USENIX 2000 "Win a Pet Shark" Contest
In 1997, Digital Equipment Corp. (now part of Compaq Computer Corp.) produced the DIGITAL Network Appliance Reference Design (DNARD), and published the hardware specifications for free use. DEC used the code-name "Shark" to refer to these NCs.
USENIX 2000, in association with Compaq Corporate Research, ran a contest inviting attendees to submit proposed Open Source projects that would use the Shark. (You can read this PDF file containing the entry form.) From over 80 entries, the judges chose 11 winners, each of whom will receive a pet Shark of their own. The winning entries are listed on this page, more or less as they were submitted during the contest.
Prizes provided by Corporate Research
Most of the winners have provided URLs that you can use to learn more about these projects.List of Projects (in no particular order)
For more information, see https://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/1351/
For more information, see https://www.digitaltrash.org
What the Shark would have to do is help her the way a dog would. Placed in a central spot in the house, and with Blue tooth ported to it, it could open doors, switch lights, operate electronic equipment, answer phone calls, get her email. All this via the I.R. remote. Online grocery shopping would make my task easier, and the smartcard could be use for payments (instead of the less safe credit car). Network links to an emergency service could alert them if anything was wrong.
(This idea could be extended in general for all disabled folks, and physical monitoring devices could be added, aswell as a voice recognition and synthesis software for the blind, etc.)
By the way: everything will be implemented in a modular, open sources, Java(?) way ...
The initial motivation was to create a device that would function as a really fancy telephone answering machine -- one that was configurable and could evolve as telephony evolves. Scripts would be used to paste existing software (vgetty, for instance) together.
Some envisoned features: - "spam" filtering - POTS/analog capable via voice modem (additional hardware) - Internet capable - remote administration via HTTP - other interfaces like ISDN could be investigated - perhaps a flat touch screen display - remote I/R control
For more information, see https://members.dsl.telocity.com/~jmckim/phone-gateway.html
For more information, see https://www.68k.org./~michael/ambiance/
The Internet Radio Appliance does just that: it is an Internet radio receiver, in a box small enough to fit in the living room.
Control would be over infrared: the RC5 infrared standard (Philips) allows one to change the family code of an infrared RFC allowing one to use a standard (modified) RC.
One can easily add an LCD display for user-interface readout (printerport provides 4 data lines, R/W strobe, and register select) and keyboard connector provides +5 volts.
While I have not seen the Shark (exhibit not open yet) I think the display can be built in.
Advantages: - small footprint - low energy usage - simple interface, suitable to non-techies - no keyboard/mouse/display
Additionally, it can play MP3s from the net! The ultimate Napster device!
The respective graphic image and sound output can be made available at a public place (e.g., near a wiring cabinet) to provide an entertaining alternative view of the network activity. In addition, rule-based alerts could be set to be triggered by specified patterns.
For more information, see https://softlab.icsd.aegean.gr/~dspin
One neat thing that's come about in the world of model railways is a system known as DCC - Digital Command Control. Long and short: you stick a small board into each locomotive and you have individual control over each.
One bogus thing is that most software interfaces are for some unnamed unpleasant operating systems. To fix this, I wrote some stuff(*) which can talk to DCC interfaces, and really, all it needs is POSIX termios. So you can move trains with awk.
So why the Shark? (Small apartment.) I can't fit a computer next to my trains! (At least, not one that I can actually use ...) This thing's got everything I need (including sound card for all-important train whistle). I could probably even both this thing upside-down under the trains for zero footprint.
(*) that stuff is Open Source, I might add.
For more information, see https://www.o--o.net/
We currently have a wireless X10 Webcam that is monitoring the fish tank. The images are fed to a PC. I intend to digitize the image on the PC and send it via TCP to the Shark atop the fish tank. The Shark will analyse the image, and if there's a dark object above Al, it will lower fish food.
[Note: Unfortunately, after the USENIX contest entry was written, we learned that Al had died, before the Shark could be installed. We intend to get another lobster once we have a mechanism in place to protect it.]
For more information, see https://www.bell-labs.com/usr/weeteck/lobster.html
For more information, see https://www.citi.umich.edu/u/rees/usenix-loader/