February 27th, 2014

My first instinct upon reading about BERG's Cloudwash prototype was to scoff at the idea of an internet-connected washing machine.

Cloudwash is a prototype washing machine. We created Cloudwash to explore how connectivity will change the appliances in our homes… and to figure out what new features will be possible.

I'm still not persuaded that the ability to schedule and reschedule washing jobs remotely is going to be on the feature list when next I'm looking to buy a washing machine. However, I'll concede that more localised uses of connectivity – like the ability to receive an alert via the net when a cycle is about to end and I'm going to need to go and unload the machine – would be worth having.1

I did like BERG's approach of putting as much of the intelligence as possible in the app you run on your connected device, where it's easy to update and enhance the functionality on offer without finding that your washing machine only has ROM version 1.3.234 and you need version 1.4.112 or better to allow you to store more than 3 favourite job configurations. It's perfectly logical, but you can bet that as manufacturers start doing internet-enabled production models we'll see all sorts of flashy touchscreen interfaces using a custom OS (which will probably be a heavily-customised Android or Linux variant under the skin) that will be scrapped or revised within six months.2


  1. That last feature should really have occurred to me: I use Prowl to have my Mac send me Growl notifications about all sorts of things.
  2. See, for an example of this sort of thinking, Samsung's decision to ditch the Android OS they used in the first generation of Galaxy Gear smartwatches within six months of their launch in favour of their own OS.

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Editorial for iPad

July 17th, 2013

Editorial for iPad looks very interesting:

At its core, it's a Markdown editor for iPad, but you can also think of it as a Pythonista spinoff, or a workflow automation tool, not unlike Automator.

I'd rather Apple would just port Applescript over to iOS,1 but as that isn't likely to happen Editorial looks like the next best bet.

[Via Tao of Mac]

  1. I've experimented with doing most of my web browsing at home on my iPad Mini, but that just reminded me of how far I've customised my MacOS X web browsing/blog-posting experience with sundry browser extensions, Applescript routines and Growl notifications. I miss all those little tweaks to my web browsing and posting workflow under iOS, so I'm still doing most of my home web browsing on my Mac Mini.

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December 15th, 2012

Pinokio is smarter than your average anglepoise lamp.1

[Via jwz]

  1. Not to mention creepier. I was feeling a certain amount of sympathy for the poor thing being teased and tricked, with up until the moment it started flipping that power switch back on.

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Out of Office

May 1st, 2012

Dan Hon's email autoresponse message is – quite literally – an epic adventure.1

  1. Ain't that last line the truth!

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June 21st, 2011

Go and play with Otomata. Now.1

[Via The Tao of Mac]

  1. Money back if not completely satisfied.

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CAT5 cabling and laundry don't mix

May 6th, 2009

Just because you can do something, it doesn't mean that you should:

Except for the dryers being infamous for not performing their most basic task – drying – students at the Sogn Student Village near the University of Oslo were happy with how the laundry system worked. Just swipe your laundry card and run load, and the charges are conveniently billed along with the rent. Neat. But of course, all good things must come to an end.

The university had decided to spend roughly $14 million on a new accounting/payment system. […] Unknown to most of the inhabitants of the student village, dark times were looming.

The first signs of change were the glass cabinets containing routers and the CAT5 cables being connected to each machine appearing in the laundries. […]

It gets much, much worse1 from that point on…

  1. I rather like iToad's theory that the entire exercise was intended to provide a case study for IT and Business Studies students in how not to computerise an activity.

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