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Build Your Own Wireless Beer Pitcher Monitoring System 184

Willy K. writes "Technology comes to the rescue when disaster strikes and your pitcher runneth dry. These Cornell students have rigged up beer pitchers that wirelessly advertise to the central serving station when they are empty, prompting alert wait staff to bring another round." Add a few steins and you're all set.
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Build Your Own Wireless Beer Pitcher Monitoring System

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  • by timmi ( 769795 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:44PM (#9091391)
    is an automated system to refill it!
    • by the_rajah ( 749499 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:03AM (#9091474) Homepage
      From their web page: "The FCC sets aside frequencies between 420 MHz and 450 MHz for Amateur use, thus we are complying with the standard by transmitting our signal at 433MHz." IAHRO (I'm a ham radio operator - for 46 years.) It is fine to transmit on 433 MHz IF they have an FCC license and the transmitter identifies it's call sign at the proper interval. Otherwise, it's not legal.

      Amateur radio does not mean unlicensed. Getting a license is very easy. Check with your local ham radio club for details or visit http://www.arrl.org/
      • No FCC problem (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dr. Mu ( 603661 )
        Though I'm no regulatory expert in the matter, I've seen numerous unlicensed devices operating at 433 MHz. As long as they adhere to Part 15 [gpo.gov] of the FCC rules, they're likely okay.
        • Re:No FCC problem (Score:3, Informative)

          by n6mod ( 17734 )
          There is in fact a section of part 15 (don't remember it now, sorry) that permits very, very low power transmission on VHF and UHF frequencies. Garage Door openers and the like. 433MHz has become popular for weather stations and similar devices.

          73 de N6MOD
      • by djplurvert ( 737910 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @08:04AM (#9092578)
        First of all, I too am a ham and hold a "new" extra ticket in case anyone cares.

        Many hams seem to not understand Part 15 [arrl.org] which allows unlicensed operation in almost ANY part of the spectrum. In particular, there are only a very few specific frequency ranges where "intentional radiation" governed by part 15 is not allowed. This simply means that you are building a device which is intended to be a transmitter as opposed to being one accidentally. Computers, for example, transmit accidentally and are therefore goverened by part 15.

        There are also specific ranges, such as those used by wireless phones and 802.11b, where there are bands set aside with specific restrictions on power, antenna size, etc.

        Even if there is no such range in the 430mhz band one can still use that band as long as you restrict the field strength of your transmitter to 200 microvolts/meter measured at a distance of three meters from the antenna. From a practical perspective this is a transmitter that if placed inside a small building probably would not radiate significantly beyond the walls of the building.

        Part 15 transmission should not intefere with licensed transmissions and hams are very protective of their hard won spectrum space. Thus hams seem to frequenly speak out against unlicensed usage even when it might not be warrented as they have experienced significant inteference and spectrum space loss over the years. While it doesn't necessarily sound like this is inappropriate use of 430mhz, whenever you are operating close to ham bands it would behove you to be sure you are operating within the bounds of the law. Not becuase "it's the law", but because hams are very protective and self-policing and you are more likely to get a complaint than if you are in one of the specific part-15 ranges.

        On the other hand, the comments on here that suggest it's no big deal to cause interference seem to reflect the general ignorance of slashdot in regards to radio/electronics. Before you start talking about "leaky transmitters" sic, and rules you have never read, perhaps you should go read a book or two on the subject.

    • One word: (Score:4, Funny)

      by momerath2003 ( 606823 ) * on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:14AM (#9091524) Journal
    • Oh no...drunk people spilling beer is bad enough. Malfunctioning machines spewing it everywhere?


    • These "college students" forgot one thing. They need to tweak that trigger angle. Never wait til the pitcher's completely empty to order the next one. Sheesh. Kids these days . . .
    • Automated? Hell no. This would be perfect for the next computer game playing adapted to real life [slashdot.org]!

