Monday, September 15, 2014

"Let's Annoy Earl - The Technological Story Of My Life"

Are you familiar with the concept of “Touch Typing?”  I learned about it during my “Typing Option” at Ledbury Park Junior High School.  (My other “Option” was “Singing.”  Eschewing such alternatives as “Metal Shop” where I could easily solder my fingers together, and “Auto Shop” where the notorious “Tech Boys” could weld my head to the hood of a car.)

“Touch Typing” is a typing strategy in which, by placing your fingers in the appropriate position on the keyboard, you can then type entirely by “touch”, it being unnecessary for you to look where your fingers are going, because they will automatically strike the appropriate keys.  Your eyes can therefore remain fixed on the document you are typing, it being unnecessary to focus on your fingers. 

I employ “Touch Typing” to this very day.  Though it is trickier on a computer, since, having more keys on it, the keyboard is wider, meaning you can easily mislocate your “Starting Position” and as a result every letter you type is going to be wrong. 

That, however, is not today’s problem.  Today’s problem involves “Touch Typing” with my television remotes. 

And, believe me, it’s a messy one.

On the Time-Warner cable representative’s last visit, he replaced one of my remotes that had worn out with a new and different-functioning remote. 

The Short Version of the Problem:  Not one of the control buttons is in the same place.  Wreaking bloody havoc on my “Touch Typing” approach.

I was used to the Original Remote.  Then, every remote in our house was the same, offering a comfortable consistency in their use.  Now, there’s a debilitating interloper.  And my “pressing without looking” technique is entirely out the window.

It’s a different remote manufacturer, it was explained to me.  That’s why the button are in different positions.  Fine.  But did they have to move every button to a totally different place? 

Imagine every piano manufacturer rearranging the piano keys, so that on one piano it’s C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C and on another piano it’s G-D-C-C-A-B-F-E.  A veritable “Jumble” on the keyboard.

CONCERT PIANIST:  “I can’t find anything!

Can we talk about form of “Remote Button” standardization?  Apparently, we cannot.

Here are just five differences between my new and improved “downstairs” remote and my original “upstairs” remote to which I had become so accustomed I could habitually press the buttons on it without looking.  (And, believe me, there are more.)

The Original Remote:  The “Master Power” button is at the top on the right.

The New And Improved Remote:  Does not have a “Master Power” button at all.  When I “Touch Type” “at the top on the right” on it, I mistakenly press the “Cable” button, and the cable goes off.

On the Original Remote, the “Mute” button is an oblong-looking button about a third of the way down.  

On the New And Improved Remote, the “Mute” button is small and round and in the middle of the remote.  If, without looking, I press the same place on the New And Improved Remote where the Original Remote has the “Mute” button, I instead hit the “Pause” button.  Making me “Pause” when I am trying to “Mute.”

On the New And Improved Remote, the “Info” button is a Tylenol­­-shaped affair near the top, the third button on the right of an arcing “button grouping” of three.  On the Original Remote, the “Info” button is also near the top, but it’s small and round and in the middle of an arcing “button grouping” of five.  When, without looking, I press where I am used to the “Info” button being, on the New And Improved Remote, I get “Menu.”
The “Exit” button on the New And Improved Remote is on the right, directly below the “Info” button (which actually makes sense.)  The “Exit” button on the Original Remote is the second button from the left below and between the “VCR” button and the “DVD” buttons.  I press where I expect “Exit” to be on the New And Improved Remote, and I get “Settings.” 

And I don’t even know what that is!

Lastly, the “Last” button, which allows you to go back to the channel you were watching immediately before.  On the Original Remote, it’s a third of the way down on the right.  On the New And Improved Remote, it is two-thirds of the way down in the middle.  From a “Touch Typing” standpoint, I can’t even find that one.

A COMFORTING NOTE:  In the name of delicacy, I could have told the same story about our toilet seats but I didn’t.  We have three different toilet seats with three different capacities, ranging from traditional “Manual” to “Entirely Automatic.”  I have not infrequently found myself standing over the “Manual” toilet seat wondering why nothing is happening. 

Fortunately, I decided to stick with “Remotes.”

I know this is a miniscule difficulty, but, to me, it’s a cumulative matter.

With all the “Trouble Spots” in the world, do I really need another one in my hand?


To examine them for this story, I brought the two remotes into my office, each of them programmed to a specific TV in our house.

I shall be a happy man today if I can remember which of them goes back where.


YEKIMI said...


Me thinks your touch typing failed you while typing that word....

Toto said...

Guess you'll have to carry both remotes w/you at all times. Hey, maybe one of them will work on that fully automatic toilet...which is certainly indicative of the programming on TV.