#934 – Glow

A few months ago my wife and I had dinner at a friend’s house. We were hanging out afterwards when the power went out. After a few moments of panic in the dark I started cracking up as all the adults had instinctively pulled out their cell phones as makeshift flashlights. I still remember when I got my first phone that was powerful enough to use that way. It was an exciting discovery. Now it’s second nature.


38 thoughts on “#934 – Glow”

  1. Zephir says:

    Not having a cell phone myself, I’m kinda surprised the displays are bright enough for that sort of use.

  2. MidwestMom says:

    There are times that the family has went out and forgot to turn on the porch light and I have used the back light on my cell phone to see the key hole to unlock the door 🙂

  3. Chuck says:

    A Nintendo DS also works well.

  4. Grug says:

    I bet Chris just didn’t feel like drawing today.

  5. SilentDragon says:

    @Grug: I second this notion!
    But he still had to come up with the joke idea, which worked marvelously, so it’s ok 😛

  6. The Dukenator says:

    Why does Biff remind me of Isaac from Dead Space?

  7. AgentParsec says:

    I’ve got one better. Several years ago, we had a massive power outage, and there was zero light inside my apartment, even from the windows. I knew I had a flashlight but I had to find it first. I had my cellphone on me, so I used the screen as a dim light until I found my lightsaber (something I got from a comic con). The lightsaber was a little bit brighter than the cellphone, so I used it to find my flashlight. Even at the time, I realized it was an amusing progression.

  8. The Dukenator says:

    Or maybe its the Biff train chugging along in the dark?

  9. Ziriath says:

    GPSr is also good backup flashlight.

  10. ZeoViolet says:

    Chris, I bet this was one of the easiest strips you ever drew….*L*

  11. Nighkali says:

    @Dukenator Thats propostorous to even consider the notion that Biff would subject himself to a ‘train’. Its obviously a rocket train.

  12. emo bob says:

    Biff has found the home of the Gungerlock!

  13. Seamonkey says:

    He’s going to get eaten by a Grue!

  14. Fishy says:

    My cellphone actually has a flashlight built into it!
    (All shiver in awe of the great Nokia 1100!)

  15. Mophtran says:

    Flashlight app for iPhone works pretty darn well, IMO

  16. Klaas says:

    Using my mobile phone as a flashlight is indeed second nature to me, as my last 3 had led flashlights that could pretty much blind someone on them. They were also the flash for the camera on it

  17. MaskedMan says:

    Heh! I’m a gaget freak. I have a tiny little mega-super-powerful blind-people-in-the-next-town flashlight on me at all times. You know – the kind that blisters the paint on the door whist you’re getting the key into the lock. AND a cell phone. 😛

  18. solar says:

    my nintendo Ds makes a better flashlight than my cellphone

  19. Acies says:

    hehe, my first usage of cellphone as lightsource was in highschool. There are 2 ways to use this function: #1 as a beacon to find friends when meeting up in a crowd at night #2 as makeshift “glow in the dark sticks” at highschool dances XD

    speaking of phones and blackouts… advice to everyone: if you have a landline that real humans call you on, have at least 1 phone in your house that is not wireless! My uncle just came to Canada and bought ALL wireless headsets, which requires electricity. During a recent blackout, no one could call home >.> FYI, normal phones works fine in a blackout.

  20. IDK says:

    I love cell phones that have an LED camera flash. They’re usually bright enough that unless you have something like a Maglite, the flash is just a bright as an actual flashlight. 😀 It’s especially awesome if it multitasks, because you can leave the camera app running, go make a phone call, and turn on speakerphone so you can point the light wherever you want.

  21. george says:

    my first cell phone actually came with a built in flashlight, it was a nokia 1100

  22. Forte says:

    @Zephir: Are you kidding? You could blind yourself with modern-day phone displays. I ain’t kiddin’.

  23. Libramen says:

    What next? Cell phones that would provide you an instantaneous home? The multi-tasking ability of today’s cell is so much, it is almost ridiculous 😀

    Hoorah for modern day ingenuity!

