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Out of Our Minds
Tuesday, October 26, 2004 10:53 AM
Kevin Salwen on Culture

I've been traveling the past few days to San Francisco and L.A., which gives me the opportunity to meet with interesting people -- and have to shout over the myriad televisions that have sprung up seemingly everywhere. In restaurants, at airports, you name it, TVs are now everywhere. They draw your eye like some amazing magnetic force, they spew talk and music constantly.

Now, a San Francisco inventor, Mitch Altman -- who claims not to have owned a TV since 1980 -- has created a cool little device called TV-B-Gone, which allows individuals to turn off just about any television remotely. 'A TV that is powered on is like second-hand smoke. It fills the room with its sights and sounds, impinging on everyone in the room,' says the website of his company, Cornfield Electronics. 'If someone were smoking a cigar in a public place, you would probably leave or ask them to extinguish it. With TV-B-Gone, you have the power to turn any TV off, with others' approval.' At $14.99, Cornfield has sold out his supply, but is working hard to build more.

This is all about controlling our own environments, isn't it? Now how long until someone (maybe Mr. Altman himself) invents TV-B-On to flip the tubes back on. Let the clicker wars begin!


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Jane - 10/28/2004 11:45:01 AM
What a delightful idea. And I'm not sure I'd feel it necessary to ask permission to use my new remote. Imagine walking past rows and rows of gates at the airport, shutting down the sources of sludge to either side! Like Carrie Nation going after the taverns and bars. More power to Mitch Altman!
lee - 10/28/2004 12:05:15 AM
I want a cellphone-be-gone. I was buying my dinner at a take-away place tonight. Some VERY IMPORTANT (one can only assume) young woman was talking on her cellphone and gesturing wildly to the very patient woman trying to assemble her pasta entree. When it was my turn to order, I told the woman behind the counter that SHE should wait on customers while chatting on HER cellphone. Bet that would not go over well. Why is rude behavior tolerated on one side of a transaction and grounds for dismissal on the other side?????
Alex - 10/26/2004 11:42:48 AM
I'd buy that in a second just because of the hilarity potential.


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