hardware

some plug and socket naming

I was trying to explain this to someone verbally, but ended promising to do a diagram.  No, an IEC 60320-1 C-14 connector is not the same as a 60320-2-2 E connector.  Maybe someone else can explain it more clearly, but this is my take on it:

diagram of input and output plugs and sockets

(SVG version here)

MagSafe – the Last Straw?

(This post is the long-promised update to A Disturbing Shade of Green.  I had intended to take update photographs of the adaptor previously bitched about, but had no decent working camera for a while.  Now I have camera and two adaptors worth a gripe, so here goes.)

This happened over the last 48 hours.

Apple L-tip Magsafe connector cable with a cracked sheath

In 2013, after a long spell of financial difficulty during which it wasnʼt an option, I replaced my laptopʼs sadly deteriorated MagSafe [4] power adaptor.  That adaptor (Nº2) went up on a high shelf in the interim.  And the new adaptor (Nº4) was good.  But early this year I noticed the onset of the same deterioration.  I might have blogged about it all the way through, but the last few months have been intense...

The progressive deterioration whilst in normal use of the new (c.2011 and on) cable for these adaptors seems to go like this:

battery troubles

Oh.

macbook pro expanded battery (image 1)

Anorak Adventures in Synthland 1

Rehab & Upgrade the Jen#2, stage 1.

(There will be a stage 2, as Iʼm not currently in a position to do the whole refurb.  No decent working space for soldering right now.)

Jen#2 cleaned, with knobs

Jen#2 (not a “Jenny”, thanks) is a newly-arrived Jen Synthetone SX1000, s/n3326, later-type keyboard, with veneer ends, in moderately poor condition.

After unpacking & supply lead check – 13A plug fuse replaced with 2A here '~' – external condition and basic audio function were checked.  Minor issues: some knobs are scratchy, some are loose.  This should be resolvable, but will require checks at stage 2.

External Condition & Issues

a disturbing shade of green

Apple, ah Apple.  Has there ever been a greater idea than power connectors that hold themselves in place with a magnet?

Well – yes, so letʼs narrow it down – has there ever been a greater idea for power connectors (for semiportable appliances) than ones which hold themselves in place with magnets?  I wonʼt actually limit this to MagSafe because MagSafe is not the original nor the only implementation of the idea.  I will say that on the whole I am greatly appreciative of Appleʼs MagSafe connectors, which are generally safer than those which could more easily pull a laptop off a surface (has happened to me) or which might be a worse trip hazard by remaining in place (have watched it happen to others).  This applies to older Apple connectors and to other brands, to other devices than computers, and to non-power connectors on computers generally.  (And especially Appleʼs locking LocalTalk connectors, for those old enough to remember them.)

But.

When the Ink Moves Again (the future of squidgy)

Cory Doctorow suggested recently that Digital Rights Management and its shoring-up exercises may be only the start of a “War on General Computing” to come – in which various interests, probably more powerful than the entertainments industry, will attempt to control peopleʼs use of computers by requiring that they only operate with built-in spyware to monitor and control our activities – no matter how impossible that is to actually achieve in any comprehensive sense.  (And I might add, no matter the problems prohibition and wars always create.)

This sets me thinking:  As others have observed, one area this might happen is 3D printing.  Right now, weʼre in much the same place microcomputing was in the mid-to-late 1970s, with build-it-yourself kits (like the original Apple) being about the most popular way of obtaining them.  We have yet to see the 3D printer equivalent of the Vic-20, ZX81, or BBC Micro.  Thatʼs not to say that there will inevitably be such a thing.  (If history really did repeat itself it would be easier to learn from.)  Itʼs questionable whether there will ever be the kind of demand for 3D printing at home that there has been for computing and 2D printing.  But it can be expected that something like the IBM PC will emerge and dominate the market anyway, because thatʼs what mass-production markets do.  And going by present trends, it will have DRM; instead of USB it will connect with something like HDMI, a cable (or at least an interface) which restricts the actions of a computer, owned by anyone, to those permitted by a Luddite industry association.  There is no particular reason to think that industry associations in this case will be any less inane than the entertainments outfits, so there will probably be something like DVD region encoding too.  Which is one reason why I plan to get in early and get the equivalent of an Apple I (in memory of the days when Apple did not seem like part of the problem).

But thatʼs not what I came here to blog about.

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