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Portables Power Hardware

There Oughta Be a Standard: Laptop Power Supplies 482

Esther Schindler writes "Every mobile device you own has its own power supply and its own proprietary plug. There oughta be a better way, says Alfred Poor. Fortunately, he reports, the IEEE is coming to the rescue. "Their Universal Power Adapter for Mobile Devices (UPAMD) Working Group is developing a new standard that will not just address the needs of laptops and tablets, but will be intended to work with just about any electronics device that required between 10 and 240 watts of power," Poor writes. It's about darned time." If there's one thing I wish for all laptop power supplies, it's that they would license from Apple (or work around, patent-wise) the magnet attachment system that makes cable-tripping far less dangerous to man or beast, compared to a few years ago.
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There Oughta Be a Standard: Laptop Power Supplies

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  • Re:cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arlet ( 29997 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @02:06PM (#36544418)

    It should be cheaper. It opens the door for manufacturers to provide a laptop without a power supply, and opens a 3rd party market for separate power bricks at competitive prices.

  • magsafe fuckers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare ( 84249 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @02:37PM (#36545000) Homepage Journal
    I really liked the MagSafe(tm) concept when Apple first came out with it, but Apple has been such a fucking prick about the damned things. They don't offer any significant range of options to use the plug, and they actively stymie all attempts of the marketplace to fill that void. Want a piggy-back battery to supply power to the laptop? Apple doesn't make one. Want to tie in with a docking station? Apple doesn't make one. At first, when asked about third party adoption of the plugs, they were "oh, well, I guess they'll start coming out any time now." Then it was "oh, well, guess nobody's trying to license them." Then when manufacturers tried to license them, they were refused. So one manufacturer decided to eat the waste and rely on the doctrine of First Sale. They BOUGHT Apple(tm) adapters, chopped off the white wallwart transformer, and soldered the MagSafe(tm) pigtail to their own battery packs, and they were still attacked by Apple's lawyers. WTF, Apple. People have varying needs to make use of your products. Step up to offer the solution, or get out of the way.
  • Patents... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2011 @02:42PM (#36545084) Journal

    ...and this is why we need patent reform, but in the form of accepting fewer patents and for a shorter period of time.

    Look, it isn't as though Apple has gained nothing from their "innovation" (assuming they actually invented it) of this magnetic plug. But having this as yet another thing which only works on Macs, which everyone else is legally forbidden from adding with or without Apple's help...

    I want to make a case for how harmful this is to inventors, or even everyday coders. It's pretty much impossible now to do any software development without infringing on patents, and even if you somehow manage not to, it's impossible to know without your own legal army to research it.

    Instead, I'm going to make a simpler, easier case: I want a laptop which is not a Mac (never had Linux run well on a Mac, I don't like OS X, and I don't really want to pay the premium), but I want it to have that kind of power cord. Call it a "sense of entitlement" if you like, but this isn't just me being cheap -- I want that power cord, with a machine that runs Linux and Win7 reasonably well, and there's no technological reason I can't have that, not even anything like DRM in the way, just raw legal force.

  • Re:or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @02:47PM (#36545154)

    Yes. I too enjoy redesigning workspaces to meet the design limitations of gadgets.

  • Re:cost (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @03:59PM (#36546184)

    You obviously know nothing about modern electronics. 78xx chips are linear regulators, and no one uses those any more because they're so inefficient. Every small electronic device now uses switching power supplies, not only to save power but to reduce heat, which is important for something sitting in your lap. The idea of a laptop computer using linear supplies is utterly laughable.

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