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Networking For Overconvenience 116

Posted by Zonk
from the if-there-is-such-a-thing dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "For several decades now, we've read that our homes will become smart and that we'll have many robotic slaves at our service. But it's never really worked. A recent European initiative called TEAHA (short for 'The European Application Home Alliance') wants to give another try, and it has enrolled some big industrial partners to make all our appliances interoperate seamlessly. Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry! Read more for additional details and illustrations describing the concepts."
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Networking For Overconvenience

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  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:30AM (#16526825)
    Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry!

    Talk about life changing technology!
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by b100dian (771163) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:55AM (#16526927) Homepage Journal
      Talk about life changing technology!

      Yeah.. shopping for a microwave-oven:
      -Does it have firewall embedded?
      -Yes, with antispyware and phishing filters that call home, too!
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

      by antoinjapan (450229) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @06:16AM (#16526995)
      That's why it won't work this time around, because the tv should be really telling your laundry machine to do the laundry, and I don't mean your wife.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Imagine a message on your washing machine telling it's time to watch TV!
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Absolutely, although mine's already way ahead of the game. It reads my mind. It knows when I've promised to do a chore and it observes me and drops hints. Like switching itself off during the match on Saturday afternoon when I'm on the sofa and halfway through a bag of ready salted. At this point I usually find the zapper's gone so I schlep off to do the laundry. And here's weird bit: when I get back, I find the zapper back on the armrest. This wasn't in the spec, dammit! Oddly enough, a friend of mine has
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bazorg (911295)
      This washing machine/tv example is pure myth... As if it were possible to have the a computer controlling several devices and show its output on a TV screen... pfft.
    • "Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry!"

      What!? What kind of integration is this!? The TV should START your laundry.
  • by adam (1231) * on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:31AM (#16526829)
    My interest isn't as much in having normal appliances that talk to each other, although that could be cool (for instance, a dishwasher and washing machine that know not to turn on when the shower is in use.. that would be pretty cool), but rather appliances that are just more accurate. I dream of the day that I won't have to posess bank-burglar safe-cracker finger dexterity to get my shower to the exact temperature I desire, but rather I can just dial in a digital thermostat to 102.5F or whatever suits me. Some fixtures are making headway in this direction.. these [inhabitat.com] Hansa faucets [hansa.de] with LEDs that tint the water red or blue (for cold or hot) have been available for a while, although they don't come cheap.. they're at least a step in the right direction, since I think most of us have occasionally stuck our hands under scalding water by accident [presuming it was instead on "cold" mode].
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Biogenesis (670772)
      For hot water we've got one of these [rinnai.com.au]. They have temperature control that you "dial in" via a remote control pad. We've only got one in the kitchen but you can install more than one per unit.

      Personally I want home appliances that simply *work*. I don't really care how fast the internet is on my fridge [lginternetfamily.co.uk], if it stops cooling my food within 5 years I'd be very dissapointed. We went through several dishwashers before getting a Bosch which is fairly featureless, but is very reliable.

      In terms of the televisio
    • by isorox (205688)
      for instance, a dishwasher and washing machine that know not to turn on when the shower is in use.

      I'm trying to teach my girlfriend to not turn the tap on when I'm in the shower, she just laughs though. I can see an "evil" dishwasher having great fun.
    • by twaltari (217837)
      Oras has been offering such digtal thermostat showers [oras.com] a few year now.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      I will be thrilled if mankind can either (A) put a man on mars or (B) make a toaster that actually works right.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Toasters are probably the worst appliances of all. Leave them on the same setting, and sometimes the bread is burnt, and other times, the bread is lightly toasted. This is even if you just use it once a day, with the same kind of bread. Trying do toast right after the previous batch has just popped is impossible. Then there's all the problems with different kinds of breads that toast at different rates. The best toaster's I've ever seen was when I worked form McDonalds. The buns go fed between two tef
      • ) make a toaster that actually works right.
        http://www.info-putz.de/db/news/meldungen_foto.php ?zoom=1&bildname=73946bz.jpg [info-putz.de]There, found it for you!
    • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes&xmsnet,nl> on Saturday October 21, 2006 @11:19AM (#16528341)
      dream of the day that I won't have to posess bank-burglar safe-cracker finger dexterity to get my shower to the exact temperature I desire, but rather I can just dial in a digital thermostat to 102.5F or whatever suits me.

