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English Man Spends 11 Hours Trying To Make Cup of Tea With Wi-Fi Kettle (theguardian.com) 200

All data specialist Mark Rittman wanted was a cup of tea from his all new Wi-Fi kettle. Little did he know that the thing would take 11 hours for that. The issue, in the case of Rittman was, that the base station was not able to communicate with the kettle itself. According to The Guardian: A key problem seemed to be that Rittman's kettle didn't come with software that would easily allow integration with other devices in his home, including Amazon Echo, which, like Apple's Siri, allows users to tell connected smart devices what to do. So Rittman was trying to build the integration functionality himself. Then, after 11 hours, a breakthrough: the kettle started responding to voice control.
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English Man Spends 11 Hours Trying To Make Cup of Tea With Wi-Fi Kettle

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  • by Shane_Optima ( 4414539 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @01:32PM (#53070619) Homepage Journal
    The worst part was the liquid it ended up producing was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
  • by rhazz ( 2853871 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @01:42PM (#53070691)
    Man buys IoT kettle that doesn't have support for Amazon Echo, spends 11 hours coding support, puts lame spin on story because nobody cares.
    • by geek ( 5680 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @01:50PM (#53070769)

      I kinda care. Its interesting to see the hacks people do to make things work. Granted this isn't as cool as making an iMac into a fish tank but still, kinda neat.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      Slashdot used to consist entirely of articles like this.
      • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        And the articles used to explain how they did what they did with particularly clever code snippets highlighted for our amusement/education, and we used to think they were awesome for figuring it out and sharing.

    • Man buys IoT kettle that doesn't have support for Amazon Echo, spends 11 hours coding support, puts lame spin on story because nobody cares.

      To be fair, he didn't spin the story, he just tweeted what he was doing. It isn't his fault that newspapers and the public can't tell the difference between a hacker's project log and an average person struggling with a consumer device.

      • by rhazz ( 2853871 )
        Yep, I agree. The concept is interesting, though the fact that it's a kettle puts it on the lamer side of voice assistant topics, but it really is the article itself that is awful.
  • RFC2324 compliant? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eMilkshake ( 131623 ) * on Thursday October 13, 2016 @01:42PM (#53070697) Homepage

    Does it correctly implement RFC2324 and respond 418 I'm a teapot when asked to brew coffee?

    • by vel-ex-tech ( 4337079 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @01:56PM (#53070815)

      I'd expect it to implement RFC7168. Perhaps he just sent a BREW request for / and didn't inspect the Alternates header on the response.

    • Unfortunately the only response it gives is that it is "short and stout"...

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Not technically required by the standard.

        2.3.2 418 I'm a teapot

              Any attempt to brew coffee with a teapot should result in the error
              code "418 I'm a teapot". The resulting entity body MAY be short and
              stout.

    • Would depend on whether RFC2324 was written in Java. If it was, it would brew coffee, even though it's a kettle meant for tea
    • Does it correctly implement RFC2324 and respond 418 I'm a teapot when asked to brew coffee?

      It's not a teapot. It's a kettle.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @01:43PM (#53070713)

    Seriously? I'm not sure what has me more gobsmacked - the fact that somebody would make a WiFi kettle, or the fact that anybody would actually BUY the fucking thing and burn 11 hours of his life trying to make it work. "Yes, I willingly wasted 11 hours of time, plus however much time I had to work to pay for it, on a kettle, just so I could connect it to the Interwebs! Isn't that cool?"

    Soon we'll be hearing stories about people being DDOS'd and spammed by their own appliances, and I will laugh heartily.

    • Right up there with people driving off cliffs who pay attention to their GPS/Google maps, not to the road, and others getting run over while crossing the street staring at the i-Phones in their hands, while the driver is doing the same. What idiot uses something unnecessarily complicated to accomplish a simple task? A Brit, that's what idiot!
    • Seriously? I'm not sure what has me more gobsmacked - the fact that somebody would make a WiFi kettle, or the fact that anybody would actually BUY the fucking thing and burn 11 hours of his life trying to make it work.

      Perhaps it was about the journey and not the destination? If you follow the link you'll see that he was using a network scanner and other tactics to coax it into working that suggest his motivation was curiosity. He's not an average consumer, he's a tinkerer/hacker.

      • Perhaps it was about the journey and not the destination? If you follow the link you'll see that he was using a network scanner and other tactics to coax it into working that suggest his motivation was curiosity. He's not an average consumer, he's a tinkerer/hacker.

        Good point. I have to wonder, though, if he bought the kettle knowing he was facing a major integration effort, or if he just wanted a cuppa. The article doesn't make that clear.

    • Larry Wall does not approve of your pathetic level of laziness.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      Soon we'll be hearing stories about people being DDOS'd and spammed by their own appliances, and I will laugh heartily.

      And in other news, talking appliances considered to be part of that new fangled Internet of Things (IoT) declared themselves to be a collective group and now refer to themselves as "Skynet". More news as things develop. Tune in at 11!

    • The guy should now sell the software he wrote to the kettle's manufacturer at a nice upfront cost and a per kettle fee.
    • It should be illegal to ship an Internet connected device that doesn't...

      1. Support secure boot, so that a system won't run not unauthorized software unless a user explicitly overrides it.

      2. Support an authentication method where the device keys can't be copied off the device after the device software has been modified. A modified device shouldn't be granted access to network services without explicit user consent. Can you imagine a modified echo ordering tons of crap to unsuspecting victims?

