Wired magazine recently detailed how one man is hacking McDonald’s ice cream machines in protest of what he says is a predatory business model that goes beyond a right-to-repair issue.
Wired reports in an article titled “They Hacked McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines—and Started a Cold War,” that Jeremy O’Sullivan is taking a stand against McDonald’s and its frequently broken ice cream machines.
Ice cream machines are sold by McDonald’s to franchise owners for around $18,000 each. But McDonald’s doesn’t teach restaurant owners how to repair their own machines.
Of all the mysteries and injustices of the McDonald’s ice cream machine, the one that Jeremy O’Sullivan insists you understand first is its secret passcode.
Press the cone icon on the screen of the Taylor C602 digital ice cream machine, he explains, then tap the buttons that show a snowflake and a milkshake to set the digits on the screen to 5, then 2, then 3, then 1. After that precise series of no fewer than 16 button presses, a menu magically unlocks. Only with this cheat code can you access the machine’s vital signs: everything from the viscosity setting for its milk and sugar ingredients to the temperature of the glycol flowing through its heating element to the meanings of its many sphinxlike error messages.
“No one at McDonald’s or Taylor will explain why there’s a secret, undisclosed menu,” O’Sullivan wrote in one of the first, cryptic text messages I received from him earlier this year.
O’Sullivan told Wired: “It’s a huge money maker to have a customer that’s purposefully, intentionally blind and unable to make very fundamental changes to their own equipment.”
In response to this situation, O’Sullivan and his partner, Melissa Nelson, began selling a gadget about the size of a small paperback book that they dubbed Kytch. Install it inside a Mcdonald’s ice cream machine and connect it to WiFi and it essentially hacks the machine and offers access to its forbidden features.
Kytch intercepts communications between its components and sends them to a friendlier user interface than the original one that the machine’s makers intended. The device displays all of the machine’s internal data but logs it over time and suggests troubleshooting solutions via the web or an app.
Read more at Wired magazine here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org