As a fond, regular patron of your home computer, you're bound have to come across an accessory that
utilizes a USB connection on your computer. The ubiquitous rectangle plugs have grown in importance as the
years went by - to the point that they were moved from the back of the computer to the front. The four wires
inside the wire carry data and electricity for your mouse, your printer, lights, fans, Internet connection, even a
There's no problem here - the plug that goes into your computer is aways the same, with four connections and
rectangular shape. The bug is at the other end of the wire, where it plugs into your device. That plug is almost
never the same as the computer end, instead it's some specialized shape that only goes with the device it
came with. I never knew four wires could be arranged in so many combinations. I've seen wires that have five
wires at one end, and four at the other! Pretty soon, as you accumulate a junk pile of various cameras, drives,
and miniature refrigerators, as well as an assortment of wires to go with them. Whoever regulates USB (the
USB-IF) only regulates one end of the wire, but apparently doesn't do anything about the other end. I like the
computer rectangular plug, it's durable and easy to use. You can easily tell that it's properly inserted, and
there's no worry of bent pins or screws.
Why can't there just be one wire that works for all your devices? Why can't all devices use the same plug?
Instead, we have to deal with non-standard doohickeys and fill up our computer desk drawers with wires.
That's a waste of valuable space that can otherwise be used to store the devices themselves! I end up with
more cables than devices, and spend hours just matching the right cable to the device. And when the cables
are damaged, replacements are hard to find in stores.
Why can't USB cables just get along? At least manufacturers could label their cables so that users can match