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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People who can’t be bothered to put the proper URL in things like update details.

For example, Apple. I get a Software Update notification for Quicktime 7.3.1. And it says “For detailed information on this update, please visit this website:”. So I click on it, and it takes me to a general update page, with links to 81 (eighty-one) update bulletins, one of which is the one I want. Excuse me for living, but the reason I clicked was to find out about the Quicktime 7.3.1 update. No, I didn’t want to know about the “Keynote 2.0.2 update” from 2005 or “Xcode Tools 2.5”. I wanted to know about Quicktime 7.3.1 update. And my time is more important than yours, contrary to anything else you may have thought.

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