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The Universal Off Button

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the does-not-work-on-people dept.

Media 1169

jcr13 writes "Wired news is running a story about TV-B-Gone, a new weapon in the fight against the pervasiveness of television in our society. With this device, which takes the form of a keychain fob with a single button, you can turn off virtually any TV set. How does it work? By rolling through all known IR power-off codes, one by one, trying codes from the most popular brands first. Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to ignore them, and they distract me from the conversations that I should be having with my human companions. Unfortunately, the TV-B-Gone website seems to have already been swamped by the Wired coverage, so we cannot order these just yet. In the mean time, those of you with DIY proclivities may want to think about wiring one of these up yourself using a PIC chip or other micro-controller." An anonymous reader adds links to mentions at CNET, TV station KESQ and Ananova.

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1169 comments

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Now (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576839)

I need a Universal On button remote... it'll be like a battle between good and evil, light and dark.

Re:Now (5, Informative)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576958)

It sends a "power" signal. In essence, it is a universal on remote. I've never seen anything with a button that turns a tv off but not on (though I have [and own] a vcr that has an on-only button and a on-off button).

One would hope... (-1)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576840)

that these have no effect on pacemakers.

Re:One would hope... (2, Informative)

naeger (136710) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576882)

are pacemakers really powered off by infra-red remote controls???

Re:One would hope... (2, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576887)

Don't think many pacemakers are IR based.

Re:One would hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576931)

Do normal tv remotes interfere with pacemakers? One would also hope that pacemakers don't have 'off' switches ;-)

No, one would hope... (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576992)

...that people don't think that they have some God-given right to control other people's hardware.

If there's a TV playing in someone else's bar, restaurant or whatever, what gives you the right to turn it off? If you don't like the TV being on you're always free to take your business elsewhere.

Some people might politely ask the owner to turn down the volume, switch it off, etc if it really bothered them. This gadget is a cowardly way of avoiding possible disappointment and foisting your opinion on someone else. Score one for mannerless morons.

Don't stop at just a power button (5, Funny)

Patik (584959) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576842)

Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to-- *MUTE*

Re:Don't stop at just a power button (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576866)

I agree. A universal 'mute' button would be a lot more useful.

Re:Don't stop at just a power button (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10577045)

Better yet, write a program on a PDA to fire off IR sequences stored in a file (if your PDA has an IR port).

Flexibility. :)

~AC~

NFL (5, Funny)

brjndr (313083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576843)

...and women ruin Sundays for men across the nation.

Re:NFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576918)

Ruin?

During the Playoffs (3, Funny)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576943)

Just as the ball gets hit and everyone goes nuts, so you don't see the outcome. Revenge of the nerds indeed. hopefully this is small enough so you don't get caught

Re:During the Playoffs (5, Informative)

vhold (175219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577020)

This is kinda pedantic, but for what it's worth, the article said it takes around a minute for it to transmit all the codes in it's little database, so it's unlikely you'll be able to get the totally desired timing effect to -really- piss everybody off. Also it seems like it'd be pretty hard to use this thing discretely if you have to point it at a TV for half a minute on average.

I can see it now... (4, Insightful)

hollismb (817357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576844)

This might be the next red laser pointer. Built with a good purpose, but annoying as hell for everyone else.

toggle? (4, Interesting)

kyoorius (16808) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576845)

Wouldn't the remote also turn on all the televisions which were originally off?

Re:toggle? (4, Interesting)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576973)

Many devices have a toggle IR code that will do as you say. However, most also include descrete codes that will always turn the device off, or leave it off if it already is off. Home theater buffs who purchase advanced remote controls that have macro capabilities use the descrete codes to program an "All Off" button for instance.

Discrete on/off codes... (2, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577049)

They're pretty rare. I have at most one device at home that MIGHT support discrete on/off codes (my old Sharp XG-E660U LCD projector), but I'm not sure since I don't have the remote, and attempting to use remote definitions for other Sharp projectors gets minimal functionality at most.

With your typical consumer-grade TV sets, the only power code is a toggle. So this device is as likely to turn TVs ON as it is to turn them off.

RTFA (1)

VE3ECM (818278) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577015)

RTFA!
The article covers that on the very last paragraph!

