final piece of the puzzle was needed to let people check Coke status
when they were logged in on some other machine than CMUA. CMUA's Finger
server was modified to run the Coke status program whenever someone
fingered the nonexistent user "coke". (For the uninitiated,
Finger normally reports whether a specified user is logged in, and
if so where.)
Finger requests are part of standard ARPANET (now Internet) protocols,
people could check the Coke machine from any CMU computer by saying "finger
coke@cmua". In fact, you could discover the Coke machine's status
from any machine anywhere on the Internet! Not that it would do you
much good if you were a few thousand miles away...
CMU Coke Machine; The "Only" Coke
Machine on the Internet.