Plug Adapters – Standards Personified

Plug Adapters

Originally uploaded by dchurbuck.

This illustrates why I started my long-stalled book on the history of standards. Plug adapters. A conspiracy started by Brookstone to screw travellers out of $50 every time they forget their little bag of plastic cubes. Why, oh why, can’t the world embrace a universal socket standard? Is it because there wasn’t an IEEE back in the days of early electrification? Is it because the government owned electrical utilities in the 19th century wanted to protect their own electrical equipment industries and insure that imports wouldn’t work in their plugs?

I’ve never found a satisfactory answer, and sitting here in a hotel room in La Defense, with a useless inert Treo because Sprint PCS isn’t a GSM standard, my Thinkpad’s EVDO wireless dead to the tune of a 15 Euro hotel internet charge because I don’t have a GRPS antenna …. IEEE be damned, the world is a long, long way from standardization, best intentions aside, and the sufferers are the travellers.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write