Feeds
40%
Sonic Screwdriver

Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control review

Knob end?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

There comes a time in every Doctor Who nerd's life when he or she realises that all the money spent on merchandise and tat was wasted. How many Dalek and Tardis toys do you need sitting on your shelves, demanding to be dusted? Are you really going to read through all the scripts from the 2005 season, complete with RTD's annotations – especially when you have the DVDs too? And no, you are never going to fit into those 1970s Marks & Spencer Tom Baker Y-fronts again.

The problem is, all this stuff is almost entirely useless. You see it in the shop and your fiscal resistance wilts in the face of its shiny cuteness. Even Forbidden Planet's mark-up is no barrier. You know it's a waste of money, but you must have it.

Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control

Widdly-weee-widdly-weee-widdly-weee

Back home, there are doubts. A nagging voice – possibly your mother's, from the other side of your bedroom door – hints that your purchase may not have been a rational one. But the tat goes up onto the shelf nonetheless. Just up there, crammed in next to the Denys Fisher cyberman sculpted with a nose, to the left of the Dapol five-sided Tardis console...

Occasionally, though, you find something that seems like it might be useful. The Tardis Tuner from the late 1970s, for example, did at least make for a half-decent transistor radio because that's all it actually was.

Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control

'Yes, my replacement was pretty unpromising too'

In theory, the Wand Company's Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control should fall into the same category.

According to the blurb on the box, the SSURC is "an advanced, gesture-based, infrared remote control... Using simple and intuitive movements you will be able to use the Sonic Screwdriver to control things around the home". Some of these words are coloured red, others orange. These may be the formal hues of the Prydonian Chapter of the Time Lords, but excessive emphasis does not inspire confidence.

The notion is that you'll soon be waving your Sonic Screwdriver around with gay abandon – I use the term specifically; this is Doctor Who fandom we're talking about, after all, and it is a very phallic instrument, dear – turning up the volume on your telly, switching on the Blu-ray player, disabling the iPod dock.

Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control

'Not even the Sonic Screwdriver can get me out of this one'

Of course, while the Doctor gets away with a little point and click, and perhaps a wee bit of telepathy, translating your average button-festooned remote into a series of gestures doesn't take you very far, so this gadget's shaft is touch sensitive. Combine upward, downward and side-to-side motions with some not-too-comfortable forward and backward jerks and four touch-sensitive areas and you have the basis to record a fair few of your average RC's functions. Three memory banks takes the range of signals the Sonic Screwdriver can send out to 39.

All well and good, but here's the thing: who on Earth has the time and inclination to set up 39 remote control codes? This is a common failing with many of the cheaper universal remotes out there: you have to program the buggers. It's bad enough when this requires entering dozens of four-digit codes each allowing the RC to call up a given device from a specified vendor from out of its memory banks.

Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control

'Er, never trust a man with dirty fingernails'

Here, though, you have to put the Screwdriver into program mode – "while the tip is glowing steadily", ahem – then perform each gesture before pointing your regular RC at the new one to allow the Gallifreyan gadget to read the IR code of the button you're pressing and assign it to the gesture.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Next page: Rassilon's Rod

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.