Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Consultant Tools Series: Travel Power Outlets

Nearly every hotel I've stayed at the last several years has had one limitation:  Not enough power outlets.  There may be one outlet available on the desk, or two if I'm lucky, but sadly, that isn't enough to handle the laptop, cell phone, bluetooth headset, iPad, and hotspot.  I have often had to charge my cell phone using a bathroom power outlet and leave my laptop powered on all night so that I can charge something else via a USB port.

I was poking around the electronics section of one of those massive discount retail stores a few months ago and I came across a gadget that looked pretty interesting.  It is a mini power-strip of sorts that provides three full outlets, but what is unique is that it also includes two USB charging ports.

I brought it home, and to break it in, I tried it on my overburdened kitchen counter power outlet where we have a pile of iPhones, an iPod, and iPod Touch, and a few other devices.  It worked perfectly, allowing us to use two USB cables to charge phones, freeing up two outlets.

This week I had a chance to try it on the road.  The desk in my hotel room has two outlets in a recessed compartment that would have made it difficult to use two of my chargers, so the power strip worked like a charm.  I was able to charge my iPhone and hotspot via USB, and then plugged in my laptop and bluetooth headset in the power outlets. 

Since I have a MacBook Air with only 2 USB ports, one of which is always used by my Logitech wireless mouse receiver, my one remaining USB port is pretty valuable, and can now remain available.

The only minor downside is that the power strip is a bit bulky, but given it's value, I don't mind carrying it in my luggage.

Steve Endow is a Dynamics GP Certified Trainer and Dynamics GP Certified IT Professional in Los Angeles.  He is also the owner of Precipio Services, which provides Dynamics GP integrations, customizations, and automation solutions.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

I like the old fashioned, hard plastic industrial adapters with 3 plugs at right angles in day glow orange. You can plug just about any kind of power adaper in them, no matter how big and the plug holds things away from the wall. The day glow orange makes them hard to loose and if you forget them they are about $3 at any hardware store.