Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Red Light

255 words

Uh, the morons!

USB plug with a red light

What exactly is the point of putting a red LED into the plug of a USB cable? Making things uglier? Distracting the user?

Or let’s start a step earlier: Who would want a transparent plug with all the cables visible? Shouldn’t the cables be shielded in some way? It’s just ugly.

I suppose we could blame Apple for that in some way. When they introduced their translucent iMacs everybody started going on a transparency craze. Of course the people making the 90% crud in the world completely failed to even look at the iMac and they didn’t realise that you couldn’t actually see much of the machine’s innards. In fact it had been carefully designed to just give you an illusion of transparency while not showing the ugly technology doing its job (which I always thought was also a great analogy how Apple works as a company – friendly to look at but you’ll get at most an illusion of transparency and no look on what happens inside).

And even when Apple did proper transparency like in their ‘Pro Mouse’ you didn’t see the mouse’s innards (just the dirt that had managed to creep into the device). And when they started introducing wireless mice which need batteries, they wisely decided to make the plastic opaque again. But the friggin’ rip-off ‘designers’ didn’t get any of that. They gave us transparency with all the intestines visible. And now they even give us lights inside it. Can things become worse? And if so, how?

December 13, 2007, 9:16


Comment by g: User icon

Now imagine if the thing flickered during I/O operations, like those horrid flickering lights on external hard drives. Oops, sorry, that should be flickrd, my end of year pessimism got the best of me.

December 13, 2007, 14:44

Comment by ssp: User icon

We won’t settle for less than your best :)

Actually reminds me of the activity light on my external hard drive. It’s such a bright flickering attention whore that I had to tape it over with gaffer tape a few minutes after starting to use the thing. Made me wonder whether they ever even thought about those lights.

[Actually I could start a rant now on how such lights should be superfluous anyway, but I guess that’d be superfluous as well.]

December 13, 2007, 14:51

Comment by g: User icon

No no, that’s not superfluous. Superficial visual effects have their place, but not on the mundane. I only mention the hard drive thing because I bought a cheap Western Digital external over the weekend. I thought it was a good deal, €249 for 1 TB, but seriously, I rearranged my desk to put the front of it out of sight. It was a mighty task that took a long time, considering it was just a fucking Hard Drive.

Anyway, the thing has this pulsating strobe like light that is just pathetic. They even bundle some kernel extension with the it called a “Button Manager” — to manage button at the back that, in turn, makes the lights go all weird when one mounts the hard drive. No, I didn’t install or try it… FTS.

One has to ask how many amps are being pulled by these lights, and then collectively mark up the power use as a carbon footprint. :p

December 13, 2007, 18:04

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