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  • Lance Mannion
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The Heretik

The remotes hide out with the socks that get lost in the laundry


My remotes don't go hiding that often (though they are under my strict command - no other users), but when they do, for their perverse little reasons, and I have to fall back on manual controls, it's eyes and tininess that drive me nuts.
Eyes - farsighted, always. And the better one is astygmatic, and changes its angles.
Tininess - small labels on controls, worse than the sidebars in WIRED, usually some pale gray-on-black surface, and I don't aim kliegs at my players very often. I have magnifiers scattered around instead. This makes me feel ancient, and I'm not.
And, yes, limited access through the buttons - all you'd need is one marked "Menu" and a few "<"s and ">"s, but no.... Inelegant.

It adds to my work-duty that my patient can't work her remote for her cable - it certainly looks universal, but it goes to sleep on the TV function, so she can press and press and nothing happens. Her (truly ancient) fingers can't find those mini-buttons - and I know when the Volume goes sky-high that she's found the only thing that works for her and it's wrong and - just for safety - needs adjustment so I can hear her.

At least I keep all my manuals in one place - there are functions I've never explored, like turning my own room into a disco, and I shall leave them that way.

Batteries - evil buggers - I won't even address.

Just hope I can catch The Incredibles tonight....

It's been a long, long week.


Oh, please do like my husband does and fix the remote with masking tape or duct tape that will peel at the edges and collect grime from people's hands and be sticky and revolting so that every time you use the thing you have to go scrub your hands, but the sticky goo is somehow waterproof so it doesn't really come off but just makes your hands feel really revolting all night long. Please do that. Because that's so fun.


You forgot the telephone battery. Why, when the damn thing goes into "battery low" mode, must you then charge the replacement for about 16 hours? You are thus without a principal means of business communication unless you don't change the battery until 1800 hours, and I defy anyone to remember that little problem after picking up a new battery at the local Radio Shack.

Morgaine Swann

I feel your pain. My remote for my DVD player has been missing for months. I can access anything except the basic "play" function, and it's driving me nuts. I have a universal remote, but damned if I can get it to work with anything but the TV. Ain't technology grand?

Exiled in NJ

I only found out my DVD player remote could do things when I popped in "Body Heat" [not for your family night, Lance, please] and I realized I was listening to it and reading English subtitles. Maybe they were to help me thru William Hurt's mumbling or talking to the window with his back to the camera, but I did not think I needed them, so I began pressing these tiny buttons with my fat fingers and finally, somehow, the subtitles disappeared, but they reappear every time we try to watch it.


Dr B,

While I appreciate the virtues of duct tape and have often used it for quick repair jobs, I am not addicted to the stuff and always treat it as a temporary solution to buy me time while I figure out how to actually fix the problem. You need to look into the possibility that Mr B is a secret member of the duct tape cult and if he is have him kidnapped and taken to a Home Depot home repair workshop for deprogramming.

I wasn't able to get the old remote working again, but I did manage to program the new universal remote finally. It's a bit mulish and somewhat erratic but it works. I'd planned to use it only until I could find a truly compatible new remote, but all the ones I've found on the web cost half as much as some new DVD players.

I shouldn't be surprised. It is the plan of the electronics industry to make all home appliances large and small disposable. I wasn't supposed to go out and buy a new remote. I was supposed to go out and buy a new DVD player.

Jenny K

I think that whatever engineer decided to have the menu navigation buttons on the remote for my TV/DVD combo unit double as volume buttons, making it impossible to change the volume remotely while I'm accessing the DVD menu, deserves his/her own special place as well. Although it doesn't to be as bad as the special place for whoever decided that because everything has a remote now, nothing needs more than an on/off switch on the actual machine.

Anne Laurie

Just had to speak up in defense of those poor subtitles! Neither my hearing nor my husband's is as good as it once was; current cinematic trends towards REALLY REALLY LOUD special effects, and television's ever-greater reliance on ever-louder laugh tracks, makes it difficult for us to make out the words over the explosions. I greatly appreciate subtitles, and DVDs that don't include English subtitles lose points. For example, I loved Joan of Arcadia, but I haven't gotten around to buying the first season DVD box yet, because it's not subtitled. (Also, I hope Les Moonves will drop dead, preferably under horribly embarrassing circumstances, before I give him any of my money.) On the other hand, I bought the RESCUE ME box as soon as I dropped the first Netflix disc into my player and made sure that I could READ the dialogue I'd miss hearing. Given reports that the generations following the Boomers are ruining their hearing earlier and more catastrophically than Pete Townsend ever could, I'm guessing (hoping) that same-language subtitles can only be a Coming Trend.

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