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of plugs and adaptors


I haven't left yet, but the electrical outlets that I will encounter already haunt me.

Since I am going to present a paper at a conference, I'm taking a notebook (I'm taking printed slides too, you never know). I'm also taking my Rio 800 (MP3 player).

I bought the notebook and the Rio when I was living the US, so they both have US-style prongs (flat, rectangular). Here in Ireland the plugs are UK-style, contraptions the size of a Buick with three huge prongs that require a hammer to he inserted into a socket (the center plug is not only ground but also used to "open" the socket so the plug can go in, for safety reasons). So now I'm traveling to Italy, where the prongs are thin and cylindrical, and just two. Which brings me to the unpleasant subject of adaptors.

I hate adaptors.

(Is there anything else to say?). I am carrying all these adaptors from 2 to 3 prongs and back again, 110-220/240 V transformers.... it all ends up taking about the same space as the notebook itself. Wireless power transmission (ala Tesla) will probably not happen, so how about getting the world to agree on the shape of a plug? It's a pipe-dream, I know, but this is one of the many UI issues that commonly go ignored.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 31 2002 at 5:40 PM

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