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Inventor Open Sources "TV-B-Gone," and Why

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the patents-b-gone dept.

Hardware Hacking 340

ptorrone writes "Inventor Mitch Altman explains why he open-sourced his TV-B-Gone kit, the original stealth keychain fob for defeating TVs in public places. The title of the article is 'Patent-B-Gone' and perhaps the most interesting fact is that Mitch's brother is a patent attorney, but he still decided to release an open source hardware version of the TV-B-Gone, with pretty impressive results."

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I for one (4, Funny)

Mipoti Gusundar (1028156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624763)

Would be most happy to be owning an election-B-gone. Also, frist past the post!

Re:I for one (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624775)

I am officially open sourcing my firstpost-B-gone

Celebrate! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625123)

The Messiah is about to usher in an egalitarian Utopia! All of us will finally be equal - equally poor and miserable. Gone will be the incentive to work hard to improve your lot in life. Why bother working hard, only to see a proletariat push his shopping cart laden with steaks through the check-out line and pay with his welfare card? Or why bother volunteering in a housing project where it's not uncommon to see Dish Network gear on the balconies? Hell, they've got their government-subsidized steaks and TV. Seems like I'm the sucker for working and paying taxes when I could be sitting at home watching satellite TV, eating steak, and making more little tax credits (a.k.a. babies).

Re:I for one (0, Offtopic)

baKanale (830108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625491)

Oh, but you do! It's called "November 5th".

Re:I for one (1, Flamebait)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625529)

Remember, remember, the 5th of November...

Scarier than ever.

A Necessary Addition (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624767)

So many offensive television sets in inappropriate places...so little time.

Re:A Necessary Addition (5, Insightful)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624841)

OK, enlighten me. Are you bombarded by TV in public libraries and during funerals, or are you simply irked when a bar-owner decides to show a football game on his TV in his bar?

Me, I carry my Customer-B-Gone, a pair of legs that allow me to absent myself from bars and other public places for a variety of reasons, without imposing my will upon others. Oh sure, it's not nearly as obnoxious as deciding for everybody, but we can't all be petty dictators.

Re:A Necessary Addition (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624905)

I don't mind if a bar owner wants to put on a TV in his bar. That doesn't bother me. However, where I live (Orange County, Florida), there are television sets (with sound) in the following places that need not have them, and they are there for no other purpose than to show an announcement that could be served with a poster and no sound:

  • Libraries
  • Courthouses
  • Public Works Office
  • School Lobbies
  • University Common Areas
  • Hospitals
  • Waiting Room of the Morgue
  • Airport Baggage Claim

There is NO REASON for this.

Re:A Necessary Addition (5, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624959)

The Deaf.

You can go now.

Re:A Necessary Addition (4, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625095)

UGH! Coffee not working yet.

That should have been THE BLIND!

I'll go now...

Re:A Necessary Addition (1, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625153)

Thanks for the clarification. Your post was +4 informative, and all I could think is "WTF". I was wondering if I was missing something obvious. Apparently the only thing I missed was that you have to have non-functioning brain cells to moderate.

(haven't had mod points in over a year).

Re:A Necessary Addition (5, Funny)

sukotto (122876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625383)

bwa ha ha.... my Coffee-B-Gone works!

Re:A Necessary Addition (4, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625459)

bwa ha ha.... my Coffee-B-Gone works!

OK, now THAT little device is definately going to lead to bloodshed. :)

Re:A Necessary Addition (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625143)

Deaf people don't need sound. I think it's the sound that's most annoying. You can avoid looking at something, but you can't avoid hearing.

Re:A Necessary Addition (5, Interesting)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625351)

Personally I find it to be the other way around- I don't like the slack-jawed, dazed fool I become when there's a TV in the room anywhere I can see it, which is why I try to avoid patronizing businesses that have them. Only hearing it is (usually) no worse than listening to any other inane conversation.

