Monday, 29 December 2008

Training Tip: Nearly Free Laser Pointer

When I got started in training, the pencil-type laser pointer was over $100. Needless to say, I found other ways to point at the screen  (hand shadows being the primary one).

Recently, I finally broke down and got a laser pointer, which I keep in my trainer kit. The cost?  Only $3, in a clearance bin at Walgreens. It was sold as a cat toy: a way to put a spot of light on the wall for cats to chase around. (It also puts up an image of a mouse, a butterfly, a star, and my favorite, a smiley face.)

The use of laser diodes in mass-market equipment such as CD and DVD players has lowered their production cost so far that now they can be sold as toys, not $100 professional tools.  I don't care what it says on the package, it's a dandy training aid.

On the other hand, training is often compared to herding cats, so maybe the package description is appropriate.

NOTE: Do not put this in your carry-on luggage. It's considered a weapon and forbidden by the TSA, so pack it with your trainer kit in your checked luggage.

UPDATE 2/4/2011:  Laser pointers no longer appear on the TSA's list of prohibited items, and haven't for some time.  Thanks to reader LaserPointers for asking me to research and update this post.


  1. You really need to update this blog.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. The post has been updated.

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