Yes it does! (0, Redundant)

mib711 (785099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577042)

You didn't RTFA, did you?

Free market, people (4, Insightful)

Gentoo Fan (643403) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576849)

Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants

Then don't eat there. It's not your TV to turn off, and maybe other people want to watch it.

Re:Free market, people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576987)

Yeah what kind of idiot can't ignore a television? Has the submitter time traveled to 2004 from the Dark Ages or something? That's like saying he can't ignore the sky. Goodness. Besides, what is the real point of this invention? It doesn't turn the TVs off permanently. If a TV goes out in a restaurant do you think the owner is going to freak out because he doesn't know how to turn it back on? Fuck.

Re:Free market, people (5, Funny)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576996)

Are you trying to insinuate that the entire world shouldn't conform to my preferences? How un /. of you.

Finkployd

Suicidal (5, Funny)

enforcer999 (733591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576851)

If you want to die a quick death, try using this gizmo at an Oklahoma sports bar during an OU Sooners football game. You will not live long.

The death will come via.. (1)

Mike Hock (249988) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576938)

A bunch of faggot OU fans fucking your ass to death

Re:The death will come via.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10577010)

Sounds like we didn't finish the job the first time. See you soon!

Re:Suicidal (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576965)

Well the gizmo's instructions have to state that such uses are not permitted or they face lawsuits. People are going to do that anyway and somebody's going to get hurt. The days of the ubuquitous laser pointer are back :/

Not swamped by Wired... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576859)

But by earlier Slashdot coverage this week. Repost.

WHO (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576863)

gives a shit!

who gave you the right? (4, Insightful)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576869)

you might be annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports... but who's giving you the right to turn it off on behalf of everyone?

if you are in a public place, you cannot turn that TV off as it's not solely yours. if you are in a private place not your own, you cannot turn that TV off as the TV is not yours.

if you can't manage to turn off the TV in your own home, then you got other problems.

Re:who gave you the right? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576980)

I see this the same as wireless networks, if the TV responds to the signal it is ment to be that way.

Boo hoo for you... (3, Insightful)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576871)

"Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to ignore them, and they distract me from the conversations that I should be having with my human companions. "

So because you don't have the ability to focus on a person sitting right in front of you and/or you can't go to a different establishment that meets your needs. Those of us that go to such places because we want to watch the TV there have to suffer. Not to mention that I'm sure it annoyes the owner of the establishment because he obviously wants them there.

Re:Boo hoo for you... (1)

vhold (175219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576935)

Then you'll just have to buy the product too and use it as TV-B-On and have IR wars.

I like the idea of TVs going off all over the place, from a kind of very mild anarchist perspective... But I'm going to have to agree, if you -really- can't handle the TVs so much that you think you have the right to turn them all off, then I also have the right for me not to handle that smug look on your face, allowing me to turn that off too, with a blunt object.

If it becomes a big problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576873)

New TVs will just use encryption of some sort for issuing commands.

one downside... (2, Insightful)

discontinuity (792010) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576876)

Since TV remotes work on IR, this gadget would require a clean line of sight to the TV IR receiver...

Re:one downside... (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576981)

And there to be no other heat-sources in the room. Damn my PS2 DVD remote is unreliable!

TV-B-On (1)

vhold (175219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576878)

The article does mention it at the very bottom.. but just as a reminder, this product is also TV-B-On

cover the ir hole (2, Insightful)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576879)

when me and my roomates are arguing about what to watch on tv, the least lazy of us just goes up to the tv, turns it to the channel they want, and put a book in front of the ir port thingy. then, unless we want to get up too, we're forced to watch.

this could be done here as well to circumvent any tv haters

Now THERE's a serious deterrant ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10577052)

"unless we want to get up too, we're --forced-- to watch"

My God, what oppressive coercion! You actually make each other stand up to change the channel? The horror, the horror!

You guys need to lay off the bong.

Awesome! (3, Funny)

Shoeler (180797) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576880)

Now all we need is the salesman-be-gone, the policeman-be-gone, and the nagging-mother-in-law-be-gone. ^_^

Re:Awesome! (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577009)

Funny you should mention that. They have a device [libertyarms.net] that does all of those things.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Uncrase (767586) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577012)

That's called a shotgun ;-)

Don't forget .... (4, Funny)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577014)

Troll-be-gone
FP-be-gone
In-Soviet-Russia-be-gone
Microsoft-anything-sucks-open-source-everything-ro cks-be-gone
Cowboy-Neal-be-gone

Wow (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576883)

The sheer fucking arrogance of this leaves me almost at a loss for words...

