Need someone to lead product management at your software company? I create software for people that create software and I'm looking for my next opportunity. Check out my resume and get in touch.

Hotel lamp hacks

Freshness Warning
This blog post is over 18 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current and the links no longer work.

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'.

This discussion has been closed.

Recently Written

Great prodct managers own the outcomes (May 14)
Being a product manager means never having to say, "that's not my job."
Too Big To Fail (Apr 9)
When a company piles resources on a new product idea, it doesn't have room to fail. That keeps it from succeeding.
Go small (Apr 4)
The strengths of a large organization are the opposite of what makes innovation work. Starting something new requires that you start with a small team.
Start with a Belief (Apr 1)
You can't use data to build products unless you start with a hypothesis.
Mastery doesn’t come from perfect planning (Dec 21)
In a ceramics class, one group focused on a single perfect dish, while another made many with no quality focus. The result? A lesson in the value of practice over perfection.
The Dark Side of Input Metrics (Nov 27)
Using input metrics in the wrong way can cause unexpected behaviors, stifled creativity, and micromanagement.
Reframe How You Think About Users of your Internal Platform (Nov 13)
Changing from "Customers" to "Partners" will give you a better perspective on internal product development.
Measuring Feature success (Oct 17)
You're building features to solve problems. If you don't know what success looks like, how did you decide on that feature at all?


What I'm Reading


Adam Kalsey

+1 916 600 2497


Public Key

© 1999-2024 Adam Kalsey.