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By (February 17, 2009) ()

Objects, by Octavio Paz

They live alongside us,
We do not know them, they do not know us.
But sometimes they speak with us.

In Bleecker’s, ‘A Manifesto for Networked Objects — Cohabiting with Pi-
geons, Arphids and Aibos in the Internet of Things’, the author talks about objects that blog.

Upon reading this, I couldn’t help but to think about the prospect of networking everything that I own to mesh of PHP scripts. The idea that ordinary objects are capable of self-awareness is one that can help to restructure the way designers approach their work. I began to synthesis this idea by making lists of how this idea could facilitate common tasks:

  1. Dresser capable of querying the weather in an effort to suggest an appropriate outfit.  If each item of clothing was tagged, the user would know how many times each article of clothing was worn (and the dates). The dresser could also provide information on where to find similar types of clothes.
  2. Refrigerator that keeps track of food items. It could also provide recipes, nutritional value and expiration dates.
  3. Cars could blog about the condition of each component and could alert users when service is recommended. If there is a problem, the car could automatically receive quotes from local auto shops (and could tell me how to get there). If cars could blog to other cars and objects in the road, perhaps they could drive themselves!
  4. Fish tanks could blog about the water quality in the tank and could alert a lazy fish owner to change the water.

While I could list many more obvious applications, I’m interested more in how this idea translates to common programming practices. I’m currently developing iPhone applications using Objective-C. The interesting thing about using this language is that it is largely based on ‘messaging’. IPhone programming uses this idea of ‘blogging objects’ to manage the states of every interface component in the view. When a user interacts with an object, the object blogs about the interaction. These messages are received by methods that act upon these messages. This idea of blogging objects is the basis for object oriented programming.


February 17, 2009


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