Laura Sydell, correspondent for NPR’s feared “Arts Information Unit,” tried (not very hard) during tonight’s ATC to come up with a way to communicate the futurrific potential of the wireless bandwidth the FCC is about to auction off. The heart of her metaphor, to which she returned throughout the report, was a refrigerator that you could call with your cellphone to find out if it thinks you need milk. As the story progressed, the relevance and utility of this terrifying half-fridge half cellphone chimera became increasingly unclear.
First of all, the ability of a refrigerator to communicate with the outside world is in no way hampered by our current telecommunications infrastructure. (Thank God!) Millions of people have always-on high speed internet access in their homes ideal for such a fabulous ice-box to take advantage of right now! It could text your cellphone with all kinds of news about the milk over your home wifi network or over an ethernet cable even if the FCC fails to increase the wireless spectrum available to crucial consumer products ever again. Hell, it could make blog posts so everyone in your extended social network could know exactly how much you are hurting for moo-juice.
Now that you know this I’ll wait here while you run out and purchase your internet-savvy food cooler immediately, before Laura Sydell and the readers of this blog beat you to it…
What’s that you say? You don’t want a fridge with some kind of special milk-detecting shelf that requires a special milk bottle into which you must transfer all milk so the custom sensor can inform the fridge of the milk level? And the magic thingy can’t tell the difference between a fresh bottle full of delicious, bone-building, grade-A milk and a month-old bottle full of putrid chunky microbial growth medium that used to be milk? So you mean you don’t want it? Luddite! It’s your fault we don’t have flying cars!
So, Laura, I guess that there are just two things wrong with this picture: milk detecting fridges have nothing to do with new bandwidth, and no one wants a milk detecting fridge.
But other than that, strong work!