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PostPoints tip: Avoid proprietary power plugs

Just because I write about gadgets for a living doesn't mean I know how to use them. Case in point: I somehow forgot to pack my phone's charger when I went to San Francisco to cover Apple's Sept. 1 iPod/Apple TV event. But three days later, my phone remained fully charged--because it uses a standard size of USB port, it wasn't a huge hassle to find and borrow a spare charger. The two kinds you want to look for are mini-USB (a rectangular plug 1/4 in. wide by 1/8 in. thick) orthe more common micro-USB (same width but only half as thick). To lower your odds of being stranded without a charger, take one of the spare mini- or micro-USB cables you have lying around, whichever your phone takes, and stash it in the bag you usually take on a trip so you can recharge from any random computer if necessary.

(What's this "PostPoints tip" business about? Since July, I've been archiving each tip-of-the-week e-mail we send to PostPoints members under this blog's "Tips" category. Today's item went out on Sept. 7.)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  September 13, 2010; 9:46 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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Thanks for the instructions on how to fix the buttons in itunes 10. How Apple let that interface blooper through...

Posted by: wiredog | September 13, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that the European Commission will finally realise what a restraint to trade all these incompatible standards for charging devices represent and start moving to fine firms unwilling to agree to speedily implement a common standard. To take an example from a different field from that discussed by Rob in the article, why should I have to have one type of transformer to connect my HP laptop to the mains, and a different one for my Dell ?...


Posted by: mhenriday | September 13, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

If you forget your charger, ask at the hotel front desk. Virtually every hotel has a box full of abandoned chargers, and they'll be happy to loan you one.

Posted by: pjgeraghty | September 13, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

ROB: Thanks for the tip (no pun intended)...but weren't we supposed to get standardized plugs for cell phones in the US THIS year? Can you update us on that please? Much thanks.

Posted by: howardstuff | September 14, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

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