Do lights on cell phones, gadgets, and computers drive you crazy?

Apple iTunes- Avril Lavigne“Sometimes I think the companies that make cell phones, gadgets and PCs never actually use their own products. In particular, one of my biggest complaints is how these vendors put annoying little lights on everything but fail to illuminate their products in ways that are actually useful,” Mike Elgan writes for Computerworld.

“My PC and other computing equipment make my office look like a jet cockpit. I have two LCD monitors, each of which has two indicator lights that flash even when the PC is turned off. The attached sound control has a light on it. My keyboard has multiple lights. The power cord has lights, the printer has lights, and the power button is illuminated. My cable modem and Linksys router flash like crazy all the time. Together, these useless lights create a visual cacophony of blinking, multicolored lights that make me feel like I’m taking part in a NASA stress test for astronaut candidates,” Elgan writes.

Elgan writes, “Worse, my PC, a Dell XPS system, features a decorative blue light in the front bright enough to actually read by. Dell’s XPS gaming laptops cast the most hideous red lights through vents, which you can dim but not turn off. Clearly, the vendor thinks bright, decorative lights are cool. You know what would be cool? Hire a case designer with good taste. That would be cool.”

Elgan writes, “It’s only a matter of time before Apple produces a TV ad showing the guy who says, ‘Hi, I’m a PC’ covered in Christmas lights.”

Full article, including Elgan’s “Gadget Bill of Lights,” here.
We don’t know about you, but we can’t drift off to dreamland without our MacBook Pros’ pulsating sleep lights. As for other lights, we totally agree with Elgan.


  1. Nope

    Have to disagree, I got stickies on my iMac camera/mic and the pulsating white orb too.

    I got black electrical tape on everything else that glows.

    HDTV, camera, modem, phone, printer, fax, scanner, plugs and electrical devices, PS3 and more.

    Why is my iMac camera and mic covered you ask?

    Because no computer is 100% immune to attack. Says Apple and they are right.

  2. i can’t stand the pulsing light on my powerbook, but at least this one is better than the previous model. the flashing lights on my cable modem drive me crazy too. sometimes at night when i go down to the kitchen all the lights remind me of the inside of an army radar command and control van, the mac mini, the mac book pro, the power book, the cable modem, the tv, the wireless phones, the digital cable box, the microwave oven, the printer, etc. reds, blues, greens, yellows, whites either on steady or flashing at different rates. it is never really dark in our house at night.
    mw: it is not good-“looking”

  3. While most of my Mac gear is largely free from annoying lights, the green lamp on the front of my new AirPort Extreme base station is unbelievably bright. It could still do it’s job perfectly well at one tenth of that brightness.

    But credit to Apple for making the coolest illuminated gadget of all. If you have a white ‘soap tablet’ style Apple pro mouse, try lifting it a few inches off the desk, with the cable end held about 20 degrees higher than the far end. You might briefly see a rabbit’s face projected onto your desk. Young kids love it.

  4. I love the back-lit keyboard on my PowerBook.

    As for lights on my cable modem / router, I ignore them until it doesn’t work. Then I need them to diagnose. Ditto the multi-function light on my AirPort Express. They ARE THERE for a reason. If they offend, cover them.

    So some lights are gratuitous. Those ARE offensive. Again, cover them if they bother you.

  5. Why do electronic items need start-up and shut down sounds? I don’t actually need a tone, chord or ditty to tell me my phone or computer is powering up. What would be slightly useful is a faint tone telling me that the start-up process is complete and the unit is ready to go. I *really* don’t need a MB start-up sound to disturb my wife when I want to work in bed after she’s asleep. On more than one occasion I’ve gotten out of bed to start the thing in the hall.

    Particularly annoying is the cell-phone shut-down sound. Half the time I shut the thing off is because I’m in a situation where I don’t want to disturb others. I know I could hit the silent button first but it shouldn’t be necessary.

    At least we should have the option.


    IMO The back-story on Sosumi was great but it was the last sound with whimsy.

  6. Actually, I can’t get to sleep without SMOTHERING the pulsing sleep light on my Powerbook.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if you could adjust the brightness, or better yet, if a sensor could detect when the room was dark and dim the sleep light to a mere hint.

  7. How about the lights on the VCR or cable/sat box? If they’ve been off for 30 minutes they could certainly dim. What I especially dislike is a pulsing :

    As for sounds, why the hell does my camera need a start-up sound??? To annoy the other parents during a school play?

  8. The powerbook light (MBP for you richies) reminds me of the cycle of your lungs breathing in and out. I can’t remember if it was my old Pismo or my brothers Wallstreet that mimicked the heart beat.

    Anyone with me on this?

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