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January 23, 2004

Cool technology in the real world

The oil burner stopped working the other night. It got a little chilly in the house that night. The next morning the service guy arrived to make us warm again.

After doing a bunch of oil-burner-geek things to the furnace, he fired it up and began to tune it for best efficiency.

He did this with a handheld device that had a long metal probe attached. The probe went into the chimney stack and he fiddled with the furnace controls while watching the LCD readouts.

Of course, being a big geek myself, I was mostly interested in this cool handheld gadget. I knew that the final step of these measurements would be to print out the numbers on a small slip of paper, so I was looking at this device trying to see if there was a printer built into it. I couldn't see anything like that.

I got to thinking about how he was gonna get this printout. It seemed that if he had to get out a printer, plug in a cable, and maybe power too, it would be pretty awkward.

Just at I was thinking this, he reached into the carry-case and pulled out another handheld device. It was a printer. He held it next to the first device and pressed a button. A slip of paper slid out of the printer. It was a wireless connection! Very elegant.

We've been hearing about these types of wireless connections for a few years now. Bluetooth cellphone headsets, having you digital camera talk to your laptop while it's still in your backpack, things like that. It's always seemed to me that these things were mostly geeky cool things, and not really all that worth the cost. But these oil burner devices are a great example of how short-range wireless connections can be very useful and practical.

Posted by jghiii at January 23, 2004 11:39 AM
Posted by: MGA on January 23, 2004 01:10 PM

That's what I get for servicing my own burner. I miss all the cool geeky stuff.

Posted by: Jack's mom on January 23, 2004 04:59 PM

You may miss out on the geeky stuff, but think of the money you save.

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