[extropy-chat] FWD (SK) Re: Why so little real interest in Intelligent Homes?

Terry W. Colvin fortean1 at mindspring.com
Fri Oct 21 17:46:18 UTC 2005

 >INTELLIGENT homes where curtains can be drawn at the push of a button,

>ovens switched on by phone and the housework done by robotic vacuum 
>cleaners are not that far off in the future, research claimed today.

Quite a few of the ideas put forth in the smart home concept are just 
asinine, you have to wonder what these people are huffing.

Take the above-mentioned remote-control oven. Please. This is often 
imagined as an oven you can control over the net. OK, even if we pretend 
that the security issues have magically gone away, we're left with one 
question: why would ANYone want such a thing?

The people who talk about such things with wide-eyed wonder seem to assume 
that people are gonna throw dinner in the smart oven before they leave for 
work in the morning, and then ping the oven in the afternoon to turn it on 
so a nice hot dinner is waiting when they get home. On the surface, this 
sounds really keen. But how many things are there you can have for dinner 
that would survive such an experience? Lotsa things would go bad sitting 
out all day, other recipes would be dramatically altered by sitting around 
so long before cooking. And how many non-morons out there are REALLY 
comfortable with the notion of having their oven roaring away with nobody 
in the house to watch it?

I'm currently working on a development tool for DLNA, the new gee-whiz 
standard that's gonna make all the electronics in your house live in 
harmony and communicate seamlessly. It's bullshit, of course. Different 
interpretations of the "standard" by different manufacturers--and even by 
different divisions within a single company---will ensure that getting any 
two random devices to even acknowledge each other's existence, let alone 
communicate, will be every bit as easy as writing a custom device driver 
and getting it to work on a modified Linux installation running on a 
home-built bitslice PDA (and let's not even MENTION what 
increasingly-greedy and fascist DRM is gonna do to this pie-in-the-sky). 
But hey, as long as they keep paying me....

Dave Palmer

"Only a zit on the wart on the heinie of progress." Copyright 1992, Frank Rice

Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA) < fortean1 at mindspring.com >
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