[ih] Early IoT: anyone remember The Internet Toaster and Crane? :D

the keyboard of geoff goodfellow geoff at iconia.com
Thu Jul 9 13:45:11 PDT 2020


vis-a-vis "Stanford AI Lab had a vending machine for food and other stuff
and it knew
whether you were old enough for alcoholic beverages..."

yours truly recalls the SAIL vending machine was connected to the labs
PDP-10 via an RS-232 line.  The vending machine customers used a model 33
Teletype next to it that was later replaced by a Lear Siegler ADM CRT
display terminal... more details from Les Earnest in this EXCERPT at
https://web.stanford.edu/~learnest/spin/sagas.htm:

*Prancing Pony vending machine*

The Prancing Pony Vending Machine was evidently the first computer
controlled vending machine anywhere in the world. It was created to fill an
unmet need.



Given that SAIL was about five miles off-campus and the nearest food source
was a beer garden (Zotts) about a mile away, I initially set up a coffee
and food room near the center of our facility and it subsequently got named
after a pub in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". In fact all rooms in our
facility were named after places in Middle Earth and had signs posted on
the doors showing their names in both Latin and Elvish alphabets. At some
point the Stanford Buildings folks asked me to number our rooms and give
them a map. Instead we gave them a map showing room names in both
alphabets. Their response was to send out a carpenter with numbered tags,
which he nailed on each door.

Meanwhile we took turns buying coffee and food, which was offered for sale
on an honor system basis. That worked well for awhile but it suddenly
started losing money big time. We then negotiated with Canteen, which had
an exclusive contract with Stanford, to put in a couple of vending
machines. However we found that they were not restocked often enough and
broke rather frequently.

I finally negotiated to rent a machine from Canteen that we could restock.
They seemed to like this idea since it would relieve them of making
frequent trips out to our distant facility. In fact they never billed us
for the rental even though I repeatedly called it to their attention.
Meanwhile I got Ted Panofsky to make a connection to our computer so that
it could release the doors on the vending machine, thus making it possible
to buy either for cash or, though a computer terminal, on credit. I then
wrote a program that let people buy under password control and that billed
them on a monthly basis via email. It was set up to randomly give away
whatever was purchased on 1/128th of the purchases and offered a "double or
nothing" option, which had an honest 50:50 outcome. I noticed a cultural
difference in that almost none of the computer science students gambled,
knowing that they would win 1/128th of the time if they didn't, whereas
many of the music students did gamble. In both cases the Prancing Pony
vending machine, having taken on the name of the room, seemed quite popular
and we organized a team of volunteers to acquire the needed supplies and
restock the machine at least twice a day.



The Prancing Pony also sold beer but only on credit and only to people over
21, since it knew everyone’s age. If a youngster attempted to buy beer it
responded “Sorry, kid.”

Some years later I found out why the honor system had failed in the Pony. I
was the founding President of Imagen Corp., which made the first desktop
publishing systems using laser printers, and after awhile there a young
woman employee felt obligated to confess that when she was a teenybopper,
she and her girlfriends used to ride their horses up to SAIL, then went in
and stole candy from the Prancing Pony. Thus, her misconduct contributed to
a technological advancement.

On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 3:05 AM *Vint Cerf via Internet-history
<internet-history at elists.isoc.org <internet-history at elists.isoc.org>>
wrote:*

> Stanford AI Lab had a vending machine for food and other stuff and it knew
> whether you were old enough for alcoholic beverages...
>
> v
>
>
> On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 8:18 AM Jorge Amodio via Internet-history <
> internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:
>
> > As far as I remember there was a wired coke machine at MIT
> >
> > Jorge
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 3:05 AM Lars Brinkhoff via Internet-history <
> > internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:
> >
> > > How about Arpanet of Things?
> > >
> > > Danny Hillis connected elevator buttons to MIT's Chaosnet, and by
> > > extension Arpanet.  Users could type a special key combination on their
> > > keyboards to call the elevator to Tech Square floors 8 or 9.  Another
> > > key would buzz open the door to the machine room on the 9th floor.
> > > Source code for this is available.
> > > --
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> > >
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> >
>
>
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-- 
Geoff.Goodfellow at iconia.com
living as The Truth is True


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