In 1990, a wily hacker named John Romkey hooked his Sunbeam Deluxe Automatic Radiant Control Toaster to the Internet. You could only control one thing - - the power - - via the 'net. When the power went off, it automatically popped the toast. (Sadly, the Internet Toaster is no longer connected.)
Why not? Students at colleges around the United States have hooked cola machines to the 'net so they can check the inventory right from the computer lab. Why walk all the way down the hall just to discover the machine is out of Jolt? (finger email@example.com, finger firstname.lastname@example.org, finger email@example.com)
Don't ask me why he did so, but this guy hooked his hot tub to a computer on the 'net - - you can check the water temperature, the temperature of the outside air and other pertinent hot tub information. No, I didn't say this was useful. (finger firstname.lastname@example.org or e-mail email@example.com).
Will that be regular or decaf today? If you use Mosaic (or another graphical Web browser) you can peer at a coffee pot in a corner of the "Trojan Room" at Cambridge University. Thanks to a video frame grabber that takes a picture of the coffee pot once a second, users at Cambridge (or anywhere else) can find out of there's any coffee available. (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk)
In another example of useless tomfoolery, a gentleman named Andrew Sheaff has connected his office thermometer to the Internet. By telneting to a certain address, you can check the temperature. Too bad you can't turn his heat up, too! (telnet small.eece.maine.edu 9876)
$ finger firstname.lastname@example.org Paul's hottub is a bit warm at about 102 degrees Fahrenheit. It is nice outside at about 71 degrees Fahrenheit. The ozone generator is working. The cover is closed. The backup battery is OK at 10.3 volts (this will still work down to 6 volts)
Copyright © 1994, 1995, 2004 by Kevin Savetz. The information in this book was collected in 1994-1995 and has not been updated since.