MSNBC envisions a brave new world coming quite soon owing to WiFi:

It’s 2006, after dark on a December day. You pause before pulling your car out of the company parking lot, flip open your PDA and tell it to pull up your home’s profile.

YOU’VE BEEN MEANING to reset the heat. You say: “Family room floor: 72 degrees by 4:30 p.m.; master bedroom: 70 degrees by 10 p.m.” Then, you do a virtual-check on dinner. Yes! The chops you marinated and chilled this morning soon will be baking at 350 degrees. Your home server already turned on the porch light at 5 p.m. and reminded your spouse to stop at the cleaners and cut off the cartoons at 5:15, switching the TV to the school’s Internet channel so that your kids should be–hopefully–doing their homework by now.

So, apparently, in three years, it’ll either be dark by 4:30 or else the kids will be doing homework in the cold. Plus, pork chops won’t spoil when left in the oven all day and they’ll cook themselves in the time it takes to commute home. Wow!

Of course, my thermostat is already programmable now from a keypad, which strikes me as more convenient than using a PDA is the parking lot. . . .

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. 42nd SSD says:

    Yeah, I’m always amused by these “novel uses” of whatever latest technology is coming out. (“Run your toaster from your PDA!”) I’ve never understood or felt the need to fool with my house’s heating system from work, the driveway or whatever. I usually just leave it alone and it happily does its job.

    I do use a wireless thermostat, but only because it was cheaper and more reliable than running wires.

    My home theater is computer-controlled… but that actually makes sense. The computer takes care of switching tuner and display inputs over to whatever’s currently active, and also runs the DVD jukebox. I haven’t used a remote in I don’t know how long, and I don’t miss it. (It’d be nice if they built WiFi devices into home theater components, but the companies can’t even decide on a common IR protocol let alone something as “complex” as WiFi.)

  2. Bryan says:

    It’s 2006, after dark on a December day.

    And it looks a lot like hell. More ways to pre-program our lives. Like we don’t have enough to do, now we’re going to have to remember to do everything while we’re driving!

  3. James Joyner says:

    Yep. Frankly, operating an oven ain’t that complicated now.

  4. Hm. I felt that there was an implication somewhere in there of a delivery device that would transfer the chops from fridge to oven, and/or a way to keep them chilled in the oven. This actually excited me, since I tend to procrastinate about dinner–timing *is* the hardest part of cooking for me, and anything that helped would be terrific.

    But . . . aw, nuts. How does the Saran Wrap takes itself off the baking dish? How does the marinade remove itself from around the meat? And does it hop into a saucepan and onto the range to create a sauce, as all good marinades should do?

    No. These ventures need a steady hand on the tiller, and (too often) that hand is my own.