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.
Super Retro-Boy is a compact, minimal reimplementation of Nintendo’s classic Game Boy with the look as well as the tech. It plays real cartidges, including those from the full-color Game Boy Advance—presumably this is why there are four buttons. It gets 10 hours on a charge, and will come with a 10-in-1 game from Retro-Bit […]
A T-Mobile customer in Florida drove her SUV into the store, smashing through the front window and coming to a stop deep in the showroom. Then she emerged from her disabled vehicle, hefted a broken window frame, and smashed a display. “What is wrong with her?” calls out an unseen observer. According to witnesses who […]
Slovenia’s Maheno corporation manufactured a series of Barbie-branded and white label typewriters for kids, with a hidden feature that allowed their owners to use them to produce messages encrypted with a simple substitution cipher.
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]
Using my iPhone while it’s charging is always a hassle. With tucked-away outlets and the meager length of included lightning cables, comfortable scrolling while plugged in is annoying. These 10-Ft MFi-Certified Lightning Cables are super convenient and probably the best iPhone accessory purchase I’ve made.At over three times the length of normal cables, these reach anywhere you […]