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Trojan Room Coffee Pot Auctioned Off 101

dlesko writes "The historic Trojan Room coffee pot at The University of Cambridge has gone to the highest bidder on ebay for £3,350.00 (that's about $5,055.20 USD based on the currency rates as of 8/12/01). You can see the results for about 90days. Now they just have to hope that the person actually comes through with the dough..." A fitting end to a net.legend. If I could figure out where Arial, my old DEC Alpha Multia that was the original Slashdot, I would auction that off and give the cash to the EFF (minus shipping a cost of a case of beer ;) Dave? Rosie? Where did that thing go? I know it was finally retired as the SMTP server... I probably should get it back someday ;)
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Trojan Room Coffee Pot Auctioned Off

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  • In case you missed it, here's our Joy of Tech comic [geekculture.com] about the retiring of the coffee pot...

    heh... "My HELL as CoffeeCam SLAVE" ....and now it's just been sold off like a piece of property. ;)
    • Coffe pot: &pound 3000
    • 150 packs of coffe pot cleaner: &pound 3000
    • Coffe beans, cream, sugar, paper filter: &pound 5
    • Cup of coffee: priceless
  • This coffee pot is the basis for many modern day porn sites. Quirky huh?
  • always wanted one of these

    the RFC

    2324 Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP/1.0). L. Masinter.
    Apr-01-1998. (Format: TXT=19610 bytes) (Status: INFORMATIONAL)

    <a href="http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2324.txt?number=2 324">http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2324.txt?number =2324

    I wonder if there is a implemetation that is open ?

    can anyone point the way ?


    john jones

    p.s. so sad and they will be moveing in with Microsoft so expect an IIS add on I surpose )-:

  • Damn... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday August 12, 2001 @11:34AM (#2118137)
    If I'd known it would be worth that much, I'd have nicked it when I was working in the lab...
  • Internet accessible cameras were around long before that coffee pot. Even CuSeeMe predates the coffee pot by years. And Internet accessible utilitarian devices (elevators, coke machines, etc.) go back to the 1970's.

    I don't quite see how the coffee pot achieved this fame. Maybe what makes history is what is tangible to journalists? And I suppose that's why history will record that Bill Gates invented the Internet and the coffee pot is the first web cam.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check here [spiegel.de].
    They say they plan to repair it and run it with a webcam in some weeks.
  • Of course the real reason this is happening is that the Trojan Room is no more - the computer lab is moving to a new building. Guess what it's called.... yep you got it " The William Gates Building " Selling the coffee-pot, accepting money from Microsoft.. they must be really desperate!

    Thank god I've graduated :)
    • Many people outside the Computer Lab have been trying to link the lab to MS for some time, MS probably among them. Sure, some of the guys who work there may well also be associated with MS' new research facility in Cambridge. But try telling anyone in the CL that the Lab itself is formally linked to Microsoft, and you'll hear nothing but laughter.

    • Actually, (IIRC) the money for the building came from Gates himself via the William Gates Foundation rather than from Microsoft, which kinda makes naming it after him more (though not entirely) forgivable. Also MS are not sharing the building with the CUCL as was orginally planned as they decided they wanted larger premises.
  • Hmm, could someone tell me what date 8/12/01 translates to? Is it 8 December 2001, 12 July 2001 or 1 December 2008? Okay I am being picky, but since /. is viewable world-wide I reckon it is best to use date formats that can't be confused, even though someone will advocate as to how abvious it is at the mo' given the other dates haven't happened yet.

    Surely 2001-08-12 is little less confusing?

    • Hmm, could someone tell me what date 8/12/01 translates to? Is it 8 December 2001, 12 July 2001 or 1 December 2008?

      None of the above. If you start at January (as far as I'm aware, the usual convention what with it being named after the god of doors, beginnings, etc.), then the eighth month is August.

