Why Create A Micro-USB Cable For DC Power Only?

micro-usb-cableOn a shelf in the garage that adjoins my home office there is a set of shelves with a number of boxes of cables. There are cables of various sorts; BNC type video, RCA audio leads, XLR audio cables, IEC power cords, IEEE-1394, Ethernet, RS-232 serial, USB, mini-USB, micro-USB, etc. I try to not discard anything that might still be useful. Call it recycling if you like. Perhaps hoarding if you’re in a less gracious frame-of-mind.

Recently, I went to the shelf to fetch a micro-USB cable with which to remove some files from my Nexus 4 cell phone. I just grabbed one of the 20 cables in the box, using it to connect the Nexus 4 to my laptop. The Nexus immediately indicated it was charging, but the laptop completely failed to acknowledge the attached device.

I found that to be odd. At first I poked at the laptop a little, but eventually fetched another micro-USB cable from the collection. Using the second cable the laptop issued forth the usual tone, indicating that a new device was attached. Evidently the first cable had only two of the four wires connected, so it provides only power.

That got me to thinking…how much did some manufacturer save by including a cable that was not pin-to-pin connected on a USB-to-micro-USB cable? It had to be a trivial sum, hardly worth considering. It’s certainly not worth having to track a different SKU for the charging cable vs the fully-functional cable that might also be used with products requiring real USB connectivity.

With a true commodity item like this kind of USB cable such a short-sighted approach just seems dumb.

This is the sort of “3D” that I will not up with put!

3DRemember the opening sequence Sesame Street? Well, this post is brought to you by the number 3 and the letter D…cuz some of you weren’t paying attention all those years ago!

Both Voxeet and Dolby Voice are interesting binaural conference services. However, some of the marketecture being deployed sets off alarm bells in my mind. Despite claims to the contrary, and the echo of such claims by the media, I don’t believe that what they offer is “3D audio.”

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Language Evolves, But Some People Are just Sloppy With It

A lot of offers drop into my email inbox. Sometimes companies are trying to sell me stuff. Quite often they want me to join in on their free “webinar!” I’ve made no secret of the fact that I hate the word “webinar.” It’s an abomination.

Over the years I’ve used Citrix GotoMeeting quite a lot. It’s a bit scary to think of how long I’ve paid them their monthly pound of flesh, but the service has truly changed my life. It allows me to perform remote support and maintenance processes without physically travelling to the customer site. When Citrix later offered GotoManage, a service more optimized around remote admin functions, my employer adopted it company-wide.

So, you see, I’m open to the use of such services…but I despise the way the language is warping around their use. “Webinars” don’t typically happen on the web. They happen online. You may access a web site into order to get into the session, but they don’t actually occur on the web. If they occurred on the web there’d be no installable applet involved. It would all happen inside the web browser with no plug-in required. It would all happen over HTTP.

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Myth-busting: Audio Bandwidth vs Data Bandwidth


Few things get me as agitated as the flagrant spreading of disinformation on the part of the plainly ignorant or apathetic. How’s that as an opening line for an argument? Well, it’s a fact.

As mentioned previously, recent weeks have seen some developments in the war against low-def voice. HDVoice service in the UK is getting easier to find, even in the mobile space.

This is very encouraging. Like the adoption of color TV, or music on CD, or video on DVD, the publics exposure to the new technology will create demand where once the established industry players thought there would be none.

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GIPS Comments On My Soft Phone Rant

Global IP Solutions, the people behind the codec package that helped bring Skype to prominence, has recently launched a blog. Amongst their first entries they decided to weigh in with a response to my recent rant about soft phones.

I appreciate their perspective about G.722. It’s old, and there are a number of codecs better suited to IP networks. I have used both Skype and Gizmo5 for some time and appreciate that they can provide outstanding call quality between like end-points.

However, in my daily activities I still need hardware phones. And so when considering a soft phone I need interoperability with my hardware phones. At the moment that means G.722 if I want to enjoy the benefits of wideband audio.

Perhaps one day we might enjoy using iSac to make calls to & from a fabulous hard phone. But not today.