      Who's up for a game of Tapper [shockwave.com]?
  • Hahahaha (Score:4, Funny)

    by (1337) God ( 653941 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:45PM (#9091392)
    In combination with this earlier pizza story [slashdot.org] from tonight, this should make for an interesting evening!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:45PM (#9091396)
    ...that a cut-down shotgun get's the attention of the bar staff..
  • by WordODD ( 706788 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:47PM (#9091405)
    This is probably the most useful "college student" invention post I have seen on the front page of Slashdot in a long time. As a former bar manager this would be something I would purchase with very few refinements. If this ever goes past the "gee thats neat stage" and becomes a real product it could be a must have for numberous establishments.
  • by MikeDawg ( 721537 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:48PM (#9091408) Homepage Journal
    How is this so dramatically different from the author's previous stated stein [bbc.co.uk] post? Does the original [slashdot.org] story differ that much from stein to pitcher? You'd think the original empty stein could be very easily modified to fit on to a pitcher, and voila! a wireless pitcher that would notify bar personnel that your pitcher is empty.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki.cox@net> on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:48PM (#9091409)
    it's called living in Vegas. The only place where "last call" even exists are in "family" establishments.
    • I unfortunatly live in Michigan that has a 2.00 am pub closing rule. Most states bordering have at least a 4.00 am closing I think. At the same time the state governer is now thinking about why their cities aren't seen as "hip" cities. I know closing hours aren't the whole story, but it tells alot about the attitude of the Michigan. Detroit is the birth place of techno, yet officially no club can open past 2:00pm. Conversly no head-line dj from around the worl usually come on on till at least 1:30 am in mos
      • Don't forget that the drinking age in Ontario (right across the border) is 19. Last call time for alcohol is still 2am, but all the 19 and 20 year olds who can't legally drink in Detroit head to Windsor. And they bring their over 21 friends with them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why the very thought of anyone drinking such a low class beverage has CAUSED MY MONOCLE TO POP RIGHT OUT! And really, who drinks beer in this day and age anyway? Everyone should drink only expensive wine and scotch.

    Why just the other day my chauffer took a wrong turn off of the freeway and pulled me past this run down little liquor store where this shabby looking man (who by the way was driving a Pontiac! A PONTIAC!!!) who hadn't shaved for a couple of days was walking out with a bottle of Johnny Walker Re
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stevenbdjr ( 539653 ) <steven@mrchuckles.net> on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:51PM (#9091422) Homepage
    Funny, I always thought that was the job of a good bar maid...
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      BEER WENCHES dude.

    • Everyone has their own fetish. (I prefer the mountain dew hoe, as a friend of mine had at a lan party of his)
    • by Jerf ( 17166 )
      Show me the bar maid that checks the status of the pitcher once per second (if I'm reading the FA correctly) and I'll agree this is an unnecessary innovation.

      "In the life-or-death field of bar tending, seconds count." - sounds like a pitch for ER meets Cheers.
  • I have an idea... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What about just using a simple mercury switch that is tripped when the pitcher is tipped to a certain point?
  • Dupe? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:56PM (#9091441) Homepage
    So since this is a dupe, do they bring you two pitches of beer?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:56PM (#9091442)
    The server station consists of an LCD and an array of control buttons that reset the meter, change the table number, and reset the pitcher count. So now I need an engineering degree just to serve beer?
    • Good lord. I have tough enough time working electronic devices after a few pints. Refilling pitcher number three could be a +serious+ challenge...
  • Overkill? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:57PM (#9091448) Homepage
    It's interesting and all, but isn't it overkill? I mean they are using an accelerometer! Couldn't a simple CDS photocell detect when the thing is empty based on the ammount of light filtering through what's left of the beer? Seems like it would be simple to calibrate. Just take one, fill it up with the maximim ammount of beer before a refill is called for (since you may have a tiny bit left when it's still "empty"). Set it on a table and press a button, it's callibrated. Even a simple mercury switch could probably be set up to do this reliably without needing an accelerometer. And if you were willing to permantly modify the container, you could do more like a small float, tiny bits of metal on the side so you could use conductivity to figure it out, a pressure sensor (beer weighs more than air), etc.

    I'm not denying that their idea works, it just seems there is probably an easier (or at least cheaper) way.

