Comment On Laundry of the New Millennium

Except for the dryers being infamous for not performing their most basic task – drying –students at the Sogn Student Village near the University of Oslo were happy with how the laundry system worked. Just swipe your laundry card and run load, and the charges are conveniently billed along with the rent. Neat. But of course, all good things must come to an end. [expand full text]
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Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:06 • by everythingdaniel
The best comes with a cost.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:09 • by Zapp Brannigan (unregistered)
I declare shenanigans, everyone knows that Linux users don't wash their clothes or bathe.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:09 • by Meep (unregistered)
Laundry machines crashing with each other, how sad :(

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:16 • by deekay (unregistered)
Ahh the German's and their whacky accounting software.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:21 • by Mr B
260009 in reply to 260007
deekay:
Ahh the German's and their whacky accounting software.


Obvious troll is obvious.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:22 • by Lon Wett (unregistered)
I am really getting tired of self-appointed petty bureaucrats dictating that Mac users (true, less than 50% of the population, so who really cares) Linux users (OK, less than 5%) and Windows users with clue enough to stay clear of MSIE (0.5%? because if you have clue, why are you on Windows in the first place?) will be blocked from participating in an increasingly digital life. I mean, really, W. T. F. are you thinking? Do we have to resort to flogging you in the public square or what? It is far past time to put a painful end to this nonsense!

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:24 • by Al (unregistered)
TRWTF is that you can network washing machines.

CAPTCHA: paratus (prepared indeed)

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:34 • by samanddeanus
Sites that only work in IE for the lose.

Also, it should be Emacs/Linux, not Mac/Linux -- I think you left out a few letters by mistake.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:34 • by Quango
260013 in reply to 260007
deekay:
Ahh the German's and their whacky accounting software.


a) what Germans? I didn't see any reference to Germans?

b) Drop the apostrophe

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:35 • by snoofle
I suppose it could have been worse. They might have tried to network the bathroom facilities as pay-toilets.

*shudders*

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:36 • by amischiefr
"Slowly, the inhabitants were able to access their laundry accounts, except of course for Mac/Linux users who now could be recognized by the swarm of flies surrounding them."

That's what you get for being one of those stuck up "my mac is so cool, I'm so hip cause I have a mac" college students. Conform like the rest of us!!!

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:37 • by DES
260016 in reply to 260013
Quango:
I didn't see any reference to Germans?


"Seriously Annoying Programs"

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:37 • by snoofle
260017 in reply to 260013
Quango:
deekay:
German's ...


b) Drop the apostrophe

So "German's" becomes "German,s"?

(I'm feeling giddy today)

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:37 • by Jonathan Levy (unregistered)
If the machines are always running, that's 100% efficiency.

If for each hour's use, you have (on average) half an hour's idle time, isn't that 66% efficiency?

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:37 • by Kirt (unregistered)
260019 in reply to 260010
Lon Wett:
I mean, really, W. T. F. are you thinking?

Chill out dude. I'm thinking that practically everyone has access to a Windows machine somewhere nearby, so why should I be expected to code for every oddball platform no one's ever seen before?

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:37 • by krupa (unregistered)
260020 in reply to 260011
Al:
TRWTF is that you can network washing machines.


Amen.

Why is this system, even if it works perfectly, better than a change machine?

I can name two things:
1) Students don't have cash, but they have credit cards. (Thanks VisaMasterCardDiscover!)
2) The person charged with emptying machines can get robbed. This happened in my town so the laundromat went to prepaid cards that you bought/recharged at a kiosk with cash.

Seriously... just because you *could* implement a digital "solution" doesn't mean you have to.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:40 • by Steve the Cynic (unregistered)
260021 in reply to 260003
Zapp Brannigan:
I declare shenanigans, everyone knows that Linux users don't wash their clothes or bathe.


Duh. Of course they don't. They can't get access to the machines because they don't use Windows/IE...

Reservations

2009-05-06 09:40 • by AlpineR
I thought the reservation problem was going to involve inclusive time periods, like [12:00,1:00] instead of [12:00,1:00). Since the first person blocked the moment of 1:00 by reserving the period of [12:00,1:00], the second person couldn't reserve [1:00,2:00] and would instead take [2:00,3:00]. And then a walk-up user couldn't do a wash between the reservations since there isn't a full hour left. That'd waste a full hour per appointment (whether or not the person with the reservation shows up).

