Thursday, 28 April 2005

Adapt and survive

I recently bit the bullet and finally bought a digital camera. This doesn't mean I have abandoned my trusty old SLR - that will come out of retirement any time I need to take 'proper' photographs. The digital camera is great though, but I do have a gripe (didn't you just know I would). The camera has a mains adaptor for charging the battery, naturally... just like my mobile phone... and my PDA... and so on. All these items of digital jewellery have mains adaptors, yet none of these adaptors are interchangeable. Even when the kit is of the same brand, as my camera and phone are! The upshot of this is that I end up with a spaghetti tangle of cables competing for space around my power outlets, cluttering my desk and taking up valuable space around the house. Surely it is not beyond the wit of man to develop a standard for mains adaptors that manufacturers could all adopt. Look at TV aerial cables, hi-fi interconnects and even conventional power outlets. All of these are standardised, so why can't mains adaptors for today's digital goodies conform to a single standard too?

Call me an old cynic if you will, but I suspect the reason is that there is a healthy market in accessory sales and bespoke, brand-specific products. If these adapters were interchangeable, our beloved electronics corporate giants would never sell another one... and the mark-up on accessories like these is staggering. As ever, it's all about the £/$/¥...

Right, I'm off to see if I can untangle enough wires to charge up my camcorder...

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