About a week ago, I was dipping into my twitter stream (I follow 190 people at the moment, so it is barely a trickle compared to the thousands other people follow) to update myself with the latest information about the subjects that matter to me, and to update my own followers with my latest revelations. And because you can’t always be witty, I blurted out that I had to switch on my frying pan because it was time to feed the family. But I really didn’t like the idea of parting from my desktop, so I added “I wonder whether frying pans will ever have IP addresses” to that tweet before I walked the entire 20 steps to the garage and manualy switched the frying pan on.
While the frying pan was heating up to 190 degrees Celcius, I went on to do all the other preparations for our family diner and 15 minutes later or so, I took a bag of frozen french fries from the freezer, walked back to the garage, dropped a few hands full of fries in the frying basket and let it sink into the sizzling hot fat (if this doesn’t spark your appetite, I don’t know what will). Then I set the kitchen timer to 4 minutes and started commanding my kids to get ready for dinner (never any trouble when there’s french fries on the menu).
Surely, if my frying pan would have had an IP address, I could have sent it a message from the couch to prepare itself for frying fries. And it could have sent me a message right at the point I should get the fries from the freezer. And Ron Tolido was right, it should of course do it using twitter (I didn’t even think of that, so obviously, I am not CTO material)
A guy named Ryan Rose must have had similar thoughts when he had to go through the millionth manual process of operating his washing machine. But he actually pursued his idea and connected his 25 year old washing machine to the internet and made it tweet! The video below shows how he hacked his washing machine to achieve this. I know, it is crazy, but you got to admire it. You can follow the washing machine that got a second life on twitter: PiMPY3WASH

Washing Machine Twitter Hack from Ryan Rose on Vimeo.

You will now probably think: “this is just to geeky to be true, let alone to take serious”, but did you know that the world’s first webcam was made for the sole purpose of monitoring a coffee pot? Pretty good idea that saved lot of walks to an empty coffee pot and provided a convenient way to escape the responsibility of making a new pot of coffee. Not enterly social, is it? But they didn’t have sophisticated social media such as Twitter back then. If Twitter would have existed in those days (1993), they would have made that coffee pot tweet too.

the world’s first webcam

Now, I am sure that you can think of much better and more innovative ways of using social media to improve things in life. So come on, don’t hold back and share your craziest ideas with us!

Mark Nankman is a UX Architect and Web 2.0 thought leader at Capgemini. His public brain waves can be followed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mnankman