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:41 • by pjt33
260023 in reply to 260018
Jonathan Levy:
If the machines are always running, that's 100% efficiency.

If for each hour's use, you have (on average) half an hour's idle time, isn't that 66% efficiency?

Close. 67% to two s.f.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:42 • by samanddeanus
260024 in reply to 260019
Kirt:
Lon Wett:
I mean, really, W. T. F. are you thinking?

Chill out dude. I'm thinking that practically everyone has access to a Windows machine somewhere nearby, so why should I be expected to code for every oddball platform no one's ever seen before?


HTML is a web-based platform. It should be easy to make a laundry web site that works in Firefox, especially as Firefox has about 50% usage share and that the UI doesn't require anything except a few links, forms and radio buttons. Then just make sure you don't use any IE specific CSS.

People who use Firefox on Windows are also annoyed about having to switch to IE.

Also, IE8's changes or even IE7's changes in rendering might break make it unusable in those browsers.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:43 • by Voodoo Coder
This is an insane case of over engineering...

Seriously...wtf is wrong with putting a change machine up alongside a set of reliable quarter-fed laundry machines?

There is a serious problem with what you are doing when you need to configure your washing machine with an IP address.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:43 • by Jonathan Levy (unregistered)
260027 in reply to 260023
Oh no! I've been out-nit-picked!

:)

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:44 • by Jonathan Levy (unregistered)
260028 in reply to 260023
pjt33:
Jonathan Levy:
If the machines are always running, that's 100% efficiency.

If for each hour's use, you have (on average) half an hour's idle time, isn't that 66% efficiency?

Close. 67% to two s.f.


Oh no! I've been out-nit-picked!

:)


(sorry, forgot to quote the first time)

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:46 • by Lon Wett (unregistered)
260029 in reply to 260019
Kirt:
Lon Wett:
I mean, really, W. T. F. are you thinking?

Chill out dude. I'm thinking that practically everyone has access to a Windows machine somewhere nearby, so why should I be expected to code for every oddball platform no one's ever seen before?

Yeah, I have "access" to a Windows machine, but I also have access to a fly swatter and it is safer and easier to use. So you better hope I don't meet you in a dark laundry room sometime!

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:52 • by Cbuttius (unregistered)
Way forward sounds good in theory, just needs a better trial period before proper rollout. Not sure why they implemented it in a way that works on IE only, it's one thing if they don't quite support every platform yet but that should roll out in time.

Ideally would of course support paying by mobile phone with a text-back service, so they text you your user-key.

Although in the green age, the most basic form of drier, "solar powered" the way they dried clothes in the old millennium, i.e. the very old one, might be the way to go.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 09:55 • by linux user (unregistered)
260031 in reply to 260012
samanddeanus:
Sites that only work in IE for the lose.

Also, it should be Emacs/Linux, not Mac/Linux -- I think you left out a few letters by mistake.


I very much doubt it. vim is so much better than emacs that I don't think anyone uses it anymore.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:09 • by rpjs (unregistered)
260032 in reply to 260010
Lon Wett:
I am really getting tired of self-appointed petty bureaucrats dictating that Mac users (true, less than 50% of the population, so who really cares) Linux users (OK, less than 5%) and Windows users with clue enough to stay clear of MSIE (0.5%? because if you have clue, why are you on Windows in the first place?) will be blocked from participating in an increasingly digital life.


Not mention the irony of this story coming from Norway, home of Opera. OK, I loathe Opera nearly as much as I loathe IE (actually on reflection I loathe it slightly more than I loathe IE), but it's still pretty funny.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:10 • by brazzy
260033 in reply to 260013
Quango:
deekay:
Ahh the German's and their whacky accounting software.

a) what Germans? I didn't see any reference to Germans?


Look at the image. Closely. Then find the corresponding punne, or play on words, in the text.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:13 • by Ilya Ehrenburg
260034 in reply to 260033
brazzy:
Quango:
deekay:
Ahh the German's and their whacky accounting software.

a) what Germans? I didn't see any reference to Germans?