      This protects c

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2016 @01:45PM (#53070733)

    The inevitable question asked IoT tinkerers is : what's the point? Was it worth it? After three weeks of tinkering, and an ugly mess of arduinos, breadboards and wires, Now you can hit the snooze button on your analog clock with wifi, or now you can run ssh on a teletype machine. Why did you do it?

    The answer is usually : to see if I could.

    And I say God bless those nutters.

  • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @01:58PM (#53070839) Homepage

    This is actually really cool and good. Everyone seems to be mocking the wifi teakettle but what they're not realizing is this is the move to home automation expanding and growing. This is a good thing.

    Ever see Star Trek? When Picard went to a replicator and said 'Earl Grey Tea, hot' and poof, tea came out? Well, this is basically what we're trying to recreate, just without the fancy deconstructing and reconstructing things on the atomic level.

    As we automate more things in our lives it leaves us more time to pursue other activities. This is one of the ways civilization is going to advance.

    • by Jaime2 ( 824950 )

      Unfortunately, this product was an example of a "bad thing". Home automation has been stuck in its infancy for thirty years due to each vendor trying to create a locked-in ecosystem instead of focusing on creating better products. Progress will continue at a snails pace until interoperation is improved. If you read the article, one of his problems was trying to connect his new gadget (kettle) to his existing gadget (Amazon Echo).

      • by green1 ( 322787 )

        We used to have standards, now we have patents. One benefits all of mankind for eternity, the other benefits a small group of manufacturers for a very limited time. You can see why society has chosen the one over the other....

    • this is the move to home automation expanding and growing

      It's not home automation at all.

      You still have to go to the kettle, and fill it with water. You still have to stop what you are doing to brew your tea. You still have to find a clean cup to put the tea in.

      REAL home automation would know when you want a drink. It would make it for you. It would deliver it to you (where ever you are in the house) and pick up the dirty cup afterwards, wash it and stack it back in the cupboard.

      This is just being a slave to your gadgets.

      • Nice "no true Scotsman" there.

        Oh, and I'm sure the kettle only holds a single cup of tea worth of water, not like they make kettles that heat 1.5L+ water right? I mean that would be insane! you could reboil the water multiple times a day without having to refill it, and whoever heard of THAT?

        When is the last time you have heard about a new technology that just sprang up 100% fully formed and functional? Home automation is still in its infancy, of course it isn't going to do every little niggling thing for y

        • It's a waste of energy and time to boil a full kettle when you only need a cup.
    • Ever see Star Trek? When Picard went to a replicator and said 'Earl Grey Tea, hot' and poof, tea came out?

      That has always really annoyed me. Who ever asked for a cold cup of tea?

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @02:05PM (#53070881) Journal

    Shouldda got a Galaxy Note 7. Heats up shit quick.

  • ... I would have gone and bought another kettle and then spent those 11 hours on some other pursuit.
  • It didn't take him 11 hours of trying to randomly get it to work, it took 11 hours of complex system integration effort to make something do something it didn't already do. Duh. I spent at least that much time on enabling remote control of my garage door from my Android phone. That doesn't mean it takes me hours to close or open my door from my phone; it takes seconds, at most. But making it work took hours... so that I could do it in seconds from my phone.

    Hmm. Clearly I need to figure out how to integrat

  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @02:23PM (#53071045)

    Unless the WiFi kettle can turn my phone, or wifi PC into a tea dispensing entity, I don't want it. It would be nice to have a tea button on my phone that pours freshly brewed tea out the headphone jack... ... obviously this wouldn't work with an iPhone.

  • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @02:47PM (#53071177) Homepage Journal

    I suspect the problem is that the kettle is RFC 2324 [ietf.org] compliant, and was returning a 418 error [google.com].

    No worries -- I hear they're working on a firmware update to make the kettle RFC 7168 [ietf.org] compliant, which should make integration much easier.

    Yaz

  • You don't hit a nail with a screwdriver. Microwaves, my friend. They work much better for heating up things including food on occasion.
  • "Sounds like a case of the port not calling the kettle back." Well done, AlabasterCodefy, well done.

  • Because I haven't seen this posted yet: https://xkcd.com/1319/ [xkcd.com]

  • in a microwave. 'nuff said.
  • Sure, it sounds ridiculous to spend 11 hours to make a cup of tea, but in the end he obtained tea by solving a more general problem. This opens up entirely new, previously unimagined possibilities. For example now he can tell it to make him a cup of tea when he's physically situated on the other side of the world.

    • ...or while he's on the way home from work, so that there'll be a nice hot cup of tea waiting for him when he walks through the door.

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        It's probably worth noting that with 240 volts you can draw almost 3000 watts off an outlet (2990). If the minimum fill line on your kettle is 0.7 liters you can boil that in about 100 seconds.

    • So that it will be ready by the time he gets home from the airport? Given the 11 hrs it took, that's about right
  • A key problem seemed to be that Rittman's kettle didn't come with software that would easily allow integration with other devices in his home...

    He was expecting interchangeability with third-party devices? Lock-in and proprietary communications is what the IoT is all about!

  • Did he keep the no tea so he could open the screening door when he had the tea?

    Infocom games had the best graphics. Everything was exactly as I imagined it!

  • How did he stay awake to work on the thing to get it to make tea to keep him awake in the first place?

  • "Hmmm this is going to take a while" he said. "I'd better start a kettle". He turned on the gas and snapped the grill lighter hastily, as the electric ignition on the stove had not worked in years. This had been at least part of his motive for acquiring the new tech in the first place. "Now I can get to work", he muttered...

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