Re:A Necessary Addition (2, Interesting)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625563)

This is something I have NEVER been able to understand. I have always been able to filter out or ignore just about anything I feel like. I can pick out an individual conversation from several feet away in a crowded bar, TVs or radios don't bother me, I just tune them out.

I just don't quite get how seemingly everyone else CAN'T do this.

Re:A Necessary Addition (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625253)

It's a question of resources. If the message board is displayed and updateable dynamically, one need not use up ink and paper/cardboard each time the board needs updating.

Chalkboard/whiteboards are also an option, but (like paper/cardboard) can be dangerous to update if they're posted up high in a prominent (read: busy) location. (also, chalkboards, though popular, tend to be harder to read for those with visibility problems).

Also, like Airport's posting arrival times, the same information might need to be distributed to multiple locations.

Re:A Necessary Addition (3, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624907)

OK, enlighten me. Are you bombarded by TV in public libraries and during funerals, or are you simply irked when a bar-owner decides to show a football game on his TV in his bar?

Me, I carry my Customer-B-Gone, a pair of legs that allow me to absent myself from bars and other public places for a variety of reasons, without imposing my will upon others. Oh sure, it's not nearly as obnoxious as deciding for everybody, but we can't all be petty dictators.

We can't all spot sarcasm, either.

(This is sarcasm, what that guy posted was deadly serious).

(Hey, no wait!, don't listen to that sentence, that was the real sarcasm).

Re:A Necessary Addition (2, Interesting)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624927)

I once went to a very small bar in America that had ten TVs! Not only that, but one entire side of the bar (it was one of those long thin ones) was a mirror! Twenty TVs in a room that could fit maybe 40 people...

Pretty insane; I can see why people would want this.

Re:A Necessary Addition (4, Insightful)

cide1 (126814) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625081)

And we sell iPods in vending machines. We drive pickup trucks that get 12 MPG. We eat big macs like there is no tomorrow. We have shitty beer that you buy in 30 packs. Go on and criticize, but as long as people will spend their money on it, there is someone out there making money by selling them what they want. When it gets too expensive, this over-consumption will stop. In the meantime, there must be people who like to go to bars with lots of TVs. Personally, I prefer to eat somewhere with a TV when I am by myself instead of hearing people criticize what I consider normal.

Re:A Necessary Addition (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625179)

Insane, yes! But think of it as a distinctive mark, a way to sort business into two categories: Infidels, and Non-Infidels.

I'm thinking million-TV-mirror-tardbox goes into the "Infidels" column. I mean come on, the american way is to buy a ginormous plasma, or a projector at the very least.

Now am I suggesting we blow up the infidels ? /sarcasm?

Re:A Necessary Addition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625333)

I'd love to live in your World where doubling your property value just involves large mirrors and some optics in place of a fence...

Re:A Necessary Addition (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625405)

It's like when email appeared and everybody was forwarding stupid jokes and chain letters all the time. The basic instinct of people is to like flashing screens all around, but eventually people will find them annoying, i hope.

Re:A Necessary Addition (4, Insightful)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625579)

So, you basically went to a sports bar.

There are also bars that have NO televisions in them.

It's called freedom of choice and expression. Two of the things the American settlers left the old world for.

We like having freedom of choice here. And our freedom of expression.

The cool thing was, you could have gone to another bar, one you liked, instead of being in the "sports bar" style place.

That's one of the things that makes our country a great place to live. We can actually make choices, and people with the drive to prosper can keep making (and I agree with you, I HATE the sports bar mentality, the TVs, etc) places the people want to go to.

Just because you didn't like it doesn't mean it doesn't have it's place.

--Toll_Free

Re:A Necessary Addition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625003)

Wal-Mart has a bunch of TVs that do nothing but display ads. It is their legal right, but I'm sure plenty of people would like to do something that says, "don't do that."

Re:A Necessary Addition (2, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625129)

If they're in a Wal-Mart, they really don't have any room to be a critic.

