Wanted: External USB light which I can control with an API or command line

Often things happen on my computer for which I want to be notified. These could be anything like IM, alarms, compile completed, etc. Sound would be a good way to let me know, but this is in an office environment and I prefer not to have random bings going off all the time. What I really want is a light or something which sits on my desk to tell me of these events.

The perfect device would be a USB device which had a light on it. It would come with a simple API and command line interface which I could use to turn the light on when one of these events happened. The device would have a button on it which would turn the light off. Does anything like that exist?

Something like this maybe?

Yes! That’s pretty close to what I need. But wow! look at the price. Around $100.

One thing that would almost work is a USB mouse which has a light on it. Like the Intellimouse. I wouldn’t use it as a mouse. It would be just for the indicator light. Then I could turn on the light from the computer and then click one of the mouse buttons to turn it off.

I don’t know if this has an API or not…

You can use this to control an LED


If you look in the lower right they show the languages they support. I find it very easy to program. I can usually cut and paste their code samples.


If you look on page 6 they show how to wire up an led.

I had not thought of using a USB mail indicator. I can easily enough setup a POP mail server or even write my own to respond to the events and fake an email message. By pointing the device at my own POP server, I should be able to have it light up when I want it to.