Tag Archives: RIP

RIP Eugene Polley: Inventor of the wireless TV remote dies at 96

By Rosa Golijan

If it weren’t for Eugene J. Polley, flipping TV channels would be an exhausting and tedious undertaking. Polley, after all, invented the world’s first wireless TV remote. He died of natural causes on Sunday, at the age of 96.

According to a press release put out by Zenith — the company with which Polley started his 47-year engineering career in 1935 — the innovator earned 18 U.S. patents for his inventions, which include the “Flash-matic” remote control. This device, introduced in 1955, “used a flashlight-like device to activate photo cells on the television set to change channels.”

Because the remote shined visible light, TVs could be confused by other light sources. In spite of its quirkiness, the Flash-matic was a revolution, and the reason Polley was bestowed with humorous titles ranging from “the founding father of the couch potato” to “the czar of zapping” to “the beach boy of channel surfing.”

The Flash-Matic was followed by the Space Command — a “next-generation wireless TV remote based on ultrasonic technology” — which was developed by the late Dr. Robert Adler, a fellow Zenith engineer who built upon Polley’s invention. Of course, by the time the 1980s came around, ultrasonic remotes had given way to infrared (or IR) remotes. The most recent ones use radio frequency, so you don’t have to point them directly at anything.

Wireless remote controls, which were a luxury in their early days, are now a standard accompaniment to any TV, set-top box, DVD player, DVR, stereo, and just about any other home entertainment device you might encounter. All because of the work tracing back to one Eugene J. Polley.

So pause for a moment the next time you sit on the couch, idly surfing channels on a TV that’s 8 feet away, and think of the brilliant engineer who made your exquisite laziness possible.

Want more tech news, silly puns, or amusing links? You’ll get plenty of all three if you keep up with Rosa Golijan, the writer of this post, by following her on Twitter, subscribing to her Facebook posts, or circling her on Google+.

READ MORE via Technology News, Smartphones, Facebook & Social Media – Digital Life | TODAY.com Blogs – Eugene Polley, inventor of the wireless TV remote, dies at 96.

Karl Slover Dead: ‘Wizard of Oz’ Munchkin Dies at 93 – The Moviefone Blog

Actor Karl Slover, best known for playing a Munchkin in the 1939 classic ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ passed away Tuesday. He was 93. You can see Slover playing the lead trumpet when the Munchkin mayor arrives in the land of Oz. According to the AP, the actor was born Karl Kosiczky in what is now the Czech Republic. He moved to the United States in his late 20s and joined a circus vaudeville group called the Singer Midgets; the group would later be cast as Munchkins. Over the years, Slover has made appearances at ‘Wizard of Oz’ reunions and fan festivals.

via Karl Slover Dead: ‘Wizard of Oz’ Munchkin Dies at 93 – The Moviefone Blog.

Elizabeth Taylor, Dead at 79. RIP

Screen legend Elizabeth Taylor has died. She was 79 years old.

Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed beauty whose hectic off-screen love life often eclipsed her most sultry film roles, has died. She was 79.

She died today at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, her four children by her side, according to a statement from her publicist. She was hospitalized six weeks ago for treatment of congestive heart failure, a condition that had stabilized, “and it was hoped that she would be able to return home,” the statement said. “Sadly, this was not to be.”

Read more via Bloomberg.com 

Actor HEATH LEDGER Found Dead Of Apparent Drug Overdose

Wow, I didn’t expect this one. Heath Ledger was a big Hollywood star, now it appears he’ll be mentioned in the same light as River Phoenix and other stars who died too young.

Here is the story from CNN

NEW YORK (CNN) — Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday of a possible drug overdose in a Lower Manhattan apartment, the New York Police Department said.

The Academy Award nominated actor was 28.

“Pills were found in the vicinity of the bed,” police spokesman Paul Browne told CNN.

“This is being looked at as a possible overdose, but that is not confirmed yet.”

The pills appeared to be over-the-counter sleeping medication, said police spokeswoman Barbara Chen.

Ledger was unresponsive when he was found by a housekeeper who had gone to wake him for an appointment with a masseuse in the Soho apartment, Browne said.

The apartment is owned by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, The New York Times reported.

Ledger was declared dead at about 3:30 p.m., Browne said.

In 2005, the actor played Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain,” about two cowboys who had a secret relationship.

The role earned him the Oscar nomination.

Ledger was born in Perth, Australia. He has a young daughter with actress Michelle Williams, his co-star in “Brokeback Mountain.”

“He was just so respected in the industry,” said Kim Serafin, senior editor of In Touch Weekly.

“It’s just horribly tragic. He was just a fine actor and a good person, so this is horribly sad and very unexpected.”

Ledger was always focused on his career, Serafin said.

Some of his other film credits also include “A Knight’s Tale” in 2001 and “The Four Feathers” in 2002.