Re:A Necessary Addition (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625219)

It's impossible, but wouldn't it be cool to be able to jam those video feeds and insert good old anti-Wal-Mart propaganda ?

"Welcome to the American Dream, now give us your first born!"

Re:A Necessary Addition (4, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625389)

Something the tvbgone users need to realize... those are IR lights. When you press the button and look at the front you don't see anything, or will see a VERY faint dim red flicker, and think oh no one will see that!

But then take it into someplace like walmart with 200 security cameras all over the place. Think back, look at the youtube video, how bright the lights show up on the recording. It's like the white strobe on a fire alarm. Digital cameras are VERY sensitive to IR light, and it shows up bright white. As if that's not bad enough, it's strobing.

Same thing at wal-mart. Nobody on the floor will know you are doing it, but EVERY person in the security room will immediately see the TVBG light up like a white beacon on any camera pointed your way, of which at a wal mart is a good dozen or more at any given time. You'll have about 20 seconds before one of their security personnel to get a call on their radio from the security room and is standing beside you and in a bad mood. The guard may not know what to look for and won't see the light, so the people in the room will tell them to get rid of you. If the guard sees a camera in your hand, there's his excuse.

The field tester that ran into walmart problems was lucky that they didn't realize what he was doing, and kicked him out for filming. (the ppl in the room probably thought the camera was causing the flashing on their monitors) That won't last. They'll be a good deal more unfriendly if they realize there's actual malice intended rather than possibly innocent filming.

Re:A Necessary Addition (5, Insightful)

Strawser (22927) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625543)

But then take it into someplace like walmart with 200 security cameras all over the place.

I see an emerging market for security-camera-begone.

Re:A Necessary Addition (0)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625121)

"but we can't all be petty dictators."

I'M a petty dictator, you insensitive clod!
I'm beginning to understand how the GEICO caveman feels. (weeps)

A finger (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625241)

I must admit that I just use my finger to turn the TV off at the off switch. If there's no-one watching it, then no-one complains that it's off. If someone is, I'll either not turn it off or they'll say something when I do and I turn it back on and apologise.

Having stopped watching tv for a while (4, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625263)

what I find is that they are mesmerizing. When I walk into a room with a tv on I feel the pull to look at it, as well as notice that everyone is looking at the tv like it had hyptonized them. It is much like a drug. Turning the tv off is more about breaking it's inevitable grasp on everyone's attention for at least a short time, so people look up and look around once in a while. It's not like you break the tv, it can be turned back on, and probably will be in short order.

Re:A Necessary Addition (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625353)

What annoys me more in public places are TVs and tobacco. That's why I don't get out much, I'm fed up going to bars where music is too loud to talk, people are staring at multiple TV sets spread around the place showing junk-TV shows and I get home with my clothes stinking like smoke so bad that I feel like puking.

Nothing against football games. It's fun to get together with friends and watch the game at the local café. But having multiple TVs on all the time is annoying. And they're everywhere.

Re:A Necessary Addition (5, Interesting)

Meest (714734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625079)

I don't even know how many places this will work? Are there alot of places that do not have Professional grade TV's installed in their places??

I just recently left a commercial installer and all the professional TV's we were installing had no IR/RF it was all RS232 control. If they did the IR was on the back, and we would cover up the sensor with a backup IR control eye with a patch so nothing else could controll it.

Most places I've gone to have done it right and installed TV's that you can't mess with.

There are a few bars that have normal TV's. But if you're in a bar why would you be shutting of someone else's TV's in the first place?? what gives you the right?

I just don't get why you don't just move/leave/go to another establishment...

Re:A Necessary Addition (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625125)

But if you're in a bar why would you be shutting of someone else's TV's in the first place?? what gives you the right?

Hey, the customer is always right. But then the other ten guys in there who are wathching the darn thing are also customers.

So it's down to democracy in the end; let Diebold decide.

Re:A Necessary Addition (1)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625437)

So it's down to democracy in the end; let Diebold decide.