    • Messure weight (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:18AM (#9091546) Homepage
      That's all you have to do. Just messure the decrease in weight. Why do they have to make it anymore complicated in it needs to be? *sigh*

      KISS everyone. Keep It Simple Stupid

      • That's all you have to do. Just measure the decrease in weight. Why do they have to make it any more complicated in it needs to be? *sigh*

        It's not really that simple, though. You'd need some sort of force sensor in the bottom of a pitcher, like a spring. The problem is that the force would change all the time: when you lift and lower the pitcher (think of the force on your feet in an accelerating elevator), when it bangs on the table, when it tilts, etc. You could add some sort of timer to make sure t

      • Speaking of which, know of any low cost electronic scales?
    • The amount of light filtering through would be affected by the type of beer (light or dark) or if it even was beer. There method does not depend on the contents of the pitcher.
    • I'd imagine that unless you're serving very dark beer, using a simple photocell or light sensor would be difficult...seeing how ambient light can vary within an indoor environment such as a bar.

      You could use an electro-optical fluid level sensor (such as shown here: http://www.gemssensors.com/electrooptical.htm) but it would most certainly bring the total cost of the project higher. (Gems Sensors cost between $20-$300+ at Digikey)
      • Re:Overkill? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b!arg ( 622192 )
        Or how about putting a button at the table that says "Beer Me" when your done and forget the pitcher altogether. You know, like the flight attendant button. :)
    • Re:Overkill? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by randyest ( 589159 )
      I disagree; it's underkill.

      They had a 2D accelerometer that could measure in X and Y directions, but used a pitcher to force a given plane of tilt (determined by the handle/spout axis) and just looked at the X reading, ignoring Y.

      They should use both measurements and put it on regular drinking glasses as well -- the same device would work on a pitcher, glass, or most drinking containers no matter what orientation (within the X-Y, or horizontal plane) it was mounted. Their system needs the "X" axis o
    • Even a simple mercury switch could probably be set up to do this reliably without needing an accelerometer.

      Do you really believe that the FDA would allow mercury anywhere near something that's going to be consumed...DOH!
    • They used an assumption that always holds true. One way or another, a horizontal beer pitcher is empty. The other sensors have failure modes: locally bright light, beer sloshing away from the sensor, droplet left over on the sensor, apparent weight changes due to inertia, movement tripping the mercury switch.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How is this different from shouting WERE OUTTA BEER! at the top of your lungs?
    • Nice idea! ...so we should find some way to pack 4 seconds of digital audio into these little Atmel chips, connect up some DACs, feed it into a nice bridged amplifier and speaker, and voila!
  • by Intocabile ( 532593 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:59PM (#9091457)
    I like my beers handed to me not thrown.
  • by VT_hawkeye ( 33442 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:00AM (#9091459) Homepage Journal
    As a former ham (still got the license, but haven't done anything with it in years), it's kinda depressing to see that they don't even know what amateur radio [arrl.org] is -- which led them to illegally use the 70-cm UHF band, thinking "amateur" meant "do whatever you want".

    They needed a frequency in an unlicensed or research/experimental band.
  • by h0tblack ( 575548 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:00AM (#9091461)
    We used the a priori knowledge that when a pitcher is empty the pitcher's bottom is perpendicular to the ground..... There is a direct correlation between the maximum angle the pitcher has reached and the volume still in the pitcher.
    Could this be modifed to:
    We used the a priori knowledge that when a punter is full the punter's bottom is parallel with the ground..... There is a direct correlation between the maximum angle the punter has reached and the volume still in the pitcher.
    Could be a good way to easily tell when you've had to much ;)
  • Tips (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:01AM (#9091465) Homepage
    I recognize the fact that I'm in college and don't tend to spend a lot of money on food so I over tip (sometimes the amount of the meal) when the (usually) waitress does a good job. At places like Chili's or Ruby Tuesday's a plate usually doesn't go much over $7. 15% is barely a $1.00. She does pretty much the same amount of work regardless of how expensive my plate is so I usually don't tip less than $5. I've also worked food service so I know what the job is like.

    This is nice for personal parties when there's a lot going on but it's not encouraging to patrons who busted their ass all day and now get to watch the waitresses or whoever sit in the back getting paid to watch the beer indicator.

    When I worked as a host for birthday parties at a kid's pizza place, the pitchers where the excuse to keep myself visible to the parents and active in the party in order to get a larger tip. You fill the pitchers before they become empty and while you're doing that you talk to the parents and see what else you can do for them.