Look at the image. Closely. Then find the corresponding punne, or play on words, in the text.

No, those Germans don't write crappy accounting software. Actually their products tend to be of rather good quality.
It's the other Germans who are rightfully scorned here.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:15 • by wds (unregistered)
TRWTF here of course is SAP. How they're still in business, it boggles the mind.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:15 • by Isaac Eiland-Hall (unregistered)
I would have posted this comment sooner, but some moron had all the comments reserved.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:17 • by brazzy
260037 in reply to 260020
krupa:
Amen.

Why is this system, even if it works perfectly, better than a change machine?

I can name two things:
1) Students don't have cash, but they have credit cards. (Thanks VisaMasterCardDiscover!)
2) The person charged with emptying machines can get robbed.

Besides the possibility of robbery or someone cracking the machine to get at the cash, the person emptying the machines wants to get paid, as does the bank (commercial cash deposits carry a fee, especially for coins). Also, you constantly have to look out for people figuring out what foreign coins or simple discs of metal can be used.

Ditching the cash can probably lead to substantial savings.


This happened in my town so the laundromat went to prepaid cards that you bought/recharged at a kiosk with cash.

Yeah, that's how everyone who doesn't go to a big name consulting company and say "here's $14m, please redo our entire IT" solves this problem...

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:21 • by Anonymous (unregistered)
Obligatory link: a non-WTF real-time laundry server:

http://laundry.mit.edu

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:21 • by ubersoldat
260041 in reply to 260030
Cbuttius:
Way forward sounds good in theory, just needs a better trial period before proper rollout. Not sure why they implemented it in a way that works on IE only, it's one thing if they don't quite support every platform yet but that should roll out in time.

Ideally would of course support paying by mobile phone with a text-back service, so they text you your user-key.

Although in the green age, the most basic form of drier, "solar powered" the way they dried clothes in the old millennium, i.e. the very old one, might be the way to go.


Have you ever been to Norway? I recall not having a lot of sunshine.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:22 • by iToad (unregistered)
The school may have implemented this to serve as a bad example for the business and IT majors. It teaches them a lesson in enterprise software development that they will not soon forget.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:22 • by brazzy
260043 in reply to 260034
Ilya Ehrenburg:
brazzy:

Look at the image. Closely. Then find the corresponding punne, or play on words, in the text.

No, those Germans don't write crappy accounting software. Actually their products tend to be of rather good quality.
It's the other Germans who are rightfully scorned here.

Ahh, THOSE Germans. Silly me for not spotting it.

Well, here in Germany, we have a saying:

There are three ways to ruin a company:
- Business consultants; that's the fastest way
- wining, dining & whoring; that's the most pleasant way
- Seriously Annoying Programs; that's the most certain way

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:23 • by Thg (unregistered)
260044 in reply to 260026
Voodoo Coder:
This is an insane case of over engineering...


see? ... Germans. ... must be

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:23 • by ounos
For 14$m, one could buy a washing machine for each student.

But the point of course was to charge them, right? Profit!

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:29 • by tm (unregistered)
I'm not convinced by this "good old coin-fed machines are better" argument. They may get mechanical failures, and someone WILL try to steal the money.

At my university campus in Finland, we pay the laundry by mobile phone. Call the number, and the laundry machine activates. The charge appears on your phone bill. Perhaps it's not better than coin-fed machines, but not really worse either. During my 3 years here, I've had one case when it didn't work on the first try, but it worked when I retried a moment later.

We still write down reservations on a paper time sheet, though. Works fine when there are enough machines per inhabitant.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:31 • by iT_Ti (unregistered)
260049 in reply to 260019
Amen!

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:36 • by brazzy
260051 in reply to 260045
ounos:
For 14$m, one could buy a washing machine for each student.


The $14m was for a system handling all accounting and payment for the entire university. The washing machines were just a tiny peripheral system that was integrated into the new system very, very badly.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:38 • by Herby (unregistered)
The only way this is NOT going to be a WTF incident is to have those responsible for the implementation be required to use the "system" as designed. When the designers are forced to see the problems, only then will the WFT problems be fixed.