      Apart from the digital input, these already exist. Companies like Grohe produce thermostatic faucets like these [groheamerica.com].
      They typically have two knobs, one to set the temperature, and one to set the amount of water. I've been using these for years, and (provided you get a good one, and not a cheap-ass B-brand) they work perfectly. They're not exactly cheap (>$100), but worth it. Temperature control is to sub-1 degree C accuracy.
    • by gemada (974357)
      everyone knows that jiggling your index finger under the running water is the surest way to increase the water temperature!
    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      I think most of us have occasionally stuck our hands under scalding water by accident

      In French-speaking areas, water faucets are labelled F (froid) et C (chaude). Many a non-Francophone tourist has been burned (pun intended) by this.
    • in Australia we've been able to have individual, digital control of the water temperature at the outlet for years (linked blurb is dated Sep 2000), it has a touchpad and a display showing the temp requested, so it is safe to have installed in the shower. From the link, you set the temp, it sends an RF signal to mix valves which handle mixing hot and cold to match what you asked for.

      http://www.infolink.com.au/articles/17/0C002517.as px [infolink.com.au]
  • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:35AM (#16526839) Homepage
    Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry! Read more for additional details and illustrations describing the concepts.

    Imagine, popup advertising following you around the house!
  • by Mikachu (972457) <jjburke@hunter.c u n y.edu> on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:41AM (#16526863) Homepage
    It sounds like a great idea, but think of awkwardness it could come up with once it's fully implimented...

    "BEEP BEEP! Time to walk the... oh, I see you're a little busy... I'll remind you in a couple minutes or so... (that IS all you'll need, right?)"
  • What the? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zouden (232738) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:42AM (#16526873)
    Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry!

    If that's the best example they can come up with, then I don't have high hopes for this technology. Seriously guys, if you want to get consumers to buy all-new networked home appliances then at least present us with a decent reason why.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Absolutly. Have we gotten to the stage where we are so lazy that we need a reminder in between or during our TV programs to do our laundry? Personally I think its a lot easier/cheaper to just keep an eye on the amount of stuff in the laundry basket and the contents of your sock drawer. If you cant do that already then you probably are not the kind of person that is going to buy this kind of system in the first place.
    • by boarsai (698361)
      Hrm you are right, considering this is /. that is.

      Perhaps they should have said "porn streaming to all your apliances"?

    • Seriously guys, if you want to get consumers to buy all-new networked home appliances then at least present us with a decent reason why.

      I can give you three: (1) it will make them more expensive, (2) it will make them more fun for geeks to shop for and buy, and (3) it will create a whole new level of complexity, annoyance, and expense when they malfunction.

      But will they actually make anyone's life easier? I doubt it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nuzak (959558)
      A message on my TV telling me the laundry is done might be nice. Me, I can hear it, but I have an apartment.

      I'd like my alarm clock to start my coffee maker, myself. I'd like it to be smart enough to only do that if it knows it's been refilled (water level sensor, easy). I don't want to bother setting both. I mean, I can live without it, but if it were possible, easy, and cheap, why not?

      Knowing the appliance manufacturers though, there would probably be 50 different communication protocols for this to ha
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:52AM (#16526909)
    Well, I'd like someone to tell us about the potential drawbacks of having to depend so much on technology. I remember the time in the late eighties when cell phones were being touted as the next "big thing". Nobody knew that these cellphones, together with similar technology would contribute to the increase in our stress levels.

