Remember the Raspberry Pi push notification retrofit to my washing machine from a little while ago? Well, its mostly been working great, and has been legitimately useful. I get an email and my phone vibrates when the washer is done. However, we discovered a small problem with the prototype.
If you recall, the email is triggered by the one of the lights on the front of the machine turning off, which it does at the end of the cycle. However, that’s not all that light does. As it turns out, all of the lights on the front of the machine blink when there is a problem. Normally my washer is ultra reliable, but last laundry day, there was some sort of fault at the end of the first load. I never bothered to determine what the washer was complaining about, but the lights were blinking at a rate of oh, say, about 2x per second.
That was a LOT of emails.
Most computers still aren’t smart, they just do a lot of simple operations really fast. Perhaps it needs more sophisticated programming (*cough cough Kevin..ahem*). At least gmail keeps all of the messages in a single thread for me, so my inbox wasn’t crushed with the onslaught of emails from my washing machine. Also, it was very apparent that something was wrong, so there’s that. When we figured out what was going on, we laughed all the way to the garage to address the cry for attention from our loudly complaining appliance.
Random thoughts: DOS stands for “Denial of Service,” which is a particular type of computing attack that attempts to make a particular machine or network unavailable for its intended use and/or users. Since DOS attacks are not something I deal with personally or professionally, I realized when writing this post that I’d only ever spoken about them in person, and never read or written about it. Common usage uses DOS like a verb, except its not actually a verb, so the internet does things like DOSed, DOS’d, DOS-d….etc. Basically, I ran into an industry specific jargon language issue that made me laugh because I had no idea; what is the proper way to write that you were DOS’d by your washing machine when its not regular usage to begin with? The problems of our time….