    In the food business that's the way it works. The more involved with the customers you are, the better the tip. So although a nice novelty, it could have a negative impact on the tip for those who use it to try to make their job "easier."

    • waitresses or whoever sit in the back getting paid to watch the beer indicator.

      Not really. Whenever you don't have something else to do, check the monitor. If someone needs a refill, go do it. No need for constant monitoring.

      • No need for constant monitoring.

        If the beer pitcher is wireless, why can't the monitor be wireless too? The waiter/waitress could just carry around a "pager" that lit up a table number when the pitcher was empty. No sitting around. No lack of visibility. Just more efficient. (Granted, I'm sure there are drawbacks...to actually implement this thing you'd have to do more market analysis)

        Now if some restaurant actually gets this, the first thing to do is figure out how to trick it. Then you can call

  • by momerath2003 ( 606823 ) * on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:01AM (#9091466) Journal
    This is michael posting. Shouldn't this article be under YRO? I mean, think of the privacy applications of having a device monitor your beer consumption. Frankly, this is pretty frightening, and, though I may be putting on my tin foil hat here a bit, I think it's safe to say that this is another drastic setback for modern privacy rights.
    • the bartender is already watching how much you drink. They're required to do so by law. If a patron gets drunk in your bar and goes out and kills somebody because of their drunkeness, the bar can be held liable.

      There's also a beer drinking indicator called a "tab." It's this piece of paper that keeps track of how many drinks you've had and how much you owe the place.

      • I guess you couldn't tell I was writing satire: usually michael tends to waaay over-exaggerate things in the privacy department. Usually half the stuff he posts has nothing to do with privacy but he puts it under "YRO" anyway along with some ridiculous troll/spin.
      • If a patron gets drunk in your bar and goes out and kills somebody because of their drunkeness, the bar can be held liable.

        US only, where freedom is about taking pictures of your naked pow's.
        God, what a wonderful country, I'm eagerly waiting for my greencard from the lottery.

  • is my eyeballs.

    If I see it's empty, I fill it.

  • This is useless... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sugar and acid ( 88555 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:06AM (#9091487)
    ...as real pubs don't have wait staff, they have bar staff who you ask for a new jug/pitcher from when and if you need one. If y

    The most annoying though is guys in the toilet in some bars that are there for the sack of tips. I mean really I know how to wash my hands, and dry them to. The're only reason as far as I can see is to basically squirt soup on my hands and after washin my hands to dry with paper towels, and then for me to give a tip for a task I could have completed in half the time if I had done it by myself. In fact I consider very tacky for a bar to do this, it insults the intellgence and cleanliness of its clients.
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by physicsphairy ( 720718 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:08AM (#9091498) Homepage
    Build Your Own Wireless Beer Pitcher Monitoring System

    Well, I guess that's definitely a step forward from the (now) antequated "Plug-in Beer Pitcher Monitoring System." Sure, you can get around the bar if you bring an extension cord, but don't spill your beer on any open leads. Drunk geeks make excellent ground connections.

  • didn't they have one of these things that notified about the coke machine being empty pre-dot-com-boom?
  • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:17AM (#9091540) Journal
    Much like the invention of the sword required the invention of the sheath, or the invention of the engine required the invention of the brakes...

    ... the invention of the CLI pizza interface [slashdot.org] requires the invention of the wireless beer pitcher monitor!

  • by zymurgy_cat ( 627260 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:19AM (#9091551) Homepage
    From the project site:

    1. Accept responsibility in making engineering decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment. We realize that our project could appear to be unsafe because it encourages drinking and the continuation of purchasing beverages.

    Why must everything involving alcohol (at least in the US) automatically assume at one point or another that drinking = bad? All this does is let you (or rather, the wait staff) know your pitcher is empty for a refill. I fail to see how it "encourages" excessive drinking (which is implied). When I go to a restaraunt and the waiter/waitress asks if I'd like a beer, is he/she "encouraging" me to drink excessively? Is he/she "encouraging" me to drink excessively when asking if I want another beer when my current beer is almost empty?
    • This is a class, and they're required to talk about the ethics involved. Of course they're going to make up some bullshit to convince the graders that they thought about it and spent a lot of time on it.

