Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What's the charge, Officer?

It's been a few days since the last entry, I know. I've been way on business, which can be a rich seam of gadget related adventures because I insist on carrying quite a few gadgets wherever I go.

One of the problems of travelling with gadgets - at least modern gadgets - is the need to keep them charged. Often I find myself carrying five, six or even seven different chargers for all the kit I carry. This is partly because most devices these days contain rechargeable cells, but mostly it's because I'm mad enough to carry all that gear at one time.

Another problem is charge management. Picture the scene. There you are, in your Travel Inn - actually Travel Inns are quite good in this respect - your phone is flat, your works phone is flat, you want to surf the net using the convenient hot spot, but the laptop needs juice... see where I'm heading with this? Yep, there are only two spare sockets. A Travel Inn is a bad example, because you typically get two spare sockets anyway, plus you can unplug the telly and the kettle... but hey you get the idea.

Some hotels have hard wired appliances or strange round pinned plugs and typically have only one or two free sockets. So there's the dilemma. Miss EastEnders, but charge two phones. In hotels such as these, you can't watch the lights dim as you plug in your kit to give it an overnight top-up.

Speaking of chargers, one of the coolest I use (and believe me I'm pushing the envelope calling a charger 'cool') is the one for the Oral-B Sonic toothbrush. It works by induction. There are no metal contacts - the toothbrush is a waterproof sealed unit, and by simply sitting it on the plastic holder (which is attached to the mains) the toothbrush receives charge. Cool, eh? There was a slight twinge of technological sadness when I realised the toothbrush was running on a Ni-Cd cell as opposed to Li-Ion. Only a matter of time until the memory effect makes the product unusable

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