May 12th, 2005

Abelian Grape

The failings of TV-B-Gone, and an idea for a solution.

So, I own a TV-B-Gone. I have found that it has a few failings:

  • It's hard to use it inconspicuously.
  • It takes a long time to cycle through all the "off" signals it tries.
  • There's no way to just pick out the signal for a particular TV, even if you use it regularly on that target.
  • The button accidentally gets pressed if I carry it in my pocket so it runs down the battery, and there's no LED "low-battery" indicator.

The obvious solution just occurred to me -- run it off a PDA's IR "beaming" port. OK, so I'd need to get a PDA to make that a useful solution, but it's both unobtrusive (who notices a geek tapping on a PDA?) and provides all kinds of UI options.

There's a program called OmniRemote from Pacific Neo-Tek, and a variety of other programs doing similar stuff. But that's overkill. I want something that just cycles through the off signals (maybe with a slight pause between them and a button you can tap to have it stop and tell you which signal just worked), and also offers a menu of the signals sorted by brand.

Apparently there are freeware signal DBs out there, which one might be able to integrate into a simpler program... Anybody out there know how to write Palm shareware?

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    creative creative
Avenging Angel

What should be the last word on SS reform.

Brad DeLong apparently delivered a Statement on Social Security Reform at a Senate hearing. It summarizes most of what one ought to know (though it leaves out the details of why assumptions on productivity used to sell the "crisis" notion contradict the sunny assumptions on stock returns used to sell private accounts as a solution -- if privatization can work, there's no crisis; if there's a crisis, privatization won't solve it). It's has some good humorous highlights. (Among other things, we learn that Brad apparently has three hearts. Perhaps he is secretly an octopus?)

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    geeky geeky