back to article Man hooks home into Twitter

A computer engineer has connected his home to social networking service Twitter, enabling it to Tweet him with updates about his residence’s electricity and water consumption. Andy Stanford-Clark, 43, has fitted wireless sensors onto household items scattered around his 16th Century thatched cottage on the Isle of Wight, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Well whadaya know a title IS required..

    "Perhaps he then drives home to switch the heater off..."


  2. Anonymous Coward


    Twittering is bad enough! But to wire your home up so some bored halfwit can comment on your daily power usage is taking this too far!

    Time for a Chinese type censorship on all twitter related subjects!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I'm so glad

    I have never and hopefully will never meet the man.

  4. Robert Brockway

    Why twitter?

    An email to SMS gateway would work just as well and would have the added advantage of being private.

  5. EddieD

    Bit of overkill surely?

    Okay, I'll freely confess to not being a Twit, and I do think its a neat idea, but surely you could just set the monitoring software to e-mail you directly (on your mobile, no doubt) in the same way my servers and printers do, and cut out the middle twits?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Interesting but ultimately useless

    Well done for innovative idea, bog off cause it's completely useless

  7. John Macintyre

    then receives a “bathroom heater turned on”

    followed by:

    "The home is now empty"

    "Unknown has just walked in"

    "tv is leaving house with unknown"

    "house is now empty. Ikea catalogue left by door"


  8. peldritch


    "There will come soft rains..."

  9. Benedict


    This guy has a family?

  10. Sooty


    turning off the wireless sensors as well as the computer/router used to recieve and post to the net would provide significant energy savings, not to mention turning off the mobile phone recieving the tweets.

    Rather more consistant in saving energy, compared to just knowing that someone has switched your bathroom heater on wherever you happen to be in the world.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So he has cut his electricity bill, but what about his phone bill?

  12. Tzael

    Future improvements...

    Can you imagine the toaster from Red Dwarf with a Twitter account? for reference...

  13. Jerome 0

    Stop it

    I use Twitter myself, but I'm utterly sick of seeing these non-stories - I'd rather have yet another iPhone article (and that's saying something).

    Home automation is nothing new, neither is hooking it into the internet. People were doing this stuff well over a decade ago. Doing it on Twitter does not make it news, no matter how much the mainstream press loves to jizz all over Twitter at the moment.

    It's sad to see El Reg sinking to this level. It's no different to the whole Second Life thing. They disappeared off the publicity-radar pretty damn swiftly, Twitter will follow suit soon enough.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Phone home and shout at whoever turned that @#$? bathroom heater on. And turn those lights off and shut the doors... good grief were you lot born in a barn!!!???

  15. Dark Ian

    The answer to the World's problems?

    I swear people are just looking for excuses to retrofit Tw@tter to their otherwise disinteresting lives. This guy has 'custom' software - why does he need Twitter? Should corporations leave gaps in their software systems so that Twitter can join the party??

  16. Timo

    will it tell the thieves when nobody is home

    House is now empty.


    2pm Tuesday: front door opens. man enters. Upstairs lights turned on. Upstairs lights turned off. Bed rocking.

    (I'm trying to show here that the man is out working, and someone visits the wife.)

    Reminds me of a "Venture Bros" episode where an alien lands onsite to observe. But he keeps screaming "IGNORE ME".

  17. Sir Adam-All

    what ???

    simply really really sad.

    Twitter is just crap and for lonely people with no friends.

    Get a life.

  18. Lord of Dogtown

    wide shagging neighbour

    What a bore. MSN who can afford leccy goes green. Wife reverts back to batteries

  19. Nick 6

    Just the presentation layer

    Twitter is just a presentation channel. And its 'news' because its free to send and free to receive. Taking the more public example of the RedFunnel ferries instrumentation: Twittering it (sorry, OK 'tweeting' , arghhhh) effectively disintermediates the SMS services which would otherwise be happily charging you 50p for a service update message. Yes you could do the same by updating statuses on a web page, or fetching them from a webservice, but you may as well tap into a bigger general infrastructure rather than run that part yourself.

    AFAIK not inviting/expecting others to subscribe, apart from those interested in the end-to-end solution - its definately not a "listen to the minutiae of my life" situation like most Twits. Focussing on the surfacing of the events to today's fad (Twitter) is just the media's obsession. Instead the real IT story is about instrumentation - more sensors than actuators but the latter will rise when you subscribe to a twitter channel in the other direction.

    Most disappointing is the fact he doesn't have a dog called Gromit.

  20. Craig Collier

    misdirected ambition

    why not just email himself, write to a log or sms to hsi phone, why go the the lengths of twittering your house's activities to the world?

    As if hearing about what the world + dog are doing at 11.20am on the toilet isn't enough

  21. northern monkey


    No shit, Sherlock!

  22. Annihilator Silver badge

    Next message

    "The mobile phone has run out of batteries"

    "There is a power cut"

  23. Christopher Martin

    @"Why twitter?"

    Obviously he wanted attention - tech journalists aren't allowed to write stories that don't involve twitter.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    this is instead of

    having friends. Family? Does a hamster count as family?

  25. Peyton 1

    my guess

    "But it’s not clear exactly how a Twitter notification that his bathroom heater’s just been turned on helps Stanford-Clark reduce energy use."

