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.
All through 2016, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) has sent us a stream howtos for of amazing, artistic pies — an HR Giger pie, a James Bond pie, and a Predator pie. Now she’s kickstarting a set of pie templates to help you make perfect pop-culture pastry in your own kitchen.
Andrew Lekashman offers a brief pictorial a history of mechanical keyboards, from adding machines to dumb terminals to Symbolics monstrosities to modern blank-key hacker totems. There was a lot of ingenious tech left by the wayside on the way to finding the perfect click. Pictured above is one not included in the roundup, a particularly […]
Yesterday, we learned The Wirecutter (with sister site The Sweethome) was headed to New York City. It’s the sort of good ending that’s also a good beginning: they succeeded in their mission and have bright prospects for further growth. But Matt Haughey points out how much of the story everyone’s missing: the entire site is […]
TV antennas are making a comeback, and the Ghost Indoor HDTV antenna is a great example of why. Unlike the old bunny ear-style antennas, this compact antenna is barely noticeable and picks up channels easily. Plus with the addition of streaming services like Netflix, we find ourselves with plenty to watch without a pricey monthly cable bill. The Ghost […]
I’ve never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren’t very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying around your […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]