The power button is everywhere. But have you ever taken a moment to notice the odd "Pac-Man eating a hotdog" symbol on it?
Whether it's on a computer, laptop or video game system, we've all seen this perplexing symbol. Where did it come from? What does it mean? Will it be a question on Jeopardy! that I'll get wrong if I don't learn it now? Read on to get the answers to all of these questions (except the third one).
Power buttons used to look like this, with clear "on" and "off" labels. That's fine, but what happens if this gadget ends up in Germany? Japan? Jordan? If someone doesn't read English they might not understand what this button is for. So, the people in charge decided to make a more universal switch.
Does this little red switch look familiar? Of course it does. It's called a rocker switch and you probably see them on your surge protectors. Well, it's basically an on-off switch but with the on/off replaced by binary: 1/0. This way it can be universal instead of just based on the English language.
The next symbol is rare: The 1 inside the 0, also known as the push-push button. This is a button you push to turn on, push to turn off, and when it's off it's really off ”” when the 1 is in the 0 it means the off setting disconnects the device from the power supply entirely.
This simple image has become an important symbol of tech culture. You can find it on murals, clothing and stickers. People even get power button tattoos. And honestly, you now probably know more about the symbol than they do.