17/0027255.shtm l?tid=126&tid=99 [slashdot.org]

    It's a great video about the technology. They talk about the advtantages and interview Cisco employees and the hotel employees. Check it out.
  • I'm having trouble remembering the last time I wrote anything longhand.
  • by loserface ( 925015 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @03:38AM (#14050362)
    It would be a lot cooler if it could match the room settings to which hooker you have with you that night.
  • by gnetwerker ( 526997 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @04:05AM (#14050445) Journal
    Mark was a friend and is missed. One of his favorite books on the subject was P.K. Dick's Ubiq [amazon.com]. Hence the name of the site. Check it out. -- gnet
  • Seems every other month some ivory tower researcher or technoevangelist with their crystal ball pops up and proclaims we're all going to have pervasive computeting/nanobots in our blood/holographic memory downloads etc etc blah fscking blah. Whether or not these technologies are physically possible (I suspect most are) , what these socially inept ubergeeks fail to
    realise is that probably 95% of the population won't want it , so therefor this blade runner type world they keep waffling on about will only ever
  • I feel the term "ubiquitous computing" could be a huge big misnomer, the term suitable, for what's described in this article at least, is ubiquitous automation. When everyone can code in lisp or such stuff and can customise whatever device they come across, or at least the devices would allow it, THAT i'll consider ubiquitous computing, but a "smart" car is really nothing more than a dumb car with some additional automated functions. Unless I can compute, and the device can give me a command line interface
  • I just stayed at the Hilton New York, and my room had floor lighting activated by passive IR (PIR) sensors. So when you got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, the floor lighting would come on, and then when you were done, it would slowly dim out.

    The room also made a lot of use of white LED arrays for reading lights above the bed.

    My room had a flat panel LCD TV as well. Unfortunately, it was jammed into an improper aspect ratio (4:3 content was stretched to 16:9, making the ladies in the
  • The median hotel room price in NYC is around $250 with double digits fairly rare. I think its location rather than fancy amenities. With this large cash flow, they can experiment with luxury business travel.
  • All this stuff is what the BUTLER is for, isn't it?

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle