h a l f b a k e r y
The embarrassing drunkard uncle of invention.
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In most circumstances, if you have a problem in your house
with something like wiring, plumbing, gas appliances or
whatever which you can't fix yourself, which in my case is
almost any problem you can imagine beyond changing a
light bulb, you can resolve it by going online and either
how to do it yourself or contacting a professional
who can do it for you.
The one type of situation which cannot be resolved in this
manner is the internet connection, which is further stymied
if it's actually the phone line which is the problem. People
do have mobiles but not always credit, power or lack of
enormous heaps of detritus in which to lose them.
Most houses, however, have plumbing. Consequently, I
want there to be a protocol whereby, if you have a
problem with your internet, you just go in the bathroom or
kitchen and turn the taps on and off or visit the bathroom
and flush the toilet in Morse code. A transducer of some
kind in the taps then communicates hydraulically with a
control centre and sends out a service engineer to sort out
your internet connection. There is a similarly hydraulic
system to identify your street address. If the water supply
is out too, you can just bang on the pipes. There's also a
trombone-based system for controlling water hammer to
send similar messages.
My problem with this is how to get the signals transmitted
out of the building all the way to the recipients but I
envisage some kind of finer pipes accompanying the water
mains and forking off at some point, entering some kind of
Heath Robinson/Rube Goldberg fluid-based computing
network to work out where you are and despatch the
nearest handyperson, In fact I think the whole office
should eschew electronics and just be run on plumbing.
||- "Morning sir! - Is your internet connection down?"
- "Ah, no, sorry - I did have a rather powerful
curry last night though"
||Use small amphibians as the data carriers. Then you could call your water-filled connections the Internewt.
||Oh great. Amphibian puns. I could have toad you this was going to happen. Even my new butler, whose great grandmother comes from eastern Europe*, thought that one was awful.
||When he grew up and emigrated west a ways, did he
become a frog?
||Yes, that's all I've got to contribute here. I'll just get my hat ...