A Siliconvalley.com article notes that the application of networking technology in the home can be silly and frivilous, but if applied correctly, could really be beneficial. A refrigerator with a flat panel display on it to check your email in the kitchen is truly silly, but a home that can notify the out of town owner that there’s been a power failure can prevent that owner from coming home to a fridge full of rotten food.
In Praise of the Internet Refrigerator
2003-09-22 Editorial 28 Comments
…You’re having a wonderful vacation, with 2 more weeks to go. Your cell phone rings. It’s your refridgerator telling you that $20 of food is going to spoil if you don’t save it within 10 hours. What do you do, rush home? I don’t think so.
then they can go over and empty out the fridge and take it to their house.
OK, true. Nevermind.
My message made another mistaken assumption, too: that I can spell refrigerator…
Ah, a power failure to the fridge. Now how pray tell will the fridge communicate this to the owner? Is it running on its own UPS? Is that DSL/Cable line connected to a UPS too? Or is it using an integrated cell phone? And are you really going to want to have your fridge dialling you while you are on vacation — giving you just ‘one more thing’ to stress over. I think not.
People need to step back and differentiate between ‘cool’ technology and technology that has actual use (or has some other hidden purpose, like an attempt by manufacturers to increase revenue). This particular feature has no use.
People have been getting along fine without a PC in the fridge for 50+ years. They will continue to do so.
but a home that can notify the out of town owner that there’s been a power failure
there’s been a power failure… how is it going to notify you?!?
Yep, we are running out of ip addresses. Well lets make internet fridges, internet mixers, intenet microwaves, blb blb bla. Who else thinks this is dumb, what the **** are people thinking going on vacation for 2 weeks when there food is a few days from spoiling?
By far the easier (and more useful) thing would be to have your PC running a webserver and use a web service that can tell send a message if your site is down…
that would keep communication systems up long enough to send out the message, once it has been sent, the system shuts down.
how hard was that?
Call family and friends to empty the fridge?
That assumes you have either family or friends. Not true for an unluck y bunch of us.
Drivel. Embarassingly puerile drivel at that.
If it isn’t working, who says the bit that isn’t working won’t be the internet-ed bit.
And like all others have said, who could care less, whilst on a vacation or trip away, whether or not the fridge is dying. The age of instant information is obviously reaching the point of being completely ridiculous. Have no other information on hand…? need some information….? no newspapers, books, television, etc… how about some info about how well your fridge is working?
I have to wonder how many refrigerators actually break down a year… If yours is so unreliable maybe you should just clear it out and turn if off when you go on vacation… or buy a better one.. perhaps one that won’t be giving hackers a wet dream of recycling the old joke asking if your refrigerator is running, in new ways.
Yeah.. and you are dead wrong about us running out of IP-addresses. This has nothing to do with it. About everybody on this planet is using 192.168.0.* at home — what does this tell you..? That these local address spaces are not routed to the Internet in the first place.
A frigde should last cold enough for an hour or two without power.
And if there are so many long lasting blackouts why not force these rotten powerplants to become reliable instead?
here’s what a pc/fridge could do:
1) link up with Handyshopper or some other shopping list software on your Palm
2) all those pictures, calendars, scraps of paper that you have? all in one screen
3) being able to email or shop online from the kitchen is not silly.
People have been getting along fine without a PC in the fridge for 50+ years. They will continue to do so
Actually, I have had a PC in my fridge – I occasionally use a small fridge to keep it even cooler to do overclocking experiments (I’m not to the point of using liquid nitrogen just yet)
This is rediculous…whats next a toilet that wipes your ass, tells you the average length of your dump and is controlled by your palm pilot?? People are so obsessed with harnessing technology to do every little thing that they lose grasp of what is useful and what is absurd.
Actually, I think the Japanese already have a toilet that does all that.
That would actually be something the government is/was responsible for. Y’know, the whole, not giving power plants enough money to keep everything up to date. But that’s political and I don’t even want to start that flamewar.