  24. Unigirl says:

    I love spelunking. Partly because I like caves, and partly because I dislike heights.

    My old mobile phone had a flashlight. I kind of miss it now that I’ve gotten a new one without a flashlight. It was useful. Anyway, I think Android makes up for lack of flashlight. It’s not a REAL android, though, which would be really cool.

  25. Saiph says:

    @MaskedMan – What brand / model? I have terralux conversions in my Mag’s 5Watts baby!

    You have no idea what dark is until you are down in a cave. 200 ft in, find a seat and kill all the lights. You do see things, but it’s just the effect of your eyes trying to focus on absolutely nothing. It’s really intense.

    Why would you have a cell phone in a cave? No signal, and enough dirt, water, and guano to render most dead.

  26. wingtip says:

    I ahd a similar experience during a power outage. My brainstorm was: “I’ll just turn on the TV and we’ll be able to see by the light from the screen.”

    Imagine my surprise…

  27. 84 says:

    a flashlights about all i use my cell phone for these days.i still carry at least two actual flashlights though…

  28. -2! says:

    I am about 1000 times more likely to have my laptop on hand then my cellphone. Now it makes a good bright backup light source :).

  29. Grug says:

    I once saw a 500 watt flashlight for sale in a store. At the time, I called it the Bazooka of flashlights.

  30. HollyWd says:

    I have a PDA running Windows CE (think iPhone, but without the phone). At one time I had a program for it called flashlight – it turned the backlight on full with a white screen

  31. Lurch says:

    Q: what to Cavers call Spelunkers?
    A: #&^#)$&^ victims

    Actually, we have emergency lighting at home. Seriously. When the smoke detectors go off, or if the power dies, there are these little ‘cool light’ flexible light thingies that fire up along the edges of the stairs and doorways.

    Wiring them into the system was a nightmare, though.

  32. MaskedMan says:

    @Saiph; In my pocket just this instant is a Streamlight PolyTac C4. Over by the ‘change & keys’ bowl is my favorite Xmas gift… “The Torch” 100W halogen flashlight from Wicked Lasers. ‘Course, it eats battery charge like a starving hound in a butcher shop. 😀

    Got a bunch of other similar goodies scatttered about the place.

  33. tahrey says:

    I discovered this trick way before anyone else …. using the needlessly stark Indiglo backlight on a cheap digital watch. Never short of a light with one of those 7.95 babies.
    (ah, wristwatches – remember them? before phones also had always-displayed clocks? and devices that did nothing except play music?)

  34. tahrey says:

    BTW, Lurch – that’s an awesome idea, but did you not consider having them charge up off solar cells? We’ve got some little pathlights in the garden that do that.

    Of course, they’re drastically underpowered for life under a British sky (aka “its like being indoors but colder”), but you just need to add extra cells until they work properly. The supplied complement are probably worth less than one of your american dollars 😉

  35. Otherunicorn says:

    Call me weird, but I can find my flashlights in the dark, despite my place looking like a jumble sale. Just as well really – I don’t have a phone or laptop to use as an emergency light.

  36. Trisar says:

    To top all of this ridiculosity with flashlight-bright phones? I had a cell phone once, designed by Nokia, that not only had a crazy-bright LCD display, but also featured an honest-to-goodness built-in flashlight. So I had an impromptu flashlight built into a real flashlight.

  37. Yanto says:

    I actually use my mp4 as a flashlight late at night. o.o I don’t own a cellphone and I’m always hungry around 2 AM. If I’m asleep I just wake up feeling hungry, and then my only portable source of light is my mp4 unless I want to want around really slowly with a small scented candle in my hand. The light is not that bright really, but my eyes are good at adjusting to darkness. I only use the mp4 to search every room for our cat who is very quiet and has a tendency to stop right in front of your feet as you’re walking.

  38. Charlotte says:

    My most recent smartphone has an in-built torch app that turns the camera flash on so it can be used as a torch. It’s surprising effective at lighting up dark areas.

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