Every time I see "Diebold" I still think ATMs, and oddly, that seems to make your comment even more insightful.

Re:A Necessary Addition (2, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625433)

Most of the places with these sets in them though are not installed by professionals, and most of them wouldn't know where to find the IR sensor on the unit anyway.

Lets test you on something you are not familiar with, to level the playing field. Where would you put the tape to stop someone malicious from say, tampering with the IR remote on a 24" iMac doing a powerpoint presentation loop to a crowd or in front of the storefront window?

Re:A Necessary Addition (1)

Tink2000 (524407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625513)

Nowhere.
I'd disable IR, or key it to just one remote. I think doing either of these actions is 4 clicks from the desktop or less.

Re:A Necessary Addition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625199)


I brought my V1 TV-B-Gone to a Superbowl party at a local bar. The howls as all the large Sony TVs went off during gameplay was hilarious. Of course there would be a lynching if anyone figured out what was going on. After about 6-8 turn-offs I finished my beer and let the mullets watch the rest of the game in peace.

Well done, sir. (1, Insightful)

g253 (855070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624809)

A fantastic little device, and a very nice move.

Thanks, Mr Altman.

So glad this was posted (4, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624813)

I was watching a news report about this topic at the pub the other day. Well, I tried to watch it, but the fritzy TV kept turning off.

I would love to take this to a sports bar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624837)

I would love to take this to a sports bar during some big playoff and very discretely turn off the TV when a big play is happening.

Oh! During this shitty economy, a great way to make extra cash is to hire yourself out to bar owners to shut the competition down! Ka-Ching baby!

Re:I would love to take this to a sports bar. (5, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624921)

Someone did this during the World Cup (Video [vincentchow.net] ). He's lucky he didn't get caught and lynched.

Re:I would love to take this to a sports bar. (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625575)

and I hope he got smarter than the first shots of him testing it, craning his arm up in the air and pointing in a window. Couldn't be much more obvious about what he was doing.

Looks like he was just using a universal remote and having to program it for each TV.

Re:I would love to take this to a sports bar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625677)


I would love to take this to a sports bar during some big playoff and very discretely turn off the TV when a big play is happening.

We were at a Boston Pizza a couple of years ago. A family of ~10 came in and greeted each other. Seemed like some of them hadn't seen each other for a while. They sat down near us and all their heads turned to the TV that was above them as they zoned into it.

After about 5 minutes I pulled out my TV-B-Gone (I'm an early adopter) and clicked it off. They came out of their daze and started talking to each other. The TV wasn't put back on by the staff during that visit and the family seemed like they had a nice dinner and conversation.

Brilliant! (4, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624863)

Great! Now there are technological aids to help people be annoying in public. Oh, and they're "open source", so anyone can build one. Beware Future Shop! Beware Best Buy! People can turn off your TVs by remote control. Ooooo! Scary!

Now here's the brilliant part. On one hand, this guy can market his TV-b-Gone, and on the other hand, he can market to big box stores a special security device. A discrete little box that you stick on the IR sensor and block malicious signals. The box contains a couple of IR LEDs, and a descrambler chip. The chip decodes signals from the special remote control (which he also will sell) so that the stores still have control over their TVs.

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624885)

Oh my God, you just invented DRMed remote controls!

Re:Brilliant! (1)

archshade (1276436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624941)

You could bye my signal blocker it consists of 2 pieces of Velcro that fix it to the tv and a piece of material with the other half's of the Velcro either side allowing for removal of device the material goes over the IR sensor stopping signals getting though.

Re:Brilliant! (5, Informative)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624945)

Have you heard about the discrete IR blocker they generally use in these stores? I believe it is marketed as "Black Tape". But don't be fooled. It isn't authentically black :)

Re:Brilliant! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625211)

Silly rabbit! Using that method, the store clerks would have to break out a step ladder and climb up to each TV, and pull off the tape any time they wanted to adjust the volume or change the channel, or turn the TV off at night. It would be far simpler to just install the IR scrambler... especially if it doubles as the anti-theft device.

