Things that don’t work, Part 3642a: The Universal Remote by Stanley Bing @FortuneMagazine October 26, 2009, 6:54 PM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons I got a Universal Remote. Have any of you ever had one that worked? This one didn’t. Doesn’t. Won’t. I’ve had them in the past. But sometimes when you have an object that disappoints you, you try again a few years later. Like, a while back I tried to set up a wireless network in my apartment. It was a PC thing, with routers and PCMCIA cards and stuff like that. Didn’t work at all. Sputtered a lot. Died at inopportune times. I hated it. More recently, I got a Mac with built in Airporter. Got an Airport Extreme to go along with it. Bingo. Wireless up the wazoo. Love it. Some things, however, never change. I think I’ve already told you about my hate/hate relationship with Bluetooth. From the fact that my ear was not built to take the little dinglething in stride to the obnoxious anti-linking situation with whatever cell phone I seem to possess… my tooth will never be blue. I’ve tried three times. Three strikes is out in any game I care about. Now there’s this Universal Remote here. It’s supposed to tie together my little sound system with my DVD player and cable box. I am supposed to press B, which will turn on all my components, then press CBL for cable, DVD for DVD (duh) and AMP for the sound system. Simple? No question. I put my other remotes in a drawer with tremendous satisfaction, put batteries in the Universal Remote and voila. Ready to roll. Except it wasn’t. I didn’t. Roll, I mean. I pressed B. Everything went on. The TV said “Video 2 NO SIGNAL” and there was no picture. The sound was fine. The cable box was on. But I think a picture is part of the whole deal, don’t you? I pressed some other buttons. Now the sound went out too. So I went to the cabinet and got out my poor, disrespected TV remote. Cycled through the Inputs. Found the right HD button to restore the picture. Then I took out the remote associated with my sound system and got that up and running again, too. Pretty soon it was all back to normal. Then I put my new Universal Remote into a drawer. I’ll take it out in a couple of months and see if I’m smart enough to get it working then. Perhaps I won’t have a cocktail beforehand, like I did last night. You want to be sharp when you’re operating heavy machinery.