Tweeting Washer: What's Old Is New

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on January 3, 2009

Make: reports that an enterprising hacker named Ryan Rose has modified a washing machine to post to Twitter when a load is finished (read its very uninteresting tweets here.)

Sorry Ryan. It’s cool, but it’s not new. Back in 1995, MIT student Philip A. Lisiecki rigged the laundry machines at Random Hall, a small, slightly decrepit dorm on Massachusetts Ave., to report their status on Zephyr, a sort of proto-instant messaging system still in use on the MIT network. You can get a report on the status of Random’s washers and dryers from their Web site.

Reader Comments

Jack

January 3, 2009 6:55 PM

And back in the mid-to-late eighties, the Carnegie Mellon Coke Machines were hooked up to the {Arpa,Inter}Net, and you could "finger" them from any connected site!

Steve Wildstrom

January 3, 2009 7:52 PM

@Jack--Yes indeed. I think my son helped maintain it in the late 90s. I'm not sure if it is still working. It used a finger interface. A finger to coke@cs.cmu.edu got no response, but that may be because the CMU network blocks finger; most do these days.

Marc Maxson

August 28, 2009 1:39 PM

Random Hall laundry server! I remember this from 1996. My friend was a CS student there and showed me the java applet.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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