I need more power


The regularity of my international travel feel like the proverbial bus – I don’t travel for a few months, and then find myself traversing three continents in a week. I returned home from a great holiday in Israel on Tuesday (blog post to follow), flew to and from Germany on Friday to meet a new client, and I’m currently sitting in the departure lounge on Sunday morning to fly to New York to meet a number of prospective clients.

All this travelling has reignited my constant concern about technology – electricity. On holiday we took a 4 way extension block to charge our laptop, camera, Nintendo DS and the multitude of iPhones and iPods. By the end of the flights, most of the batteries had run down.

It’s one of the reasons I still prefer reading paperback books over a Kindle or iPad. I don’t sit there reading, worrying about whether the power will run out.

I’m currently sitting in the departure lounge in Terminal 5 writing this, and there are large crowds gathered around the “charging points” – also known as plug sockets. Weirdly the sockets are the Continental style, and it feels a little strange that I need to use a plug converter in my own country.

People are queuing up to charge their devices before flights, eagerly watching other iPads and elaborate desk phone chargers to finish their work.

My flight today is with British Airways, and one of the key selling points of the travel class above economy is that each seat has a power socket for laptops. I’m travelling economy and would like to use my laptop on the flight today, but the battery only lasts for 90 minutes, so perhaps I should buy a 10m extension lead and persuade someone at the front of the plane to lend me their power for the flight!

As our reliance upon more electrical products rise, such as screen readers, the power situation is only going to deteriorate further. I’m looking around the departure lounge at the moment and there must be a couple of hundred seats near me, and eight plug sockets. The queue for the sockets is about 2-3 people per socket.

I find it amazing that manufacturers aren’t pushing battery technology further – and I don’t mean increasing battery life by the odd few hours, but by weeks. Perhaps the breakthrough will come from automobile technology or even the nuclear powered Mars Rover Curiosity!


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