53: Remote Labels

53? With 2014 coming to a close, Jennifer’s toast post completed the last of the laser projects we originally set out to do. One laser, fifty-two weeks, after all! But where do we go from here? We go right into week fifty-three, of course!

This week, I decided to solve a problem created by a Christmas gift. Last year for Christmas Jennifer and I traded some items that have been on our “get this eventually” list: one complicated and cute little rice cooker, and a sound system for our television that you could adjust the volume of from your comfy couch comfort. The rice is great, and our abused little computer speaker setup has been kicked to the curb and replaced with a fairly robust Yamaha audio receiver.

That’s excellent for many reasons, but troublesome for one: getting down with our entertainment now meant fiddling with three different input devices, rather than one, and Jennifer was having none of it, especially since I never bothered to let her know which devices were on which inputs. Jennifer is savvy, of course, and gets along fine now that I’ve let her join the secret A/V button club, but just to be future-proofed I decided to make a little label to stick on the receiver remote pointing out exactly which input buttons went where.

The naked remote. Not impossible to use, but not as intuitive as necessary.

The naked remote. Not impossible to use, but not as intuitive as necessary.

The remote isn’t bad by itself, but when your inputs are labeled “HDMI 1” through “HDMI 4” you might spend some time pressing buttons until the device you’re expecting graces the screen. I measured the HDMI section of the remote and the buttons themselves—in millimeters, way outside of my United States customary unit comfort zone—and cut a prototype out of some super-thin adhesive-backed acrylic.

One prototype was all that was needed.

One prototype was all that was needed.

The prototype fit almost perfectly, which took me by surprise. The rounded corners of the buttons were just a little too rounded, so I had to square them back up a bit to get the buttons to fit more easily in the holes I’d cut. But that was all it took!

Now the remote is at-a-glance easy.  Jen can choose between the Wii U, the Xbox 360, a home theater PC, and “Maru,” the nickname given to my Chromecast. She still has to turn on the device and the television separately, and I might be able to alleviate that if I can get into my television’s manufacturer mode and turn on the hidden HDMI-CEC functionality, but that’s a different adventure for another time.

Remotelabel (3 of 3)


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