Web-based stereos and... washing machines?

Pssst! Hey, buddy. You look like a guy who appreciates music, right? So, how 'bout it, wanna buy a radio?

See also...
... by Sherman M. Fridman
... in the Scope section
... from December 17, 1999

Yeah, I know it don't look like a radio, but hear me out, man... this is cool. It's made by SonicBox and, well, okay man, so it's in two parts, so what? That's why it works the way it does. See here, this part, the base unit, connects to your PC... you got a PC, right? And the other part, this one here, stays with you. I don't know where you put it... stick it in your pants or strap it to your chest, doesn't matter.

Now, walk around your house... any FM radio you got, it can get audio downloaded from that thing they call the Web. The box attached to your PC does that, and you select the program with that little box there that you carry around with you. Great, huh? See, now you don't have to sit at your PC to listen to what's on the Web, you can take the sounds with ya. Sure, you can do pretty much the same thing with your ghetto blaster, but this is the Web, man... outer space.

You're interested, right? Good. One more thing, the radio only costs about 50 bucks, but you'll need a broadband Internet connection for this thing to work. That's a few hundred for the installation, and about 50 per month after that... if it's available in your neighborhood.

Hey, wait man. Don't walk away. That's cold; hear me out!

Okay, so you don't want the radio, but you gotta want a washing machine. Just look at you; those fine clothes need to be taken care of, and I've got just the thing. It's called the Sexy name, huh? It's from Italy, and those guys over there, they really know how to get it on, if you know what I mean.

Why's this so great? I'll tell ya. It's also connected to the Internet. Yeah, it has a little screen on it and all. Only you don't surf with this. Nah, instead, because it's connected to the Internet, you can send it instructions, like "turn on," or "turn off." And -- here's the good part -- you can even do this from a wireless phone.

How do you get the dirty clothes in there? You put them in, just like always. How come if you got to be there to put the clothes in, you can't turn it on yourself? What do you mean asking a question like that? What are you, some kinda wise guy? Yeah! And the soap too, you still put that in. Also, don't forget to take your clothes out right away... you wouldn't want to put wrinkles in your silk boxer shorts.

But, dig, Merloni Elettrodomestici, the gents who make this baby, say that this machine can communicate with any other digital appliance that's plugged into the same household electrical current. What a trip, all appliances talking to each other. Just like a bunch o' buddies.

Maybe you're right. I don't know if I'd want my washing machine talking with my toaster... or worse yet, my old lady's vibrator. Ya know, I betcha that dot in the middle of the TV screen is really looking at me... hey... buddy... where ya going?

Sherman Fridman is a freelance writer and novelist who views contemporary issues from a unique perspective.