The remote control is the second greatest icon of male sexual prowess ever created (it bows to the lightsabre). Being in possession of the remote control means that you are the shit; you have the power.

Using the remote control is a skill, bordering on an art. Mastering this skill requires many long, grueling hours of thumb aerobics, as well as channel-surfing rhythm exercises. Females almost never master this skill, which is perfectly understandable, as they have no personal connection to the second greatest of all phallic symbols.

Different models are equipped with various powers. The earliest versions of the remote control are capable of exerting their powers only over a specific type of television; seperate devices have to be utilized for the VCR and stereo system. Modern technology, however, has allowed us to create bigger, better, and more conducive-to-laziness models. With the dawn of post-post-modernism has come the universal remote. Now our skills are complete.

It shold be noted that, no matter what the make or model, every remote control is equipped with a self-fueling cloaking device. This cloaking device is based loosley on quantum physics. As long as you are watching or holding (measuring) your remote control, it is tangible and visible. However, if it leaves your circle of consciousness, it immediately becomes undetectable and non-local. Keep this in mind when you go for your next beer.

Just one of the many battlegrounds in a relationship. Whomever controls the remote more or less controls what appears on the television regardless of the other persons consent to watch. The rest of this is purely from my own experience and can be safely ignored.

It will never matter who actually purchased the television or who pays the cable bill or who programmed the Universal Remote or even whose house the whole setup is located in. That television has been put there by the grace of God and the hole in your wallet for her amusement and control. For example, I bought the t.v., pay for the cable and programmed the Universal Remote but apperantly I did all of this for her benefit alone and never shall the remote and my hand meet.

Granted, there are times where it is acceptable for her to watch whatever she pleases so long as it's not Lifetime. These times tend to coincide with nights I am working late or working on other projects at home. They do not match up with times where Iron Chef, South Park, MST3k or any sort of anime is on.

Ownership of said remote falls under the Possession is 9/10s law wherein if she has the remote it is 10/10s her and when I have it is it 9/10s hers with the differance coming from the fact that it is not currently in her hands. When it is not in her hands the television should be on whatever she wants to watch anyways and when this is not the case she performs The Sulk.

If the remote is lost, she is not the one who lost it and she is not the one who is sitting on it. When it is later found that she did in fact lose it, by placing something like Glamor or Cosmo over it, then Blame Transference sets in and instead of her losing the remote it is now my fault for trying to hide the remote from her regardless of the fact that I would not touch a Glamor or Cosmo with any part of my body under any sort of consequences. My mystical teleportation abilities come into effect when she is sitting on the remote as obviously she would not sit on the remote, I had to put it there after she sat down.

If she did not control the Boob Supply and enforce a very severe embargo when her demands were not met then the whole situation could have been easily rectified.

The humble television remote control was invented in 1950 by the Zenith Radio Corporation (which also made TV’s). Dubbed the “Lazy Bones”, it was attached to the TV set via a cable. A motor inside the TV set physically turned the dial that changed the channel. People liked having a remote control, but the specific unit was a failure because people in the room kept tripping over the cord and I suspect that the users didn’t take too kindly to being called “lazy” either. I can't help wondering why watchers needed remote controls back then, considering they had, at most, five or six channels to watch.

Zenith engineer Eugene Polley invented the "Flashmatic," which represented the industry's first wireless TV remote. Introduced in 1955, Flashmatic operated by means of four photocells, one in each corner of the TV cabinet around the screen. One set of cells represented channel up/down, the other being TV on/off. The watcher used the Flashmatic to shoot a beam of light at a certain cell in order to achieve the desired command. Unfortunately, the cells also reacted to sunlight, so if the sun shone directly on the TV it might start randomly flipping channels.

