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Trojan Coffee Room Machine Returns 112

MKalus writes "It seems that when they turned it off it wasn't quite the end to the machine after all. The german magazine "Der Spiegel" bought it and got it repaired. And now it is online again, not in the Trojan room, but the same machine." You just can't keep a good coffee machine down.
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Trojan Coffee Room Machine Returns

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  • erm (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by bartyboy ( 99076 )
    I sure hope they changed the filter by now.
  • Anyone care to give us the pre-punch (i.e. history) of this? :)
  • A good Christmas present to lighten the spirit... and I don't even drink coffee!
  • Danke der Spiegel (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xtord ( 74034 )
    What a gift for christmas.. Bringing back the cool technology of yesterday.. danke der Spiegel.
  • Sweet!

    Ever since I heard abotu this I've wanted to actualy see it, now I can. I'm quite happy :)

    Im wondering though, waht kinda traffic si this site gonna get? I mean, after the slashdoting is over. Good or bad? What do you guys think?

    • They'll do fine. They usually brave large things like on Sept. 11 they were actually reachable while CNN and the rest tanked.
  • There'd be some way to monitor who is drinking the coffe, and, most importantly, who isn't making a fresh pot when they drain it!!! Man I hate that....must be my caffeine addiction talking! Got to feed that Jones!!!
  • is available at world lingos []

    as seen here: &wl_fl=2&wl_url= zkultur/0,1518,174146,00.html&wl_g_table=-3 []

    Although this is German, and you know how that translates to English.


  • One day... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PureFiction ( 10256 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @02:52PM (#2747823)
    this thing is going to end up in the Smithsonian on display as a proud emblem of the geekiness of the early internet.

    Somehow I find this both amusing and disturbing. :-)
    • What part of it disturbs you? The fact that your statement is correct or the fact that you a slashdotter (by implication "disturbed") are disturbed by your correct statement?

  • by Kevin O' Riordan ( 262844 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @02:55PM (#2747833)
    From the translation:

    But which one makes with an icon of the Webs?

    Throw away? Not possibly!

    I love online translators.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Whoa hehe. At first I thought it said "The Trojan Machine in the Coffee Room." Those are at bars, but not in our coffee room!
  • by ags ( 145597 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @03:07PM (#2747857)
    For those interested in the background, here is an edited Times article that I
    collected when the Coffee Pot closed down:


    *First star of the Internet retires*


    THE world's first Internet star is retiring after ten years in the

    The unlikely star is a £40 coffee percolator that made its debut in front
    of the camera when computer scientists at Cambridge University became
    frustrated at walking down several flights of stairs only to find the pot
    empty. They set up a camcorder, pointed it at the pot and wrote a program
    to relay the image to their screens upstairs, so they would always know
    when it was full.

    When the World Wide Web was invented soon afterwards, they put it online as
    the world's first webcam. Although it is the Internet equivalent of
    watching paint dry, it became cult viewing, with 2.4 million visitors.

    But now Cambridge's Trojan Room webcam and its subject are being consigned
    to the history books because the university computer department is moving.
    Dan Gordon, 33, a research scientist, said: "It will be turned off simply
    because there is no more need for it.

    "It became very popular because it was up and running when there really
    wasn't very much else to look at on the Internet. We've kept it going using
    old machines, but it quite often breaks down."

    Quentin Stafford-Fraser, the man behind the pot website, said: "I first
    rigged it up because we were fed up of traipsing half-way around the
    building to find there was no coffee in the pot. At first, the image was
    only updated about three times a minute - it is now one frame a second -
    but that was fine because the pot filled rather slowly, and it was only
    greyscale, which was also fine, because so was the coffee.
  • There outside perhaps the Trojan Room Coffee machine brueht and bubbles and steams again, almost approximately around the clock and those locally warms itself stomach and hands at the hot coffee, and those a little the heart.

    locally warms a little the heart, doesn't it?
  • by MKalus ( 72765 ) <[mkalus] [at] []> on Monday December 24, 2001 @03:10PM (#2747864) Homepage

    The comeback of the Trojan Room Coffee Cam

    The legendary Krups ProAroma out of the even more legendary "Trojan Room" wrote history as the worldwide first webcam. She didn't get thrown away last August because SPIEGEL ONLINE together with a sponsor bought it from the University. Now she is makingn coffee again.

    CAM 1 [] CAM 2 []

    Ten years she fullfilled her duties, brewing coffee. Hundreds of Students and workers at the computer lab at the University of Cambridge warmed their hands and stomachs with the coffee. Million of Web-Surfers from all over the world watched. The Trojan Room Coffee Machine wrote web history since 1994 as the worldwide first webcam. Then, in the summer of 2001, she was supposed to go offline forever.

    The computer lab in Cambridge moved, this was one of the reasons. The coffee, say some of the users, was for quite some time more cult than anything else - another reason. And then, in the spring of 2001, the Krups ProAroma died: An era was obviously coming to an end.But what to do with an icon of the web?

    Throw it away? Not possible!

    She was put up for the higest bidder and SPIEGEL ONLINE together with the Health company Fresenius as a sponsor bought it for the impressive price of DM 10,452.70: Again the "Trojan Coffee Maker" wrote history - the most expensive broken coffee maker in the world.

    But she was destined to brew coffee again, she was supposed to send the steamy pictures back out into the web-world. The employees from the manufacturer Krups knew what to do: Free of charge they were going to repair this classic - even though the gurantee had long expired. So she left the office of SPIEGEL ONLINE as soon as she had come in.

