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Unexpectedly Handy Gadget: USB A-to-C Adapter

Stella &I have been carrying Google’s Pixel phones since their introduction. Each time we bought new phones they came with some accessories. The Pixel 6a we currently use didn’t come with power supplies, but they did ship with a USB-C cable and little USB A-to-C adapters.

Google USB-A to C adapter

In earlier times we needed an A-to-C adapter to facilitate migration from the older phone to new model. Thereafter the wee widgets collected in a junk drawer. That is until recently. I’ve stumbled upon some uses for them.

Tivo Stream 4K Expanded Storage

We’ve had a couple of Tivo’s Android streaming stick for a few years. They have a micro-USB port for power and a USB-C port that’s normally unused. Some wise guys, like myself, use USB-Ethernet adapters to put the Tivo Stream 4K on our wired network.

Like so many embedded devices, they’re hardware constrained. Just 4GB of flash memory on-board. Get a handful of streaming services loaded, a few firmware updates, and you’ll see ominous messages about “running out of storage.”

Happily, I found some guidance on how to increase the local storage by adding a flash drive, or even an SSD or hard drive.

That same junk drawer had a repository of USB memory sticks that had fallen into disuse. The 32G flash sticks I had on-hand are USB A type. The little A-to-C adapter allowed me to install them to Tivo Stream 4K. Problem solved.


The increased storage allowed me to experiment with the new BirdDog NDI TV Monitor for Android without needing to erase some of the steaming apps that we’ve collected.

Plantronics Encore Pro 520 & DA70

For some time we’ve both been using Google Pixel Buds Type-A with our mobile phones. In fact, due to some misadventures, I’ve had three sets. The very fact that I bought the same thing three times can be taken as a considerable endorsement. However, for conversation…I find them to be merely adequate.

In general, I prefer to use a headset with a boom-mounted microphone. Proper microphone placement and a noise cancelling microphone ensure that I sound great.

Given my line of work at ZipDX the past decade, I have a box full of great headsets. Many are USB headsets. Their microphone performance is vastly better than any “ear buds.” A boom-mounted microphone is simply more optimal microphone placement. It’s dramatically less susceptible to ambient noise.

Plantronics Encore Pro 520

The Plantronics Encore Pro 520 that is my current favorite has a quick-connector that mates to the DA-70 USB adapter. We’ve recommended this combination for use by interpreters using ZipDX multilingual for several years. Add a USB-A-to-C adapter and I can used it with my Pixel 6a.

I have used this combination many, many times. Most commonly, to join the Make Me Smart Discord discussions while wandering about the house or out walking our dogs. Walking around the neighborhood wearing a telecom headset, I make look like a dork, but I can both hear and be heard clearly.

Given the number of people I see walking around wearing the big, bulky Beats by Dr Dre headphones from Apple, I don’t think I’m particularly unusual.


None of this is ground-breaking stuff. I just find it just a little gratifying to be able to put into productive service the little devices that often inhabit the junk drawer. They seem to potentially useful to discard, but also not with the effort of trying to rehome.

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