Best Tech Decision in the last 10 years?

I’m beginning to think one of the most brilliant changes to come down the tech pike in the last 10 years is the realization that a USB port provides a nice steady 5 volts at 100ma of power to any device attached to it. The device can even request more current (up to 500ma).

Since just about every computer nowadays includes a USB port, most manufacturers of mobile equipment have made it so their equipment can recharge from an available USB port. For those of us who carry a lot of extraneous gear around, this has eliminated the need to haul a half dozen different power supplies along, and negated the need to invest in bulky and frequently twitchy “universal” power supply solutions.

For my part, here’s a list of gear I regularly carry around..

  • Treo 650 – with a retractible ‘sync / charger’ cable from Treonauts, I have one small cable I can use for hotsyncing and recharging.
  • Jabra BT500 headphone – Jabra thoughtfully provided a very short USB cable (about a foot long) that is perfect for just parking the headphone next to the laptop to recharge.
  • Sony MZ-RH1 MD recorder/player – This has been fantastic – though the recharging isn’t as fast as my Treo, the connector types are identical to my camera cable (and many other devices), so a special cable is not needed.

Because of this, the only ‘power’ supply I need to have with me is the one for my laptop.

All is not peaches and cream, however. My Olympus C-770 camera does not charge off the USB bus, unfortunately, and has resulted in me being stuck with a dead battery on more than one occasion. I chalk this to the relative agedness of the camera, and take heart in knowing that the NEXT camera I get will definitely have USB recharge capability.


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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4 thoughts on “Best Tech Decision in the last 10 years?

  1. Don’t know if you saw the story, but apparently the USB standards folks have released a ‘USB Battery Charging’ standard. Revision 1 is dated March 8, 2007 🙂

  2. Hah, no I had not heard that. Stands to reason. There was some commentary on the wikipedia article talking about power requirements, so they’re definately in the know that USB power has become a big thing.
    Cool 🙂

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