    And she came back, repaired, as god as new, but still the old. And so, like you could watch her from 1994 until 2001 in Cambridge you can watch her now again, out of two perspectives. The Trojan-Room-Coffee-Machine brews, blubbers and steams again, almost around the clock. And the people nearby are warming their hands and stomachs with the hot coffee, and out there, some maybe the heart.

  • Labor of Love (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Marcus Erroneous ( 11660 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @03:15PM (#2747874) Homepage
    What I really appreciated from the article is that they do have a sense of perspective. It is a coffee machine, as they put it "the most expensive broken coffee machine in the world" when they bought it. Yet, a significant event in the history of the web. Hundreds of people warmed themselves with the coffee while millions of people looked at it online. The first web cam. They simply couldn't allow such an icon of the Web to be thrown away. Thanks to them, it's a piece of 'Net history that continues to lives on. I can only hope that it ends up in the Smithsonian some day, but it's our own fault if it doesn't. Thanks to the staff at Spiegel for doing this. It hasn't saved the world, but it has helped to preserve part of it. Vielen Dank von Ihrem Kameraden bei Slashdot. Froeliche Weihnachten und eines Gutes Neues Jahr.
  • Hurm... I'll be in Germany this coming month... I wonder if I found the Speigel office if they'd let me have my picture taken with it. Or, perhaps even have a cup of coffee from it- oh the joy in that thought. What better way to celebrate a trip to a foreign country than by paying homage to the first internationally known coffee maker.

    On a side note- After seeing that translation page I have never been more glad that I took german in high school and college. Egads.
  • For those of you who don't browse the web with java script on and can't read javascript (or haven't bothered to update your copy of mozilla [] to the new milestone with selective javascript):
  • "On 11th November 1994, we were visited by a reporter from our local radio station, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, to make a report on this service. Naturally we connected a radio to one of our workstations and relayed the broadcast over our local network. The transmission was also recorded digitally, and now you can hear it too [] (1.5Mb, 3'20").

    We are grateful to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire for giving permission to put this audio file on the Web."
  • The whole point of the initial cam was to let others know whether or not there was coffee already brewed.

    Due to their poor lighting/camera/whatever, it is impossible to tell whether or not there is coffee in the coffeemaker.
    • I'm quite sure they paid proper attention to that. The fact that you don't see much on the pictures now should be due to the fact that it's nighttime and Xmas holidays there right now, and the last one leaving turned off (most of) the lights. Perfect place and time for a Seinfeld quote: "Come back, next year!"
    • Well, duh, it's X-mas eve, and at the time of your posting it's past 10 PM in Germany, so noone is there, hence the lights are off.
  • Upgrades (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wackybrit ( 321117 )
    Why don't more nerds in universities/companies do things like this? There's a whole heap of stuff you could do.

    1) Hook up water and a supply of coffee direct to the machine. This way you could control the ENTIRE coffee creation process remotely so that you have coffee waiting for you.

    2) Run Linux on it and have the coffee machine actually control the webcam.

    3) Implement a thermostat so that you can go get coffee when it's at a nice drinkable temperature, rather than getting burnt straight away.

    4) Hook a car battery and some wheels up to it, and make it mobile. Then program it with everyone's coffee preferences, and have it work out a route around the building delivering coffee. Y'know, just like those robots at the start of Short Circuit.
    • Re:Upgrades (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      1) The guys in that room are playing with computers. Not plumbing!

      2) Good idea. Where can I get a Linux controlled coffee maker. I imagine that a couple of the people there could knock one up though.

      3) Knowing the people who were there, it probably never got to the "drinkable" temperature state before being emptied.

      4) The door to the Trojan Room would have proven to be an issue, then navigating a pile of punched tape that hadn't been touched for about 30 years, then another, even nastier door. And then you come to the library which had a coffee and biscuit service at certain times during the day anyway. The coffee sucked though. The machine would have to navigate the lift, as the old computer labs were on about 8 floors of the building up into a tower, where the lift didn't even go. So stair navigating wheels would be required...

      There were so many empty bottles of alcohol in the trojan room. Bunch of bloody alkies, the lot of them. I wonder if there is a decent pub near the new computer labs - having The Bath and The Eagle right outside the old ones was handy. And it was in the town center, not in the sticks next to the M11.

      Also, I trust that Spiegel are using decent, strong coffee in the machine. Dedicated real coffee, not cheap filter coffee but some of the most strong brews in the world.

      And doughnut eating races.

      • The linux coffee howto. Hook up a five-dollar home-made circuit to a parallel port and boom, linux-powered coffee-maker. I never could figure out why this would be useful, but now I see the light. Automatic coffee was never enough. In combination with a net-camera or a light sensor and thermometer, one can have remote-controlled network coffeemaker.
    • 5) Use a Beowulf cluster of Athlons with water cooling to heat the water.
  • I think given the historical nature of this now-repaired coffeemaker, I think Krups ought to seriously look at running some sort of international advertising campaign using this coffeemaker. It could be a pretty effective idea, too. :-)
  • There was a mention of this in the ACM magazine, Communications of the ACM.

    An online version of the article can be found here [].
  • Yea, behold the BreadCam []! (and it's descendant, PilchardCam [])

    Remember to read the legal notice [] beforehand though.

  • Ok...I've read the link, and the comments, and there is STILL something I don't understand about this: Why is it called the "Trojan" coffee machine?

  • It's a Christmas miracle!

  • ... why the geeks didn't get thier own pot of coffee and keep it closer?

    Of course, then the webcam would've never been born, and then were would we all be? :)


The absent ones are always at fault.