Back in July, we told you about a trio of Atlanta-area families that would take a set of internet-connected washer and dryers, erm, for a spin. For eight weeks, the families lived with Laundry Time, the Internet Home Alliance's trial of washer and driers, which notified families their whites are brighter via television, PC, or cellphone. As much as we'd love to be alerted as to when our spin cycle is done by text message, it turns out that the non-gadget-on-the-brain folks don't really take to it; of the three methods, only alert-by-television seemed to work well, and most found the cellphone messages too confusing. However, one participant, Lisa Gunning of Roswell, Georgia, pretty much summed up what we long for in such a system: "I love the pop-up notifications as I tend to forget everything when I am working . . . even when I'm not watching TV, one of the kids will come and remind me." The trial basically would seem to be pretty much a bust for Whirlpool, HP, Microsoft, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, who funded the whole operation.

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