Ad of the Week with Oresti Patricios – the Robot with a Taste for Tea

Back in the ancient history of the internet (we’re talking 1982 here), four students at Carnegie Mellon University designed the first ‘internet appliance’ – an internet-accessible vending machine. The story goes that these computer science students were working quite far from the departmental cold-drink vending machine, and would have to deal with frustration and disappointment when, having made the trek across the campus to get a cold beverage, they would find either an empty machine or one that was filled with warm drinks. So the people others would say were ‘geeks’, but whom I’d call pure genius, got together and hacked a solution. They installed sensors in the vending machine that interfaced with their departmental mainframe, a DEC PDP-10. From then on, these four students could be anywhere in the world and by merely using a program called Finger they could to get the vending machine to tell them exactly how many drinks were available, and how cold they were. To appreciate the marvel of this, we’re talking a time when most people had faxes. The very first internet-accessible vending machine spawned many successors, making it—in effect—the first ‘internet meme’: vending machines

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