I was a little kid TVs were made of glass, had tubes inside that warmed
up and had a very large ON/OFF switch right on the front. Now TVs have plastic
screens, no tubes and the ON/OFF switch is hidden. Yes hidden!
I first noticed this when I bought a Playstation 4 video game console.
I wondered why the designers had made the power button so small, hidden
and weird looking. You actually had to read the manual to find out how to
turn it on. I thought the designers were trying too hard to make the device
look “cool.” But now I know the truth. Sony never wants me to
turn my Playstation off!
There is actually a good reason for
this. I can turn on my PS4 using the remote control so the system always
has to have electricity in it to listen for the remote. Technically
it cannot be turned off the way an old time tube TV could. At best
Sony wants it in sleep mode when not in use so Sony can monitor it.
Sony is not alone. TV manufacturers are hiding the power button. Apple
hides its on the back of its all in ones. The power button on the
new Apple Macbook Pros doesn’t even have anything on it to tell you what
it is! They will turn themselves on if you open the lid or even touch a
key, so how are you supposed to clean the keyboard? Wait for the non-removable
battery to die?
Tech companies want their products on ALL THE TIME because turning them
off is the equivalent of killing them. How will they spy on you, monitor
you with cameras and micrphones, throw ads at you, or monitor your behavior
when their little minions are unplugged?
And if you have trouble
finding out how to turn on a product the tech giants know you will BLAME
YOURSELF FIRST. Every psychiatrist knows it is human nature to subconsciously
blame yourself first when something is wrong. “Mommy drinks too much
because I cry.” No mommy drinks too much because she is a lush.
But that means you can’t change her. If you say “Mommy drinks too much because
I cry” it makes you feel like maybe you can do something, like cry less,
to change this situation.
I have seen so many people blaming
themselves (or their spouses) when things go wrong with computers that are
either not their fault or the deliberate results of choices like making
power buttons impossible to find. In reality the problem is in your TV set,
they simply don’t want you turning off their products.
leaves lots of gadgets in your home sipping power all day long. First the
two pronged “vampire” power converters like the ones shown at left are constantly
converting electricity from AC to DC. If you feel one and it is warm
that is wasted energy if the device is not even being used.
This massive energy waste increases the carbon we burn to make electricity.
This increases climate change. It also costs consumers money with
higher utility bills and electronics that burn out early and have to be
Approximately $19 billion worth of electricity, equal
to the output of 50 large power plants, is devoured annually by U.S.
household electronics, appliances, and other equipment when consumers are
not actively using them, according to a groundbreaking study released in
2015 by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
What can you
do about it? Not much. Use timers, use smart power strips and tweak device
settings to minimize “always ON idle time.” But until manufacturers
take this issue seriously (and they don’t care about your electric bill
one bit) it won’t go away.