Re:Brilliant! (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624949)

sorry but that little black box will not work.

my 1W IR led version will turn off a set with black tape over the IR receiver sensor. the plastic around the sensor area carries the ir signal in to the sensor for me. SO unless you encase the entire set in a black box it will not work.

and yes, it's good to be annoying when it comes to frivolities like TV. I wish more people were annoying in regards to frivolities.

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625631)

But who is to define the frivolity?

At work, in order to go from point A to B I hear 1 radio station every 10 feet. I dislike sound. Should I shut off each one as I go just to be annoying since its all frivolous?

BTW: I usually wear a noise canceling headset.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624951)

Or they could use a small piece of electrical tape, but you know, keep on smoking that crack...

Re:Brilliant! (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624973)

he can market to big box stores a special security device.

Here's a sci-fi idea: connect TV to internets. Connect cell phone to internets. Point cell phone at TV, display says "Now controlling TV model $foo", push the off button.

Behind the scenes, all devices have crypto key pairs. The TV signs its IP address and identifier, broadcasts via something short-range [bluetooth, IR]. The phone does the power-down RPC to the broadcast IP address, signed by its key; the TV verifies the signature, shuts down.

The attacker can still put a radio/light jammer nearby, or cut the wire, or whatever. I don't know how that can be handled. But that's a problem inherent to the medium.

Denying the bad people access is easy. Preventing bad people from denying good people access is not that easy.

Hack-Proof TV Coming Soon!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625105)

  1. Patent IR scrambler device
  2. File lawsuits against establishments controlling their TVs over cables and putting a metal plate over the TV IR sensor
  3. -insert snake-oil marketing campaign here-
  4. Profit $$$

purpose? (1, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624869)

So, other than creating a public nuisance almost certain to result in getting your face punched, what EXACTLY is the point of this device?

And, while we're here, The reason why he open sourced it, is purely for the purpose of getting a slashvertisment -- and successfully too.

Re:purpose? (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624903)

It's also hilarious in schools when they are forcing you to watch Channel 1 News. I know we always got a laugh when someone brought in a remote that could control the tvs in the classrooms. They do still show that, right?

Re:purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625373)

Yes, actually controlling the TV opens many more possibilities. On long cold nights, when folk gather close about the ale house hearth, ye may still hear talk in hushed and reverent tones of the day when a class at my very Catholic school was forced to watch a Passion-of-the-Christ type video. The super-religious teacher fast forwarded the actual crucifixion, thereby completely negating any point there might have been in watching it, because she couldn't bear to see it. Step forward our hero, wielder of the mighty Casio TV and Video Watch, who replayed it again, and again, and again ...

Re:purpose? (5, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624923)

So, other than creating a public nuisance almost certain to result in getting your face punched, what EXACTLY is the point of this device?

It's for sanctimonious, condescending assholes who think TV is beneath them, and who need to force their choice upon others.

In other words, it's for getting your face punched. ;)

Re:purpose? (5, Funny)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625073)

In other words, it's for getting your face punched. ;)

Hah. I've been managing that for years without the aid of technology.

Re:purpose? (4, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625497)

In other words, it's for getting your face punched. ;) Hah. I've been managing that for years without the aid of technology.

Luddite.

Re:purpose? (4, Insightful)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624925)

it's an electronics kit, i've seens thousands of kids make these and later their parents tell me that their kids want to be engineers. it's hard to know what will "spark" a kid's mind to get excited about doing things like engineering, but this is one of them.

(phil from MAKE magazine)

Re:purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624977)

I think it nicely exposes how simple remote-to-appliance communications still are. Think how easily a simple device could screw up the settings on all the TVs in an establishment, possibly resulting in a costly service call. Maybe it's time these devices starting incorporating security codes like those found in things like garage door openers.

