Microsoft has blown the cover off the iLoo, admitting that there are no plans to marry the towel rack with the server rack; the whole thing was a hoax perpetrated by the UK division of its MSN division. I for one am hopeful that the end of iLoonacy will end the compulsion of some readers to impress me with their mastery of scatalogical humor.
Other readers, however, clearly inspired by the idea of truly pervasive wireless access, took the lead in putting the “TP” in “HTTP” (thanks Keith Loring). Bob Delyser notes, “Ive been doing it for eight months already. I use a Fujitsu pen tablet (Win CE) and wireless card and surf the Internet. And yes, often from Americas favorite reading room. Its more current than an out-of-date People Magazine, and the Favorites menu holds more than a magazine rack.”
Dr. Lonn Myronuk, a psychiatrist who isnt afraid to experiment in his own “head,” details the practical benefits to having a Porcelain Digital Assistant. “Now that we have a Wi-Fi network in the house, the addition of a CF Wi-Fi card to the Casio [Pocket PC] is a natural. I can now sync the device with an outlook account that has household-related to-do items and review the family schedule, as well as browse Web content. The form factor isnt great for web surfing, but the WiFi connection lets the AvantGo content to be updated without having to take the handheld out of the ensuite to dock at a workstation.”
From a pen tablet to a Pocket PC, it looks like the wireless washroom is going downmarket, but not quite as cheap as I got it when I was able to access a WAP site using a pair of Cybiko devices (one acting as the base station) and software called CyWIG (for Wireless Internet Gateway). The Cybiko system works in the 900MHz spectrum. Unfortunately, between the flakiness of the connection and WAP itself, I wasnt able to get very far; however, the Cybiko systems are inexpensive enough that if one drops into an unfortunate location, you havent flushed $300 down the toilet, so to speak.
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Filching the Flushometer
At the other extreme, the most surprising revelation came from a British inventor who claimed that Microsoft had stolen his idea. Andrew Cubitt writes, “I was just reading your article about the “new” Internet loo from Microsoft. I obviously thought it was a good idea as I made one and have been displaying it for a year and a half!! It sounds remarkably similar to my idea that was designed and made by me in 2001 and displayed at various shows, the most recent being the ideal home show, which finished in the beginning of April. It now seems that the clever people at Microsoft have cottoned onto the idea and even calling it the i-loo (again same as mine)! I have also read an article in a national newspaper, and the quote their spokesperson gave even resembled the quotes that I was making on the TV and radio a month earlier.”
In addition to such tyranny, there were the socioplotical ramifications of the iLoo concept. Really. RP writes, “The iLoo announcement is a cause for concern. We have been made aware now for years of the widening gap between those fortunate enough to have access and those deprived of even dial-up, let alone DSL access. And now we in the West are going to have access to spam and pop-up ads in the loo, of all places.
“It staggers the imagination to think of the millions, nay, billions of people in the world who dont even have a loo or care what one is, while we smugly send and receive whilst sitting and meditating. I say there should be a moratorium on “IP-creep” until the masses can have (1) a Western loo (2) a digital device (3) access to everyone else in the world all the time.”
Im not sure the third goal is achievable or even desirable, but thankfully not everyone took their toiletries so seriously. At least one reader saw through the digital deception. Charles Burwell paid heed to Microsofts reputation for shipping late: “As usual, Microsoft missed the April 1 ship date for this announcement.”
Is there more to the well-appointed wireless home than the bathroom? Are there other projects that youve undertaken? E-mail me.
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