    • Well, considering that today is in fact August 12th... (the 8th month isn't July)

      I just kind of assume that the most likely explanation - that it is the closest date to the current time - is the correct one. I deal with it a lot since I'm American and I'm living in Canada. We have reverse days/months, so I always have to watch for it.

      Besides which, the long-form date is on the main news post as well as on every response to it. =)
    • Surely 2001-08-12 is little less confusing?

      How the hell is 2001-08-12 less confusing? You may not have noticed, but those are the same numbers in a different order.

      • 2001-08-12 would conform to the ISO date form. YYYY-MM-DD. There's no ambiguity if you put the year first, since the ISO form is the only form of which I know that begins with the year. The Americans use MM-DD-YYYY and everyone else uses DD-MM-YYYY (assuming western date system) or the ISO format.
      • The reason it's less confusing is because it's little-endian instead of middle-endian. The year (most significant) is first, and the day (least significant) is last. The American system places the least significant datum in the middle.
  • by ElektroHolunder ( 514550 ) on Sunday August 12, 2001 @10:43AM (#2125438)
    For all you out there not capable of reading German: SPIEGEL Online promised to bring it back online in a few weeks - so they did in fact save it for the people.. EH
  • by affenmann ( 195152 ) on Sunday August 12, 2001 @10:34AM (#2125641)
    It was bought by Spiegel-Online [spiegel.de], a german online news service.
    The announcement is here [spiegel.de] (in German - try the babelfish version [altavista.com]).

  • Taco: how about auctioning off that other historical gem of the Internet Era: the Slashdot Cruiser? Where did that thing end up, anyway?
  • I used to have one of these and Iloved it, I started quite a few cool things on mine before I moved to a PIII.... Lemme See -
    I had the Jennicam Activty monitor - a site which basically did comparisons between images coming from Jennicam.org and attempted to measure activity on the camera - I got this on a crappy internet TV show - I got a Free trip to Bournemouth of all places.

    There's the complete solar system map which still runs at http://szyzyg.arm.ac.uk/~spm/neomap.html - this plots the position of all the planets *and* minor planets (about 100,000 now) every day.

    Finally - I did my first live mp3 show from this machine (This predated shoutcast by two years) - Back in those days it took almost 90% of my cpu to encode the stream at 16kbit, it didn't sound particularly good either. Fortunately the broadcast was over a 128kbit connection so I couldn't sustain enough clients to cause any serious load on the server component.

    Anyone want to buy the machine which had the world's first live mp3 radio station? Anyone want the DJ to come and play at your party?
  • Being bought by a German news service, I'm sure the cash will come through. I wonder when Netscape will auction off the fishcam? :)

    Anyone remember the secret fishcam url/key combo?
  • by _ganja_ ( 179968 )
    Maybe somone would like to take the time to explain the legend behind this? I think I heard about some coffee pot that was on the net in the eraly days and you could finger(??) it to get the temperature?

    Wasn't there something else like this with a coke machine also? Or am I complete off track.

    • Re:EH? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pope ( 17780 )
      It's better explained by visiting one of the URL's posted in this discussion, but to be brief: a camera was aimed at a coffee pot, and captured images that could be viewed remotely to see if any coffee was there, saving a long and often unrewarding trip from the Lab to the coffee room.

      Back when "Wired" magazine was cool and not dedicated to the pursuit of $4000 CD players, they had a whole section on cool things on the Net. Two of the first places I ever went to were the Trojan Room Coffee Pot, and the CMU Coke machine Web interface. I still have a printout from the CMU machine ca. 1994, using NCSA Mosaic!

    • Re:EH? (Score:2, Informative)

      by quentinsf ( 5763 )
      You can read my history of the coffee pot [cam.ac.uk] on the web site, and I think there should also be a brief article about it in the July Communications of the ACM. Haven't received mine yet.

      I guess they'll need updating now...

    • Re:EH? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tom7 ( 102298 )
      The coke machine was at CMU (in the grad CS lounge); you could finger it to see the quantity of soda and their temperature.