Re:purpose? (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624991)

The point of the device is actually to cause a public nuisance, almost certainly without getting your face punched.

(This means you completely missed the point)

Re:purpose? (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625011)

So, other than creating a public nuisance almost certain to result in getting your face punched, what EXACTLY is the point of this device?
Don't get out much, do you? More TV's are popping up everywhere and they are getting turned up louder. The more people talk the louder the TV gets. Then people talk even louder to be heard over the TV, which in turn means the TV gets turned up. go to any bar and I will almost guarantee that the sound is way too loud and NO ONE is watching/listening.

Or goto the airport and there are TV's everywhere, also turned up. Gee, I am about to spend a few hours jammed in a noisy tube. But before that, I am going to be subjected to a noisy terminal.

I like TV, but not all the time. Don't *I* have a right to some f*cking peace and quiet?

Re:purpose? (5, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625111)

"go to any bar and I will almost guarantee that the sound is way too loud and NO ONE is watching/listening."

I'm not a big bar patron but I do go to watch the occasional sporting event. I can guarantee you that the vast majority of the bar is watching and listening during that time.

"I like TV, but not all the time. Don't *I* have a right to some f*cking peace and quiet?"

In someone else's bar or airport? No, you don't.

Re:purpose? (5, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625703)

I like TV, but not all the time. Don't *I* have a right to some f*cking peace and quiet?

Yes. Plant your sanctimonious, entitled ass in your own living room with the TV turned off, you self-righteous prick.

Re:purpose? (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625195)

There are uses for that device that wouldn't bother anyone, I'm sure.
I recently had to spend some time in a waiting room with a huge TV that did nothing but show a few ads in a loop. And it wasn't just a TV, it was an overengineered system controlled by some PC somewhere. Anyways, the system that controlled the TV really sucked, reducing the framerate when overlaying some ad over the other, causing flickering.
It was obvious that a number of people were annoyed by that screen, and those that weren't somehow managed to ignore that constant flickerfest. In that environment, I'm sure the civil disobedience of turning of this device would not be frowned upon.

London gets bomb-proff recycling bins (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625427)

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=081103164134.e7a3sjmw&show_article=1 [breitbart.com]

A more practical solution would be to remove the sickness - Muslims - rather than to treat the symptom. It's time to boot out the barbarians while you still can...

Re:purpose? (1)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625597)

I wonder if these could turn off those annoying TVs they have at supermarket checkout lines.

Re:purpose? (1)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625643)

Jerry Springer.

Stupid. Just plain stupid. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624891)

Let's see. A device with no purpose other than to be malicious. Just because someone has the technical skills to create and sell a device, doesn't mean they should. If you don't like TVs in public places, don't be an ass. Just say something politely and maybe if they get enough feedback, they'll start shutting them off...or better yet, stop going.

There are reasons why there are TVs in public places. Some people value them. Just because you don't, doesn't give you the right to start powering them down.

Re:Stupid. Just plain stupid. (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625663)

Land of the free, right?

Hacker ethos. (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625675)

Let's see. A device with no purpose other than to be malicious.

It just turns off a tv, it doesn't break it.
I think that the bgone appeals to the mischevious part of our nature. Certainly shutting
down a video wall during someone's presentation IS malicious (I remember
a youtube of someone doing this not too long ago), but there are plenty
of instances that you could use this device that would not be.

OTOH this is a great example of hacker thinking, doing things with
a technology that were not intended.

To be realistic, often these things wind up in the hands of obnoxious assholes,
which is half of all males between 12 and 30.

Wow, Useless AND dickish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25624895)

What an assinine thing to be doing, good luck dealing with the big guy who was watching the game you just turned off.

That said, who even cares? Numerous PDAs have the ability to be used as universal remotes for ages now. Looks like a bunch of time wasted if you ask me.

What is there to patent here? (2, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624929)

TV remotes have been around for a long time, as have programmable remotes, as have remotes that cycle through different settings automatically, as have keychain remotes. In fact I own a keychain remote that cost me a massive one pound. I take it on holidays just in case the hotel remote is busted.

