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    HA humor

    As an embedded systems engineer I enjoy reading an e-newsletter called "The Embedded Muse."
    The latest issue included a bit of humor that I just had to pass along... Enjoy!

    An excerpt from "The Embedded Muse 170"

    Joke for the Week

    Nov 28: Moved in to my new digitally maxed-out 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 universal 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 degrees for my pizza. Everything nice & cozy when I arrived. Maybe I should get the universal remote surgically attached.

    Dec 1: Had to call the Smart-House people today about bandwidth problems. The TV drops to about 2 frames/second when I'm talking on the phone. They insist it's a problem with the cable company's compression algorithms. How do they expect me to order things from the Home Shopping Channel?

    Dec 8: Got my first Smart-House invoice today and was unpleasantly surprised. I suspect the cleaning woman of reading Usenet from the washing machine interface when I'm not here. She must be downloading one hell of a lot of GIFs from the binary groups, because packet charges were through the roof on the invoice.

    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 tele-diagnostics 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 - Smart-House 2.1. But it's not ready yet. Finally, I'm starting to suspect that the microwave is secretly tuning into the cable system to watch Baywatch. The unit is completely inoperable during that same hour. I guess I can live with that. At least the blender is not tuning in to old I Love Lucy episodes.

    Dec 9: I just bought the new Microsoft Home. Took 93 Giga-bytes of storage, but it will be worth it, I think. The house should be much easier to use and should really do everything. I had to sign a second mortgage over to Microsoft, but I don't mind: I don't really own my house now - it's really the bank. Let them deal with Microsoft.

    Dec 10: I'm beginning to have doubts about Microsoft Home. I keep getting an hourglass symbol showing up when I want to run the dishwasher.

    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 defrosted, the washing machine has flooded the basement, the garage door is cycling up and down and the TV is stuck on the home shopping channel. Throughout 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 throbbing on my personal computer screen: WELCOME TO Home-Wrecker!!! NOW THE FUN BEGINS ... (Be it ever so humble, there's no virus like the Home-Wrecker...).

    Dec 18: They think they'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. "Home-Wrecker is pretty bad" he tells me, "but consider yourself lucky you didn't get PolterGeist. That one is really evil."

    Dec 19: Apparently, our house isn't insured for viruses. "Fires and mud-slides, yes," says the claims adjuster. "Viruses, no." My agreement with the Smart-House people explicitly states that all claims and warranties are null and void if any appliance or computer in my house networks in any way, shape or form with a non-certified on-line service. Everybody's very, very, sorry, but they can't be expected to anticipate every virus that might be created. We call our lawyer. He laughs. He's excited!

    Dec 21: I get a call from a Smart-House sales rep. As a special holiday offer, we get the free opportunity to become a beta site for the company's new Smart-House 2.1 upgrade. He says I'll be able to meet the programmers personally. "Sure," I tell him.

    Embedded Muse 170 Copyright 2008 TGG December 1, 2008
    You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    For commercial use contact
    EDITOR: Jack Ganssle,
    Best regards,

    If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
    Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling

    I enjoyed that, and its probably not too far from some of our real world experiences.

    My own worst moment was when the PC did its 3:00 am Microsoft update then rebooted itself, which seemed to corrupt all its timers, so when HS came back up, it switched on the whole house speakers to announce loudly "No motion detected for 12 hours, the alarm will be armed in one minute". That woke me up and had me running out of the bedroom naked waving to the motion detectors.

    What other 'worst moments' are there out there?


      I don't even want to go there
      Over The Hill
      What Hill?
      I Don't Remember Any Hill

      Virtualized Server 2k3 Ent X86 Guest on VMWare ESXi 4.1 with 3 SunRay thin clients as access points - HSPro - ZTroller - ACRF2 (3 WGL 800's) - iAutomate RFID - Ledam - MLHSPlugin - Ultra1wire - RainRelay8 - TI103 - Ultramon - WAF-AB8SS - jvESS (11 zones) - Bitwise Controls BC4 - with 745 Total Devices - 550 Events - 104 scripts - 78 ZWave devices - 42 X10 devices - 76 DS10a's 3 RFXSenors and 32 Motion Sensors


        Rich - do not sell Michael the Webcam Plugin!



          Originally posted by MichaelD View Post
          I enjoyed that, and its probably not too far from some of our real world experiences.

          My own worst moment was when the PC did its 3:00 am Microsoft update then rebooted itself, which seemed to corrupt all its timers, so when HS came back up, it switched on the whole house speakers to announce loudly "No motion detected for 12 hours, the alarm will be armed in one minute". That woke me up and had me running out of the bedroom naked waving to the motion detectors.

          What other 'worst moments' are there out there?
          Awseome! Mine aren't nearly that exciting. Turing the lights off while the wife was in the tub, "motion detected" whole house announcements at 1a, etc. Just enough to kill the WAF for a short while.
          HS4Pro Running on a Raspberry Pi4
          68 Z-Wave Nodes, 175 Events, 359 Devices
          UPB modules via OMNI plugin/panel
          Plugins: Z-Wave, OMNI, HSTouch, weatherXML, EasyTrigger
          HSTouch Clients: 3 Android, 1 Joggler


            Before I got my keypads labeled my wife thought she was turning on one thing and inadvertently turned off the guest mode. Ten minutes later the house when into it's late night shut down. Needless to say I didn't get any home automation converts during that party.
            XPpro SP3 /w HS Standard, HSTouch Server -, HSTouch Client HSTouch Android -, HSTouch iPhone -
            Playing with HS3 a bit but it's just play at this point.


              Before Homeseer, I used GWBasic to make a home automation program. I wrote it myself and etched a board that plugged into the pc bus, and was memory driven. I couldnt get the spacing on the pc bus right, so I cut off the edge from an older junk pc board, and soldered wires across to my edge that was not spaced right. If you wanted a light on, you would do a "out, &h638, 16" or some combination of the binary bits to turn on the lights. In GWBasic, you could play a note like a 'G', and tell it how long to play the note. So having a 2 year old that like to sneak out of the house and play outside, I needed to play a note when the kitchen door was opened to the garage. I programmed it and went to test it, and when the door was opened, nothing happened. So I checked my code, and it looked good, and then the neighbor came over to see why my front porch light was going on and off. I had the inputs wrong. enstead of playing a note, it turned on the relay to the front porch light. That was 1987. . . or 88, I dont remember. I would also check the garage door and if it was still up at sundown I would send a signal to put the door down. I was working in the front yard, and heard the door start to close and I had to run and duck under it or I would have been locked out of the house. I had it sound some sonalerts for 30 seconds before closing it after that.
              A computer's attention span is as long
              as it's powercord.