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29 February, 2000 12.00pm pst | Boson Edition
Dave Barry Favors BeIA
scientific illustration

BE DOPE NEWS (BDN) Technology analyst Dave Barry recently authored an article for the Miami Herald about the emerging market of Internet Appliances. While not naming any of the currently competing IA operating systems, the article clearly comes down in favor of Be.

In the article, Barry first gives a short introduction to the concept of an IA and then questions the issue of "feature bloat" that is already creeping into IA operating systems. Specifically, he asks: "WHY a consumer, after loading a dishwasher, would go to the office to start it? We don't NEED a dishwasher that we can communicate with from afar." [1]

While not singled out, it should be noted that Remote Diswasher Starting (RDS) is toted as one of the main features of Windows CE. [2]

Barry goes on to list features that would actually be useful, including " give us one [diswasher] that senses when people leave dirty dishes on the kitchen counter, and shouts at them: `PUT THOSE DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER RIGHT NOW OR I'LL LEAK ALL OVER YOUR SHOES!'" - something the rich media capabilities present in BeIA could handle easily. [3]

Of course, ease of use is one of the major issues studied by Barry. One of the quotes chosen to illustrate the problem of appliance interaction complexity is:

(``To disable the Produce Crispness Monitoring feature, enter the Command Mode, then select the Edit function, then select Change Vegetable Defaults, then assume that Train A leaves Chicago traveling westbound at 47 miles per hour, while Train B...'')

This quote can be found on page 746 of "The QNX Developer QuickStart Guide".

While in his closing arguments, he appears to support Windows CE when he concludes: "Do you want appliances that are smarter than you? Of course not. Your appliances should be DUMBER than you," this was in fact an editing error. His original text stated that appliances should be smarter than you, but appear dumber than you, thus allowing the user to retain a sense of control over his or her life.


[1] "The Myth of Dishwasher Telepathy," Industrial Appliance Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 1, p. 57

[2] "Windows CE Features That Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time," Microsoft Windows CE IA White Paper, p. 392

[3] "BeIA Audionag Appliances: Tapping Into the Guilt Market," New York Times, January 22, 2000, p. D1


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