I don’t understand why the author so quickly passes off to absurdity (either that’s a real word, or… uh) the idea of email in the kitchen. Some people spend heaps of time in the kitchen, if you already have a computer in the fridge, why not have it check your email? You could also have a much smarter interface than the one already present on most fridges today. I hate having to guess what the manufacturer meant by “3” for the temperature setting. SOME even switch them around, whereby lower numbers are actually indicative of a higher temperature. But on a computer driven fridge (yes I realize that many do have a computer already, but I’m talking pc), you could set it at the exact temperature you wanted, be it in Celcius, Farenheit, or Kelvin. If you don’t want a computer in your fridge, well, here’s an idea: don’t buy one!
How about this one: The fridge can keep an inventory of the items in your fridge with a barcode scanner thatdetects the item as it’s placed in. Then it can keepa database of all items that has gone in to it. On a touch screen in the front you can pull up this database, selct items you want to replenish, how many, etc, from a list of different companies that provide similar products. If you shop a Kroger in the US you know what I am talking about with those coupons you get with your receipt. Assuming it is internet ready, you could also instantly view manufacturer’s coupons on the spot to help you decide.
Then after you have made your shopping list, send it to your grocery store and it will be waiting, bagged with a scannable ticket that your can check out yourself at one of those Check Yourself Out lines. Maybe for an extra 10%, it would be delivered to you.
How about hte ability to look up recipes and generate a shopping list for you, check it against your “in stock” database and tell you what more you need to get?
That would be cool.
“2) all those pictures, calendars, scraps of paper that you have? all in one screen”
Hopefully the computer inside will be imune to fridge magnes. Otherwise I could see some grandmother getting in a panic because her online shopping list was wiped out.
Erm…so where are the bar codes on my carrots?
Just hand enter them, like you have to at the check out. Come on, it’s not like it has to be completely automagic. Don’t poo poo on an idea just for the sake of poo pooing. Some ideas neeed the poo but this one could work. 😉
If you’re that worried about your power going out while you’re not home, just buy a UPS that’ll call/email your cell phone when this happens – that’s what UPS’s are designed to do. Why on earth would you want/need a fridge to do this?
“Then after you have made your shopping list, send it to your grocery store and it will be waiting, bagged with a scannable ticket that your can check out yourself at one of those Check Yourself Out lines. Maybe for an extra 10%, it would be delivered to you.”
That may work. There are already grocery stores that do this exact thing. You can shop over the internet and pick it up in a couple hours.
“What do you do, rush home? I don’t think so.”
I see a couple obvious options;
1) You just don’t go home, ever.
2) You do go home, but know to tape the door to the refridgerator shut as soon as you get there. Then have it hauled away to be decontaminated or; for do-it-your-selfers, cart it down to one of those car wash places where they have high pressure hoses.
This idea is a great one, I mean what would happen otherwise? The kids would get out of the car, run inside, open the fridge, then run from the odor while barfing all over themselves and the living room while the stink wafts throughout the house.
Why are some of you talking about “running out of IP-addresses”?
These new appliances will of course run IPng/IPv6! And I read somewhere that with IPng theres loads of IP-addresses for each meter^2 on the face of this earth. I don’t quite remember how many but I think it was around 150 IPv6-adresses. So well… That’s not a problem
Might your hubby have gotten one of the BeIA prototypes for “testing” purposes. Didn’t Be have an agreement with one of the frige makers for one of these?
That would not be cool, that would be called being too lazy to OPEN THE DOOR! God forbid you should have to go to the store and walk your ass around. No wonder America has a weight problem, I really don’t think it’s the diet.
Overcomputing – I think the term can be expanded to include this, as this is a definate example of overcomputing. Putting a computer in something that 99.99% of the time has no use for it. Is it worth spending another $300-400 bucks on a refridgerator to make it web enabled? As one person here pointed out, what are you going to do, put a UPS in it too?
Overcomputing, pure and simple, and a total waste of technology. We don’t need to put computers in everything, especially devices that work JUST FINE they way they are.
Case in point I’m sitting next to a refridgerator made in 1971, and it works FINE. You put a computer in these things and you start to hit upon the MTBF problem computers have at the 5 year mark. You want to do a system rebuild on your fridge every five years, ENJOY! I sure wouldn’t.