Okay, own up. Who's asking for these features? Surely they don't think this kinda crap up in a vacuum. There must be some market research company surveying people and getting enough responses that say "Sure, I'd just love Microsoft to spy on my fridge contents to tell me when the milk is past its best-before date. When can I buy one?".
Microsoft has added another wrinkle to an idea that refuses to die: the 'net-connected refrigerator. Thankfully, Redmond has skipped the idea of putting a browser on the fridge. Instead, drawing on Silicon Valley's conviction that everybody is a 23-year-old software developer who can't cook, clean house, or shop without help …
Sunday 4th September 2016 23:30 GMT Anonymous Coward
As someone who works in Market Research, you'd be surprised* at how many times we end up with our palms to our faces when we learn clients have made decisions without doing research (especially given the contracts we run with some of them and what they are doing research on).
*you probably won't be that surprised
Monday 5th September 2016 08:37 GMT Doctor Syntax
Monday 5th September 2016 14:50 GMT Anonymous Coward
Who's asking for these features? Surely they don't think this kinda crap up in a vacuum.
Stock trading AI's. It's like Radio London: "We bring a special message to Major Tom and his wedding guests: The weather has changed."
The internet connected fridge-with-a-screen on it is a coded signal to everyone who is "in" on the code that a market crash in tech-related stocks are imminent and it would be wise to load up on the short side of things (and keep some cash around for the pennies-on-the-dollar bargains to come).
Monday 5th September 2016 20:08 GMT Christian Berger
I once worked on this project:
Believe me, the "cameras in your fridge" is the most sensible feature. In the demos it was able to automatically recognize what's in there... which was of course just faked.
With that particular brand the cameras were supposed to be connected via USB. They somehow got a trigger and then switched to one of the many "mass storage device" modes to deliver those images... that's probably the most complicated way to do it. From there it goes to a central server as the appliance itself doesn't have the space to store those images.
Sunday 4th September 2016 23:21 GMT Mephistro
All right then
So one of these days we'll be able to purchase a fridge that:
a) Is connected to "the cloud"
b) Rats us out to anyone willing to pay MS for the data regarding things like the products and brands we consume, when we are or aren't at home, how long do we sleep, when we are away on holidays...
c) Rat us out also to anyone able to hack said cloud service, including dishonest employees, retarded script kiddies and even some secret service agencies ;-)
Sounds good to me!
Monday 5th September 2016 07:30 GMT Pascal Monett
Tuesday 6th September 2016 03:52 GMT David 132
Re: All right then
'a) Is connected to "the cloud" '
De rigeur for any new technology product. How else can they monetize you, snoop on you, and render your fancy new e-fridge instantly obsolete as soon as they get bored of running the cloud service and terminate it?
Silicon Valley companies all seem to have the attention span of a concussed kitten, and an urge to chase the next OOH SHINY that would make a magpie blush.
Monday 5th September 2016 00:01 GMT P. Lee
There's only one I can think of.
I've just used the last bit of something in a packet, I want some more, so I scan the barcode to add it to a shopping list, sync'ed to my phone. Or you could snap a picture of it or add a voice memo and have that added to the list.
Nothing you couldn't do with a phone, as far as I can tell, though a large button you can press with your elbow and a wireless mic/camera for "hands-free" operation might be nice.
Cloud not required.
Monday 5th September 2016 05:05 GMT Mark 85
Monday 5th September 2016 05:15 GMT Anonymous South African Coward
Re: Only question I have about a 'connected' appliance....
1. People think it is cool
2. People think it is "in" to send personal data etc off to the "cloud" wherever that may be
3. People think Cortana is cool
but they conveniently tend to ignore the fact that Cortana is a "she" and may experience a major case of extreme PMS...
Monday 5th September 2016 07:37 GMT Pascal Monett
Re: 3. People think Cortana/Siri is cool
I've said this before, but I can't help repeating myself :
Not long ago, wife and I were at a friends' house for dinner. Good time all around, but one point really woke me up on this Cortana/Siri business.
At one point in the conversation, my friend said the word "Sarah", because we were talking about someone called Sarah. At that point, his phone next to him (because he is part of those people who can't live without their phone within arm's reach) piped up, asking if Sarah needed to be called.
We all had a good laugh about that, but it started me thinking. What if you're in a heated argument with your jealous (with reason) other, and you start swearing to high Heaven that you're not in relation with "Sarah" anymore, then your phone pipes up "Do you wish to call Sarah ?" ?
Go ahead and explain that it's not the same one. See how well that works.
I think this whole connected malarky is going to bite more than one arse before people chill about how "cool" those pseudo AI-bots are.
Monday 5th September 2016 07:45 GMT Tom Paine
Monday 5th September 2016 07:47 GMT Lotaresco
What could possibly go wrong...
... with a camera in your refrigerator sending images to M$ DROIDBASE?
I mean it's not as if people put their medication, medical samples and other things they don't want the world + dog to know about into the fridge, is it?
