Weather Forecasting Toaster pips Ginger
As important as assassinations - NYT
Updated More accolades for Robin Southgate's weather-forecasting Java Toaster, which we first told you about back in March. The "Toasty" as it's now called has been voted one of the 80 most important ideas of the year by the New York Times Magazine.
Other technology ideas du jour that merit inclusion are steganography, the Wikipedia, and er ... brains scans. And the humble Toasty made the list, while the most-hyped tech innovation of the year, Dean Kamen's self-balancing scooter IT (née Ginger) didn't.
Which fills us with great pride.
We first heard about the toaster from wise Register friend and Java expert John Wilson who answered an appeal from Robin on a mailing list last autumn. At that stage Robin envisaged a PC-controlled toaster, but John's experience with the TINI microcontroller led him to encourage building an all-in-one device.
Toasty was subsequently featured on BBC News Online, on Tomorrow's World in the summer, and world wide media including CNN.
Back at The Reg, Toasty spawned some interesting sidelines with readers musing about the potential of bread as a display device and food as an advertising medium.
There doesn't seem to be much likelihood of Toasty appearing the shops, though. Since graduating Robin is happily teaching at the University of the West of England, he told us today, and commercial enquiries are being fielded by his alma mater Brunel University. So far, no one has offered to put Toasty into production.
Learning the tropes
By its inclusion of Toasty on the list, the New York Times rates Robin's invention as important as state-sponsored assassinations of political opponents, semi-fictional biographies and losing gracefully. (That's something the rest of world has managed to do for some time, but is apparently it's new to the United States: "maybe this will be one of Jordan’s most endearing contributions,"popularizing the beauty of imperfection and élan in defeat," quoth the Times)
Unlike many of the ideas on the list, Toasty is actually new. Readers are invited to send us submissions for a better list, which we'll print over Christmas.
The full NYT list can be found target="new" here, for this week only, as it doesn't seem to have been given a permanent URL yet. ®