    To make matters worse, there have been studies that support the fact that pregnant women stressed by all these gadgets/technology, are more likely to have kids with severe mental or psychotic problems. Do you know that the chances of a kid getting a brain disorder are just 1 in 166? It iused to be 1 in 11000 in the late sixties.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Hello

      What sources for your statistic about mental health? (it's not that I disagree, I don't know anything about this subject, it's only that I find this astonishing)

      JP
      • by Abreu (173023)
        It has been scientifically proven that 85.7% of all statistics quoted during an average conversation are bogus, and just invented at the spur of the moment.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by deepb (981634)

      To make matters worse, there have been studies that support the fact that pregnant women stressed by all these gadgets/technology, are more likely to have kids with severe mental or psychotic problems. Do you know that the chances of a kid getting a brain disorder are just 1 in 166? It iused to be 1 in 11000 in the late sixties.

      Diagnosis for that sort of thing has changed quite a bit since then - it's barely an apples-to-apples comparison. That said - any legitimate increase, when you get right down to it,

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lars512 (957723)

      Nobody knew that these cellphones, together with similar technology would contribute to the increase in our stress levels.

      It does seem that the tech making everybody more productive just increased expectations on productivity, and thus increased stress. I'm not sure there's any way around it though, without getting less done. Of course, some people just choose to get less done, earn less and have a less stressful life.

      Do you know that the chances of a kid getting a brain disorder are just 1 in 166? I

      • by kfg (145172)
        . . .sometimes changing definitions of illness.

        It was in the late 60s, early 70s that the definition of "addiction" was changed to include any obsessive behavior. It was in the 80s that every behavior started being a symptom of some sort of "syndrome."

        Of course kids are getting more brain disorders; their parents being addicted to the fear of their kids having a brain disorder; and finding them everywhere, is driving the kids fucking crazy.

        KFG
        • by Lars512 (957723)
          Yeah, that and much better access to information via the web is turning us all into amateur "experts" on medical diagnosis, ..., you name it =)
    • by vertinox (846076)
      To make matters worse, there have been studies that support the fact that pregnant women stressed by all these gadgets/technology, are more likely to have kids with severe mental or psychotic problems.

      To be fair, it is just evolution in action.

      All the mental and psychotic kids won't be able to become successful and become utter failures because they can't hold a job... And die off making the world a better place.

      Then only children who can adapt to the gadgets will be able to get successful jobs in engineeri
      • by grumling (94709)
        All the mental and psychotic kids won't be able to become successful and become utter failures because they can't hold a job... And die off making the world a better place.

        Then only children who can adapt to the gadgets will be able to get successful jobs in engineering and science!

        Well, I think you have that backwards... The kids who are mental will get the sales and marketing jobs, make millions creating nothing, and the kids who know math and science will starve, since they won't have anything to do (or

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by soft_guy (534437)
        Quick question... Are psychotic people allowed to run for office?

        Yes. In fact, it is a requirement if you plan to run as a Republican.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Assuming that your numbers are accurate, how much of that is due to increased awareness of and diagnosis of mental health disorders? I doubt that the majority of diagnoses such as depression, ADHD, anorexia, Asperger's, et al are due to stressed pregnant women.
  • "Sorry, sir, but you need to pay $0.99 to use the washroom."
    or
    "Sorry, sir, but your credit card has been maxed out. You may not enter your home."

    No thanks!
  • by CalSolt (999365) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @06:01AM (#16526951)
    I can get my girlfriend (or wife or mom) to nag me about doing the laundry. I can set alarms on my phone, PDA, computer, digital watch, even involve some loudspeakers without much difficulty. None of that means I'll actually DO the laundry. Where's the invention that will collect and automatically DO my laundry? That's what I'm waiting for. Something useful.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      placing a washing machine in the bathroom will solve that problem. wouldn't it? I still don't understand why architects design houses with most heavily used bathrooms at top floor and laundry room in basement. sometimes we need a little intellect, not technology.
      • The laundry room is in the basement to mask out the horrible noise that comes from it when it's working, and the bathroom is in the upper floors to be more easily accessible from the bedrooms (which also tend to be on the upper floor because it's nice to have some separation from guests downstairs).
    • by Rob Kaper (5960)
      Keep thinking, you're very close. An invention that will collect and automatically do laundry.. you could ask that girlfriend (or wife or mom)

      to stop nagging so you can think more closely.
    • by petes_PoV (912422)
      It's like these "robotic" vacuum cleaners you occasionally see on TV gadget shows. When you actually look into it, they're junk.