      Seriously though, engineering firms have to consider things like this. It's common practice, and it's the reason that most people think as highly of engineers as they do. If your firm is selling this to a marketing firm, you should inform them of any ethics issues like this. In this project they're not

    • Why must everything involving alcohol (at least in the US) automatically assume at one point or another that drinking = bad?

      Perhaps because it actually is?

      I'm aware that this may sound inflammatory, but technically alcohol is a hard drug -- ie: you get physiologically (?) addicted to it. Even though it is a socially accepted drug, my guess is that it causes more trouble than all other drugs combined, with the exception of perhaps nicotine/cigarettes. So a 'caveat emptor' is definitely in place...

      The on

  • Seems like Michael has something on his mind. First the Command Line Pizza and now the Auto Replenish Beer.

    Guesses for next subject - Barf Bags, Taxi Rides Home, Diet Trends?
  • Solid! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:23AM (#9091569) Homepage
    Now this is a solid Slashdot story. None of this duplication bullshit, none of this silly Microsoft vs. Linux garbage. True technology by geeks for geeks. News for nerds that matters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:27AM (#9091582)
    I think we all wish our lab partners were as hot as this chic!!! [cornell.edu]
    Now we know the true intentions for the beer pitcher project!

    *shameless pickup line* Hot chic...if you read this, email me!!!! I like beer too!
  • by DrSchlock ( 762271 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:34AM (#9091602)

    The same problem can also be solved by measuring capacitance of the glass across the remaining fluid. (I don't really understand this, but I'm believe it's fairly simple.)

    The article references this, in fact.

    http://www.merl.com/projects/iGlassware [merl.com]
  • ...prompting alert wait staff to bring another round

    If the wait staff was alert, then you wouldn't need the pitcher to tell them it was empty!

  • This is not a new invention. Mitsubishi Electric has done this before: iGlassware [merl.com]

    The Japanese version does not require batteries in the glasses or pitchers.
  • #define begin {
    #define end }

    OMFG. Are these guys for real? What's next:

    #define procedure void

    Or better yet
    #define := =
    #define = ==

    • eh... those damned { and } get nasty.. especially on my monitor (kinda tiny dpi, hard to tell { from ( and ) from } ).

      I kinda like their defines in this case. It makes it a bit more human readable, even if it's really unorthadox. Not that I'm gonna go change how I program, but it's always good to see someone else's art at work ;)
    • That was actually from code provided by the professor of the class. The reason was that there were problems differentiating the square brackets from the curly ones in the font that was used in the IDE. The font basically differentiated the two by having one extra pixel for the curly braces. Personally I didn't need to use those defines, since I changed the font...
  • Great, so now instead of paying a person to make the rounds and ensure everyone has a supply of beer we can replace them with a machine. Whatever can't be outsourced..
    • Great, so now instead of paying a person to make the rounds and ensure everyone has a supply of beer we can replace them with a machine.

      Umm, since it is usually the same person that walks around making sure everyone's mug is full and actually filling the mugs this will result in zero job losses. What it WILL result in is more efficiency and less time wasted by staff walking around looking for empty mugs to fill.

  • by toothfish ( 596936 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @12:51AM (#9091662) Journal
    To be really useful, the notifiaction ought to take into account the temp of the beer (if it's room temp, it's probably not being actively drunk-- abandoned/empty/etc), weird angles on the bar table, and (most importantly) time (if it's 1:45, there are going to be a whole lot of beeping pitchers, but only a few will need refilling-- and those few will have to be refilled asap).

    The time thing is probably the most important-- maybe prioritize based on previous purchases or your local ABC laws, etc.
  • The next step (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ty_Webb ( 729466 )
    But does it advertise to the central server the precise brand or type of brew you were drinking?

    Oh the possibilities...
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Saturday May 08, 2004 @01:31AM (#9091764)
    This is an incredibly good idea. I think every bar needs to use these. Quick response and low latency is of critical importance when you're trying to get drunk.

    Now all we need is method and apparatus, er, that is, a solenoid-operated tap controlled through a command line utility that works in most UNIX shells, so we can refill our pitchers or glasses from our keyboard. It might look something like this:

    refill -v=pint -b=guinness

    (It would be similar to the Pizza Party [beigerecords.com] utility advertised in another of /.'s stories posted tonight [slashdot.org], except it would refill beer instead of ordering pizzas. The -b option would use a flat text file to map beer names to tap numbers for maximum convenience.)

