Snakes alive!

In Atom, General by Fiona Prior0 Comments

snake_114135310We’ve all been there at some point — usually at a most inconvenient time. We’re stuck on the train, away from home or out of the office and we need to make an urgent call. But guess what? The phone battery is dead!

A frequent cause of tension for us is the kids’ Angry Birds habit. At the weekend, they like to play games on daddy’s tablet. But oftentimes the battery runs out after a short while and all hell breaks loose. Unsurprisingly, daddy usually has the charger with him when this happens leaving me with seriously disgruntled kids.

I don’t know about you, but in our house we don’t just have one drawer of chargers and adapters — we have many. There’s a snakes’ nest of cables in the kitchen – which also contains an assortment of batteries and screwdrivers; one in the bedroom which houses a nice collection of defunct mobile phones which ‘im indoors won’t get rid of “just in case”; and one in the lounge with a multitude of handsets for the telly, Sky box, DVD player, amp and Wii controllers.

With this in mind, I start rummaging with great optimism that there will be a charger in one of our stashes so the kids can get on with destroying the pigs. But here’s the thing – there never is because they are all different. EU figures estimate that there are over 500 million mobile phones in use in the EU and more than 30 different types of charger. You find one with the right connector one end only to unravel the rest of the snake pit to find that the connector or plug the other end is wrong.

Every phone and device seems to come with a different charger. Even when you have been faithful to one brand of mobile phone since the dawn of time, each new model seems to require its own special cable, adapter and charger. And when you add in the complexity of trying to charge your devices in the car, you end up with a staggering array of sockets and plugs.

There has been talk of standardising chargers for a number of years and many firms signed up to a voluntary code back in 2009. But it seems that the EU bureaucrats have finally become sick of digging through their respective sock drawers in an attempt to find a compatible charger. They have voted to create a standard charger. This could mean that firms failing to provide standardised chargers could be prevented from selling their non-standard devices in the EU.

I, for one, will be most grateful for this. There will be no more forking out for over-priced chargers and connectors every time we buy a new phone, tablet or gadget. I won’t need to re-take my snake-unravelling badge each time I run out of power. And, best of all, I will be able to use my kitchen drawer for the things us mums need to keep in there. Namely, ear plugs and a bottle of gin!