Almost.

What business is it of yours to tamper with things that don't belong to you? Other people might want to watch, and it sounds like the submitter has a problem with controlling his own actions if he can't talk with his "human companions" in the proximity of a TV. Television is merely a conduit of information; there is nothing inherently evil about it.

And it's the height of arrogance and intellectual elitism to think that it's any of your business to turn off TVs that don't belong to you, in public or private places.

The Wired article talks about "anti-TV activists". For fuck's sake, people...

Re:Wow (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576986)

How long until one of these things gets hooked up to a bigger power supply, gets 'modded' to run in continuous search mode, and then amplified to continuously turn off any TV in a 20 mile radius? I can't wait! ROFL.

You had it right about the "anti-TV activists" though. Cripes!

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10577022)

And it's the height of arrogance and intellectual elitism to think that a TV with a working IR receiver should not be made use off. Put some black tape on it if you don't want the TV to receive signals.

Now all we need is a ... (4, Insightful)

iago (4917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576892)

Universal Cell Phone off button.

Whoever creates a small consumer-oriented cell phone signal jammer should win the Nobel Prize.

Re:Now all we need is a ... (1)

3-22 (607124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576968)

True.. But jamming cellular phones is illegal in North America at least.

Re:Now all we need is a ... (3, Informative)

Shoeler (180797) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577002)

Except for the fact that it's Illegal [fcc.gov] , I agree with ya. ;)

Don't forget TV Turn-Off Week (5, Informative)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576893)

If you like being able to turn off any TV you'd like, you'll like TV Turn-off Week [tvturnoff.org] . It's going to be held from April 25-May 1, 2005. Personally, the Internet's replaced TV for me; even though there is a TV here I don't really watch it now.

Re:Don't forget TV Turn-Off Week (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576953)

I find it funny that they always select the week before the May Sweeps to be TV turn-off week. Many TV shows put up reruns that week because they're spending that week preparing for their May Sweeps episodes...

It'd be a much louder message to try to depress the ratings during a sweeps period.

Normal Remote (1)

substatica (548293) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576895)

I hope you all know TV's have "ON" buttons and normal "REMOTES" which folks can use to battle against this new technology......

Great (0)

Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576898)

What a pretentious, self righteous bastard. Turning off TVs in public places is like jamming other people's cell phones and GPS navigation systems. How would you like it if someone did this in a 911 call center? Wouldn't be so funny as fifty screens worth of emergency calls all flipped off. Turning off TV's at a store which sells televisions is probably great for their business right, it's not like your meddling with their private property. So now one person in an airport can impose their viewpoint on the other 100, and we're cheering for this in a democratic nation. Hello? There's a precedent for this technology, the infrared transmitters which emulate ambulances to switch lights green [themirt.com] . They were almost instantly made illegal for private sale.

Here's to history.

Uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576915)

911 centers probably aren't filled with television sets, and if they are, you're in trouble.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10577027)

They make excellent public computer displays...??

Range and Spread? (1)

Jimmy The Leper (734441) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576900)

What sort of range and spread do these have? If I were to get one I would want it with decent range (maybe 20 metres) but also with full spread. So that it would only take one button press to turn off all the TVs wihtin the range. I could imagine causing havoc at the local electronic store's TV wall could be fun.

Try it out during the final Sox-Yankees game (5, Funny)

geekee (591277) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576902)

in a crowded bar. You'll make some new friends with this gizmo.

Re:Try it out during the final Sox-Yankees game (2, Funny)

sleepnmojo (658421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576997)

Even more in prison

It isn't yours (1)

hazzey (679052) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576903)

If the TV isn't yours, then deal with it. Also, if you have problems holding a conversation while one is nearby, then maybe the TV isn't the problem. Try to actually focus on NOT paying attention, or leave. Simple solutions that don't require money or interfering with other people.

Time for some drive-bys (1)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576904)

I'm going to have to fill up the tank and get me one of these things and drive through the coves of rural america.