      Will it clean the stairs? "Well, no. It can't climb stairs" (so it can only do half the house anyway).
      Can it remove cobwebs, like a normal vacuum? "No it can't reach above floor height".
      Can it empty itself, when the dust bag fills up? "Errr, no. can't do that either".

      So what we really get for all this technology is a bunch of gizmos that cost a fortune

      • by Fred_A (10934)

        It's like these "robotic" vacuum cleaners you occasionally see on TV gadget shows. When you actually look into it, they're junk.

        Will it clean the stairs? "Well, no. It can't climb stairs" (so it can only do half the house anyway).
        Can it remove cobwebs, like a normal vacuum? "No it can't reach above floor height".
        Can it empty itself, when the dust bag fills up? "Errr, no. can't do that either".

        Can it even vacuum the floor ? Well, sortof if it's completely flat, and has no carpeting and the dust isn't heav

      • by Abreu (173023)
        Well, an aquaintance of mine moved into an old building which had a cockroach problem, but he bought 4 geckos and let them run freely around the house... The cockroaches quickly became a non-issue, and now he has to supplement the geckos diet because they cant get enough to eat.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by soft_guy (534437)
      I can get my girlfriend (or wife or mom) to nag me about doing the laundry.

      What is the point of having a girlfriend, wife, or mom if you still have to do laundry?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by QuantumFTL (197300)
      I can get my girlfriend (or wife or mom) to nag me about doing the laundry.

      Make sure your girlfriend and your wife don't nag you at the same time, that could lead to some considerable akwardness...
  • Rolan fuckhead (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Fizzl (209397)
    Yeah, and if you'r not a complete tool, you can notice it's another episode of Roland's unfound fuckwit optimisismism for the fjuuuuture. He know exactly how to write an "exciting" blurp for slashdot. Every marginally intelligent person here should be able to notice Roland's annoying style before even getting at the "More"-link.
    God damn asshat, I hope he dies soon. I really do.
    Or atleast I want to kick him in the crotch as soon as possible. Fucking annoying bullshitter. I want these kind of fuckheads OUT. H
    • I have a roland-deleter greasemonkey UI script. Every Roland post is blanked out. I'll try to find it for ya...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by WhodoVoodoo (319477)
      Well that took much less time than anticipated.

      http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/5738 [userscripts.org]

      No more roland piquipaki! Thanks to Brendan Donahue, script author.
    • Wouldn't it also be Zonk's fault for posting the story to the front page of /. ?
      Roland writes his same 'ol crap on his blog and probably has an RSS feed to Zonk's inbox.
      I fixed my problem with Jon Katz stories long ago, by blocking them in my /. settings. I don't even know if he still writes stories for /.
  • Standardization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ndogg (158021) <the.rhorn@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday October 21, 2006 @06:41AM (#16527085) Homepage Journal
    The problem with the idea is getting the household appliance industry to agree upon some standards, and I would bet that this would an industry particularly resistant to the idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AaronLawrence (600990) *
      Indeed. Why don't they start with something simple, like a single [ethernet?] connection for all stereo equipment to send all audio around. But in reality, the vendors will prevent anything happening as they are terrible at agreeing on standards ... even when it's critical - witness blu-ray vs Hd-dvd.
  • Let them invent something that will lást a decade, instead of break down after two or three years. Wait, didn't they already build fridges, washing-machines and T.V.-s that would last that long in the seventies? Gee, I wonder what happened to technology. O yes, I know, they improved it...
    • by fozzy1015 (264592)
      Let them invent something that will lást a decade, instead of break down after two or three years. Wait, didn't they already build fridges, washing-machines and T.V.-s that would last that long in the seventies? Gee, I wonder what happened to technology. O yes, I know, they improved it...

