Intel engineers have been working on a project which aims to connect your computer to Twitter, but not in the way you might expect.

Described by Intel engineer Ylian Saint-Hilaire as "this crazy idea of hooking up your home or small office computers to Twitter," the project - the work of Saint-Hilaire and an un-named co-worker - looks to "eventually allow your computer to complain on Twitter if something goes wrong."

Saint-Hilaire admits that the project means that "there is a possibility that your family and friends will see that your computer has not booted properly this morning," but claims that the "crazy" project has a useful purpose at heart.

The technology behind the project is built from an experiment Saint-Hilaire is working on called MeshCentral, which uses peer-to-peer monitoring agents to monitor the health and status of machines on a network, collating the information into a central website and allowing the user to both view the status and interact with each machine in the monitoring mesh.

By connecting the monitoring system to Twitter, Saint-Hilaire has created something extra: a way for the mesh to actively alert the user when something has released the magic smoke or otherwise gone awry. Reassuring users that "this feature will only be activated if the user wants it activated, and by default it's off," Saint-Hilaire admits that in its current incarnation the system is deliberately vague - "[sending] updates about its state in a very generic way, indicating if its found or lost contact with computers and what else is going on, [while keeping] the information vague because the specific computer names are private."

To demonstrate the technology, the engineers have hooked up their test MeshCentral site - available here - to a Twitter account - available here. It might not be the most interesting account to follow - at least, if you're not responsible for the machines that make up the mesh - but it's an indication of the sort of monitoring technology that could be coming from Intel in the near future.

Do you think that Twitter could finally have found an actual use, or is the system created by Saint-Hilaire et al. simply a Web 2.0 version of e-mail alerts and SNMP traps? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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