Faversham Stoa is a philosophy discussion group. We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month from 7.30 to 9.30pm in the The Bull in Tanners Street. We cover a large range of topics. There's no charge for membership and everyone is welcome to drop in. Just bring your brain and some beer money!

Bring back the knob

Most electric equipment nowadays tends to be controlled by push-buttons and the knob seems to have largely disappeared except on retro-styled radios. This is probably largely a matter of style, as devices with sleek buttons look more cool than boxes containing lumpy old knobs. It is also probably the cheapest form of switch to manufacture. However, I think that in many cases we have a situation in which form has defeated function instead of following it.

Any cyclist knows the irritation and frustration of getting their bike lights out of their bag only to find that they have accidentally switched on and the batteries have run down. It seems that designers never ride bikes themselves and if they do they never use battery-powered lights. If they did they would be aware that in the nature of things you never leave lights mounted on a bike or they get stolen. You carry them in your bag and as cycling is an energetic activity the bag gets jostled and the contents bump up against each other. This inevitably results in the button on the light being pressed at some point, the light being powered on and the battery running down. The odd thing is that while bike lights have got brighter, lighter and more efficient in recent years, no one has addressed the question of power-on.

All the bike lights in all the bike shops I visit have buttons. There must be an opportunity in the market for someone to produce a sensible bike light.

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