Friday, January 22, 2010

Past and future TV remotes

MARK’S ARTICLE – January 19, 2010
“The virtual remote”

Did you read in the paper where TV remotes are gonna become obsolete? Well, you need to read technological stuff like that, or life will just pass you by and you’ll have people pointing and laughing at you? It’s no fun, let me tell you.

According to some really smart people, instead of pointing a remote at the TV, you’ll just point your finger. Somehow or other a signal comes through your finger and tells the TV what to do.

I’m pretty sure it all started with that Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report.” Remember that? Cruise points to a huge glass panel, and instantly words appear and disappear with the movement of his hands.

After the movie came out, scientists must’ve gotten busy doing stuff like that. Started off with the weather. As the weatherman moves his hand over a screen, a yellow line shows up and goes wherever he points. Wouldn’t it be great to have that power?

So, in the not too distant future we’re going to be able to change channels by pointing. We’re either going to have to wear diodes on our fingertips or else the cable box is going to be reading our thoughts. I don’t know that I want a box reading my thoughts. My thoughts scare me sometimes. Sure don’t want to put the people at DISH Network on alert. – “Hey, it was just a thought! It’s gone now. No, cuffs, please!”

The new pointing technology is coming at a time when I’m already a real pro with the handheld remote. Do you know that it takes 17 clicks of the remote to get DISH to “close caption” a program? Well it does. And, I can hit the menu button, up and down and sideways buttons without looking or thinking. In fact, if I stop long enough to think, I’ll really mess up.

It’s just a reflex. Kind of like when someone walks near me with a ball. I instantly guard my privates. Dennis did that to me. Created an unconscious flinch. An embarrassing thing it is. And, I can’t get past it.

It’ll probably take me awhile to get my remote finger to work right. I’ll be pointing and waving and throwing stuff at the TV. But, I’ll catch on. Don’t know about little old ladies. I can’t see it happening. – “Sonny, will you come over and point at my TV. It won’t listen to my finger.”

I wish my Dad had been alive to see what they’ve done with remotes. He just wouldn’t believe it. You see, I was raised at time when your finger and thumb was the remote. You had to walk or scoot over to the TV and twist the dials. Whatta pain.

In our house, the remote was the closest person to the TV who wasn’t Dad. -- “Mark, put it on Channel 2.” or “Dennis, hit the volume. Mr. Ed is mumbling again.” Or “Hey, the vertical hold isn’t gonna fix itself. Move!”

Dennis and I began changing positions in the living room. We started out lying on the floor in front of the TV, and then changed to sitting on the couch. Jill and Big Al had to do adjust the TV after that.

If they had developed the finger pointing remote back in The Day, there would’ve been a lot of bloodshed in the Hayter house. I’m thinking. – “Hey, who changed the channel? Which one of you little weasels pointed at the TV?” – Yeah, Dad would’ve killed us. Or, duct taped our body parts.

Dad loved duct tape. And, I know he would’ve liked the notion of pointing to a TV and getting it to do what he wanted. That’s some serious power. Don’t know how it’s gonna play out in the hands of the masses. Carnage. I’m thinking carnage.



  1. No way! That is too much - pointing a finger! How lazy are we becoming anyway!!

    Have you ever heard the joke about the future? it goes something like this:

    "You call Domino's and ask for an XL pepperoni. The guys says, No Mr. _____ your choleserol was too high this month and you bank account clearly states that you cannot afford this pizza."

    I seriously hope technology doesn't go crazy someday.