Monthly Archives: February 2008

Disruptive Technology

In George Orwell’s prophetic novel 1984 the telescreen cannot be turned off. It streams constant propaganda, but perhaps even more disturbing, it watches your every movement. The telescreen captures the minds of the audience and prevents them from the enemy most dangerous to the stability of the ruling class, critical thought.

This weekend I assembled an Adafruit Industries TV-B-Gone kit. Critical thinkers often view the instruction manual merely as “suggestions.” I too did not follow the directions verbatim for the kit and had some parts left over. With the help of my local Radio Shack, a 2x3x1 project box, a momentary switch, 4 chrome LED mounts, and some wire I now have a box that would through any TSA Agent into an apoplectic terrorgasm.


The kit is an LED array that sends out a series of signals via infrared. A small microcontroller has the codes stored and can be reprogrammed for any device that uses a remote. The signal your TV remote sends out to turn the set on is also the same to turn it off. The IR panel on your TV must always have power to receive these signals so the kit actually works both ways. Since there are multiple TV manufacturers with different codes, the kit sends out a long series of codes for different manufacturers.

The first victims of the kit were some of my neighbors playing Halo 3 on a humongous flat panel TV. They were speechless to explain the sudden disruptions in their game play. Target and Sears experienced similar disruptions in their electronics departments. My anticipation is that these disruptions may occur sporadically in the future.


This TV-B-Gone kit is actually my second attempt. The first kit I assembled worked for 15 minutes before it failed. The momentary savor of victory left me wanting more. My second TV-B-Gone would be an improvement. Sure enough model two was more complex and better executed.

Disruptive technology interferes with the programming found in everyday life. The people who play with ideas, tinker with the world around them, and read into a deeper understanding are less likely to be controlled by that programming. Disruption promotes critical thinking, but is disturbing to those who lack the capacity to do so.

The power lies with the proles.

A Smattering of German

Typed at work as fast as possible without corrections.

  • Letzter Freitag habe ich Senator Barack Obama gesehen. Es gibt Hoffnung.
  • I saw Barack Obama last Friday. There is hope.
  • Gib mir Schokolade oder gib mir Tod.
  • Give me chocolate or give me death.
  • Ich hatte einmal Hosen, aber ich habe sie für ein Bier gehandelt.
  • I once had pants, but I traded them for a beer.
  • Das Schicksal von Menschen sieht dunkel und böse.
  • The fate of men looks dark and evil.
  • Der Intellekt des Mannes schwächt mit jedem YouTube Video.
  • The intelligence of a man weakens with every YouTube Video.
  • Ich führte einen Angriff auf meinem Grimmdarm mit Essen von Taco Bell.
  • I led an attack on my colon with food from Taco Bell.

Blonde Ambition

January came and went and I couldn’t help but feel a cavernous void within my inner-being. Something was not right. Something was out of place. I felt as though I missed something entirely, as though it passed me by. Then I realized…


I never got to see Jessica Simpson’s movie “Blonde Ambition” because it made a grand total of $1,190 at the box office. That is a comma in there and not a decimal indicating millions. One-thousand and ninety dollars. Playing at only eight theaters in her home state of Texas during December it set the record for lowest box office draw. Studio executives decided not to release it nationwide this January. In 2007 I spent half of the year out of the country and worked a student job part time I still made more money than the entire box office draw for this film. ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY DOLLARS. One one nine zero.

Be sure to look for Blonde Ambition on DVD at a Wal-Mart near you later this month. They’ll be packing them with melonballers so you can give yourself a lobotomy after viewing this silver screen monstrosity.