I like my electronic equipment to be unobtrusive. I'm not a fan of needy toys that constantly seek to attract attention to them... even when they're not doing anything.

A few days ago I got another external drive (I'm amassing quite a collection, but that's another story). My Maxtor ones are slightly annoying as they have a green flashing light when they're doing something but at least it becomes a (relatively) restful pale orange when the drive is inactive. This new one (first thing I've bought from Iomega since the ZIP drive fiasco) has a blue light. An intense blue light. It flashes when it's doing stuff, but more annoyingly it blinks slowly when the drive is idle. The rest of the time it just burns quietly to itself.

My Media Center has blue lights too. One to tell me the power is on - as if the status display on the front wasn't a clue, or the flickering blue HDD light, or, perhaps a real give-away... the TV being on!

I used to have a set of speakers attached to the Media Center (they're back in Australia as they wouldn't be any good new - no dual voltage) which has an LED and a small screen that displayed the mode when they were active. When they were in standby the LED flashed at a really annoying rate.

Now there's been a bunch of research done (I read it somewhere on the interweb, must find a reference to cite one day) that shows the blue LEDs are the most visible. So why do manufacturers put them (and make them flash) on bits of entertainment equipment and entertainment/home use focused hardware. A lot of the time it's going to distract users from watching what they want to watch, and, let's face it, a lot of this stuff will end up in bedrooms or small apartments where the flashing will mess with sleep patterns!

If I wanted to be constantly reminded of the needs of an electronic device I'd get a tamagochi. I hope manufacturers realize soon that there is a market for people like me!