Dear People Who Design Computers:

I would like to bring to your attention a design flaw that has been bothering me.

Over the years, Bill Gates has trained us to use the Start menu to shut down our computers. (Heck, does anybody actually turn their computers off these days, anyway?) Even when the three-fingered salute fails and I have to reach down for a hard reboot, I’m never in a panic to turn it off.

The ‘hold door open’ button on the elevator needs to be large and glowing. The talk button on my cell-phone needs to be more obvious and prominent. But the off-switch on my computer does not. Wouldn’t you think, in fact, that something as vital as a power switch would, instead, be buried in a recessed corner, under a flap, with a child-proof lock on it?

Why so big?

Given that it’s probably one of the least-used features on the computer, why on earth do you continue to make the power button on the CPU a large, glowing circle? In my case, it’s a large, glowing neon-green button smack in the middle of the front of the CPU. A large, glowing neon-green button that is absolutely irresistible to my newly-crawling 10-month-old child, and at about 10 in. off the ground, just about the perfect height to drawn him in from anywhere in the room. That boy, who just learned to crawl this week, will bypass $400 of baby toys to answer the siren song of a glowing power switch.

And, while you’re at it, could you make the laptop cord a little less interesting for the baby, too? Mommy needs to blog, you know…


Danielle Donders is the author of the popular blog Postcards from the Mothership. She graces us with her take on how technology impacts the parenting (and motherhood) process each Thursday in this space.

2 Responses to The big green button

  1. Melisa
    Dec 18, 2008

    Danielle, I agree with you, but just in case you or your readers don’t know, you can set your computer to sleep, shut down, or even ignore the power button unless it is held for a few seconds. That might help with the child proofing.

  2. Danielle Donders
    Dec 18, 2008

    Melisa, thanks for reminding me to look into this. I’d heard a rumour that I could disable the power button — now, if only the baby would stay away long enough for me to google it! *grin*

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