Since my last post a few days ago, I’ve been actively working on a kitchen internet display, which comprises of a digital display and application shown on screen.
The bulk of the work has been on the application, since I am developing a simple webpage to display in fullscreen mode:
It’s extremely basic right now. For starters, I just wanted the calendar day visible, as well as the current day’s high and low temperatures.
Remember, this display will be either in a corner, or perched up on something, so it needs to be readable from a good distance. I am not that concerned with the design of the webpage – I just want clearly readable information that can be noticed at a glance.
For the display hardware itself, I had an old netbook lying around that wasn’t getting use. The screen is a tad smaller than the iPad, but large enough to see from a short distance in my small kitchen. The netbook also has a monitor port, so I can connect a much larger monitor to it (after I buy it, of course – I don’t have one lying around).
Why this is useful to me
The calendar date is useful to me because I’m often checking expiration dates on food products in the fridge. I never seem to remember the actual calendar date, and none of my kitchen devices display the date – just the time (microwave, oven, coffee pot, etc).
Rather than looking for my mobile device (“where did I leave it last??”), or retreating to another room to look at a computer for the date, I can just quickly glance over to my kitchen internet display.
If you ask me, the kitchen is currently the least web/technical/connected room in the house, yet the most potential lies in this room for a good internet information service.
Regarding the weather, it’s probably obvious why this is useful, at a glance, but I should make one thing clear: when I’m at home, I’m less likely to carry around my mobile device – instead I typically set it down somewhere, and it stays there for a while. (Why carry it around from room to room?)
So an internet display, as I am describing, is useful because we need information at a glance, while in the house, not from our pockets. Even though there are many useful weather apps that exist for mobile devices, they are completely useless unless I have my device on me at all times.
Technical application details
Regarding the actual webpage I created, I have started with simply the current date, time, and the day’s high and low temperatures.
The idea is to never have to manually refresh the internet display – it should refresh on it’s own to provide a seamless viewing experience.
The date, time, and weather may seem pretty dull, eh? I agree.
I have future plans to add many other data streams to my kitchen internet display:
- Last Foursquare check-in for my wife and I. (I’ll always know where she is, at a glance.)
- Last Facebook status update for my wife and I.
- Sports scores.
- Upcoming calendar events from Google Calendar.
The possibilities are endless, really.