Content-Type: text/shitpost


Subject: The universal remote
Path: you!your-host!wintermute!hardees!triffid!gormenghast!hal9000!plovergw!shitpost!mjd
Date: 2018-01-29T16:15:59
Newsgroup: misc.jobs.remote-controls
Message-ID: <8fc58b091e82057e@shitpost.plover.com>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

In 2006, back when Forbes was still worth something, they ran an article on “The 20 Most Important Tools”, and I wrote a long critical discussion of their choices.

I wrote to the author to find out what tools they had considered that hadn't made the top 20, and one was “remote control”. I said:

I don't know exactly what was intended by "remote control", but it doesn't satisfy the criteria. The idea of remote control is certainly important, but this is not a list of important ideas or important functions but important tools. If there were a truly universal remote control that I could carry around with me everywhere and use to open doors, extinguish lights, summon vehicles, and so on, I might agree. But each particular remote control is too specialized to be of any major value.

Well, here we are only 12 years later, and there is a truly universal remote control that I can carry around with me everywhere and use to open doors, extinguish lights, summon vehicles, and so on.

I hadn't fully appreciated how much this had changed until yesterday. I was leaving the house where I have my piano lesson, and I passed by one of the inhabitants. He had bought a new grill and smoker, and was in the process of pairing his phone with it.

I wonder what I would have thought in 2006 if someone had told me that in 2018 a working-class guy in the Philadelphia suburbs would have an Internet-capable barbecue grill that could be remote controlled from his pocket computer.

Truly, we live in an age of marvels.