Hotel lamp hacks

Freshness Warning
This article is over 14 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

Many hotels are kind enough to supply lamps with electrical outlets built into their bases, saving you from bumping your head while plugging in your laptop or phone charger into the outlet under the desk and behind the mini-fridge. Too bad they’ve chosen to wire the outlet in with the lamp’s on/off switch. Because no one would ever need to use their laptop in the daytime. Or charge something overnight.

So in the fine hacker tradition of making things work the way they should (i.e. the way you want them to), simply unscrew the ligthbulb slightly to allow you to leave the lamp’s power on without keeping yourself awake nights. Hotel rooms are already lousy with lamps so you don’t need to worry about being stuck without enough light. Bonus points to those who remove the bulb immediately upon checking into the room — it’s much easier to unscrew a cold bulb than a hot one.

Anthony Johnson
July 16, 2005 9:01 AM

Hey Adam! Anthony, your long lost relative (are we distant cousins?) from Raleigh, NC here. Just wanted to say your blog is fantastic. Congrats on making a name for yourself in the everchanging world of internet technology and blogging. Perhaps this belongs in an email, but I thought I'd just leave a comment in your lamp entry. (Now if they would just not bolt the lamps down, they would be easier to stuff into a suit case...8^) You have great bits of factoids and a good slice of humor in your writing making it interesting...BTW, did Uncle Bob (your granddad) get his computer back up? Thanks for taking on the spammers...saw an article about you and the topic a while ago. Hellos to the family on the west coast... Take it easy-

August 9, 2005 7:10 PM

Careful -- Let's not start throwing the term Hack(er) around like much of society has come to use the word 'Genius'. :-)

March 30, 2006 3:38 PM

wow...that is not a's called common sense.

Mark Twain
November 6, 2006 4:22 AM

''Common sense is not so common.'' [Voltaire] That's why it, like most rare things, is so highly prized and collected. Besides the best hacks are always the simple ones. And if unscrewing the desktop light bulb is priority one, then stripping the bed cover should be number two. They are never washed because doing so destroys them and cheap business hotels are just I was a HoJo night manager once a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

November 16, 2006 12:02 PM

Technically, a "hack" is using something the way it was not originally intended to be used by modifying it in some way. Lamps were not originally intended to run without lightbulbs and the hotel lamp was modified (albeit barely), and so it qualifies as a hack.

james revell
January 19, 2007 8:02 AM

I travel alot and stay in many hotels. I just bought a new home and I am in the precess of furnishing it. I love the lamps with the switch at the base that you find in most hotels. For some unknown reason, this superior design is unavailable to the public. What gives? Its safer, easier and just makes good sense. I am searching the web endlessly to find a retailer. Even the biggest lamp dealers dont have anything. I have actually torn a lamp apart in my hotel room to find the manufacturer and the closest I have come to nailing it down is 'made in china'.

Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.


Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Follow me on Twitter

Best Of

  • Google on the desktop Google picks up Picasa, giving them an important foothold on people's PCs.
  • Embrace the medium The Web is different than print, television, or any other medium. To be successful, designers must embrace those differences.
  • Simplified Form Errors One of the most frustrating experiences on the Web is filling out forms. When mistakes are made, the user is often left guessing what they need to correct. We've taken an approach that shows the user in no uncertain terms what needs to be fixed.
  • Let it go Netscape 4 is six years old.
  • Lock-in is bad T-Mobile thinks they'll get new Hotspot customers with exclusive content and locked-in devices.
  • More of the best »

Recently Read

Get More

Subscribe | Archives


Managers and technical ability (Dec 26)
In technical fields, the closer you are to the actual work being done, the closer your skills need to resemble those of the people doing the work.
Dysfunctions of output-oriented software teams (Sep 17)
Whatever you call it, the symptom is that you're measuring your progress by how much you build and deliver instead of measuring success by the amount of customer value you create.
Evaluative and generative product development (Aug 30)
Customers never even talk to the companies that don't fit their needs at all. If the only product ideas you're considering are those that meet the needs of your current customers, then you're only going to find new customers that look exactly like your current customers.
Product Manager Career Ladder (Aug 19)
What are the steps along the product management career path?
Building the Customer-Informed Product (Aug 15)
Strong products aren't composed of a list of features dictated by customers. They are guided by strong visions, and the execution of that vision is the primary focus of product development.
Assumptions and project planning (Feb 18)
When your assumptions change, it's reasonable that your project plans and needs change as well. But too many managers are afraid to go back and re-work a plan that they've already agreed to.
Feature voting is harmful to your product (Feb 7)
There's a lot of problems with using feature voting to drive your product.
Encouraging 1:1s from other managers in your organization (Jan 4)
If you’re managing other managers, encourage them to hold their own 1:1s. It’s such an important tool for managing and leading that everyone needs to be holding them.

Subscribe to this site's feed.


Adam Kalsey

Mobile: 916.600.2497

Email: adam AT

Twitter, etc: akalsey



©1999-2020 Adam Kalsey.