Dear Tomy…

Taken from
Taken from

Dear Tomy,

Having used your TF550 baby monitor for six months now I feel I have really explored all of the many functions it has. However, the quest for perfection is never ending as Buddha said (probably) and, as such, I have some suggestions on how to improve the overall design and usability.

I don’t deny that for its primary purpose, the monitoring of my baby, it has been excellent. I just feel that some people in your design team need a bit of a dressing down and possibly – I don’t say this lightly, what with the economy being what it is and all – the sack.

The biggest irritation for me is the music. I know it is there to help soothe our child when he is restless. I get it. What I don’t get is why, with this being the stated aim, you selected Satan’s ring tone as the tune.

Clunky, robotic and soulless don’t do justice to the cacophony that erupts from the white base station. Hellish and cripplingly loud do.

Ultimately the confusing and upsetting noise sounds like the sort of thing Amnesty International has a go at America for using to extract confessions from suspected terrorists.

Did your sound engineers mis-read the brief? Did they think ‘soothe’ was synonymous with ‘subdue with extreme prejudice’? The only reasons this would work to quieten a baby is because it has knocked them out.

Well, don’t turn on the music I suppose would be the obvious suggestion.

All well and good but the layout of the base unit doesn’t really help with this does it? What with the ‘music’ button and ‘nightlight’ button being oh so hilariously next to each other. What sadist designed this? Are they laughing manically at the thought of parents, the world over, accidentally pushing the wrong button?

Picture the scene. It’s 3 am and the baby monitor has flicked into life. I grab the bottle of formula and head to the nursery, hoping this will be a short trip before I can can fall gratefully back into bed. Imagine my shock when wanting a little illumination to feed the boy, I accidentally hit the euphemistically titled ‘music’ button and blow out the windows. Like that bit in Michael Jackson’s video to Black and White.

Not only do I now have to replace several large panes of glass but the neighbours are all out in the street yelling and I can hear police sirens in the distance getting louder.

My son, now wide-eyed and screaming understandably doesn’t want his milk anymore and once I’ve explained everything to the assembled crowd of soldiers, police and assorted onlookers he has to spend the night in our bed.

And he fidgets like crazy.

Whilst we’re on the subject of the night light, how did you manage to create a light that simultaneously casts no shadows but is brighter than the sun? What eldritch sorcery is this? I know it has three settings but they seem to start ‘arrrgghh my eyes’ and work up from there.

Actually, most of the stuff on the base station could be given a bit of a rework. The fact that it flashes red and green when the parent unit is turned off, for example. It’s a good idea on paper, I grant you, as it lets us in out sleep-deprived state know that we need to turn the parent unit back on when we leave the room.

Once again though, we come to the knotty problem of appropriate levels of luminescence. In this instance, the red and green colour change is so bright it looks either like we’ve got a Christmas themed SWAT team abseiling down the side of the house or ET has arrived in the nursery. The other night we had the government turn up wearing haz-mat suits and waving Geiger counters around.

It’s not subtle, is what I’m saying.

The parent unit also emanates bright lights but this time whilst charging. Why? It already has a little symbol to let me know it is being juiced up. I suspect that the guy who did the base unit had a hand in this as well.

“Steve” he would have said “Let’s make the bit the parents keep glow brightly when it’s being charged, it’ll be really funny.” He was cackling manically again as he did.

“Jesus Tim,” said Steve shaking his head in dismay “you’re sick in the head sometimes. Can’t we just let them have some sleep?”

But Tim knew he was Steve’s boss and appraisals were happening soon.

I hope that for the sanity of future parents you pick up on some of these ideas. For a fee, I can provide a consultancy service that, if you follow my advice, will undoubtedly improve what has the potential to be a quite good product.

Yours faithfully,



6 Replies to “Dear Tomy…”

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