Sunday, January 09, 2005


In the Guardian magazine on a Saturday they have a little profile section, where they ask people questions like 'do you believe in monogamy?' and 'what is your favourite smell?'.

Another is 'what single thing would improve the quality of your life?'. You're supposed to think 'world peace', or 'collective ownership of the means of production' or something, but right now the single thing that would improve the quality of my life is a universal recharging device.

Ten years ago, I had no recharging devices in my life at all. Then I got a mobile phone, which had a battery that lasted about eight hours (unless you actually made a phone call, in which case it lasted nearly as long as you needed to talk for). Enter carrying a recharger around all the time.

It got better a couple of years later as phones improved, and now I only have to charge my phone about once a week. But then a year ago I got a digital camera, transforming and life-improving in many ways but which has a battery that needs charging every few days if you use it a lot, and every few weeks if you don't.

And then for Christmas I got a pocket GPS machine, which has *two* chargers, and a mini iPod, which has just the one, but it's not like anything else you've ever seen. Both the above (and the camera, come to think of it) also have other leads to attach them to PCs.

I should not complain, as I am very lucky indeed to be a girl with so many gadgets. But my question is this: all these things need to charge from the mains. So why can't they all use the same kind of charger? Then everyone would have one. And offices and public places could have charging points.

Ten years ago I needed a pocket full of change for the phone, new Duracell in my Walkman, an A-Z and maybe a spare film for the camera. Now I need a bag full of bespoke black and white spaghetti. And of course the one thing that dies is the thing you don't have/can't find the charger for. I have no idea where my camera battery charger is. All I do know is that if I need to buy a new one it will cost me a screaming fortune and I am Not Happy.

That's before I even start on wma and aac music formats and their refusal to acknowledge each other's existence. Technology companies are all bastards.



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