      There really is something to be said to the old adage, "They don't make 'em like they used to."

      I have a 33 year old Kenmore refrigerator/freezer that my father gave me. It's older then myself. Still going strong. Going
      • There really is something to be said to the old adage, "They don't make 'em like they used to."

        Hear hear! Isn't it frustrating to have to fully acknowledge that, yet I'm not even 40? Ikea: I know what you mean, you can only assemble it once (properly), the second time it will damage a bit, a third time it'll move to basement/barn because it's halfway falling apart, and it will have to be replaced. Back to basics, finally get right what we already have, then get on from there. We want to get to the future

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @07:30AM (#16527265)
    I have some ideas that would make this worth while...

    Someone mentioned dial-a-temperature showers. Definitely good, but not really 'networked'... and can definitely be done without it.

    TV/DVR/Game Console/etc that work -together-. Why does my TV only have 4 inputs, and why doesn't it -know- what's on each one? With a usb-type system, components could be chained together and the TV could simply display a list of all the components that are connected. It could even turn the unit on, if it's off when you switch to it. A game console could automatically pause, if you switch displays to another unit. The PC could automatically password-lock if you switch away. Too many ideas here.

    TV is also connected to the house network for monitoring purposes. The burglar alarm says someone is approaching the front door. It shows them on the display. It's mom, so you use the remote to unlock the front door. (Not wireless, so it can't be exploited.)

    Home Monitor also notices that you finished cooking, but left the stove on. Or that the stove has been on for 5 minutes, but you haven't set a timer yet, so it warns you in case you forgot about it. (This would save me constantly.) Timer is on the network so that it can warn you that the lasagna's done and get you to stop playing the Game Console long enough to get it out. Or the laundry is done, or... Too many ideas here.

    Alarm clocks on a per-person, per-day schedule. It can even track you in case you end up sleeping on the couch that night, and be sure to wake only the right person up.

    The remote control is actually part of the network, instead of being attached to a certain device. You can select what device you want to access and the remote's LCD is reconfigured for that.

    Kids got the stereo too loud? Turn it down for them. Remotely.

    Kids watching TV after bed time? Turn it off for them. Remotely. Or send them a video message telling them how upset you are.

    Stuck in the bathroom with no toilet paper? Tell your significant other remotely, voice only. No more shouting.

    I'm not done, these are just off the top of my head. They seem like minor annoyances, until you've had the tech to do that. And then they are huge assets to life. But notice that nowhere did I say all of these apps should be on the internet. No, with the ability of hackers to get into ANYTHING, I completely recommend that the internet is not even hooked into this system at all. That should be a completely seperate network. Closed circuit, as it were.
    • If you don't have the time to tell your kids in person to turn off the TV or turn down the stereo, you shouldn't have kids.

      Home automation is great, but automated parenting is bad.
    • >Not wireless, so it can't be exploited.

      That's a foolish assumption. Assumptions like this can result in less secure systems than a wireless system. In a wireless system people are highly aware of the risk of injection risks and eavesdropping, so they are more likely to employ cryptographically sound methods of protection.

      Your best bet would be to wire it, because that's sane and doesn't require EM bandwidth sucked up for a very static setup, and don't assume someone can't eavesdrop and/or inject comma
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        I disagree that it's 'remote parenting'. They get the same message from me turning it off remotely as if I came in and said 'You know you can't watch TV after dark' and turn it off manually. Kids aren't stupid.

        The toilet paper is an example. I don't keep a single roll, I keep several under the sink. I don't -have- a wife to get it for me. Simply an example.

        As for the 'alarm clock knowing where you are' being weird... Well, there's a quote about technology being indistinguishable from magic. We're tal
        • by Junta (36770)
          On the remote parenting argument, I've no doubt that the kids aren't so dumb they would only comprehend the message if delivered in person. I'm saying that during human psychological development, there could be non-obvious psychological implications of such interaction based on the kids maturity level. I generally don't think a lot of the psycho-babble we hear necessarily has stock, but a gut feeling tells me impersonal interaction with one's children could fall into the realm of stuff the psycho-babble peo
    • by pcmanjon (735165)
      "I completely recommend that the internet is not even hooked into this system at all. That should be a completely seperate network. Closed circuit, as it were."

