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VNC Server for Toasters and Light-Switches

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the everything-needs-a-web-page dept.

Technology 292

An anonymous reader submits: "How about using VNC to configure your toaster, microwave oven, or even your light-switches? Thanks to Adam Dunkels' micro-VNC server it is now possible to run a VNC server even on really small embedded 8-bit microcontrollers commonly found in such devices. The idea is that even low-cost devices that don't have a screen or graphics hardware could have a GUI, accessible over the network. To show that the server can run with very small amounts of memory, there is a demo server running on a Commodore 64. But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"

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292 comments

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fP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980723)

FP!!!!! FP!!!!

Re:fP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980730)

Fuck off, dick

Re:fP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980761)

SP! TP! FP FP FP FP!!!!!!!!!

dammit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980786)

Goddamit, JEFFK! YOU BURNT GOATSE ON MY TOAST!!
I'll get you for that!


(Can we use this to DOS riaa.org ?)

Way to go, funny guys... (5, Funny)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980726)

Yeah, back in the day we used to say "Lets install Linux on a toaster!" and it was a joke.

But now someone actually took it seriously, and look whatcha dun!! You should be ashamed!

First POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980728)

Suck it Trebek. Suck it long, and suck it hard.

Hi! (-1)

xdfgf (460453) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980731)

I Love You [goatse.cx]

Commodore 64 and the slashdot effect... (3, Funny)

e40 (448424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980733)

Scares me to think how fast it'll fall...

Re:Commodore 64 and the slashdot effect... (3, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980740)

Not as fast as the toaster had they slashdotted that instead.

Re:Commodore 64 and the slashdot effect... (4, Funny)

MrNally (236174) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980859)

Hmmm...let's take a PEEK.

POKE.

Re:Commodore 64 and the slashdot effect... (1)

MrFreezeBU (54843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980898)

Well, by my count a whole eight minutes form the ole C64. I like the idea of this, but who has time to control a toaster from their machine. Isnt it easier to move the dial, but for embeded systems like those in refineries, this is a great idea.

Re:Commodore 64 and the slashdot effect... (2)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980903)

50 comments and IT'S STILL UP! Very slow, but up.

You damn kids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980933)

Stop flicking my lights off and on!
You're scaring Mabel [tuxedo.org] !

Re:Commodore 64 and the slashdot effect... (1)

jesseward (583020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980976)

there was an article here on /. awhile ago that demoed a c64 config'd as a www server...

i dont think it lasted longer then the first wave of more then 10 hits..

--jW-

PRESS PLAY ON TAPE

Re:Commodore 64 and the slashdot effect... (1)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981024)

Actually there was a Slashdot story a while back about someone who got their C64 to work as a web server (of course I can't find the URL for the story or the server) but, though it ran slow (as in you could watch the words come down the page) it did run, even under the /. effect. The regular gang of posters were quite disappointed that they couldn't crash it.

VNC is Fun! (3, Funny)

FuzzyMan45 (451645) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980741)

Now all i need is VNC for my microwave and oven, and i can control my whole kitchen from my computer.

Re:VNC is Fun! (2)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980799)

"Now all i need is VNC for my microwave and oven, and i can control my whole kitchen from my computer."

That's still not good enough. Get it all running on bluetooth, get an Ericsson T68i phone (coming soon to the USA) and control it all wirelessly. No laptop needed!

Re:VNC is Fun! (2)

EvanED (569694) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980921)

Now all you'd need is a robot to put things in the oven/microvave/toaster for you. Kind of like those robots that serve backup tapes to the drives.

That raises the question... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980742)

How many GUIs does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Why? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980747)

But why? The last thing I want is someone hacking my coffee maker.

X-Server (3, Interesting)

Maniakes (216039) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980749)

Wouldn't it make more sense to draw the gui on the client machine, rather than putting beefier hardware in the toaster so it can send you bitmaps?

After all, your desktop machine will always have more computational ability than your toaster (the senient talking toaster from Red Dwarf notwithstanding).

Pop-UP? (5, Funny)

budalite (454527) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980754)

So, when your toast is done, will there be a "pop-up" window telling you that? Sorry. Couldn't help it.

MadDad32

Re:Pop-UP? (2)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980979)

It does bring new meaning to the error message:

lp on fire

though!

/. effect (5, Funny)

Wrexen (151642) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980758)

Quoth the page:
The pages you are currently watching are served by a web server running on a an Ethernet equipped 6510-based system with 64k RAM running at 1 MHz (a Commodore 64 with a TFE cartridge). The same system also exports two displays using VNC and the small uVNC server software.

Other servers have come down like they were Commodore 64's, but this one actually is one!

Nice.. (1)

mattster999 (591497) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980759)

What will they think of next? Posting a link to a website running on a cellphone? Wait, that can probably take more hits than a C64.

Slashdot really needs its own cache of sites it links to. Maybe they should buy one of those google boxes in the ads.

Re:Nice.. (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980823)

It seems like that C64 can take more hits that I thought. It ain't down yet.

Re:Nice.. (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980873)

... and in a puff of smoke, it's gone ...

Re:Nice.. (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980928)

A least I got to see it before it did. Oh well, shoulda mirrored it. Too late.

Re:Nice.. (1)

Blkdeath (530393) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980878)

That's actually a great idea. Since /. already runs Apache, they could support this natively even on their own (or an extension of .. ) hardware via mod_proxy.

Have a cache.slashdot.org that requests the URI the first time somdbody clicks 'through' it (with referrer protection, of course, to prevent every Joe from using /. as their own personal web proxy) and from then on people would hit the /. cache, saving us poor blokes with paltry DSL and cable connections.

I wonder if the /. folks have considered this idea. If you patent it quickly enough, maybe they'll have to pay you for it. ;)

Good STUFF! (2, Insightful)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980762)

This is Very cool indeed. Imagine a simple VNC controlled front end for your VCR so you can configure it to record your favorite show while you're away.... Or Turn on your A/C from work because it's going to be a HOT afternoon. (Sure could use that today).

Wow! (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980909)

A device that lets you program a VCR to let you record shows when you aren't there! What'll they think of next, a device to turn your lights on and off while you're away perhaps?? What a glorious technological revolution is ahead!

...

Gee .. there we go .. slashdot a C64! (2)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980764)

And straight from the web page ...

This Server

The pages you are currently watching are served by a web server running on a an Ethernet equipped 6510-based system with 64k RAM running at 1 MHz (a Commodore 64 with a TFE cartridge). The same system also exports two displays using VNC and the small uVNC server software.

Please note that this is work in progress and far from something finished.


Its not going to get finished today!

au contrair.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980843)

It seems like its finished now!

Is this smart? (3, Insightful)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980769)

OK, this is very cool and I can't count how many projects I would love to do with this...

That being said, is this smart?
Picture: 10 years from now, some company sells one of these things, and it takes off. Then somebody finds a nasty security hole that fscks the toaster up. Would you like it if suddenly you find your house burnt down by some script kiddie doing a port scan?
Everything connected to the net is not always a good idea.

Re:Is this smart? (2)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980834)

"Picture: 10 years from now, some company sells one of these things, and it takes off. Then somebody finds a nasty security hole that fscks the toaster up. Would you like it if suddenly you find your house burnt down by some script kiddie doing a port scan?"

That's why you get it to all run wirelessly on bluetooth so you have to be within the 20 ft limit (or whatever small number it is) so that fsckage is limited and no script kiddie can hit everything at once.

Re:Is this smart? (2, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980987)

That's why you get it to all run wirelessly on bluetooth so you have to be within the 20 ft limit (or whatever small number it is) so that fsckage is limited and no script kiddie can hit everything at once.

When you're within 20 ft, the obvious solution is TO PUT A &%$#@*! KNOB ON THE THING, not to put bluetooth, a webserver, and VNC on it.

DoS (0)

GodnataS (594076) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980772)

So could someone start a DoS attack on your kitchen?

What happens when you /. a toaster? (2)

Aexia (517457) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980774)

Slashtoasted?

Re:What happens when you /. a toaster? (1)

Kyeo (577916) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980862)

Your toast gets burnt up. Bad

C64s weren't built to... (2)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980776)

C64's weren't built to withstand a ./ing....

But they hold up better than I would have thought, nevermind it's down.. (remember that streaming audio one a while ago..?)

Re:C64s weren't built to... (2, Funny)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980835)

Auuuh come on, they were built as home computers for kids :) If they can survive me and a thousand other kids screaming at it for the 10000th time after it moans about "syntax error", im sure it can survive a slashdotti.... oh there it goes, ignore me.

Re:C64s weren't built to... (2)

TWR (16835) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980883)

1. This is the same place as the streaming audio C-64.

2. There is a page at the site dedicated to explaining why the C-64 server keeps on running while Linux/BSD servers crumple under the /. effect.

-jon

This has been done for years (1)

colostomy_net (592411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980777)

So someone comes up with the term VNC and all of a sudden there's this great breakthrough. I've been working with tiny web servers on embedded boards for 3 years and this is nothing new at all. Been embedding DOS, a packet driver, and the WATTCP stack along with a little purpose-built web server in a cheap x86 board. So what's the news?

Re:This has been done for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980899)

VNC is not a 'term', it's the actual program. Unless the embedded boards you're using actually are using VNC (as opposed to being VNC-like), then this is new because that means there's a product out there to do it. It means that adding this feature to everyday products doesn't require re-inventing VNC.

I can see how you could miss that critical bit of data when your vantage point is obstructed by your anus.

Re:This has been done for years (1)

colostomy_net (592411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980981)

What a clueless turd.

Re:This has been done for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980904)

This one works. Yours doesn't. Now fuck off.

In another of those "Huh?" moments..... (4, Funny)

mickwd (196449) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980780)

....I thought the title was VNC Server for Toasters and Light-Sandwiches.

But then I realised there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Re:In another of those "Huh?" moments..... (2)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980811)

hey, two slices of bread and a slice of kraft all-american cheese is all you need in a sandwich, right?

Oh No, I don't understand the "real question!" (1)

MasteroftheVoxel (162902) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980784)

But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"

Yes, how would I want it, indeed.

Could promote laziness, I guess (1)

Bantha Fodder (66573) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980785)

Seems like overkill, but I guess you might want to be able to logically connect your toaster to your bedroom lights so that toast would be ready some predetermined time after you wake up in the morning.

Sweet; we'll become lazier than ever.

ah well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980789)

This just seems analogous to when you discover
a nifty new library or learn a new language or
way of doing something, and suddenly you want
to express everything in terms of this new way
of doing things - eventually it falls in to
perspective. Being able to configure one's
toaster via a GUI isn't likely to be significantly
more convenient than doing so with the switch.
But once the toaster is able to recognize the
user, the preferences could be automatically
set.

Toaster-cookies?

blah blah blah - i'd personally rather go back
to the days of black plague and clubbing each
other over the head for a chunk of meat, but
if we can't have that, at least we can have
X10.

Security Issues (1)

marko123 (131635) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980792)

It's bad enough having someone read your emails. Now someone's going to be able to turn down your air conditioning, and burn your toast. No Thanks!

Why not use a small HTTP server instead? (5, Interesting)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980794)


Correct me if I'm wrong, but VNC is a screen-sharing or remote-control system, ne? On a small device where memory, processing time, and complexity is at a premium, why would you waste effort rasterizing a screen image so that VNC can ship it over.

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to have a tiny HTTP server which sends out an HTML file and processes the results? This seems akin to someone scanning in a print-out of their email as an attachment instead of sending an email directly... =/

Re:Why not use a small HTTP server instead? (1)

d_lesage (199542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980901)

I know that a lot of people are hell-bent on having their browser control everything, but I would much rather use a "nice" user interface any day. Buttons, Text, Combo Boxes? Sure. Sliders? Not really. Something more graphically-oriented (think letting your grandmother program her VCR)? Not without Flash (yuck).

Dan

Re:Why not use a small HTTP server instead? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980962)

This seems akin to someone scanning in a print-out of their email as an attachment instead of sending an email directly... =/

As unlikely as this seems, my father communicates with my mother in a similar manner (they've been divorced for 30+ years now..)

When he wants to send an email, he types it up (on an old, mechanical typewriter) on letterhead.. then scans it and emails it..

When I first saw my mother open an email from him, I couldn't believe it.. and when she told me that that's how he sends all of his email, I almost fainted..

some people just don't understand technology.

Re:Why not use Windows XP Embedded? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980982)

See this link [microsoft.com] . Makes a lot more sense than hobbling the device's capabilities to save a few bucks.

Correction... (2)

seanmeister (156224) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980805)

.. there WAS a demo server running on a C64. Now there's just a smoking lump o' plastic surrounding a the burnt out husk of a 6502.

Re:Correction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980902)

Those 6502's are hard to kill [imdb.com] !
Hell, it looks like we'll still be using them in harsh environments in 2029!

If you have to ask..... (1)

GrueMaster (579195) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980813)

Then this (along with the ascii art driver for quake) is not for you. Way too cool.

Correction... (1)

Doodhwala (13342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980815)


you mean "there was a demo server running on a Commodore 64....

No..The real question is.. (2)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980816)

But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"

The real question is who (not 'how') here would understand pig latin..

Why not use a browser? (0, Redundant)

Matty_ (74368) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980817)

I would think something browser-based would be a lot easier and simpler instead of writing a GUI and then having to use VNC to access it.

And I wonder... (1)

Quantum Singularity (594841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980821)

...what would it be like to have your coffee machine crash? Not to mention your refrigerator...

1 Mhz (1)

pretzel_logic (576231) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980832)

this is proof that we really dont need these 2Ghz machines. Maybe to run (Disneyland) type interfaces. But hey, the kids need something to interface with while they are learning to read and do math.

Thank goodness for Linux.

"This makes it possible to interact with a Windows desktop on a Unix workstation, with a Macintosh desktop on a Linux PC, and so on. VNC servers and viewers exist for all major personal and server operating systems."

I see good things in the near future... Wont it be the bomb to login to a M$ windows machine usng a VNC viewer to fix a die hard M$ fans problem. ; )

Haha (2)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980836)

...there is a demo server running on a Commodore 64. Haha... not anymore but seriously (well not really) I would think that that commodore 64 was slashdotted by the article poster before it even got to slashdot.

Re:Haha (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981020)

I would think that that commodore 64 was slashdotted by the article poster before it even got to slashdot.

Nope. I looked at it when there were already 30 comments on the thread. Stood up pretty damned well for an ancient video game console with delusions of grandeur.

Commercial Uses (2, Insightful)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980850)

I think that on the residential scale this is all a bit silly beyond the fun/cool hobby level.

However, there are lots of legitimate industrial/commercial uses for these applications. Take, for example, a restaurant kitchen. You want the cooking/prep time to be as fast as possible so that you can move people through & have more sittings. A waiter with a wireless touchpad could automatically send instructions back to the kitchen incuding special instructions for browning toast to the right level, rareness of steaks etc... Add a few bar code readers to the appliances and you could automate a lot of the routine process while still accounting for the need to customise preparations down to the unit level.

microcontrollers in light switches? (3, Insightful)

CheechBG (247105) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980851)

Call me crazy, but all the light switches in my appartment, my parents house, and damn near everyone I know doesn't have, nor do they need a 8 bit microcontroller. Anyone care to post a link to a ordinary light switch that has and utilizes this?

As for the idea, it's not that bad at all, with one small flaw that I can see. It's great if I can access my toaster from my desk at work, but if I have to leave a piece of buttered bread in there all day just so it's toasted but soggy when I walk in the door, I'll just start making it when I walk in.

Seriously... (1)

reelbk (213809) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980856)

This seems like more of a novelty than it is useful. But this kind of software combined with a wireless device could be great. For example: If you've had a late night at work, you could use this to have a cup of coffee ready for you when you get home and then oven heated at 400 degrees for dinner.
I don't know of any household appliances that are complicated enough to merit a full GUI for configuration, though. It would be great to use this for remote execution of everyday task.

