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Switch your heating on via the Web, get chased round the bedroom by your Hoover

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Where is the centre of wired Britain? Scotland's Silicon Glen, Cambridgeshire's Silicon Fen? Nah -- it's Watford, innit. Strange but true, Watford is the location for an estate of high-tech houses. All the appliances are connected to a central computer, allowing its occupants to control their environment remotely, should they feel the need, from a Web pad. You can also access the house from the Internet, so that if -- for example -- you are working late you can adjust the heating, put some washing on, start cooking your dinner and even water the garden. That way when you arrive home late after a long day in the office you can find your dirty laundry spread evenly across your lawn, your dinner in the dishwasher and your best china baking in the oven. Pundits are saying the take-up of such techno-homes could be slow at first, according to an item on the BBC. And let's face it, only an idiot would entrust their home to a bunch of computers. Oh, an idiot and Bill Gates, that is. Priced at £500,000, with around £20,000 of that making up the cost of the in-house IT, the houses have all been sold. Barnum was right, there really is one born every minute. ®

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