WORCESTER, Mass. Seeking to cash in on the rush to interconnectivity jump-started by the so-called “Internet of Things,” Mike Andruzzioni, a part-time cab dispatcher in this gritty industrial city, today announced that he has beta-tested an “Internet of Crap,” a network of physical objects in his apartment that belong to him or one of his current or former roommates without distinct property rights or apparent utility.
Mike: “There’s a theme, but you don’t notice it unless you’re stoned.”
“A lot of this stuff, I’m not sure whose it is,” Andruzzioni says as he sweeps his arm around the room, like Jackie Kennedy conducting a tour of the White House, taking in a stack of Mr. the Toad comic books, record albums by Bobby “Blue” Bland and a squeaky frog bath toy. “There was a guy last summer named Richard, his sister stayed for a week while she was studying for her med boards or something, I don’t think any of it’s hers,” he says, ruling out one possibility.
Bill Griffith’s “Mr. the Toad.”
The term “Internet of Things” refers to the growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between them and other Internet-enabled devices and systems. “It really bids fair to change the way we live,” says Dr. Emil Nostrand, a professor of information technology at nearby Quinsigamond Junior College who recently audited an English course. “Where formerly your refrigerator couldn’t talk to your toaster oven, now they can. The possibilities for personal growth by toaster ovens are enormous.”
Jackie Kennedy: “Mike’s apartment doesn’t have one of these.”
Andruzionni attributes his ability to sense the links between the crap that litters his floors to his heavy use of medical marijuana, which he grows himself using ultra violet black lights in a room off the kitchen. “Like that thing over there,” he says, indicating a Teflon-coated frying pan that sits unwashed in the kitchen sink of his third-floor triple-decker apartment in the Main South neighborhood here. “There was a guy named Bob who used to disgust everybody frying chicken in his underwear,” he says, before correcting himself. “I mean he was in his underwear when he fried them, the chickens weren’t actually in his underwear.”
Main South neighborhood
Andruzzioni so far hasn’t approached investors for his technological breakthrough, a move pioneered by savvy startups like Facebook and more recently by Spotify, which allows him to control his own destiny and keep a larger share of the upside for himself and his two current roommates, another guy named Mike and a guy named Lou who has a girlfriend named Chloe. “I’m not sure Wall Street is ready for this,” he says with a sly grin. “Especially the socks.”