Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/11/letters_1110/
Kettles, frogs and fridges unite on the dark side
The kitchen is not enough
Letters The world was rocked yesterday by the news that PG Tips had designed a kettle that can be controlled by text message. Well, we were confident that this utterly astonishing news would provoke much serious and sensible discussion among our beloved readers. And boy, did it.
Well, not so much of the sensible or serious, but you certainly made your opinions known:
This is it. Everything changes now. When I calm down from my excitement I can hear the seething masses of the world cheering.
At last, at long last, we can boil our kettle using SMS! Surely the MIT Media Lab must have had a hand in this?
In the far future, Tuesday 11th October 2005 will forever be celebrated as SMSKD (SMS Kettle Day), and years will from now on be known as xxxx-BK and xxxx-AK for Before Kettle and After Kettle.
We can only hope that they decide to market it as the 'iKettle'.
It will come in white or black, and be prone to scratching; thus rescuing the world economy from disaster by making a massive market for pink silicone rubber 'iKettle Gloves'
Modders will create versions that can also boil water for coffee.
Water providers will region-encode their water, so the iKettle will only work with your local water; exploits will appear that enable non-DRM (Drip Rights Management) water to be boiled in it.
This is fantastic! Wonderful! Emergent! etc. etc. etc.
So what you're saying is this isn't the most exciting tech development of the last ten years?
There are at least two people who have found a plausible use for the technology...
You're clearly missing a vital use of this wonderful new invention. Those of us who find the thought of getting out of bed in the morning a daunting prospect will at least be able to get the hot water going for that vital first cup of coffee while still snuggled up under the duvet. I'm not sure if PG Tips make coffee though, still it's the thought that counts.
Also, it would make suicide by electrocution much more... efficient. None of that messing around balancing clock radios on the edge of the bath; now one can simply submerge the kettle's element in the bath water and make yourself comfortable. Once the time is right, just hit send on your trusty mobile, and you might have time to make a quick 999 call to have somebody come collect the body. That's assuming you've remembered to top-up your call credit of course. Brings a new meaning to "Ready to Go", eh?
SMS Kettle? read my lips.
Three. Extra. Minutes. In. Bed.
Succinctly put. Still, that one, and frankly marginal benefit aside, we're still at a loss.
Even the idea of preventing-a-national-grid-blow-out-in-the-unlikely event-of-our-national-football-team-doing-us-proud-in-international-competition (and, breathe...) theory doesn't hold much water:
While I am broadly in favour of the SMS kettle I feel there may be serious drawbacks you should bring to the attention of the readers. It is a common misconception that an SMS message is an instantaneous form of communication. In fact an SMS message may take several hours (or even days) to reach its destination, this is especially the case at times of high network utilisation (such when England win the world cup. Far from 'beating the rush' for that cup of tea the fan may find that his kettle takes hours to respond to their text and boil the water (if this took days we may be looking at some serious health risks).
Might I suggest that fans looking to exploit this technology consider installing a web cam (or a 3G phone) near the kettle to provide instant feedback on the arrival of the text message
And far from not being any real use, the kettle could be turned against us, some of you argue:
the sms kettle probably goes down as the dumbest idea. why?
all they have to do is wire up a few batteries and the "control" system behind the kettle and a bag of c4 and ba boom and instant remote controlled bomb. you could probably fit it all in the kettle therefore it will not look like a bomb but an ordinary kettle.
Please help me i have been brainwashed by Blair's constant fear technique, i will never make tea for anyone ever again.
Dan, we'll be round with a tin foil hat as soon as the black helicopters outside have gone away.
And so to the practicalities:
Is it me, or is it also missing the fact that you'll need to get up to fill the kettle with water in the first place? If it's anything like my one at home, every time I'm gasping for a cuppa and finally summon the energy to walk to the kitchen I find the kettle's empty and I've got to wait for the water to filter before I can even turn the damned thing on...
Mind you, I guess if you ever want to burn down an ex's house while they're at work, repeated SMS's to a bone dry kettle would be a good place to start - not exactly an untraceable way of doing things of course tho ;)
So for the price of an sms or some sms's i can boil dry someone's kettle causing it to melt over their kitchen... fantastic.
What use is a kettle you can text? I want a kettle that will text ME to say "I've boiled and poured your coffee. Do you want to collect it, or shall the house robot (Matilda?) bring it to you?"
If its anything like the kettles where I work, neither will it fill itself up or warn you that you are just about to switch on an empty kettle. Perhaps they could supply bread to toast on the ensuing fire that is caused :+)
A common fear...
You're driving home from work, you had a long day and you're shattered. You pull over and send a txt home lights on; oven on; kettle on; heating 23, tv bbc1.
You get home, the lights are blown, your dinner is burned, the kettle was not put back in the socket, and the TV is on fire due to an electrical fault. Further more you get three points on you license for pulling over in a bus stop.
The technology has potential but I doubt it will work.
Make something Idiot proof and they will make a better idiot :)
This is even better than internet ready refrigerators that can double your grocery bill behind your back--now you can burn down your house by remote control.
But what other mischief could such a kettle get up to? Plenty, it seems, given enough people with active imaginations:
So long as they don't build in AI. The last thing you need is to find out your kettle has subscribed to a ringtones service and thus the arrival of every cuppa is heralded by that bloody frog.
The important questions this all raises is: "What happens when your kettle goes ex-directory?" and "How do I reduce my phone bills as my kettle is conducting an affair with the internet fridge?"
The lizard army have clearly thought about this as much as i have. They're planning to destroy our British way of life. How? by making us pay rental for our kettles. Not only this, but what if they spammed us with "switch on" messages from the mothership? all the kettles would eventually boil dry during the night, and burn down our homes, making plenty of space for the invasion fleets.
i, for one, will continue brewing my tea the old fashioned way, by asking the wife to get up and make it
Martin, we have to applaud your low tech approach, and yet somehow, we would be morally obliged to support your wife if she decided that you were due an externally applied cup of tea. ®