Cell phones, tablets & related accessories are very personal items. I am increasingly of a mind that items of technology are too personal to be a gift. However, there are a few some cases where that’s not true. For example, unusual chargers. In particular, high-current USB chargers built into standard receptacles.
These handy devices cost around $20 and are available from a variety of sources. Locally, I have found them at Lowe’s and Home Depot, although Amazon has a great selection which afford you the opportunity to match a particular décor. Those who are handy with a screwdriver might include the act of installation along with the gift itself.
If that’s not your thing, you might consider a wireless charger. Where a year ago wireless chargers were still pricey, in the $50+ range, they have since fallen to $25 or less. It takes a little research to determine if your intended target has a mobile device that features one of the common wireless charging mechanisms, the most common of which is known as Qi.
Wireless chargers potentially extend the life of the handheld device by avoiding the mechanical wear & tear common to repeated use of the micro-USB charging port. Further, a wireless charging stand puts a tablet at a convenient position resting on a desktop or night stand. That makes it more practical to use the device as an alarm clock or streaming music player. It’s reliably held at an appropriate position even while keeping it continuously powered.
Advanced chargers are good gift ideas.They are items that people usually don’t buy for themselves, yet they can significantly improve quality of life with handheld devices.
I really enjoyed my Nexus 7, so much so that after 18 months of use I bought myself the 2013 edition and gifted the original to a friend. I also had the much delayed charging stand for the original Nexus 7. No such device was available for the newer model, until today.
Today Asus released a pair of charging docks for the little Nexus 7 tablet. The first dock is a wired device featuring an HDMI output port. It’s priced at $50 which seems little steep, but not much more than the dock I had for the older tablet.
As you may know Stella and I both carry Nexus 4 cell phones. Under the Christmas tree there happened to be a Nexus 7 tablet to add to her gadget mix.
Since the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 are both capable of wireless charging I also bought her one of the Qi-compliant wireless chargers. Stella has a well-documented disdain for wires, so the wireless charger holds considerable appeal.
The Qi standard was created by Wireless Power Consortium in 2009. It’s simply mind-boggling how stupidly rare and costly wireless chargers remain, even though the technology should be by now well-established.
With a population of over forty devices, ours is a considerable home network. While many of the devices we use are connected via Wifi, much of the network remains connected by traditional Ethernet cables. Wired networks are more trouble to install, but the effort is rewarded with more consistent performance and reliability.
Public Knowledge President Gigi B. Sohn testifies on the AT&T-T-Mobile merger before the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee on May 11, 2011. I caught a portion of the testimony via the web stream. You can find that C-SPAN coverage here.
I found that AT&T’s arguments for the merger were hollow at best, and deceptive at worst. I hope that the Congress will act via the DOJ where it seems unlikely that the FCC will see fit.