How practical is this? (2)

Pollux (102520) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980866)

Sure, so one could turn on and off any light switch in the house, but think about trying to control a toaster on the network...

Will the network actually put toast INTO the toaster? Or will I still have to walk 20 feet to the kitchen just to put the toast in myself, only to walk back to my computer to tell the toaster to turn on?

Besides, we'll have to invent a new lightbulb joke about computer geeks forgetting how to change a lightbulb...they only know how to turn it on and off.

My Day by poopbot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980867)

Broke my hand on a pineapple. Didn't even care.

Commodore 64 isn't a "small system" (3, Insightful)

twoflower (24166) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980881)

A Commodore 64 isn't really a small system, and therefore isn't a great demo. Truly small embedded systems have on the order of a kilobyte of ROM and a hundred bytes of RAM available, not 64KB.

Examples you might be familiar with include things like the BASIC Stamp and other PICs. Your toaster's built-in logic is going to resemble these much more closely than in does a general-purpose 8-bit computer.

Megaman Battle Network (2)

Glytch (4881) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980884)

This is an odd article to see after a marathon battlenet session.

Maybe someone could hack something using the GBA compactflash adaptor, the link cable and VNC? :)

I can see it now (3, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980885)

Techsupport: Hi, how may I help you?
User: Hi, I got your ToasterVNC, and when i tried to install it on my toaster, all hell broke loose!
Techsupport: Can you describe what happened?
User: I opened the box, put the CD in my toaster's CD-ROM, pushed the lever, and a few minutes later the whole thing started smoking.
Techsupport: I think I know what the problem is. Take the whole thing back to the store, and tell them that you got an ID-ten-T error
User: Thanks!

can i use this with my garage door? (1)

thilmony (248711) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980891)

run vncserver on my garage door opener, then run vncviewer on my garage door remote control!

configure (5, Funny)

brer_rabbit (195413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980894)

But the real question is: how would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?

./configure --with-bread --enable-top-brown-only --enable-honey --disable-butter

oops, that's the CLI. I don't know about the GUI version.

/etc/toast.conf (1)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980905)

#!/bin/bash.sh
export $SHADE=/dark/brown
cat bread jam > $SHADE/toast

Re:/etc/toast.conf (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981021)

C00L HaKS0r:
echo "buRn ZE KiTCheN" >/dev/toaster

Slashdot is irresponsible. (2)

molo (94384) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980912)

This Server

The pages you are currently watching are served by a web server running on a an Ethernet equipped 6510-based system with 64k RAM running at 1 MHz (a Commodore 64 with a TFE cartridge). The same system also exports two displays using VNC and the small uVNC server software.


When will the Slashdot editors learn that what they are doing to servers is totally rediculous? Will it take a lawsuit to stop the slashdot effect? Why shouldn't this poor machine be mirrored?

This is like the third time today. Blah.

-molo

Re:Slashdot is irresponsible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980936)

Hi.

Learn to spell, please.

It's rIdiculous.

I'm just curious, do you actually pronounce it REDiculous too?

Benefits? (1)

ilias (409618) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980916)

So what's the benefit of running a VNC server as oposed to running a lightweight web/cgi server like all these cable modems do these days?

VNC (1, Funny)

Mudillo (596905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980937)

Though it may seem like a harmless doowhackey, devised by modern contraptioneers to somehow make our lives more complicated, VNC is in fact an extremely dangerous tool, already on its way to being outlawed in the more progressive states. Your average Christian would in normal circumstances be apprehensive at the idea of "remotely controling" a desktop; after all, it raises many issues, not the least of these being the Cult of the Desktop (a whisker away from paganism and heresy). Unfortunately, the Information Age has dulled our danger sensors, and most have accepted VNC without alarms going off. Many upstanding citizens are even unaware of this insiduous tool. With VNC's spread to toasters and light switched, respected Texan analysts agree that it may soon be used to remotely control a human being. Think! Teenage hackers may soon be able to take over your dear old Aunt May and have her vote Democrat! At this point we must ask ourselves exactly who would benefit from remotely controlling our relatives with VNC. The answer is all too clear. VNC is being groomed to become the ultimate weapon in the domination of our fair land by Liberals. It would not surprise this author to find out that human VNC interfaces are already being set up in critical sites across the nation -- Arizona, Louisiana, Texas. It is time for the American people to awaken and smite the deceptive serpent that is VNC once and for all!

