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Dear Santa: If it has to be charged, I don’t want it

By Ernie Williamson

The Bulletin


I made one request of Santa this year: No gifts that require charging.  Please.


In our tech-driven world granting my request may be a challenge - even for Santa - but it is necessary.


 I seem to be acquiring devices that require charging faster than appropriate outlets.


I am tired of having to keep track of all those chargers and finding outlets for all the devices to be charged.  


And, I am tired of untangling the rat’s nest of wiring next to the multi-port charging hub in the hallway.  


Even the multi-port charging hub has trouble keeping up with the increasing number of devices that need charging.


Between iPhones and androids, laptops and headphones, a drawer of chargers can quickly fill up.


The charger problem is worse for those of us in wheelchairs since many outlets are not accessible.


I saw an interesting statistic that said the average American has 3.9 chargers. And that is per person. So, we are talking about lots of wires and plugs in the house with four people.


Part of the reason I don’t want any gifts requiring chargers is that I already have more than 3.9, thanks in part to my disability and growing old.


I reconnoitered the house and found these devices that required charging: An iPhone, an iPad, hearing aids, electric shaver and the SmartDrive power-assist device on my wheelchair, requiring two charges.  


That, by my count, is five devices requiring six chargers. And that doesn’t count my wife’s devices.


All the mess and all that money being spent on chargers is attracting the attention of some lawmakers, who say it is time to create some standards in the U.S.


“In our increasingly digital society, consumers must frequently pay for new specialized charging equipment,” the lawmakers wrote to the Commerce Department.


“This is not merely an annoyance; it can be a financial burden,” the lawmakers wrote. “The average consumer owns approximately three mobile phone chargers, and around 40 percent of consumers report that, on at least one occasion, they could not charge their mobile phone because available chargers were incompatible.”


I would not bet on Congress forcing Apple and Google to do anything they don’t want to do, but it has been done.


The European Union last year announced that by 2024 all new phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, keyboards, and other devices will need USB-C charging ports.


 By 2006 the law will apply to laptops.


I admit that part of the reason for my no-charger request is that I am not the most organized person.  Too often, I realize a device needs charging only after it is too late.


I can only imagine the problems I would have with an electric vehicle.


(Contact Ernie at williamsonernie@gmail.com. Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)

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