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Since the dawn of time (or at least of USB ports), folks have been struggling to insert plugs the right way up. Odds are you’ve poked the wrong end of a plug into a phone or PC at one point or another while trying to charge your device, connect a flash drive, hook up a printer, or perform some other process that shouldn’t cause you to scratch your device.
Soon those days will be over… sort of. The folks that approve specifications for USB connectors have announced that a new Type C connector is on the way. It’s about the size of a microUSB connector, and there’s no chance of inserting it wrong-side-up, because it’s reversible. You can insert either end.
There’s just one problem: all those devices that you have which already use standard USB or mini or micro USB cables won’t be compatible with the new spec. So you won’t be able to use existing cables, chargers, and other goodies.
Here’s a roundup of tech news from around the web.
- Next-gen USB plugs will be small, reversible
Sure, Apple’s Lightning connectors already do this… but it’s nice to see reversible connectors coming to the masses. The final specification should be published in mid-2014, which means we could see the first devices ship next year. [USB]
- Amlogic roadmap shows upcoming 64-bit chips, among other things
Chip maker Amlogic may not be as well known as rivals Qualcomm, Samsung, or even MediaTek — but the company’s got some big plans for its little next-gen chips. [CNX Software]
- Yet another streaming music service coming in 2014, this one from Beats
What the world needs now… is another way to pay a monthly subscription for music. At least Beats hopes so. [CNET]
- If you rent/buy an HD movie from Google Play, now you can also get the SD version for speedier/smaller downloads
Want to fit a few movies from Google Play on your 8GB tablet before taking off on an international flight? Good luck… oh wait, nope. You can do that now. [Android Police]
- Android Central’s list of the best free games for Android
Everybody’s going to have their own ideas about the “best” free games, but if you’re looking for some pretty good ones, this list is a great place to get started. [Android Central]
- Loading unsigned code despite Secure Boot
Matthew Garrett explains how a signed Linux distro like Ubuntu can use kexec to bypass secure boot on a Windows computer, letting you run unsigned code and even modified Windows kernels. [Matthew Garrett]
- Amazon says holiday weekend was best ever for Kindle Fire, Kindle eReader sales (doesn’t give any actual numbers)
Amazon sold a lot of Kindles over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. As usual, the company won’t say how many… but in a press release Amazon said it was the best weekend ever… which seems to suggest ongoing growth in the space, because Amazon issues press releases saying “best ever” pretty much every year. [Amazon]
- HP’s Chromebook does a pretty good job of explaining why you’d want a laptop with Chrome OS (in 83 seconds)
It’s kind of tough to explain the advantages of a Chromebook to folks who wonder why you wouldn’t just install Chrome on a Windows laptop. This short video from HP might do a better job than anything produced by Google… and it’s actually kind of funny to boot. [OMG Chrome]
XKCD knows what’s up!
Reversable USB plugs would not be necessary if the USB specification had required some positive inidication of which way was “up”. Some manufactures actually do this. Blackberry stamps their logo on the “up” side of the USB plug. It can be hard to see in low light, but in regular light it makes plugging in my Playbook a breeze. If a high contrast logo or arrow or something was required in the USB specification a redesign would not be needed (at least for this). They are adding a bunch of new features to the new specification so I guess a redesign was going to happen anyway.
USB cables exist in 4 dimension. Proof: try to insert plug. Fail. Rotate plug 180 degrees. Try to insert plug. Fail. Rotate plug 180 degrees. Try to insert plug. Success! Plug exists in 4 dimensional space.
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