Linux will never.. (3, Funny)

J4 (449) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980940)

Linux will never make proper toast
without Pantone for calibration.

Why not just HTTP? (1, Redundant)

strags (209606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980943)

Great... so you have a small embedded device with very limited CPU horsepower. What better way to grind it to a halt than to require it to compress a bitmap of the entire screen, and squirt the result over a TCP connection?

If you're configuring an embedded device remotely, then it makes much more sense to either:

(a) use a plain old web page served over HTTP

or

(b) serve up a Java applet with a custom dialog that then sends HTTP requests back to the device.

Both of these solutions are far more lightweight in terms of memory and bandwidth requirements. VNC is just overkill.

Interfaces (1)

MrFreezeBU (54843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980944)

What about the interface? Can I expect problems if I use a Sunbeam toaster the change to a GE. Imagine how many peices of bread will be wasted as people change to different toasters.

Good Idea (1)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980963)

Lets just set all of out clocks, microwaves, etc from sitting in front of my computer. I am a fan of VNC, but there are some things that people just need to do without sitting infront of the computer.

How would the uVNC be embedded? I like the idea, but it seems that it would be hard to have it embedded.

Configure your toaster! (3, Informative)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980964)

But the real question is: [who] would want to 'configure' their toasters using a GUI?"

I like my toast darker than my rommmate does. We could set up personal preferences for the toaster and have 3 or 4 'personal setting' buttons on the toaster. It's not worth putting a full gui on the toaster, but you could put some memory into the servo settings and have it controlled over the 'net.

The 'pop up window' when your toast is ready idea is, at worst, a good pun -- but which machine to pop-up the message to could be included in the 'personal prefs' button.

Then, of course, there's the original purpose of the 'MIT internet pop machine' -- which was to notify you of when the machine was out of pop, so you could save yourself a (fruitless) trip to the machine (which was a good distance away from the computer labs)..
If the toaster says it's in use, you can spend a couple more minutes surfing before you go down to make breakfast (or sneak in and steal the toast from your roommate when it's done).
Then again if your roommate is cute, and likes to make breakfast in sensuous undies, you might want to set the toaster to notify you when {s,}he hits the appropriate prefs button.

The possibilities are about as endless as the possibilities of attaching a video camera to a web server (I mean, who'd really want to do that?).

I think I've heard this before.... (1)

bossvader (560071) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980966)

Toasters, Embedded Servers, GUIs oh my! I've heard all this before....

Wasn't this what Oak ....uhhh I mean Java originally design for?

Slashdot a C64.... (1)

spacefrog (313816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980969)

<clip>
The pages you are currently watching are served by a web server running on a an Ethernet equipped 6510-based system with 64k RAM running at 1 MHz (a Commodore 64 with a TFE cartridge). The same system also exports two displays using VNC and the small uVNC server software.
</clip>

Once again, a Commodore 64 gets slashdotted... Have you no shame? When will this madness end?

So far, it's only a hobby. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980975)

How long before the industry takes this seriously? Sure, already there are many systems like this, but they tend to be expensive toys for rich people.

Considering universities spew out hundreds of thousands of "engineers" every year, these engineers'll have to do something.

I'm guessing that after 8 years of eating Ramen noodles to get that piece of paper, engineers will think they'll get to design space probes.

What a surprise when they'll be designing 8 bit microcontroller circuits that select between "bagel","light" and "dark" on a 25$ toaster.

What's your definition of "small 8-bit device" (5, Interesting)

pjrc (134994) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980980)

I design products with 8-bit embedded processors. The typical scenario is a single chip with 2k to 16k of eprom/flash code memory and 64 to 1k of RAM. That's quite a bit smaller than 64k of ram in a C-64.

