Friday :: Oct 22, 2004

Now, Why Didn't I Think Of That?


by larre

Somewhat appropos of Steve Soto's report on the prevalent 'gross ignorance of reality' afflicting a majority of Bush supporters, here's my nominee for Best Invention of the New Millenium:

TV-B-Gone, a simple though perhaps overpriced ($14.95 or thereabouts) portable device with huge potential for transforming public places, social attitudes, political discourse, civil disobedience strategies, romantic relationships, and the brain development of our youth. It's a --

new universal remote that turns off almost any television. The device, which looks like an automobile remote, has just one button. When activated, it spends over a minute flashing out 209 different codes to turn off televisions, the most popular brands first.

For Altman, founder of Silicon Valley data-storage maker 3ware, the TV-B-Gone is all about freeing people from the attention-sapping hold of omnipresent television programming. The device is also providing hours of entertainment for its inventor.

But wait! There's more! First, turn off that set, would ya?

At a Laundromat and cafe down the street, a lone man sorted clothes in the glow of larger-than-life bikini babes on a 60-inch Sony HDTV. A punch of the button and the screen instantly went dark. He went on folding his T-shirts, seemingly unaware of the change.

"It's always like that," Altman said. "It's so much part of the environment in the U.S. that people don't even notice when it disappears."

To be sure, the device also can turn a TV on. But what's the fun of that?

Natch', the consumable-happy Buy-Me Boosters already are complaining. Gizmodo, for example, who never met a privacy-piercing picture-phone he didn't like, thinks "the TV-B-Gone has a single purpose: to power off televisions whenever the user feels like being a dick." Inventor Altman probably would reply that the bigger dick is whoever turned on the TVs in the first place:

Altman said he prefers to ask people to turn off TVs. The problem is places where there's a captive audience and no one is available to respond to requests, like the Laundromat or the airport.

One terrific feature is the device is small enough to fit on a keychain or in the fist you use to grip that bottle of beer. No one needs be the wiser.

Think about it. TVs showing Fox Cable News going to black all over the nation.... Paula-Zahn-Free zones throughout your local airport.... No more Scarborough Country at the neighborhood tavern, rotting the alcohol-weakened minds of the barflies.... O'Reilly-B-Gone whenever his mug flashes across a screen in Gold's Gym... Sinclair Broadcasting stations snapping off wherever they may be...

Hmmm. The possibilites for civil disobedience, or civil dis-communciation as it were, are almost endless. I must keep this in mind for holiday gift-giving, win or lose on November 2.

larre :: 1:34 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!