All of us was ADD and AADD.......ooh, a shiny! (4, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576910)

Seriously, I TRY to pay attention to my friends, familiy, WIFE, when I'm in a public place with a television. I really do.

It doesn't matter how horrendous the show that's on is either. If it's there, I zone in on it.

Finally, an escape!

Website-B-Gone (1)

ayn0r (771846) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576916)

Unfortunately, the TV-B-Gone website seems to have already been swamped by the Wired coverage ...

Yeah, so let's help them out by posting the URL on /.

Bad idea. (3, Insightful)

rasteri (634956) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576921)

I disapprove of this concept - if you don't like the fact that wherever you are has a TV, go somewhere else. Just because you find it annoying doesn't mean you have the right to turn it off. It's similar to walking into a pub and demanding that everyone stop smoking because you are a non-smoker.

Re:Bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10577016)

Hmm, not really, if I walk in to a restraunt and you're smoking I'm going to walk right up to the manager and say, I don't fancy dying of lung cancer caused by passive smoking, either enforce a no-smoking policy or I'm eating elsewhere. In a year to 18 months here in the UK I'll be walking up to said smoker and saying smoking is banned in public places, put it out or I'll stick it up your arse.

Why should the the pursuit of others negativley impact on my health, they have a choice but it's no more important than my choice not to be a passive smoker, but that's going way OT.

but can it be used to turn off (2, Interesting)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576922)

tv's that are being used as monitors, say with flight info, traffic reports etc.
OR, if you have a really strong death wish, turn off the Red Sox/ Yankees game at you local bar?
better hide that little sucker in IR-transparent hiding place and keep you cellphone handy with 1-button 911 service programmed into it if you are going around turning off tvs that other people are watching. I was always warned not to get between a dog and its dinner but I think that goes for humans and there TV's too.

Sign me up! (0)

What'sInAName (115383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576924)


I would definitely buy one of these. The TVs I would target are the ones you run across in random public spaces spewing adverts. Yeah, I should just ignore it, other people want to watch it, blah blah blah. Well fark em, they can always turn it back on if they really want to watch it that bad.

Re:Sign me up! (1)

What'sInAName (115383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576993)


Let me reply to my own post, just to show what a complete farking hypocrite I am. If, on the other hand, someone were to use this to turn off the Sox Yankees game on me, they would be in a world of pain.

Go Sox!

Re:Sign me up! (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577051)

Like in Auckland airport! The cafe there has a TV turned on LOUD, and in new zealand they just have three channels, of of which in the mornings broadcast only advertisements, continuously. I reckon it is a government plan to force people to go outside and exercise instead of watching TV, but it can be annoying if you are waiting for a plane and trying to read a magazine.

He was on ATC yestderday... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10576925)

NPR's All Things Considered had a segment [npr.org] on this device yesterday.

Turning off others' tvs is not a good idea (0)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576926)

...and nerds wonder why they get the stuffing beat out of them.

Just like a concealed universal remote... (1)

JazMuadDib (600258) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576939)

in Future Shop: endless amounts of fun while watching poor salespeople try to figure out why their equipment is going haywire and disturbing their sales pitches!

The nerve of some people... (2, Informative)

VE3ECM (818278) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576945)

Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to ignore them, and they distract me from the conversations that I should be having with my human companions.


Uh, excuse me... who the hell do you think you are that you can walk into someone's place of business, and switch off a piece of property that isn't yours?

Bottom line: if you're unhappy with the noise levels of TV's where you frequent... ask them nicely to turn it down. You'd be surprised how far a simple 'please' goes these days. A fact that eludes far too many people these days.

And if that doesn't work: go somewhere else. No one's forcing you to visit their place of business. Talk with your money.

Car stereo variant. (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576952)

I always wanted to build a car-stereo variant which would set the tuner to my FM transmitter, put the volume up all the way and blast "It's raining men" through their F-ing inconsiderate boom cars.

