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January 18th, 2000

New Adventures in Net-Fi

The Housewares Show is in Chicago again, and that means that all sorts of new gadgets and goodies will be coming our way soon. Something that I finally got to see, after bated breath, was Sharp’s net-ready microwave. Now that I’ve seen how it works, I think it’s not a half-bad idea.

The microwave proper doesn’t stray from looking like Your Current Microwave. Instead of the 0-9 buttons, however, you have a touchscreen about 3" x 5". The microwave comes with an external box, which has some clever name, which you can connect to your PC.

So let’s say you’re like me and you can’t cook your way out of a paper bag. But, you have a hot date coming over and you want to impress her by cooking an entire meal – pasta primavera is a nice choice. No problem! Simply hook up your laptop to the microwave’s box. Dial up Sharp’s site and download the entire info file on pasta primavera. Once it’s in the box, it’ll be downloaded over to the microwave.

Once the microwave has this information, you can view the ingredient list in its entirety on the screen. If you have everything, the display will then change to show you the actual instructions on making the dish. Whenever you need to heat anything, you can "step out" of the instructions and use the microwave – which will be fully programmed for the right temperature and time.

So, I think it’s pretty neat.

Let’s say, though, you just want to make some popcorn. This is a downside: you have to download the proper info file from Sharp on that, too, instead of just punching in 3 minutes on high. Allegedly; this is what the spokesperson said.

Who knew that the net could ever be used in this way? -pm

Posted in Technology

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