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Finally, a networked sprinkler timer

Finally, a networked sprinkler timer

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.