    Then, we could create a beer glass or pitcher monitoring daemon, beerd, which would invoke refill every time the pitcher empties, sending as the -b argument the name of the beer with which beerd was originally invoked.

    I can see it already: U.S. Patent #287542384328092840234, Method and Apparatus for Refilling a Beer Pitcher or Glass Through a UNIX Command Line Utility, and U.S. Patent #234823084932842843492, Method and Apparatus for Providing a GUI Frontend to the Beer Refilling Command Line Utility. (The GNOME version would be called Geer, the KDE version would be called Keer, RMS would insist that names of beer should be changed to GNU/Guinness, etc.) And, needless to say, U.S. Patent #234823084932842843493, Method and Apparatus for Automatically Invoking the Beer Refilling Command Line Utility, After Optionally Displaying a Dialog Box that Reads, "Are You Sure You Want Another Pitcher, You've Already Had Ten Beers Tonight?" With The Yes And No Buttons Moving Around So The Drunk Can't Click On Them.

    Then, we'll sue Darl for infringing on our patents when he's drinking his depression away after SCO crashes and burns. (What a waste of perfectly good beer.)

    And as if this isn't enough, we'll invent Pay Per Drink, a system whereby you get a keg of Guinness and a tap installed in your home for free, and when you activate the tap, a charge will be made to your credit card through the Internet. Brings new meaning to DRM. But to make IRC conversations with your friends across the globe more interesting, you could download ebeerd, the Extended Beer Daemon, which would allow your friends to "buy you a beer" through the Internet, which would be dispensed through the tap at your house. Then, you can buy all your friends a round, from the comfort of everybody's home, with a single click. (GUI frontends for GNOME and KDE should be forthcoming for this one, as should a Jabber plug-in.)

    Hmmmmmmmm... All this talk about beer, I need to get me a drink. Lucky I have some Guinness around. :-)

    Guinness. Because friends don't let friends drink Lite Beer.

    (Astute readers might notice that a long time ago, I didn't like Guinness and made a lot of posts where I said so. In fact, for a while, my sig even said something to the effect of, "George Killian's Irish Red. Because friends don't let friends drink Guinness." So what's changed? I discovered the difference between Guinness Stout and Guinness Draught. I stopped drinking Stout, started drinking Draught, and that fixed the problem. Now I drink at least a pint every night. Oh, and by the way, Irish Red [killians.com] is really, really good!!!)

  • "The angle of the pitcher is monitored and calculated within our code at a rate much greater than an individual could ever pour a beverage out of a pitcher, thus the speed and concurrency is sufficient."

    Clearly these folks haven't ever seen a beer pitcher fly out at about 360 degrees from a drunken frat boy's hand.
  • Anyone remember this [cam.ac.uk]? I remember running XCoffee when hanging out at CL ten years ago.
  • the last few years have given us: blue teethed camera phones, wi-fi, gps, i-tunes, etc. All useless compared to this fine implementation of hi-tech that will benefit all of mankind for generations to come.
  • The best solution I've ever seen of this problem was the Rio restaurant that had a metered beer tap on every table. Not entirely unlike a gas pump.At the end of the meal you got a bill with the total amount of beer consumed at the table.

    Or so I assume. I can't really remember that part of the night very clearly.
    • Thats fuckin beautiful. Must have been a pain to install all that though, its bad enough running all the hoses from the kegs in the cooler in the basement up to the bar. Probably either a money saver (less wasted beer/every drop is payed for) or people buy more beer because its right there.
  • What if everyone finishes their pitcher at the same time, could we see the slashdot effect at the bar?
  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Saturday May 08, 2004 @11:11AM (#9093583) Homepage Journal
    Why is not there a simple button on each table in each restaurant of more than 5 tables: "Excuse me, waiter, I need something".

    The cheapest thing to add, it would remove the irritation of having to catch the waiter's eye, and allow the waiter to know, everyone is fine without constantly looking at all tables.

    Airplanes had this for years, but I'm only aware of one restaurant, where such a system is in use.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.