      Differenent subnet you mean?
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        No, that would not be a closed circuit, and would still be able to be hacked. I'm talk seperate network hardware-wise.
  • The more complex something is, the more likely it is to break down.
  • This is a rule I sort of made up for purchasing these sorts of things. People sell home automation on things you want a few times a year. How many times have you wanted to change the temp of your house from work? Yeah, every now and then you may be leaving early/late etc and want the house to be warm/cold when you get home. To me this is about 5 times a year, I have a programmable thermostat that turns the heat on and off at preset times that are set broadly enough to cover most days. Also for laundry dishe
  • I've been wondering for years why the hell I would want the devices in my household talking to each other? Or tor me? Do "they" think that I have a shortage of aggravation in my life or something?

    I can't tell you when the last time was that I wanted my computer to control any aspect of the household -- because it has never happened. I doubt it ever will. That is not to say that the stove, coffee pot, TVs, and a few other things are not programmable. They are. But why do they need to be networked.

    M

  • Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry!

    Imagine a channel on your TV dedicated to showing you the inside of your washing machine while you're doing your laundry!

    I call it, reality TV!

    • by dpiven (518007)
      And the next channel down is the inside of your sexy neighbor's washer. Just wait until you can TiVo THAT. :-)
    • by soft_guy (534437)
      I can just imagine the commercials that would be shown on that channel: laundry detergent, water softeners, anti-psychotic pills, etc.
  • I'd have to agree with a few other posts I've seen, Who cares? Phones, Mp3 Players and clocks have alarms for reasons. Most of the ideas I saw dont require a network at all. Besides.... Who wants blue screen on their toaster?
  • I think the chances are that the average joe won't be interested in this technology and so it will mostly focus on home entertainment and integration of communication devices. For example - Bill Gates has an RFID system set up in his home that displays art on monitors depending on the person in the room's taste. This sort of technology wouldn't be that hard to implement.

    Or, considering that we're definitely moving more towards MCE TV setups, a TV that will tell you when you have an email?
    I know there ar
    • by dpiven (518007)
      Or, considering that we're definitely moving more towards MCE TV setups, a TV that will tell you when you have an email?
      I know there are certain risks and problems associated with this and it may well be more trouble than it's worth


      I can see it now. You and your date are curled up on the couch watching "Lost" or some such, then all of a sudden your TV goes *beep* -- "Tired of being called needle-dick? Add four inches to your manhood..."
  • Why do I need my tv to do this. All you have to do is have the scheduler pop up a txt message at a certain time telling you to start the laundry. If you then have the comp connected to your tv it will then do that. The computer can do most of this anyway why do I need other devices to do the same thing. They should work on having appliances use less electricity ,I don't care if they can speak to me or anything like that.
  • But I've been fooled by this vaporware before. Wake me up when the products are on sale.

    Otherwise, toss this in the forgettery along with flying cars, Asimovian robots, predictably functional North Korean nukes, the last digit of pi, Windows Vista and leprechauns.

  • People with second homes usually have alarm systems. They are starting to get somewhat sophisticated, including webcams and remote tempature sensors that can be accessed from the web. almost all of them use proprietary software and comms protocols internally, but will usually interface with web browsers.

    Most of us in the first world are aging. Combine that with children living farther away and you have 2 choices: Hire an imagrant/slave to take care of you, or develop automated homes. Japan is going for the
  • Somewhat ironic that this story is published immediately before one describing new hyper-aggressive adaptable viruses. I am sure that the designers of these systems will have security (and the possibility of malware specifically targeted at their systems) in mind from day one.

    sPh

  • HVAC systems are a prime example. In our office, we have central heating (with hot water radiators), and an AC system. Both are controlled separately, which is stupid because you can easily set them up to work at the same time, counteracting each other.
    To make things worse, the heating has the dumbest thermostat I've ever seen. It ignores room temperature, and only uses the water temp. and outside temp. as inputs. One sensor is used to regulate the temperature in half a dozen rooms, which are warmed up by t
    • by Junta (36770)
      There exist *many* very complex complete control systems for HVAC. Hell, even my house has shared thermostats between heating and cooling and both cannot be active at a time (well, for a given zone).

