iPod Guilt
Car-to-Home automation with Z-Wave

Smart washers and dryers

An AP wire story about smart clothes washers and dryers has some interesting tidbits about what the new network-connected machines are capable of doing. For example:

"Messages not only indicate when a wash is complete but also can warn that a lint filter is clogged or a load is too large. Users can remotely command the machines to fluff dry clothes or start a load from a distance after being told they forgot to start the wash."

Of course, in an effort to seem like balanced coverage and not just a commercial for the appliance manufacturers, the article has the requisite scoffing reaction:

"I think this is a great example of people using new technology to solve a problem that doesn't exist," said Laura Champine, a home products analyst for Morgan Keegan. "I've done my own laundry for four decades and I've never been away from my home and wondered how it's doing. Until the cell phone can load the dryer, I don't know how this technology will work for me."

I'm reminded of similar comments about microwave ovens, cable TV, and automatic transmissions. Personally, if technology can help remind me of forgotten tasks, especially preventive maintenance, I'm all for it.

Oh, and let's not forget the also required humorously sexist quip to close the article:

"If my husband sees a message," [one tester] said, "maybe one day he'll actually help out."

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