Friday, November 02, 2012

All those cables can get you more charged up than your phone

Those of you that have traveled know that other countries don't use the same electrical outlets, or in some cases, the same amperage or voltage as we do for appliances. I suppose it is a bit presumptious to expect them to.

But while we were riding out Sandy, my wife was cleaning out some cabinets and she brought me a wonderful collection of now completely useless charging cables for the various cellphones we have had through the years.

This brought to mind the fact that my grandfather's AM radio, my dad's 1950s-era skill saw and all of my current electrical devices still have the same plugs to plug into the same kind of outlets I have used all my life.

True, we now have that third rail grounding hole, but breaking those off is sort of like tearing the "do not remove" tag from your mattress. In 40 years in law enforcement, I never saw anyone prosecuted for either one.

So if we could keep building hair dryers and toaster ovens and vacuum cleaners with the same plug, why did every single cellphone anyone in my family has ever owned always need a different charger and a different car charger? What sort of conspiracy is this?

Just because they were made in China does not mean you can blame the Chinese. They seem to be perfectly willing to build all our other appliances with standardized wall plugs.

Anyway, I usually charge my iPhone at night while sleeping. When Sandy was blowing, I realized my car charger was at our other house. Or it was lost.

I figured with no less than a dozen phone chargers surely one would fit the iPhone. Fat chance. But wait: There is a multi-use car lighter plug here. It has that big fat plug that goes in the lighter on one end and on the other it has, a wall plug, and a USB outlet. ( I am so proud of myself that I know what a USB outlet is).

So now all I need is the courage to plug the charger to the cigarette lighter and the iPhone charger with the USB plug into the USB outlet. I already called Apple, and if I blow my phone up, I am not covered. I paid extra with Verizon in case I lose it, but not in case I fry it.

Of course, my iPhone is the 4G, and now they have the 5G out with some neat new features. So if I do fry my phone I will be able to buy a 5G. Oh, and a new charger, of course, because, well, you know...

California native Michael Valentine is a retired judge who served 27 years in Fairfax District Court and still sits on occasion. He and wife Becky divide their time between Northern Virginia and Penhook.