MacBook Pro neon light

My MacBook Pro has a neon light on the catch. It’s off when the machine is awake with the lid open, and on when the machine is awake with the lid closed (I think!). Some tosser in Apple obviously thought it was a good idea, and probably got a prize for it. But it goes against one of the simplest and perhaps fundamental engineering design principles. If you want to indicate the state of a machine to a user, you do not use something that has a temporal element.

This is why the traffic lights in the US are badly designed, while the UK ones are not. If you are approaching the lights in the US, and you see an amber light, you don’t know whether it is about to turn green or red; in the UK it will be about to turn red. Simple innit? (If it was red and amber it would be about to turn green.)

So if I glance at my little neon light, can I tell if the machine is asleep? No. I need to stand and stare at it for a while, and probably wait for it to go through a couple of pulsing cycles before I am sure (and I needed to do this because Apple screwed up the firmware so the machine didn’t always sleep).

And apart from that, why do I need a bright pulsing light in my hotel room? If I wanted to stay awake I wouldn’t go to bed.

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File types needing extensions.

I’m asked for a document to be Text, PDF or PS. So I fire up vi to make sure I’m not getting any extra formatting stuff in my text file and submit it. I get back a message saying the type is not permitted, as only: “plain text (.txt), Adobe (.pdf), or postscript (.ps)” are allowed. I gave you plain text, you dolt. In fact, I guess I could have given you a tiff image file , as long as it had a txt extension.

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