  • Really, more power to them for makin that kind of money on a COFFEE POT. The event and the history of it is far more interesting that the actual item itself. Why put it in a museum?

    Museums are already overflowing. The Smithsonian has more things in storage that on display to a ratio of 10:1 in certain departments. Why add to that? and why with a coffeepot?

    The internet is a transient being. It is a constantly changing landscape whose historians are the users on it. The CoffeePot website will serve as more than an adequate reminder and is accesible to all people at all times (well, sans the government moderated internets in the far east). Placing this in a museum would be simply a waste of space.

  • If I could figure out where Arial, my old DEC Alpha Multia that was the original Slashdot, I would auction that off and give the cash to the EFF (minus shipping a cost of a case of beer ;) Dave? Rosie? Where did that thing go? I know it was finally retired as the SMTP server... I probably should get it back someday ;)

    Have you checked behind the dry wall? [slashdot.org]
  • I don't think it's the original coffee pot, there have actually been several over the years. This is supposed to have been the longest-serving though. Can't find the reference for this fact, it was somewhere on either the Cambridge University site or on Ebay though...
  • "More money than sense"

    It's the only possible explanation!
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Sunday August 12, 2001 @10:45AM (#2143999) Journal
    So what would people do with it, assumming that it is found, and put up for action? A nice touch would be to have an original early version of the slash code on it that you ran, with maybe the first 100 messages, just for good historical sentimentality.

    I can seem someone doing this [virtual-hideout.net] to it (as seen here [virtual-hideout.net]).

    Just to take out a few frustrations

    • My question would be, why did you get rid of it in the first place? Any self respecting geek never gets rid of a functioning piece of technology! Besides, it seems like that would be the kind of thing you would want to keep just for old times' sake.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The fact that you think that people would really care about the first slashdot box is a good indicator of how big some peoples egos have gotten. What you should be doing is making sure that you keep track of the current slashdot box. At least those will still have some actual street value when OSDN goes under and things goto the auction block.
    • So you're suggesting they put up the old box and make it viewable again.

      And then maybe post the news as a story on the main page.

      And include a link so that we can all go look at what it used to look like when the number of visitors was in the order of about 10^2.


      I'd also like to suggest that they set up a webcam pointing at the old box, so that we can all watch it burst into flames and be totally beyond repair thanks to a heavy slashdotting starting moments after the link to it is posted, as it tries to handle thousands more hits than it was ever designed to take.

      Kinda like a viking funeral, only without the boat.

  • The creation of a false geek culture is at hand. There are many things, such as science fiction like Dune, that merit the slavering worship of Slashdotters. Dune for instance brings up many pressing scientific and ethical issues.

    This coffee pot does not.

    It's rather a fetish, a symbol for religious worship in the attempt to create community. It is supposed to radiate defiance and humor, but it doesn't. It's rather empty in fact.

    It's not the first webcam, the coffee pot is the object of observation of the first webcam. It glorified a culture of work, actually, business culture in geekdom before it existed; people would drink the coffee, and as the pot emptied and refilled it was a metaphor for productivity.

    It's like selling the dust that someone scraped up from the NASA lab when they were testing a Mars camera. It's not the dust from Mars, but an adjunct to the technical process in developing a Mars camera. Its meaning is borrowed and tenuous.

    The actual web cam would be a better auction item, at least it would have some interesting technical value. This coffee pot can't even make coffee- it leaks water, according to the EBAY ad. In fact, it may not even be the real Trojan coffee pot, unless you are one of those geeks who has some snapshots of the motherfucker on your hard drive somewhere, in which case you are the exact sort of geek I am decrying against here. You are fetishizing the meaningless and debasing the real meaning all the while.

    Geeks are supposed to be separate from the self-referentialism, fake romance, and vapidity of the modern age. Act like it.

Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it. -- William Buckley