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Take off every 'zig'...
October 25, 2002 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Take off every 'zig'... for great justice! ZigBee is a promising entry into the field of personal area networks (PAN) -- the technology that will soon enable low data rate two-way wireless connectivity for everything in your house (e.g. keyboard, thermostat). For those keeping score, it's exactly '4.4' sweeter than Wi-Fi (ZigBee is aligning with the IEEE802.15.4 standard) and is designed to live up to two years on battery power (unlike Bluetooth, it's 802.15 brother currently fighting with deployment issues). The protocol supports authentication and public-key encryption, so no "All your toaster are belong to us" or (gasp!) wartoasting.
posted by eddydamascene (11 comments total)

 
uh... sweet.
posted by eddydamascene at 5:26 PM on October 25, 2002


wartoasting! sweet!
posted by Hall at 5:53 PM on October 25, 2002


My computer and mobile phone are already immeasurably smarter than I am. I fear the toaster is one blow more than my fragile self-esteem can take.
posted by zygoticmynci at 6:03 PM on October 25, 2002


Actually ZigBee isn't here to replace Bluetooth, it's too low powered, whereas Bluetooth is a more busier protocol.

Here's an idea based on this technology, make iFridges (Patent Pending), have it come with a touchpad LCD upfront with a ZigBee comm. card or whatever, you can jot down notes, grocery list, One-Touch Shopping (Trademark pending), etc. Everything you write down on the panel gets sent to your PC, from where you can order more groceries online or print out a list, manage your notes and calendar, and even see how well efficiently your fridge is working. If anyone steals my idea, I want a healthy cut of the profits.
posted by riffola at 6:14 PM on October 25, 2002


My computer and mobile phone are already immeasurably smarter than I am. I fear the toaster is one blow more than my fragile self-esteem can take.


dont worry yet about the fact that your computer or mobile phone or toaster are smarter than you are.............

computer or other digital equipment cannot do anything beyond detecting hi and low electric signals; if you can do better than that you are stillsmarter than computers...

digital machines just have a lot more raw computation power than you or me which makes them seem so "smart";


......i think i talk too much...............
posted by nish01 at 6:28 PM on October 25, 2002


"...from where you can order more groceries online or print out a list, manage your notes and calendar, and even see how well efficiently your fridge is working."

Best of all, it could warn you before things went off, perhaps through some kind of barcode scanner. It could even search the web for recipes based on the contents of your fridge, preventing late-night "what do I make with an aubergine and half a tin of catfood" dilemmas. Also, if it used encryption it could really take the legwork out of scrambling eggs.

"computer or other digital equipment cannot do anything beyond detecting hi and low electric signals; if you can do better than that you are stillsmarter than computers..."

Eek, now I know why my iBook calls me "bitch".
posted by zygoticmynci at 6:41 PM on October 25, 2002


As a kid, I had dreams about malevolent household appliances becoming animated. Scared the living crap out of me. I can guarantee you there will be no 802.whatever crap installed in my fridge, toaster, or anything.

"Wake up, Neo. The furnace has you..."
posted by namespan at 7:06 PM on October 25, 2002


It's Maximum Overdriverific!
posted by Stuart_R at 8:10 PM on October 25, 2002


riffola: Actually ZigBee isn't here to replace Bluetooth, it's too low powered, whereas Bluetooth is a more busier protocol.

Bluetooth has about 5 times the data rate of ZigBee, and is excellent at ad hoc networking (ad hoc in the sense that you walk in the front door, your PC sees your PDA and adds it to the network, they transfer data, and your microwave hijacks your celly to call 900 numbers).

Bluetooth is more power hungry, though, so Bluetooth enabled devices need to be recharged, like a cellphone. ZigBee seems to be aimed at much longer lifetimes and static networks; things like environment control in the house (temperature, lights, turning on the coffee pot). ZigBee may have a cost advantage, too (that's according to the ZigBee people); if it becomes cheap enough, I think appliance makers will rush to develop their own ZigBee enabled product. And then we all die.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:35 PM on October 25, 2002


makes me kind of wonder how far will we go with this technology thing?

besides watching tv, what will most people do when thier toaster toasts and butter thier bread, the microwave cooks meals, the car drives on its own, the remote reads your mind (you get the point)...................

namespan, that was realllly funny.........
posted by nish01 at 11:45 PM on October 25, 2002



In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o'clock! as if it were afraid nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
"Today is August 4, 2026," said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling., "in the city of Allendale, California." It repeated the date three times for memory's sake. "Today is Mr. Featherstone's birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita's marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills."
Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes.
Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o'clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one! But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the front door sang quietly: "Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today..." And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.
Outside, the garage chimed and lifted its door to reveal the waiting car. After a long wait the door swung down again.
At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry.
Nine-fifteen, sang the clock, time to clean.
Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust.
Then, like mysterious invaders, they popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eye faded. The house was clean.
Ten o'clock. The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave of a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.
Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air with scatterings of brightness. The water pelted windowpanes, running down the charred west side where the house had been burned evenly free of its white paint. The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titantic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hand raised to catch a ball which never came down.
The five spots of paint- the man, the woman, the children, the ball- remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.
The gentle sprinkler rain filled the garden with falling light.
Until this day, how well the house had kept its peace. How carefully it had inquired, 'Who goes there? What's the password?" and, getting no answer from the onely foxes and whining cats, it had shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old-maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.
It quivered at each sound, the house did. If a sparrow brushed a window, the shade snapped up. The bird, startled, flew off! No, not even a bird must touch the house!
The house was an altar with ten thousand attendents, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senslessly, uselessly.
Twelve noon.
A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch.
The front door recognized the dog voice and opened. The dog, once large and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud. Behind it whirred angry mice, angry at having to pick up mud, angry at inconvenience.
For not a leaf fragment blew under the door but what the wall panels flipped open and the copper scrap rats flashed swiftly out. The offending dust, hair, or paper, seized in miniature steel jaws, was raced back to the burrows. There, down tubes which fed into the cellar, it was dropped like evil Baal in a dark corner.
The dog ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing, as the house realized, that only silence was here.
It sniffed the air and scratched the kitchen door. Behind the door, the stove was making pancakes which filled the house with a rich odor and the scent of maple syrup.
The dog frothed at the mouth, lying at the door, sniffing, its eyes turned to fire. It ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy, and died. It lay in the parlor for an hour
Two 'clock, sang a voice.
Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out as softly as blown gray leaves in an electrical wind.
Two-fifteen.
The dog was gone.
In the cellar, the incinerator glowed suddenly and a whirl of sparks leaped up the chimney.
Two thirty-five.

--from There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury

posted by carsonb at 9:52 AM on October 26, 2002


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