Is Washington Watching? (1)

ralphart (70342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576956)

How long before the Department of Homeland Security classifies this as a "terrorist" device? Weapons of Mass Distractioon!

thats kind of offensive (2, Informative)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576959)

A small portion of people cannot tune out background noise such as television, but the disruption caused by random outages will disturb the people who DO tune it out. The brain filters out patterns; when patterns change, we notice them. We don't notice the water dripping, but we do when it stops; some of us cannot fall asleep unless there's a stream of white noise such as a fan or waterfall outside. Then there's the issue that people might actually be watching the darned thing in the first place! If I owned a public place, the first time I realized someone was turning off my TVs, I'd just cover the sensors with tape, and make everyone watch whatever I feel like instead, causing more annoyance.

Do you have some sort of neurological disorder? (4, Insightful)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576960)

Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to ignore them,

You've got to be kidding me. Whenever I see TVs in places like that, they're always too small, too far away, and too quiet to keep my attention even when I want to watch them.

If you can't pay attention to a real human right in front of you because of a TV somewhere in the distance, maybe the television isn't the real source of the problem.

steve

Ehh (1, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576964)

I'm too lazy to read the article. Is there a link to video of it somewhere so I know what it does? Anyone?

A.D.D. (1, Flamebait)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576970)

Instead of ruining the experience for everyone else, why not just try reigning in that raging ADD before someone invents the Retard-Be-Gone

Now all we need... (1)

Frennzy (730093) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576971)

...is a 'Geek-B-Dead' device to use on the asshat who thinks it's funny to use this at a sports bar right at that critical moment during an important play.

Re:Now all we need... (0, Flamebait)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577038)

Ooooh, thanks for the idea! I'll have to find a sports bar once my device arrives (I ordered one yesterday morning).

Just turn the captions on and sound off. (1)

VidEdit (703021) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576975)

Rather than getting your ass kicked by irate tv watchers, you'd be better off with a remote that could mute the sound and turn on the captions. That is really the best way for TV to be shown in public places so people can still watch tv but it doesn't disturb others.

Article submitter... (0, Flamebait)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576976)

...needs to get a fucking life. Or, maybe he just needs to get punched in the face a few times. Either action would probably yield positive results.

Psychological Perspective (1)

GopherDylan (769974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576979)

One would have to use some caution with this device because unwanted consequence could occur.

In some cases, such as the article states, the person may simply blink and walk away, but in other cases the person could become quite upset and violent.

In a class I am currently taking we talked about an organisms reaction to the removal of a stimulus they are conditioned to. In this case, the TV show would be the stimulus and response is the dazed, relaxed feeling they might be having. If this is removed, you will see what is sometimes called an "extinction burst." In these cases, dependent on the situation, the person may turn the TV back on and over successive trails become irritate and irrational about the TV turning off.

A great way to see this in practice is to take the batteries out of a remote. Leave them there for the next person to find. You should notice that when it doesn't work the first time, they might start pushing the button harder, maybe hit the remote, and so on. They do all this long before checking on the batteries.

I'm not saying this is totally applicable in all situations, but it might be something to consider.

Elvis... (1)

benasselstine (764316) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576982)

Elvis used a slightly different method for turning off his TVs... KaPow!

Game On! (1)

SkyWalk423 (661752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576985)

Let the infra-red warfare begin!

Arms race? (1)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576988)

So then the TV manufacturers develop a TV which can be locked in the ON position through the setup menu. Then the keychain maker modifies the keychain to work around this. Then the TV manufacturers add a password. Then the keychain manufacturer adds a dictionary attack feature. Then the TV maker gives each remote a key unique to a given TV. Then universal remotes won't work anymore and everyone will be pissed off because they have to order replacement remotes from the factory and the keychains will be worthless.

For those who like their TV... (4, Funny)

iapetus (24050) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576994)

I've created a device to counter this anti-social and selfish TV-deactivator. And what's more, it's easier and cheaper to construct. Just curl the fingers of your right hand into a tight roll, tucking the tips in towards the palm, and use this device to strike a sharp blow to the arrogant fool who thinks he has the right to mess with your expensive consumer hardware.

Patent is, of course, pending, but I'll be offering a free license for use in this sort of situation.

Interesting idea, but wrong code is being sent (1)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577003)

Something that I would find much more useful is a button that cycles through all the 'Closed Captioning' activation codes.

