Also applies to nerds:

"Hey wouln't it be cool if we could finger a coke machine to see if it's got coke?"
The first fingerable coke machine has been attributed to both MIT and Carnegie Mellon; I tend to side with CMU, based on what I have seen online. One could "finger coke@server"; the server's finger daemon was configured, when asked for information about the user coke, to return information about each of the slots in the machine -- whether there was coke there, how long it had been there, and whether it was cold. Needless to say, creative hackers have extended this concept to other devices.

"Wouldn't it be cool if we could see, on the web, if the bathrooms were in use? And the laundry machines, too!"

The nerds in Random Hall at MIT have fingerable, web-accessible bathrooms (no cameras, you pervert!), washing machines, and dryers.
The bathrooms' status can be viewed at; the Random Hall nerds are, of course, reachable at (Addendum: I now attend CMU as an undergradute in Computer Science. I have since been assured that CMU bears claim to the original online Coke machine; and while that one is long gone, the grad CS lounge Coke machine has a webcam. Sadly I don't have the URL, or even know if it is web-accessible.)