The most popular 8-bit chips today are the 8051 (multi-source), AVR (atmel), PIC (microchip), and HC08/HC11 (motorola). Cost is usually the primary consideration, and projects with volumes of 20k/year and up, it makes a lot of sense to do some or all of the project in assembly language so you can get the code into a smaller chip that costs $1 less. Multiply that $1 by 20k (or whatever production volume is expected) per year over the life of the product.

At the beginning of many projects, there's usually a list of "got to have" features, and "would be nice to have" features (as long as they don't add cost or significantly delay the product release). A good designer (and there are many) will ask a lot of questions about the actual application and make changes to the feature set that still meet the customer's needs (often times an improvement) but allow the code to be smaller, run at a slower speed (increase battery life or reduce the cost of the power supply circuitry), and use less RAM.

It's a very different world from PC software. The 8051, PIC, AVR and HC08/11 are available in many different flavors with different mixes of built-in peripherals and different amounts of code and ram memory.... and an amazing amount of work goes into making VERY efficient code so it can fit in a less expensive chip. On top of that, most products that ship with those 8-bit chips ARE UNDER WARRANTY for years, and a bad bug in the firmware usually means replacing the product for everyone who's effected.

I just can't see a VNC server on that "got to have" feature list, and I can't see it not increasing the cost enough to get quickly axe'd from the "nice to have" list. Even using an additional 128 or 256 bytes (yes, bytes, not Mbytes, not kbytes, but individual bytes) will almost certainly push a "normal" 8-bit microcontroller project up to a chip that costs $1 to $2 more. That's a lot of money when you go into production and start shipping thousands every month!!

BAD JOKE ALERT!!!! (3, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980988)

If we run it on the coffee machine, will we have to run the JAVA version of the VNC viewer?

/. effect - Google Link (1)

screenbert (253482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980990)

http://216.239.51.100/search?sourceid=navclient&q= cache:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sics.se%2F~adam%2Fuvnc%2F

R.I.P. Commodore 64 Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3980991)

It's been slashdotted...

hmmm...automatic toasters, huh? (1)

nochops (522181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3980996)

Let's see...

Automatic toasters, accessible over a network...

I wonder if I can buy stock in the local fire department. Does anyone else think that devices designed to burn materials (in this case bread) being left unattended, to be controlled remotely is inherently a bad idea?

Toast Is Stupid (2, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981002)

I hate to see Linux lending its credibility to such an ill-conceived scheme.

There's just no excuse for cooking your bread twice in completely separate processes. And don't even get me started on bagels; boil, bake, then toast? Wake up, people!

VNC as a KVM? (2)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981012)

I once had two computers sitting next to each other, but was getting sick of hopping keyboards when going one from another. What I ended up doing was using VNC to link the two computers similar to how a KVM works. Instead of watching the update on the client computer, I'd watch the monitor on the host computer. It was neat, it was kinda like rerouting my keyboard and mouse on one computer to the other! Pity, though, I wish I could find a version of VNC where I can turn the image signal off. When using it like that, I don't need to waste the bandwidth/runtime. Anybody know of a flavor of VNC (or another App for Windows) that does that?

The cool thing is that because it's VNC, doesn't matter which OS I'm using. So my computer (or computer like device, heh.) could benefit from this type of interface as well. It'll be an interesting day when I can get my TV to work the same way.

Can someone please tell me... (0, Redundant)

owlmeat (197799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981013)

How this is better than embedded web servers that have been around for years? They work, run in tiny amounts of ram/rom and are a proven solution for embedded control.

In a related story... (3, Funny)

An. (Coward) (258552) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981018)

Earlier today, Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-Disney) announced legislation to allow copyright holders to use otherwise illegal hacking techniques to disrupt toasters, light switches, and other devices used by individuals believed to be pirating copyrighted works.

RIAA chair Hilary Rosen hailed the effort as a milestone in attempts at combatting Internet piracy. "The development of Internet-enabled toasters offers us vast new opportunities to hit the pirates where they live. 'Smoking out the bastards' will no longer be a figure of speech. It will be a reality.'"

slowww.. (2)

linuxbert (78156) | more than 12 years ago | (#3981022)

my toast allready takes to long to pop up without a microprossessor involved.
im waiting for windows TE (Toaster edition)
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