So many TVs in public have the volume low (which is good) but have closed captioning turned off (which is bad). There's no way to actually get coherent information from most programming this way. If you're in a loud bar or restaurant, having the volume up would be intrusive for those who choose not to watch TV. But if you activate the closed captioning, then anyone who chooses to watch will at least be able to understand what they're seeing instead of just watching the 'pretty pictures'.

I'm reminded of the slashdot poster who, on the day the sample return capsule crashed without deploying a parachute, turned on the TV with the sound off and the saw what appeared to be a flying saucer half buried in the desert with the words 'BREAKING NEWS' flashing across the bottom.

As Bugs would say... (1)

iii_rjm (551978) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577004)

What a maroon

So what? (1)

Sephiro444 (624651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577006)

Annoying or not, should an individual have the right to turn off a public television that the other people nearby have an equal right to?

This smacks terribly of the problems presented by personal cell phone jammers [slashdot.org] -- I'm all in favor of common courtesy, but how far should someone be permitted to go to enforce their own personal comfort?

As in both of these cases, should it extend into potentially infringing on the personal comfort of others? How many others? If you can block one person's cell phone signal with a jammer, can you turn off a high mounted TV set in an airport that dozens of people might be watching, because you don't feel like moving?

I should think not!

The main problem with this... (1)

W2k (540424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577007)

...is that it still uses IR, which means it needs line of sight. Of course, there's no way around that, since very few TV sets uses something other than IR for communicating with their remotes. The problem is that you have to point it at the TV set to use it.

Still pretty darn nifty though. I might get one when the site becomes accessible again.

On a sidenote, someone should combine this with a cellphone jammer, an electric stun gun, and a reusable light EMP grenade, and we'd have the ultimate peace-and-quiet device.

Why the hardware? Palm, etc... (2, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577008)

There are so many IR-capable palm devices out there that if the guy making it really wanted to have an impact on the world, all he'd need to do is develop a software app and offer it for free. Anyone? Anyone?

Use a universal remote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10577013)

and just run through the settings. One of them will probably shut off the TV. The submitter just has to be patient enough to hit the remote power button that many times.

Though the attention span of the submitter is the real problem here.

Heh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10577017)

I work at a large broadcasting corporation. I can hardly wait to try one of these out at work (there are TVs everywhere.)

Another Form of DoS (1)

XLawyer (68496) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577025)

Well, yes, that sounds awfully neat . . . Except that many people in a bar may want the TV on, especially if they're watchin the game. And that may be why the owner turned the thing on in the first place.

Can you imagine the reaction if someone used one of these things in the ninth inning of game seven in the Yankees-Red Sox series? Is this likely to appeal to the same kind of loser who runs DoS attacks for kicks?

If there's something annoying on and no one else seems interested in it, why not just ask the bartender or manager to turn off the set or change the channel? I know from personal experience that that's often a viable strategy.

You don't have to like sports or, for that matter, Oprah or infomercials. But does that really entitle you to piss in someone else's sandbox?

The most annoying variant of this (1)

gsasha (550394) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577034)

Would be a device to actually turn UP and DOWN the volume of a TV.
Back at the university, we had SGI workstations with a volume control applet that could be redirected by X to another display. Some guys just discovered digital music back then (it wasn't even MP3), and were constantly playing it.
So the solution was to abruptly jump the volume up and down, much to the bewilderment of the person affected. It was very hard to keep a straight face when he was looking at me... but after several such intrusions, the music was finally stopped.

Just what Guy Montag needed (1)

pcraven (191172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577035)

This is just what Guy Montag [sparknotes.com] needed to silence Denham's Dentifrice [64.233.167.104] .

not for long, it won't. (1)

jstave (734089) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577041)

I think these things will be effective exactly until they get popular. Then either bits of masking tape will be put over the IR receivers of public TVs or someone will create remote/IR pairs that are somehow specific to one another (like some sort of ID encoded in the IR signal). The harder part will be retrofitting existing TVs with such an ID-based remote (harder, but hardly impossible).

Cycle through signals? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577046)

Wouldn't that risk something like this happening? [slashdot.org] . Or perhaps the neighbor's garage door bouncing around. Or somebody's pacemaker making them do the Funky Monkey.

Best Buy B gone.... (1)

Uncrase (767586) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577056)

Best Buy Big Stack of TV's B gone!! I'd love to see THAT in action.
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