In my natural quest to put every device in my life on the network, I've spent years frustrated in the garden. There was simply no such thing as a network sprinkler timer, mostly just goofy Playskool-inspired gadgets such as my Rain Bird PC-506 that use a proprietary set of knobs, buttons, and a cryptic LCD clearly designed by the same folks who do VCR interfaces.So I was happier than a raccoon in a fig tree when my normally futile Googling for something IP-enabled actually delivered pay dirt last week in the form of the Ware 1000 network-connected sprinkler timer.
It's literally a black box with terminals for your sprinkler wires and an Ethernet jack. No knobs, no buttons. You control and program the thing by hitting its IP address in a browser, which loads a sophisticated Web interface from its built-in server. Building or changing a watering schedule is done via Web forms and fields, not knobs and buttons. It's a true network device, not some kludge of X10 modules and a serial port that is merely "computer controlled."
At $400 a pop, the Ware Brothers can forget about mass-market penetration, but this is a breakthrough product for the kind of people who dig CNET and their garden.