Gadgets That Are Stupid, #1

By | November 2, 2004

I thought I would start a fresh series of Gadgets That Are Stupid: gizmos that seem to do things right but suffer a design flaw that renders them hazardous to one’s health, or peace of mind, or that of one’s partner. Here’s the first entry: An alarm clock.

On the surface an excellent purchase: It even tells you the temperature. But get this: To turn on the backlight you have to press the alarm sleep button, which beeps when you press it. So you wake up in the middle of the night, want to see what the time is, slide carefully across the bed so as not to wake your beloved, press the alarm sleep button, only to set off a (relatively) deafening beep. How dumb is that?

I’ve looked hard in the manual and on the back to see whether the beep can be disabled. As far as I can see, it can’t. So I have a very sophisticated piece of gadgetry on my bedside table, that can tell me the temperature, the time in Lima and how to build a nuclear power plant out of old USB cables, but which I have to carry off to the bathroom so I can read the display without marital disharmony. Winner of this week’s Dumb Gadget Award.

More submissions gratefully received.

3 thoughts on “Gadgets That Are Stupid, #1

  1. Zafar

    Well, how about USB coffee mug warmer! Works but takes one USB port and power out of your computer.

  2. Matt

    I bought one of these, as its one of the rare LCD/LED devices the shows u the day of the week (something I need when I wake up on a weekend just to be sure). But you’re right the noise is pretty darn annoying. So I pulled it apart to find it’s not the speaker inside that squeals, it’s the LCD backlight capacitor. BTW don’t pull it apart.. mine is in the bin now 🙂


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