Out of control
The time has come to do a wash.
I had secretly been looking forward to this moment [I know – I’m a very sad case] and had been piling up clothes and sheets and the like to give the new washing machine a good run for its money.
I put the put all the stuff in, including those delicious looking balls and shut the door. I had my phone handy to control it from there. I told the machine to accept an incoming message from my phone and switched on.
The fucking machine started washing.
Now I hadn’t given it any instructions. I told it to stop, so I could give it a proper programme to run. It told me to fuck off. I found this a little annoying. After all, I’m the Boss here so what does it think it’s doing? I switched everything off.
I carefully checked around. No, I hadn’t accidentally set a programme. There wasn’t a programme that had been interrupted. This was a fresh start so it has to just take orders and run? I switched on and reset it to take orders from my phone again. Once again it started up before I could do any programming. I told it to stop. It told me to fuck off again as it was busy.
I am now sitting here having a sandwich and pondering the situation. The machine is quietly sloshing and churning at the other end of the room. There are periods of silence and I wonder if my little nightmare is over, but then it starts up again. I have no idea what it’s doing. Are the contents going to shrink so much even Penny can’t wear them? Are all the colours going to run so everything ends up a muddy grey colour? Is it going to present me with a sodden pile of dripping washing or is it going to have the grace to dry it for me? That’s the very least it can do.
Frankly I am a little worried. Having asserted it’s dominance in the field of washing, where will it go next? Will it start to decree what I can put in the oven or the microwave? Will it start to decide when I leave the house?
Will it take possession of the Interweb router and decide when I can go online, or even contact the world? If I suddenly disappear off the Net then you’ll know something is seriously wro
I hand wash everything.
Sheets, Quilt covers, Pillowcases, Nightwear, Underwear, Shirts, Socks, Trousers, Everything? Masochist.
Just imagine the spotty little geek who wrote the software that controls it all – that should set your expectations low enough. Just bin all the fancy remote nonsense and press the on-button on the machine – at least that should give you a 50% chance of it working.
That’s what concerns me. It was the act of switching on that sent it off into a frenzy doing the wrong wash. I ended up with a tub full of sopping wet mess.
Why the hell do I need to control things from my phone?
It won’t fill the dishwasher/washing machine, put the detergent in, and empty it.
If it starts the coffee machine, it won’t bring it to me.
It won’t turn over the roasties in the oven at half way through.
It joins the list of unneccessary additions to motor cars, like electric handbrakes, lane maintaining software etc.
yours from the 20th century
Right. Point taken. I am usually the first to condemn gimmicks like that, however….. whoever made the yoke for the phone is a damn sight smarter than the bloke who set up the physical controls. The phone has a multiple choice menu system that is a hell of a lot easier to understand and I can do it from my armchair and not have to crouch on the kitchen floor for twenty minutes twiddling knobs and pressing buttons. In this instance, I rest my case.
You speak for me, Neil. As for you, Grandad, just take your washing to the laundrette like a gentleman. They’ll even iron and fold it for you!
If I Had a Gentleman’s Gentleman to do it for me that would be fine. As it is, I don’t have the time to be running up and down like a yoyo.
Is someone else trying to remotely close their curtains or switch on their cooker and turning on your washing machine? Is your phone turning on and off the lights of someone’s house?
Dara Ó Briain has a brilliant sketch on the topic – how he loves to annoy his wife by randomly opening and closing the curtains and switching lights on an off while he’s away. He had to stop though when his wife texted him to say she was at work and he was scaring the shit out of the babysitter.
So, on a similar vein, I saw an add on the telly “Alexa make me a coffee” says the voice and the Alexa compatible machine turns on… but here’s the kicker, they then go on to show the machine with a cup under the spout and someone’s hand putting one of those pod things into the machine.
So I guess it goes like this; put the water and pod into the machine, put the cup under the spout then leave the room without turning on the machine!!? And ask Alexa to do it?
Am I the only one who can see the problem here?
I think the winner has to be a gimmick I saw some years ago – a PC with a remote control for the CD drawer. Not one of us in the IT department could come up with a rational reason for that one.
On a par with those soap dispensers which automatically squirted soap on your hands when you held them beneath the spout. Their ads actually showed the dispensing button of a ‘dumb’ dispenser crawling with germs. Nowhere did it ask what’s the next thing one would do having covered the hands with soap. Daft, I call it.
I remember that yoke. It struck me at the time that it was a lovely sort of anti-paradox. I wonder why I haven’t seen it around lately?
I assume you have to switch it fully on to set the programme? Rather than the traditional machine where you put power on and it’s in standby, then set the programme, then press ‘Go’ when ready. No way should it start sploshing until after you have chosen the programme.
I’m still getting the hang of it. I think I’m nearly there. I’m going to try today – switch the machine onto standby and then programme it from the phone. As I have sad, the phone is by far the most logical programming tool. It will be interesting to see what a hames I make of it.
These SMART devices are usually anything but. They have lots of potential but usually it is limited by the programmer as to only useful for basic stuff. I want full control not something that gives the illusion of control.
Everything is like this now, cars, banks, central heating, washing machines, phones. The list is endless and I try and avoid them all.
The IoT has so much potential but why do we fuck up everything we do lately. People making decisions for us. I want to make those decisions, they should settle for allowing up to define our decision point but as a consession they can put in what they think we want as long as we can overwrite it.
The one that scares the shit out of me is the device that sits in the room listening for instructions to switch things on or off. Why is it a good idea to potentially broadcast every utterance in the room over the Interweb? So far the only “smart” devices I have are the washing machine [which I’m still trying to come to grips with] and my SatNav which takes voice commands [and I have to shout at to activate it, but it is really handy when it works].
That is why I don’t have one in my house. I’d expect a visit from armed Plod after watching Doris on Youtube for 5 mins.
I still want certain voice functions so I’m building my own voice activated system that works internally and doesn’t connect to any third party api.
The model of the machine wouldn’t by chance be the “HAL 9000” would it?
Nah. HAL could be disarmed by sliding blocks of perspex out. Mine doesn’t have those. I have yet to discover how to store memory on a block of clear perspex.