Technology For The Sake Of Technology

from the because-you-can dept

There’s no denying that gadgets and cool new technologies can be a lot of fun sometimes — especially for folks genetically disposed to that sort of thing. However, all too often it seems like people start developing technology or applications for the sake of the technology — and not for any real benefit. Here are two separate examples. First is a new restaurant that’s a spinoff of the famous “Legal Seafood” chain. It tries to take the same basic model, but adds in your choice of gadgetry to menu, including touchscreens for viewing the menu and ordering, and your very own personal iPod docking station, so you can listen to your music (and let others listen as well, whether they want to or not) while you eat. It sounds like the actual experience doesn’t need to involve the technology (though, it may depend on when you go), but it’s not clear how much the technology really benefits the experience. Then, we have the internet connected washer and dryer. Of course, we first heard about such things seven years ago and didn’t quite understand the point back then either. It could make sense to alert you in dorms or laundromats, where you don’t want to leave clothes for too long (or where it’s nice to know when a machine opens up). However, for the home user, how much of an advantage is it really for your washing machine to send you an SMS to let you know when it’s done? Were we really having that much trouble remembering to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer?

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Comments on “Technology For The Sake Of Technology”

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dorpus says:


Could handheld disorienting pulse lasers find a niche among bulimic teenage girls who want to lose weight? Pranksters/terrorists of the future could use these things on airplanes to induce chain-reaction vomiting.

In the worst known case of chain reaction vomit in history, a flight from Rome to Philadelphia in 1968 served egg custard, which half the passengers ate. The passengers that ate egg custard started hurling, which triggered 100% of the passengers to vomit too. When the plane landed in Philadelphia, vomit-covered passengers stormed out of the plane, triggering more vomiting in the airplane terminal.

Myself says:

Appliances that nag me, yes.

“Were we really having that much trouble remembering to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer?”

Yes, actually. Around my place, we rewash 1 or 2 loads a month because someone left them in the washer too long and they got funky. It’s not a big deal when it’s noticed, a handful of washing soda and a half-dose of soap straightens ’em right out, although the wasted water is a shame.

The problem comes when someone flips the molding mass into the dryer and runs it. Once dry, the smell is gone, until one puts on an affected garment and sweats in it for a few minutes. I’m usually at work by the time I notice. It’s quite embarassing to go through the day smelling like a pile of dirty socks. I’ve taken to keeping a spare shirt in the car, which is probably a good idea anyway.

The problem has had me working on circuits that would detect when a load has been run but the lid hasn’t been opened yet, and sound a periodic reminder. I could just stick a timer to the washer, but I’m sure the culprit would forget to start the timer with every load. It has to be automatic.

Xcetron, the remote control idea is genius! Patent that.

Electrical Engineer (user link) says:

computerized washer / dryer

I think the concept of conventional appliances connected to computers CAN be useful and cool. aside from being alerted that your load is done to move it to the dryer soon, one could build in all sorts of other sensors. for example, how much energy is being used, how much water is being used. the computer / program could then calculate the cost per load, and give you weekly / monthly / and even yearly statistics on how much $$ one is spending on laundry in general. this could help with bills, environment, and help large familys from going overboard, or help mom keep tabs on the family, and make sure that not too much laundry is being done… this concept could be applied to almost all electronics. As an EE, I plan on wiring my whole house into computers for these reasons. I like information on what I am spending $$ on.

westwind says:


However, for the home user, how much of an advantage is it really for your washing machine to send you an SMS to let you know when it’s done? Were we really having that much trouble remembering to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer?

Actually, when I’m nowhere near the washer and dryer and have music playing, I don’t always notice when it’s finished. That, and my washer doesn’t have a buzzer, just the dryer, so if I get lost in thought and don’t remember that first load, a text message would be just the thing to get me over there and changing loads.

David says:

Starting from work

What I’d really like is to be able to delay the start enough that I can start it from work and it’ll be done when I get home, and won’t sit too long. Most time delays I’ve seen on washers don’t work for 7 hours, and even then, if I’m stuck late at the office, I’d want to be able to make it delay even later.

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