Maybe TV-B_Gone is not patented for its TV remote abilities, but as a fight provocation device. I can see some novelty in a device which increases the chances of the user being punched in the face.

Re:What is there to patent here? (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624993)

So if I am understanding this new "face punching device" it's a little black key fob thingy that I carry around and when I press the button people punch each other in the face?

Re:What is there to patent here? (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625215)

The keychain remote is quite handy. Though what I'd love to have is a device that shuts off those damned annoying yapping advertisements they're putting in gas pumps. It's basically a PC hooked up to a 15" monitor, and speakers turned up bloody loud shouting about car insurance and diet pills. And to make matters worse (though maybe it was coincidence) a couple of the stations turned down the pressure on the pumps, so it took over 5 minutes to half-fill the tank of a Honda Civic. 5 minutes of non stop commercials.

I have made it a point to avoid any chain that utilizes these devices, and to let the parent company know. I doubt my $20 a week means anything to them, since they're probably getting way more than that from the product whores who pay for those ads.

However, on the days when the machines fail-- well, those are the sweetest BSOD you'll ever see.

TVs? (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624963)

Televisions or Transvestites?

Reason it went open source... (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624969)

Publicity!

People won't be bothered to make one themselves but will be interested in it after reading how he's been so generous releasing his design that they buy premade ones from him.

I'm guessing all it is, is LEDs hooked up to a chip with all the common codes for power buttons and it just cycles through them when the button is pressed. Shouldn't imagine it's something that would have a patent granted.

Television... (3, Funny)

Muckluck (759718) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625009)

The cause of and solution to all of lifes big problems. Oh, no, wait... That should be alcohol. Won't somebody please think of the children?!

Great (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625023)

I'm just waiting for a time I'm watching a football match in a pub and some arsehole switches off the TVs because he wants to drink 'in peace'.

Not the TV's so much as the music being too loud. (4, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625053)

Okay, yes, I know, I used to own the t-shirt too. ("If it's too loud, then you're too old.")

But goddamn it, when I'm in a bar chatting with friends, everywhere around is also buzzing with laughs and good times, why does the barman decide to pump his crappy music up to 110 decibels?

Because people don't drink as much if they're talking. It's to increase his bottom dollar, not to make your night out better.

I would love to be able to remotely reduce the volume or kill the music all together. Somehow, I doubt there'd be a massive outcry from people who were talking to their friends and can now hear them without shouting.

Re:Not the TV's so much as the music being too lou (3, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625205)

"But goddamn it, when I'm in a bar chatting with friends, everywhere around is also buzzing with laughs and good times, why does the barman decide to pump his crappy music up to 110 decibels?"

Because you're in the wrong bar. Bars do exist that provide a good atmosphere for conversation. I always make it a point to seek those bars out. In the US, most places that claim to be an English pub have reasonable volume levels but that's far from universal. I also look for bars that focus on drinks like wine or cocktails. I'm a beer drinker myself but the atmosphere is usually better in those places and they do usually have some sort of decent beer handy.

Re:Not the TV's so much as the music being too lou (1)

timholman (71886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625565)

But goddamn it, when I'm in a bar chatting with friends, everywhere around is also buzzing with laughs and good times, why does the barman decide to pump his crappy music up to 110 decibels?

Any decent bar or restaurant (i.e. one that doesn't cater strictly to college students or rabid sports fans) uses closed captioning on its TVs and doesn't even attempt to turn up the volume. Every place I frequent is a place where everyone can have a conversation without yelling over the TV.

If you find that your desire for conversation now exceeds your desire for loud pounding music or blaring sports programs, then congratulations - you've joined the adult world. Time to move on from the old college hangouts and find a new place to drink beer.

Forget the televisions. How do I kill the radio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625077)

I'm getting to the point that I hate to shop because everywhere you go there is a radio station blasting on the overheads. No, not Muzak, local stations. With REALLY LOUD COMMERCIALS EVERY FEW MINUTES!!!!!!!

