Love this old ad for Zenith's early remote control, the "Flash Matic," which let you "shut off long, annoying commercials while picture remains on screen!" (a process that was eventually known as "muting"). I grew up with a Zenith TV that had the next generation of remotes, a little box with a cunning series of ultrasonic tuning-forks inside it that were struck by tiny hammers controlled by pushbuttons on the remote's face; we used to try to trick the receiver by jingling keys, sneezing, and rolling squeaky-wheeled coffee-tables around to get it to change the channel or up the volume.
This ad (and the other one that accompanies it at the link) are quite explicit about the primary use of remotes being to switch off ads -- call them the pop-up blocker of their day. It's no wonder that major rightsholder groups objected to remote controls when they were introduced, it's easy to imagine the forebear of today's NAB lobbyists explaining that the mute button was a form of theft, the Boston Strangler of the TV industry.
Pocket CHIP is a tiny, $50, ARM-based pocket games console with a full keyboard and a Bluetooth interface.
Craiglist has something wonderful on it: a vast collection of more than 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters, including accessories and marketing literature. Yours for a hundred grand. My collection consists of over 600 typewriter items including the company’s first typewriter in the 1880’s to one of the company’s last typewriters in 2000’s and all models in […]
We’re huge fans of portable power gadgets, but this one isn’t going in my pocket to help me keep my phone topped up after lunch. Anker’s Powerhouse is the size and weight of a concrete construction brick, and at $500 and 120,000mAh, by far their largest power pack yet. It’ll charge your laptop 15 times […]
Why buy one of those expensive and confusing universal remotes, clogged with enough buttons to launch a space shuttle, when you could accomplish the same electronic control right on your favorite mobile device? The Blumoo Universal Remote, now just $52.99 in the Boing Boing Store, harnesses the audio power of all your household equipment right […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]