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I need a webcam in my pantry. One of those movable, zoomable ones.… - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
I need a webcam in my pantry. One of those movable, zoomable ones.

Why? So when I see a cool recipe, I can just look inside the pantry from work to see if I have marjoram in my spice rack, before I stop at the store on the way home.

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acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 2nd, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
you can always think of a substitution for any given herb or spice. looking at that recipe, i'd probably use rosemary instead of marjoram anyway, even if i had marjoram. (come to think of it, i was just on my way out to buy groceries... maybe i'll pick up some chicken breasts.)
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 2nd, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's probably what I'll do, because if nothing else, my spice rack is full. And my fresh rosemary in the garden needs trimmed anyway.

But as a general case, it would still be useful - do I still have that can of tomatoes that I bought last weekend, or did I dump them over pasta? Is that a stack of cans of coconut milk or cream of coconut?

Amusingly, my pantry shares a wall with my air return vent, which would make it very, very easy to drop ethernet into the pantry from the router upstairs.

Tempted, I am.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 3rd, 2007 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
ohh, i love fresh rosemary! i had a little bush in a pot on my windowsill, right over the sink, in the house where i used to live. my son accidentally killed it, though, by picking and eating all the little purple flowers off the tips of the branches. (considering that most plants commit suicide under my care, i was surprised it lasted as long as it did.)

back when PCs were just beginning to catch on, there were various programs floating around that were supposed to keep track of your kitchen inventory for you. if you ran a recipe through them, they'd tell you if you had the ingredients on hand, and they'd also do things like remind you to buy milk when you started to get low (based on your usual pattern of consumption over time, i suppose). of course, you had to enter all the information by hand in the first place, which made it more of a pain in the ass to use the program than just either looking in the fridge/pantry, or guessing and buying what you thought you might need.

but putting a webcam in your pantry sounds just wacky enough to be useful. if you do, please make the URL available to at least some of your friends (i.e., me). "hmm... i see you have a box of linguine, a jar of capers, and a can of those little bitty shrimp there... got any lemon juice? heavy cream?" now, how are you going to keep track of what's in the refrigerator and freezer?

skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 3rd, 2007 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)
If I ever do it, I'll give you access. Heck, I'll set up a special friends group, and let people suggest ideas for us for dinner every night. :)

As for the fridge, I'd do it with one of these:


We saw one the other day (at Lowes, I think, but I couldn't find it on their website). The LCD panel pops off, and it's got a built-in set of programs that run on the panel, including a food inventory/shopping list program. I assume you could just take it with you to the store.

Version 2.0 will have wireless internet, I'm sure. Actually, it says it does weather forcasts, so maybe it already does do wireless internet.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 3rd, 2007 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
nowhere does it say that it has any kind of built-in computing function, let alone any kind of inventory of the food it's storing. it's got a few recipes pre-loaded, that's all. and the weather forecasts are just a cable-TV function, customized by area like the "And now, your local forecast from The Weather Channel" moments. the rest of the time that LCD display panel is a TV screen. (or you can upload a few photos to use as "wallpaper".) on the whole, i'd say the whole business is about as "smart" as a low-end cell phone.

not only does it not have any actual computing power, it's also a pitifully small freezer. i have a unit about the same size, but without the TV thingie. the freezer compartment barely holds the frozen foods i keep around as a matter of course. it's too narrow to hold, say, a frozen turkey. the freezing barrel of my 1-quart ice cream maker takes up most of one shelf.

on top of which, through-the-door ice dispensing is a bad joke. i can't tell for sure on this model, but in my freezer, and several similar ones i've seen, what moves the ice from the bin to the dispenser is a screw auger. i'd expect a flat-surfaced auger, like they use to move grain or coal... but this one is an open helix, like a Slinky, with a diameter five or six times the size of an ice cube. most of the cubes stay inside the helical shape and don't get moved at all - i'm surprised that any of them get moved.

alas, the industry has a ways to go yet before you can have a truly "smart" fridge...

skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 3rd, 2007 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
You're right - it's not an automated inventory program, but the idea seemed to be that you updated it by hand as you put food in and out. I played with it, and it does have at least some computing power, but I'll admit not much beyond a recipe database and a shopping list manager and a notepad. But it's still a step forward.

After replacing both my AC and my dryer this week, it's going to be a while before I'm buying a new fridge. In fact, that's probably far enough away that all refrigerators will have wireless internet by then. :)
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 3rd, 2007 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)
i can't for the life of me imagine why anyone needs a TV built into their refrigerator. (of course, i haven't watched any TV at all in over two years now. well, except for watching the ball drop on New Year's Eve - i had it on for fifteen minutes.)

skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 4th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Duh. Because if you don't have a TV in your kitchen, you might have to interact with your partner/children.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 4th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
my partner never watches TV either. and my child is 28, and lives thirty miles away. i did used to have a radio in my kitchen, but that was three houses ago...

skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 4th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have an old iPod with a battery that doesn't hold a charge anymore, but it works fine otherwise, so it lives permanently docked in speakers on top of the fridge. I like having music when I cook.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 5th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
i used to like having music, or something, when i cook, too. i seem to have outgrown it, after many years when there was so much chaos going on as i cooked that i couldn't have heard the radio anyway.

somehow, that reminds me that this would be a good night to try another experiment of making coconut bread. (there's a Jimmy Buffett connection in that, which is left as an exercise for the reader.)

oshawapilot From: oshawapilot Date: April 4th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
A unique use for a webcam, indeed.

We rearranged our master bedroom recently so that our old PC is now directly across from the bedroom door. While re-hooking up an old (rarely used) webcam I thought I could now use it to keep an eye on our kids since both of their bedroom doors are now visible through our open door.

My son is confused as hell as to now we now "see" him annoying his sister or playing in the upstairs hall when he's supposed to be doing homework or getting ready for bed. :-)
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 4th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the joys of parenting. :)
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