Zenith management demanded that the company engineers develop a wireless remote control that could not be interfered with by outside sources. They initially experimented with radio waves, but they proved to be too powerful, a user may be able to inadvertently control a TV on the other side of the house. Using audible sound was also attempted, but it was hard to find a sound that wouldn't accidentally be duplicated by either household noises or by the sound coming from TV programming. Dr. Robert Adler suggested using ultrasonic sounds beyond the range of human hearing. His remote was built around four aluminum rods that, when struck at one end, emitted distinctive high-frequency sounds. The pressing of a button stretched a spring that caused a tiny hammer to strike a certain rod, so it required no batteries. Called the “Zenith Space Command” it was released in 1956.

The addition of the remote control unit added 30% to the price of the television set, but was still a success and the design began to be adopted by other manufacturers. In the 1960s the development of transistors allowed the creation of remote controls that could generate the sounds electronically, this allowed the remote to give out more commands than the original four. This modified design became the industry standard until the 1980s. Some of these remotes were less than perfect, as I can remember clearly hearing the tones coming out of my Grandma’s old remote. But then again, maybe it was just my mutant hypersonic hearing ability manifesting itself.

In the early 1980s, the industry moved to infrared remote technology. The IR remote works by using a low frequency light beam that the human eye cannot see, but which a receiver in the TV can detect. This is still the main technology in use today thanks to the wide range of functions it can perform.

enth says In other trippy remote history, one version of the Zenith Space Command (and I actually own one of these, but not the TV it fits) works thusly: the inch (!) of button travel compresses a bellows, then the final bit of pressure releases a valve which pushes it through a small space to create a supposedly ultrasonic whistle sound. The remote has two buttons, on/off and flip channel.

Troubleshooting a remote control with a digital camera


Modern remote controls use infrared LEDs to transmit signals to the electronics they control, whether this is a television, DVD player, cable box... or recently, the Nintendo Wii controller. For this reason, unlike omni-directional radio transmitting controllers such as a garage door opener, they must be pointed in the general direction of the television's IR sensor to operate.

The advantage, and disadvantage, of using IR LEDs for this purpose is that they use light that is invisible to the human eye. This makes it unlikely for the sensor to accidentally pick up ambient light as a command signal, and also removes the sensor's light as an unnecessary distraction. However it also makes it impossible to visually inspect the remote control for problems.

One day, messing around with my friend's digital camcorder (with remote control), we discovered that digital cameras are sensitive to the IR wavelengths used by remotes. They show up as a bright white light. This is true of all digital cameras, including camera phones and digital security cameras (nearly all modern security cameras are digital).


As it turns out, my brother worked for Circuit City for a while, and part of their standard troubleshooting routine for customers with remote control complaints was to test out the IR LED with a camera phone. If the LED shows up on the camera phone's display when any button is pushed, then the remote is probably working properly and the fault lies with the sensor. Otherwise, if the front of the remote control remains dark, the remote is probably at fault. This is usually correctable by replacing the batteries or cleaning the battery contacts.

Note: I have heard reports of at least one digital camera that did not display the LED's light. This was a Nikon D70, owned by a serious amateur photographer, so it may have had some feature to filter the IR. This is unlikely to be an issue with camera phones.

Other applications

This interesting property of digital cameras has a few other applications. For example, the Wii sensor bar uses IR LEDs to give position information to the wireless remote, and a digital camera will identify these easily. The sensor bar uses 5 LEDs on each side, probably for brightness and redundancy in case one burns out. Two candles can actually be used in place of the Wii sensor bar, because the heat from the flame produces enough infrared radiation to be detectable by the Wii remote.

Recently, the proliferation of security cameras monitoring every square inch of London has given birth to a DIY field of counter-measures designed to defeat, or at least annoy, the constant, intrusive, public surveillance of innocent citizens. Once again, IR LEDs can be used to discretely transmit light that is detectable by the camera but not by the unaided human eye. A cluster of high-intensity LEDs such as the I-R.A.S.C. (for "infra-redlight against surveillance camera") device can be used to wash out the image around the light source. This is similar to shining a flashlight directly into someone's face in an otherwise dark area — the area immediately around the light is obscured due to the extremely high contrast. Although the I-R.A.S.C. is designed to be worn on a hat, IR light can penetrate thin layers of cloth so it is possible to hide them discreetly without attracting too much attention.

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