BLOGS: My COW Blog Adobe Blog Editing Technology After Effects Final Cut Entertainment

USB: the universal power adapter?

COW Blogs : Is this thing on? Oh it's on. : USB: the universal power adapter?

George Ou over at Real World IT talks about his quest for a universal power adapter. Wouldn't it be loverly? Then he observes that USB is becoming the new standard for charging devices including iPods and other portable music players, portable GPS, and an increasing number of phones. All true. He leaves out PDAs and portable gaming devices like PSP  and Game Boy.

Then he says, Now all I need is a single cigarette to USB adapter and a single 110 V to USB adapter where ever I travel and I don't need to worry about forgetting a proprietary adapter. 

Done and done, my man. I've had USB-charged devices for 3 years, and have found all kinds of goodies. The exact chargers that George is talking about have been around well longer than that. (Yes, you can find white ones designed to work your iPod, for which you'll pay way, way too much.)

After trying the offerings from a handful of vendors, I highly recommend Boxwave. Here's the link for the wall adapter, which I've used more often than I can count in the last three years. The same page has links to other handy devices, including a USB adapter for cigarette lighters.

My very, very favorite device is the miniSync retractable USB cable. The one I have both connects my iRiver "multi-codec jukebox" to my computer and charges it at the same time. There are similar cables for every USB iPod, and even the iPhone. Again, I've used my USB chargers more times than I can count. Even if it's just a few minutes in the car, or a few minutes from a spare laptop, I can keep going.

Since my iRiver has a dandy built-in mic that records to both MP3 and WAV (among others), I've used it for interviews at tradeshows (easy enough to slip the USB connector into any laptop, especially the ones at the Apple booth -- shhhhh!) I've also used it in press briefings, plugged into the interviewee's laptop.

The most life-saving feature is drawing power for a phone over USB. I'll bet you've been in situations where your phone is dead, your laptop has juice, but the phone number you need is on your cellphone. Connect the phone to the laptop, and you're back in business. 

Of course, for regular travel, this also means that the only adapter I need is for the laptop. I can charge both a music player and a phone from a USB adapter the size of a 50-cent piece....if you're old enough to remember those...which means you're probably old enough not to say "fitty" every time you pronounce 50.

There are a ton of these little adapters that handle USB 2.0 transfers from the Canon XL-1, hundreds of digital cameras, and much more.

Anyway, Boxwave has a ton of such things: replacement styli for Palm and Treo; dual Firewire-USB adapters for car, wall, and planes; high-quality retractable earbuds (no more tangles!); international power adapters, and on and on. They're cheap, fast, and a pleasure to deal with: the road warrior's best friend since Odwalla Superfood juice.

Not a paid spokesman, just a satisfied customer.


Posted by: Tim Wilson on Apr 11, 2007 at 5:15:59 amComments (2) ipod, music, technology


Yes, preparing for NAB has been a wiring nightmare...
by Ron Lindeboom
In preparing for NAB this year, the plight of having so many different gadgets with differing cables and wattage/amperage/voltage standards, really came home to roost. Some of these gadgets I rarely ever use and so when I need them, the various plugs/adapters/chargers, etc., are a "Which one gets what?" nightmare. Some, I have written in permanent ink Sharpie™ to tell me which gadget they go to. What a pain in the Ole Posterior. And don't even get me started on the environmental considerations of these superfluous machinations that could be done away with using a more eco-friendly approach.
Ron Lindeboom

But what about ...
by Sterling_76

all those devices that have their own proprietary connection to USB? It's really annoying to have to bring all those cables along in order to keep my toys juiced up.

For example, my two most used, computer-connecting/-charging gadgets are my iPod Video (80 GB) and my Sony Ericsson w810i. I can charge and transfer data too and from these devices with their supplied data/charging cables. (I was really pleased with SE for including a data cable with the phone instead of charging me $35-50 for one. A really cool feature of the phone I found out about after connecting it to my computer was the 2 connection modes it has: 1. Phone Mode (use the phone as a phone and just charge it) and 2. File Transfer Mode (use the phone as a USB storage device or sync your contacts)) However, even though there's the standard USB connection going into the computer, they both have proprietary connections on the cable.

It's kinda sad, really, that instead of carrying around a bag o' wall warts for charging my toys, I have to carry around a USB hub and bag full of custom cables to do the same thing.


btw, I really wish Apple and/or Sony Ericsson would sponsor me for mentioning their products in a blog response.

Ah, to have an attention span...


December 2012 (1)
March 2010 (1)
September 2009 (2)
August 2009 (3)
June 2009 (1)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (7)
January 2009 (3)
December 2008 (1)
November 2008 (2)
October 2008 (2)
April 2008 (3)
March 2008 (7)
February 2008 (3)
January 2008 (13)
November 2007 (1)
October 2007 (1)
September 2007 (6)
August 2007 (2)
July 2007 (2)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (3)
April 2007 (4)
March 2007 (9)
February 2007 (1)


entertainment (26)
apple (17)
technology (16)
music (15)
movies (13)
macworld (11)
blogs (9)
television (8)
iphone (7)
bluray (7)
computers (7)
ipod (6)
itunes (5)
creative cow magazine (5)
hd dvd (5)
politics (5)
google (4)
stereoscopic 3d (4)
adobe (4)
web (4)
hd (4)
creative cow (4)
photoshop (3)
business (3)
games (3)
dvd (3)
drm (3)
commercials (3)
indie film (3)
microsoft (3)
beatles (3)
3d (3)
apple tv (3)
websites (3)
gaming (2)
storage (2)
mac os (2)
music videos (2)
tron (2)
tv (2)
family (2)
food (2)
documentaries (2)
joseph kosinski (2)
show more
© 2018 All Rights Reserved