      Just because your HVAC system at your office was poorly implemented (don't even know how long ago it was set up), doesn't mean most modern deployments lack common control systems that are more intelligent, sensors for more zones, and vent control to direct hot or cold air as appropriate based on appropriately f
      • by robertjw (728654)
        Also, why not use the ambient outdoor temperature to help regulate the indoor temp. Instead of running AC in the datacenter, pull cold air from outside.

        Everyone complains about SUVs polluting all the time, but how much pollution is created by these incredibly inefficient heating and cooling schemes.
  • Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry!

    Yikes! You mean this isn't already on the blueprint for MythTV. v. 0.62? Considering it's only at v. 0.20 I expect HAL by version 1.0 [Yes, obviously he would be a .0.]

  • by Alsee (515537) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @12:11PM (#16528685) Homepage
    Here's a technical PDF [utwente.nl] on the system. Guess what? This is a Trusted Computing system!

    It specifies devices to contain security module / security component. It specifies that this security component contains a crypto key and that the owner is forbidden to know or read his own keys (that is what they mean when the PDF says "non cloneable"). It specifies using public key cryptography for chips to exchange communication keys in a manner secure against the owner, and specifies Confidentiality as establishing communication links which are secure against the owner "eavesdropping" on his own data. It specifies Authenticity capabilites, meaning that neither the owner nor any competitor can produce a device that can be substituted in your own network in place of a given device. Any attempt at an interoperable substitution will lack the required manufacturer's cryptographic key and signature to authenticate the device, and other devices can reject the substitute and reject its connections and prohibit it from operating in the original device's place.

    Every time the PDF uses the word secure or security, it is used in the sense of securing the system against the owner. The PDF literally classifies the owner as an "intruder" at one point, and to be secure against him.

    -
  • Flaky. (Hope that's spelled right) None of this technology has ever worked right. I used to be an X-10 addict. Wait! If I order 3 eagle eye I/R detectors I can get an ultra-remote too! Hell, sign me up! The idea that you could control all of that stuff was cool but it never worked quite right. I had motion detectors tied into lights, lights on schedules and even the A/C on a schedule. It worked ok but never 100%. Closer to 50%. I'd be watching TV on a hot summer night and the AC would shut off.
  • Of hot slavegirls? No technology needed.
  • Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry!

    That smart TV would soooo get smacked with a smart sledgehammer.

    A plain old sledgehammer would do just fine if you think about it.
  • Right now, we've got little to nothing in our houses we might want to network for any reason... Who really gives a damn about your TV telling you the phone is ringing? Everyone is so anxious to leap-frog the next several steps, that they skip over the REASONS someone might EVENTUALLY WANT to network their house.

    I'm still opening and closing all my windows...
    I still have to go up and open/close the vents in my attic...
    I still have to climb onto my roof... I still have to adjust my refridgerator's temuratu
  • Thanks to the wonders of psuedo-capitalism we get so much planned obsolescence shoved down our throats (computers, lightbulbs, etc) and just plain shoddy manufacturing... I'd like to see products that work predictably, reliably, and without unnecessary complication. Sure, you can buy really expensive high-end stuff for that, but without economy of scale and competition, it's not really affordable to most people.

    We put a man on the moon almost 40 years ago. We should be able to at least make this stuff
  • and don't get it. Why would I want a message on my TV telling me to do a laundry. When I do laundry, I do laundry, I put it in and press "start", messy, labour intensive, but the TV really can't help me with this. Until the "home connectivity" people can answer basic questions of "why", they will continue to fail.

When speculation has done its worst, two plus two still equals four. -- S. Johnson

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