I or O?

The next time you use any tech device, be it a PS2 or a smartphone, or even an old slide projector, look for two symbols either on or near the power button or switch. Chances are, you will find a horizontal bar, |, and a circle, O, or both of them merged into one icon, like so.

Android power icon

Most of the time you will not notice these symbols or care about their meaning, but every now and then you will wonder what they mean and which one is the crazy “on” button (read that last part in a frustrated tone 😛 ). I have wondered and been asked that many times, so much in fact, I decided to write this post to document it and provide my method of remembering these odd symbols. 🙂

  • | stands for “on”
  • O stands for “off”
  • Merged version stands for a combination “on/off” button (no, it does not mean input/output either)

How to remember these meanings

This might be an odd way of remembering their meanings, but I always think of them like an electrical current. When you have an open-circuit, power is flowing and an item is powered, the |. On the flip side, when you have a closed circuit, the electric current is not flowing and could be said to be “stuck in a loop”, the O. Again, this is an odd way of remembering this and may only work for me, but that is how I do it.

History and background behind the symbols

You really thought this was a real topic I was going to write about? You must have gone silly trying to formulate a way to remember what the symbols mean. 😛

That is the end of this post! So tell me, what is your method of remembering what the | and O mean? Let me know in the comments! 😀

-le717

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4 thoughts on “I or O?

  1. I have a very similar way of remembering. I tend to think of the O as a hole, a hole in the power to the appliance. I is just the other one? Not sure. It’s all subconscious and you’re making me dig too deep in my mind. 😛

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