    That's step 1 of his energy savings plan. Step 2 involves calling up his kids and shouting "Turn off that damned bathroom heater!!"

  26. Anonymous Coward


    he's gone and blocked his updates from public view !

  27. Sterling Udell

    Can't believe nobody's said anything yet...

    ..about a central tweeting system?

    Or maybe it just hasn't made it past the Moderatrix.

  28. Neur0mancer


    What a twidiot.

  29. Dave_H

    He is just so far behind the times

    We automated our offices in the early 90’s.

    The keyfob for the door, recognized who you were and turned on all the lights on the route to your office if it was dark, or undid the curtains if it was light and your PC was freshly booted by the time you got there. Lights, etc. could all be controlled by voice activation, via your PC or remotely via the ‘phone.

    One of the demonstrations that we used to do was take a picture of an office, turn on the lights, open the curtains, etc. take another picture and check that it had occurred via a mobile ‘phone on the other side of the world.

    It was neat in the early 90’s, but boring now – has a hack been reading their ‘History of Pervasive Computing’ book again?

  30. Neil Alexander
    Thumb Up

    "Perhaps he then drives home to switch the heater off"

    In his Prius, of course.

  31. Bod

    Far more fun...

    ... surely would be having a twitter feed.

    Then you can see the shit from each twitterer, live!

    (I can't check right now, I'm at work. Maybe they do have twitter already).

  32. Joe User

    House announcement

    "Your wife is shagging the pool boy."

  33. Anonymous Coward

    This is clever, but...

    I propose a new word for people that excessively use Twitter for things like this.. "Tweetards"

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now he just needs to rig up some sensors in his toilet

    to take all the hassle and stress out of posting those "I am taking a shit" twats that are oh-so-important.

    I love how rapidly the Twitter backlash has come.

  35. Dave Wallace

    Home Tweet Home

    Is where the twibe lives.

  36. blackworx

    What a complete and utter


  37. Anonymous Coward

    Energy usage

    Does this show how much energy hes using doing said activites. Would be interesting to see.

    But really. If he wanted a web connected house. He should have had an interface to turn the heating/water and lights on or off.

    Fun when it gets hacked tho

    Ive seen a companies air conditioning system online once.

  38. LaeMi Qian

    Face it!

    This house is probably far more interesting to follow on twitter than most of the people on there.

  39. Anonymous Coward


    Reposted as Firefox crashed, apologies if this appears twice.

    @andy_house has always been blocked from public view. Logical as it's for his own information, not for anyone and everyone to see when he's out of the house.

    As far as I know, Twitter is the delivery mechanism; the real story is the monitoring infrastructure he has built. Twitter is just a convenient and free notification system with a simple API. It's not purely for the publicity.

    There's a lot of personal attacks in these comments. I thought this was an IT website... personally I'm more interested in how he's set up this system than making jibes about how few friends he must have. Do people seriously still think that geeks are always sad loners? A bit of quick internet research shows that this guy does some pretty interesting work, why attack him for happening to use a technology you personally hate?

    If you do hate geeks, why not piss off back to the Daily Mail comments section of this story (where this article seems to have been copied from anyway - check Google news). If you dig a bit further (isn't that a journalist's job?) to find the original interview with the BBC, you'll also find that the system helped him make some obvious energy/resource savings such as notifying him when the hose is left on. More feedback from energy meters than a simple dial sounds darn useful to me.

    No, I'm not (Dr) Stanford-Clark and don't know him. And these new icons are all very nice but I want a 'all comments above appear to have been thumped in by the thick, sweaty fingers of shouty inbreds' icon :)

  40. richard 7


    SO the same as the system I've been running for 5 years, ecept for 2 things

    1) I dont feel the need to know the moment a gnat farts in the house

    2) It talks to a mysql backend that ONLY updates me via plain boring email/sms when something goes wrong.

    Oh, and I've installed about 40 of these systems two. Just because it uses twatter it must be news.

  41. The Mighty Spang
    Jobs Horns

    nice test of error handling

    now that twitter has gone titsup again over some old 80s star apparantly dieing. heaven forbid how it would hold up when something fucking important happened.

    picture of evil steve because... meh... i have to use his bloody toy operating system just to use Final Cut Pro because "everybody uses it" apart from that being marginally more shit than every other video editing package out there. menu always at the top was an ok idea when dont have an apple 30inch fucking screen. and no menu accellerators like wot windows does, its remember the mental keystrokes time...

    could somebody fund me for 3 or 4 years to write a decent bloody video editing package? seriously you'd be nominated for the nobel prize.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    but think of the children?!?!?!

    What would Paris say?

  43. Ozwadi Ogolugi


    He has to be single!!!!!

  44. Stephen Byrne
    Thumb Down

    One way pointlessness

    Unless it can work two ways - you get a text telling you the heating came on, oops, forgot to turn it off, text back "HEATING OFF" and have it turn off - then it's utterly pointless.

  45. HFoster


    Surely a Jabber server and compatible mobile app would be just as good? Plus there'd be no need to worry about Twitter's security.

    Not that notifications of heaters being switched on would be of much use or interest to Twitter hackers.

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