I have an iPod but if I turn it up loud enough to drown out the overheads I'll be deaf within a year.

Best Buy Adventure (1, Troll)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625127)

I picked one of these up a few months ago and used to carry it every where I went. Here is some fun you can have with the bitch.

I was in the local best buy near the dvds across from the Wall of TV's and waited for the sales droid to turn every one of them on. I pulled this little toy out, pointed it, and all the tv magically went off. The look on the sales monkey's face was worth the price of admission. The real joy is seeing how many times the dumb ass will turn them back on before he catches on. For me it was twice. The local walmart never did catch on.

Works good in walmart and circuit city too.

Re:Best Buy Adventure (1)

saintm (142527) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625465)

Well done, a pat on the back for you.

I'm glad you found such merriment in making someone else's day that much shitter.

Go you.

Re:Best Buy Adventure (0, Troll)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625553)

I am Asshole! Here me roar!

Positive Motives (1)

Borongo (794885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625135)

I grew up with Mitch Altman,
and monetary compensation is far from his mind.
Mr. Altman prefers to spend his time on art and
is very activist in causes he believes in, and works
just enough to get by not to get rich. He does believe
that TV is something that sucks up time from other persuits
in life. My personal (and I can't speak for Mitch)
take is that tv-b-gone is supposed to be an equalizer,
yes it annoys other people but then your annoyed by TV.
He also teaches classes so ordinary folks learn to build
electronics.

If you want to see what he is up to Mitch does have a Facebook
account.

Re:Positive Motives (2, Insightful)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625291)

My personal (and I can't speak for Mitch)
take is that tv-b-gone is supposed to be an equalizer,
yes it annoys other people but then your annoyed by TV.

I'm more annoyed that people constantly spout stupidity just about 24/7 but I have no right to forcibly shut them up.

Its NOT your TV. Its NOT your PROPERTY. Leave if you don't like it. Or maybe here's a thought, ASK the propriator if they'll turn it off, down, etc.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

the MaD HuNGaRIaN (311517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625275)

...the TV eliminates you!!!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

etwills (471396) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625467)

Surely "In Soviet Russia... TV turns you off".

(...well, except it's exactly the same here!!!)

mod 0P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625327)

volatile world of Baby take my And mortifying move any equipment engineering project from now on or list of other ASSOCIATION OF Same year, BSD with the numb;er

48 Hours [In intensive care] (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625361)

The geek walks up to the bar...

and discovers that he is not Eddie Murphy:

Well the men they took to fightin
And when they pulled him from the floor
This geek he looked like a jigsaw puzzle
With a couple of pieces gone

[with apologies to Jim Croce]

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625365)

Now give me an Internet B-Gone

TV remote watch (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625403)

In high school my friend had a watch that he could program to control TVs (had to know the code though, etc.) and he would use it during class to turn on the TV, fast forward videos, generally be a jerk to these poor 70 year old teachers. He did get caught though and all the teachers stacked a ton of punishment on him. It was really hilarious when he would use it during class and even better after he got caught.

patent vs opensource (1)

EverythingDies (1198239) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625495)

How would making your product open-source versus going the traditional patent route increase your sales? I understand that it helps to improve the product, but wouldn't this also allow other companies to sell the improved product as well?

Does iPhone have an IR port ? ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625533)

I'd go write a software one right away :D

What a bullshit device (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625615)

So, basically, asshole number one decides he doesn't want the TV in a public place, and turns on his jamming device.

What a great way to enforce your want and will upon others.

Also, what a great way to get fined. Jamming devices are illegal in this country.

I HATE people that come up with this shit.. Although maybe if he did just a channel 5 one, I'd be OK with that... Just something to jam the channels that show Maury, Montel and Jerry Springer. :)

But seriously, this is a device causing other people to not be able to watch what they want?

--Toll_Free

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