New Level of Cool

Now you can keep your kids on ice while you're in China.

There are some things you just cant live without, some inventions that make you wonder how the heck we survived before their creation.

Then there are things like Web-enabled air conditioners.

The recent IBM and Carrier Corp. announcement of a partnership to bring the world air conditioners that communicate over the Internet—and which can be adjusted via WAP-enabled cell phones—could be taken in a number of ways.

Gizmo freaks must likely think the idea is "cool," fully aware of the bad pun quotient of their sentiment.

The rich folk—whose cars respond to voice commands and adjust the ambient air accordingly—probably will put the Carrier units on the shopping list theyre writing for their new "smart" house.

Those who already own non-Internet air conditioners will surely say, "Thats silly. I have a thermostat."

And unfortunates who live in 19th century houses without any A/C (which would include yours truly) will scoff and say, "I need that about as much as I need Coke machines that respond to cell phone orders."

Sour grapes? Yes, thats a possibility.

I also realize there were probably Paleo-Indian spear-makers who said the same thing when some smarty-pants designed the atlatl (go ahead, try finding that word in your Web-enabled PDAs dictionary) and changed the course of hunting.

But Ill be happy when my cell phone can simply handle regular voice calls without garbling, echoing or disconnecting. Then—maybe—we can talk about long-distance climate control.