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    « Bootlegging Tips for SuprNova | Main | Politics and Misinformation: The Looming Republican War »
    Wednesday
    Jul072004

    Remotes Remotes Remotes

    INTERFACES: An Engadget post points us to an article about the inventor of the remote control being "confused" by modern day remotes.







    The article is so short it's hardly worth reading. (Think: local broadcast news quality.) But I think the salient point here isn't that remotes are all that awful, there are just too damn many of them. My Tivo remote is pure quality; I never have to think more than a micro-second about what I need to push to get the Tivo to do what I want. However, I'm always flipping back and forth between the Tivo, the stereo, the LCD Television, the wireless mouse and the wireless keyboard. I also have a remote for my ATI video card and a remote that came with my Dell desktop; neither of which I use.



    I know what you're thinking: universal remotes. Ok, now slap yourself and forget about it. Having one human interface to every household device is an awful idea. I don't want to use a mouse to turn off the kitchen lights and I don't want to use a television remote to surf the web.



    What really needs to happen here is a smarter integration between devices. When I plug my TV/Monitor into the stereo, it should know that the stereo is there and it should turn the stereo on when I turn the TV/Monitor on and play its line-in (unless it's already doing something else or I've told it not to). When I activate my computer, my TV/Monitor should know that I want to use it now and should switch from analog in to DVI accordingly. When I turn off the TV/Monitor, it should send out a signal to the stereo saying, "if you're just playing your line-in, you don't have to anymore so turn off." This sort of system wouldn't put every appliance in your house on one remote, but that's a good thing. Instead, it would eliminate the need to have more then one remote just to do one thing, like watching television.

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