The New USB-C Does Double Duty

Everyone knows what a USB cord is, we use them every day. They are the wires that are used to connect printers to a computer. And unless you have an iPhone, they are also the wires used to charge your cell phones. While there are many different types and specs of USB wires, I wanted to discuss the connector type called USB Type C or USB-C.

This new connector will bring a lot of enhancements over the previous specs. The most notable, and one that I am most excited for, is the fact that the wire can be plugged in either way. If you are familiar with USB wires you know they only fit in one direction. The new standard will replace that with one that fits either way. The reason this will work is that it is essentially two USB 3.1 Super-Speed connectors in one. If you plug the connector in one way, the top set of pins are used; if you plug the connector in the other way the bottom set of pins are used. Another great feature of this new spec is that it will also support the new USB Power Delivery spec which allows for up to 100 watts to be carried over a USB cable. That is roughly enough to charge a laptop. Another nice feature is that it will be smaller than the connectors most of us are familiar with. It will be about the same size as what is currently called a micro USB connector.

The one drawback I do see with this new standard is that the existing USB connectors will not work without having to purchase an adapter. The hope is these adapters will not be expensive though. That being said, that is not too bad of a drawback for the list of new features it will bring. One final note on this new USB type, it is going to be capable of speeds up to 10Gbps, which is a nice bump over the current standard top speed of 5Gbps.

As always, please post your comments and questions below or email me directly.

 

Ryan Ash

 

Ryan Ash
Network Consultant
ryan.ash@customsystems.com

©Custom Systems Corporation 2015

 

Cell Phone Myths Debunked

Know the truth about cell phone myths

These days, everyone has a smartphone. And I am sure at some point you have heard a cell phone myth or rumor about how to use or not to use your phone. Instructions like – Don’t user your phone while it is charging. Don’t leave it plugged in overnight. Or how about, always let the battery die completely before charging it. Well not all of these are true.

Technology has come a long way and batteries have become smarter. Typically, most new lithium ion batteries these days (which are used my major retailers such as Samsung and Apple) should last between three and five years if properly managed. Below are a few myths that I will explain.

Do I have to use a “real” charger?

One question that I have been asked quite frequently by people is if inexpensive (or what could be called fake) chargers will actually harm a cell phone. I read an article on the Life Hacker web site where they ran a detailed experiment where they put many different types of charges though the ringer. What they found was the “fake” chargers did not work at all or could even cause damage to the battery. I have even read reports where using a fake charger has caused the battery to melt, the phone to catch on fire, or even explode. When buying a phone charger, you really should purchase a name brand or off brand charger. Off brand being a charger that is still built by a reputable company, but not by the phone manufacturer.

Don’t use your phone while its charging.

One that I thought was quite funny the first time I heard it was “You shouldn’t use your phone while it is charging”. This is of course a myth and not something you should be afraid of. Using your phone while it is charging will not affect the phone or you in any way. Keep in mind, as I mentioned before, you do not want to use a fake charger. If you are, there is a chance that something could happen, but that is because of the charger and not the simple fact that the phone is charging while you are using it.

Why is my phone so slow?

I have also been asked many times why a smartphone slows down or seems to lag and what can be down about it. One common mistake about smartphones is that people see them as phones and not mini computers. They assume that they can be left on forever and that is just simply not true. Smartphones can could be considered mini computers and just like a computer need to be rebooted from time to time. You do not necessarily need to turn your phone off for any extended period of time, but turning the phone off and waiting 10 seconds then turning it back on weekly (or anytime it seems to really be lagging) is something I would recommend.

Most common question

Probably the most common question I have been asked regarding cell phone charging is “do I need to let the battery die completely before charging it”. The answer to this question use to be yes. Technology has changed and with the new lithium ion batteries, this is no longer the case. The short of it is, charge your battery anytime and as often as you would like. It will not hurt the battery. The long of it is that lithium ion batteries have what is referred to as cycles. This is basically the number of times the battery can be fully depleted and then fully charged. Batteries have a finite amount of these cycles and if you are constantly letting the battery die and then charging it, you are actually eating into these cycles. Batteries these days want to be charged and the devices that are using them want them to be charged. Do not worry about when or how often you are charging your batteries. One last note, I would not leave devices charging all day every day. Overnight is fine, but do not leave it plugged in all the time. That can be bad for that battery as well.

One last strange battery fact

Batteries will actually lose their charge faster when the device is cold (of the battery itself is cold). You do not want to leave a device in a hot car on an August summer day, nor do you want to leave it there on a cold February day. Keeping your device with you in the heat and A/C is how you will maintain the best battery usage and the longest life.

Can you think of any other strange rule about using your cell phone you’d like to share? Please add your myth or questions below.

 

Ryan Ash
Network Consultant
ryan.ash@customsystems.com
©Custom Systems Corporation 2014