Bsod On Coffee Maker
Q: My office has a Keurig coffee maker that's almost a tiny robot: you open a drawer and put in the creamer-sized container of coffee (your choice of flavors, usually 5-12 choices from the stack of dispensor boxes). Close the drawer, push the button and it brews a single cup of coffee in the filter cup and dispenses the coffee to the drink cup below, moving the spend coffee grinds into a bin inside the machine. Well, a) They apparently never read "The Design of Everyday Things" for the cup bin needs to be emptied occasionally. Is the bin easily removed from a hinged door? Noooooooooooooooooooo! The drip tray must be slid out and a snap-on panel removed to remove the bin of used containers. b) somethimes the machine gets into an unworkable condition where all the status LEDS blink and it just won't do anything. "rebooting" it (unplug) doesn't seem to help. When this last happened, I made a "Blue Screen Of Death" showing that the coffee maker had indeed crashed! I forgot the mfgr, but there are coffee machines that are totally self contained: you press the button for the blend (regular/decaf/half&half), the amount (cup, mug, pot), strength, mocha, vanilla, etc. Some have a LCD panel for status, others just LEDs. Some even light up to show you the inner cylinder brewing the coffee, the piston drawing the water up then down thru the coffee beans. But I was totally *UN*impressed when there was *NO INDICATION* that it was out of some ingredients such as the mocha/chocolate powder! It merely progressed as if nothing was wrong, dispensing the wrong beverage! Just 2 more datapoints why I'm so cynical that USB/networked household appliances will never live up to our expectations since stand alone microprogrammed things are not working as they ought!
A: The St.Andrews University Physics building had (and probably still has) a vending machine that, among other things, sells small cups of a cold, luminous yellow, uh, stuff. It's laden with sugar and is extremely cheap, and is perfect to put that hyperactive twitch back into your hands after a boring Logic lecture. Occasionally the machine has a slight fit. I think it accidentally vends some hot chocolate into the cold, fizzy drink. It turns this vile brown colour. The scariest thing is that it doesn't taste too different. Recently in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., the model Nikki Taylor was severely injured in an SUV accident. Evidently, some of the automatic seat/shoulder belts do *not* hold you in place, as was the case with her belts. IIRC, these belts let your body make a *twisting* motion, ripping up your internal organs. On an interstate drive last summer, the stereo in our 1990 Honda Accord started to short out, possibly from excessive condensation from the air conditioning. (There was a lot of condensate sloshing around behind the dash, by the sound of it.) The main symptom was that the speakers would occasionally make annoying loud hissing and popping noises even with the radio off. For a quick fix, at the next stop I pulled the fuse for the radio - and the automatic seatbelts stopped working. (No doubt there are excellent economic reasons for having the radio and the seatbelts on the same circuit. Reminds me of how my 1915 house is wired.) Since the shoulder belts can easily be detached and reattached from and to the sliding brackets over the windows, that wasn't such a problem, except that since I had gotten out of the car to remove the fuse (located in the engine compartment), my belt was in the "open" position. After a couple of seconds I put the fuse back, got back in the car, started it, unclipped the shoulder belt, got out, closed the door so the sliding bracket went back to the closed position, and pulled the fuse again. An obvious solution, but for a moment I thought I was going to have to put up with random speaker noise or forego the shoulder belt. All in all, I'm much happier with my 1993 Civic with manual belts (which I always use) and airbags. I've never found an automatic belt that was as convenient and comfortable as the manual belts I've used - none of which have ever had electrical problems, either. I don't object to enforcing safety regulations in cars (you drive on public roads, you live with public rules), but automatic belts don't strike me as the best way to go about it; they penalize those of us who've been using manual belts all along. ObGestureTowardOriginalTopic: Personally, I'm worried that "smart" appliances *will* live up to my expectations. I expect they'll be bug-ridden and a tempting and easy target for script kiddies and their ilk. Those refrigerators that order groceries automatically have some real prank potential ("Honey, did you call in for 20 pounds of pig's knuckles?"), and the thought of an oven that can be activated via an Internet connection...
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