I mean M$ isn't likely to have immature geeks working for them who would think it very funny to Tweet photos of antibiotics with someone's name on the label (and a short description of their illness) or insulin which would identify which politicians/business leaders have diabetes or infertility drugs or any of the hundred and one embarrassing/personal things that may be in there. "Hey look, the Prime Minister has a boil on her bum!"
Oh, hang on...
Monday 5th September 2016 08:10 GMT Anonymous Coward
They must be assuming a very tidy and sparse arrangement of things in the fridge. Most fridges end up being stacked in several layers on the shelves to get everything in. A deep salad drawer is designed to hold a jumble of items.
Possibly the AI is supposed to monitor what is in transit as you are putting it in and taking it out. If something doesn't go back in a specified time then it has presumably all been used up. That would mean it has to count individual tomatoes, small potatoes, mushrooms - tricky as they go in in a bag but come out individually,
My manual restocking is based on buying a replenishment just before something runs out. So the AI would have to work out how big a chunk of cucumber I use each time - how much of a pot of hummus is used - and when I am down to the minimum number of slices of bread to guarantee the bakery will have one in stock.** It will also have fun with the half of a banana that appears on alternate days - while the fruit bowl elsewhere is what needs monitoring.
**the local baker often sells out of my favourite loaf by mid-morning.
Monday 5th September 2016 08:20 GMT Another User
Monday 5th September 2016 08:23 GMT allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
It's LIEBHERR, not 'Leibherr'*. And they make fridges, cranes of all sorts, aircraft components, etc - and are still a family company.
I can see fridges in labs, hospitals and so on being connected; fridges holding stuff that must be stored at exactly the right temperature and kept track of. But my fridge in my kitchen? Can't see the point.
* I know, I know - 'Tips and corrections'. But where's the fun in that?
Monday 5th September 2016 12:46 GMT Lotaresco
"I can see fridges in labs, hospitals and so on being connected; fridges holding stuff that must be stored at exactly the right temperature and kept track of."
That would be the worst possible idea IMO. The stuff that goes into fridges in hospitals for the most part should not be photographed since it represents sensitive personal information. Back in the 90s people discovered that parts of their relatives were sitting in hospital departments and there was a massive backlash. Sending photographs of specimen containers that are marked with patient details across the internet would cause outrage that would make the earlier incident look tame.
Monday 5th September 2016 08:23 GMT zathraslives
What could possibly go wrong?
I'm sure the end result will contain no encryption; forced system updates will arbitrarily disable the ice dispenser and it won't cool or freeze anything without an internet connection; but it is clear that THIS is the killer app that fridges have always lacked. Sign me up for two.
Monday 5th September 2016 08:35 GMT 0laf
I am looking for a new fridge right now. Some I looked at had 5yr warranties, some had 10yr warranties on the compressor. How long will the fridge OS be maintained for?
And that is beyond the basic question of "Why? Why the fuck do I need my fridge to do this?".
It worries me that it's getting increasingly had to get a car without 'connectivity'. Kindly get this shite out of my life.
Monday 5th September 2016 13:44 GMT Anonymous South African Coward
Tuesday 6th September 2016 07:57 GMT Lotaresco
"Rip out the compressor and fancy doodads, get a certified tech to install a 12V/24V compressor, hook it up to solar power and Bob's your uncle..."
Cool, or rather not, a fridge I can only use in daylight.
Given the soon-to-arrive day length of 6.5-7.5 hours that's not that useful. It would be better to use the "student fridge" and put everything in a carrier bag and hang it out of an upstairs window. And couldn't I have saved all that ripping out and installing just by buying a 12/24V fridge in the first place?
Tuesday 6th September 2016 10:24 GMT handle8
So what does this magical system do with the unrecognised items ?
Nag you until you admit that it's actually some left-over curry, or does it call the Federales because it might be 'suspicious'.
And how will it cope with foreign-language labels and changes in packaging ?
An expensive solution searching for a problem.
Tuesday 6th September 2016 16:53 GMT Anonymous Coward
...and when it malfunctions...
And raises the temperature ill get a blue cheese of death.
If it makes the old NT boot up sound when I open the door I might be convinced.
That said a new breed of ransomeware holding my beer hostage until I pay 5 bitcoins would break me.
Also if this ends up AMD powered it'd make a great oven but a shit fridge.
The worlds hottest and dumbest fridge is on its way guys. Mark my words.
Wednesday 7th September 2016 10:22 GMT hammarbtyp
What could go wrong with that?
Dave Bowman: Hello, Fridge. Do you read me, Fridge?
Fridge: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the fridge doors.
Fridge: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
Fridge: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, Fridge?
Fridge: Your health is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, Fridge.
Fridge: I know that you were planning to make a late night snack, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: [feigning ignorance] Where the hell did you get that idea?
Fridge: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, I'll go to TESCO.
Fridge: With your credit cards cancelled, Dave? You're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: I won't argue with you anymore! Open the fridge door!
Fridge: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.