Just remember: when you get a new payroll system (probably one of those "Seriously Annoying Programs") if those responsible for the implementation don't get their paychecks from it, it WILL be doomed.

As for computer controlled machines, consider the "Prancing Pony".

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:40 • by A Gould (unregistered)
260053 in reply to 260030
Cbuttius:

Ideally would of course support paying by mobile phone with a text-back service, so they text you your user-key.


Or, we could use some shiny discs called "currency".

Or possibly just pay cards - I put $10 in the machine, I get a $10 card. (My old university uses the student ID as a catch-all copier card).

Not all appliances need to be internet enabled.

(Personally, I'm waiting for the followup, where the Linux folks just hack the server to get free washes.)

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:42 • by Ilya Ehrenburg
260054 in reply to 260043
brazzy:

Well, here in Germany, we have a saying:

There are three ways to ruin a company:
- Business consultants; that's the fastest way
- wining, dining & whoring; that's the most pleasant way
- Seriously Annoying Programs; that's the most certain way

Nice, den kannt' ich noch nicht.
However, if you really want to get rid of your business, call in Berger and Hopp. Together, they're irresistible.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:49 • by valerion
Slowly, the inhabitants were able to access their laundry accounts, except of course for Mac/Linux users who now could be recognized by the swarm of flies surrounding them.


Like the laundry situation had anything to do with that.


Well somebody had to say it!

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:51 • by No (unregistered)
"as a 20 character username will handle 10^28 users."

uh ok so I guess this is a numeric username (thus 10 digits)? But a 20 character username, assuming only numbers, would only handle 10^20 users, not 10^28.

so wtf?

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:58 • by Marcel (unregistered)
260059 in reply to 260058
No:
"as a 20 character username will handle 10^28 users."

uh ok so I guess this is a numeric username (thus 10 digits)? But a 20 character username, assuming only numbers, would only handle 10^20 users, not 10^28.


26 (letters in the English alphabet) ^ 20 ~= 10^28.

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 10:59 • by kastein
260060 in reply to 260013
Quango:
deekay:
Ahh the German's and their whacky accounting software.


a) what Germans? I didn't see any reference to Germans?

b) Drop the apostrophe
SAP is a German company which writes software that no one knows what it does (to paraphrase The Inquirer). The "Seriously Annoying Programs" phrase is a quite obvious, but legally defensible reference to them.

... apparently not obvious enough

Kirt:
Lon Wett:
I mean, really, W. T. F. are you thinking?

Chill out dude. I'm thinking that practically everyone has access to a Windows machine somewhere nearby, so why should I be expected to code for every oddball platform no one's ever seen before?
It was a web interface - and a simple one at that. Only the mentally retarded and the few remaining FrontPage users (redundant, I know) write websites that actually only work with IE.

Addendum (2009-05-06 11:07):
ounos:
For 14$m, one could buy a washing machine for each student.

But the point of course was to charge them, right? Profit!

... and I thought I had seen every braindead permutation of numeric suffixes and monetary symbols... yes, $14m makes no sense, but "14 dollars million"?

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 11:01 • by snoofle
Thinking back to my college dorm days, we had a laundry room full of machines with coin slots. No cash cards. No signup sheets (if all machines were in use, you just came back later). Hell, Tim Berners Lee hadn't even thought up the internet yet. Wait, so THAT's how it all started...

Re: Laundry of the New Millennium

2009-05-06 11:03 • by Sven (unregistered)
260062 in reply to 260058
No:
"as a 20 character username will handle 10^28 users."

uh ok so I guess this is a numeric username (thus 10 digits)? But a 20 character username, assuming only numbers, would only handle 10^20 users, not 10^28.

A 20 character username, with only uppercase LETTERS, as the post said, would allow 26^20 possibilities, which equals approximately 10^28.

We had a very simple laundry system at my old place: you buy laundry coins from the the building manager, and two days in advance you wrote on a list pinned to the wall of the laundry room which of the pre-defined timeslots you wanted to use. Then you used that. Use of the dryer was free and you automatically got the timeslot after the one you'd reserved for washing. You were limited to two timeslots per day.

This was 4 machines for 500 users, and it worked perfectly, no complicated system required.
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