"SmartHouse" joke

Nov 28, 2005
Moved in to my new Hermosa Beach house at last. Finally, we live in the
smartest house in the neighborhood. Everything's networked. The
cable TV is connected to our phone, which is connected to my
personal computer, which is connected to the power lines, all the
appliances and the security system. Everything runs
off a univeral remote with the friendliest interface I've ever
used. Programming is a snap. I'm like, totally wired.
Nov 30
Hot Stuff! Programmed my VCR from the office, turned up the
thermostat and switched on the lights with the car phone, remotely
tweaked the oven a few degress for my pizza. Everthing nice & cozy
when I arrived. Maybe I should get the universal remote surgically attached.
Dec 3
Yesterday, the kitchen CRASHED. Freak event. As I opened the
refrigerator door, the light bulb blew. Immediately, everything
else electrical shut down - lights, microwave, coffee maker -
everything. Carefully unplugged and replugged all the appliances. Nothing.
Call the cable company (but not from the kitchen phone). They
refer me to the utility. The utility insists that the problem is
in the software. So the software company runs some remote
telediagnostics via my house processor. Their expert system claims
it has to be the utility's fault. I don't care, I just want my
kitchen back. More phone calls; more remote diag's.
Turns out the problem was "unanticipated failure mode": The
network had never seen a refrigerator bulb failure while the door
was open. So the fuzzy logic interpreted the burnout as a power
surge and shut down the entire kitchen. But because sensor memory
confirmed that there hadn't actually been a power surge, the
kitchen logic sequence was confused and it couldn't do a standard
restart. The utility guy swears this was the first time this has
ever happened. Rebooting the kitchen took over an hour.
Dec 7
The police are not happy. Our house keeps calling them for help.
We discover that whenever we play the TV or stereo above 25
decibels, it creates patterns of micro-vibrations that get
amplified when they hit the window. When these vibrations mix with
a gust of wind, the security sensors are actuated, and the police
computer concludes that someone is trying to break in. Go figure.
Another glitch: Whenever the basement is in self-diagnostic mode,
the universal remote won't let me change the channels on my TV.
That means I actually have to get up off the couch and change the
channels by hand. The software and the utility people say this flaw will be
fixed in the next upgrade - SmartHouse 2.1. But it's not ready yet.
Dec 12
This is a nightmare. There's a virus in the house. My personal
computer caught it while browsing on the public access network. I
come home and the living room is a sauna, the bedroom windows are
covered with ice, the refrigerator has defrosed, the washing
machine has flooded the basement, the garage door is cycle up and
down and the TV is stuck on the home shopping channel. Through-
out the house, lights flicker like stroboscopes until they explode
from the strain. Broken glass is everywhere. Of course, the
security sensors detect nothing.
I look at a message slowly throbing on my personal computer screen:
WELCOME TO HomeWrecker!!! NOW THE FUN BEGINS... (Be it ever so
humble, there's no virus like the HomeWrecker...).
Dec 18
They think the've digitally disinfected the house, but the place is
a shambles. Pipes have burst and we're not completely sure we've
got the part of the virus that attacks toilets. Nevertheless, the
Exorcists (as the anti-virus SWAT team members like to call
themselves) are confident the worst is over. "HomeWrecker is pretty
bad" one he tells me, "but consider yourself lucky you didn't get
PoterGeist. That one is really evil."
Dec 19
Apparently, our house isn't insured for viruses. "Fires and
mudslides, yes," says the claims adjuster. "Viruses, no." My
agreement with the SmartHouse people

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