Although I’ve kept this technology blog going for a little over a year now, I’m hardly a gadget geek. Consequently, I’m not that guy at the airport juggling the laptop, cell phones, pda, digital camera, etc. Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit of an edupunk: I like the challenge of hacking together affordable technology to wring every last ounce of usability from it. Or maybe it’s just my lack of disposable income. Either way, I just don’t obsess over all the latest gadgets.
I do have a laptop that I use a lot, though, and I had it open in the airport recently when I found myself sitting next to that guy: He was pulling phone numbers from his laptop which he kept dialing to follow up with sales calls during which he made several references to the various cities and airports he had visited in the past week.
Of course he was talking loud enough for everyone to hear and of course he had two chargers plugged into one of the few electrical outlets in the boarding area for my gate. I was planning to top up the battery in my laptop for the next leg of my flight, but there was nowhere to plug in. What to do? Easy.
I had brought along my three-way splitter which I cobbled together from an old three-way extension cord. (I had used the long cord to make a formerly hard-wired flourescent light plugable and was left with this one foot piece to which I added a $2 replacement plug head.) Of course, there are plenty of reasonably priced commercial options available, too.
I walked up to that guy, caught his attention, and gestured to my splitter and his chargers. He gave me a quick be-my-guest wave and kept talking. I unplugged one of his chargers, and plugged my splitter into the wall. Into the splitter, I plugged his charger, my laptop charger, and the mp3 player of another passenger. Instantly, I’m the life of the departure lounge.
If you travel with a laptop, cell phone, or other device that requires charging, bring one of these devices. You’ll always have a place to plug in your charger and you might even earn some travel karma by helping out a gadget geek in need.