A self-motivating speech and my experience without a laptop charger.
A Charge to Myself
Money is not the most important thing in life. It does, however, make the world go ‘round. Money is what pays for the roof over your head, it is what pays for the food in your mouth, it is what pays for the power to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, it is what pays for the movie that you see in theaters, it is what pays for your vehicle and the fuel inside, and it is what pays for your medical insurance and the bills that you incur when you receive any sort of medical attention. The amount of money you have typically determines your quality of life.
It is my duty as a husband, a father, and as my own individual that I provide for myself and my family. Therefore, I will do whatever must be done to obtain the money necessary to cover our cost of living and provide the most comfortable life possible. I will do anything that I can and do it to the best of my ability. I will write software, I will write articles, I will photograph events; I will do what I am paid for, no matter what it is. If I have to pick up a weapon and be a mercenary or a soldier, so be it. I will provide.
Chromebook sans Charger and Micro USB Backup Charging
On Halloween, the charger for my Acer C720 Chromebook finally broke completely. The actual pin had been bent for weeks after someone (not pointing any fingers, especially not at my explorer of an offspring) pulled the laptop off a table by the cable. While unsightly and not quite snug, the charger did still work. As of Halloween night, the charging pin broke off from the cable completely, and I wasn’t comfortable with the risk that the pin may come off inside my Chromebook if I tried using it anyway.
I began scouring Amazon and found a few chargers for under $20, not bad at all. Normally, I am a Super Saver Shipping fiend, but I didn’t want to wait so long for a charger. I asked a coworker who is an Amazon Prime subscriber if he would mind ordering the charger for me if I paid him back. Like the gentleman that he is, he immediately purchased the charger and told me I could pay him back Monday. The man is a saint, I tell you. According to Amazon’s shipping date estimate, the charger would arrive on Wednesday of the following week (today).
The next few days were an interesting time of battery drain. Every minute of use was one less minute available. With a nearly full battery, this was not a concern at first. Sure, I only had a limited amount of battery, but with a small device and no heavy use, I should be fine. As the battery indicator crept closer to 50%, I began to realize the limits of my remaining time.
I worked on some articles for work, did a little research on gaming, and listened to some music from time to time. I quickly noticed that certain actions like streaming of video and music burned through battery far quicker, and thus limited myself from using them. I began to adapt and offload certain tasks to my phone or tablet. Chromecast works just as well from any device, so why waste laptop energy when I could use my phone? With Micro USB chargers plugged into practically every outlet in the apartment, charging the phone or tablet is as easy as reaching over a few feet.
Below 40%, I knew that any time on the Chromebook was a precious luxury that I had less and less of. I found myself closing the screen for any distraction from my current task. While I normally leave the laptop open all afternoon and simply hop on when needed, I made a point to only open the laptop when I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish and had all necessary materials nearby.
I received an update from my coworker that the charger should arrive by Tuesday. Awesome, that’s one day closer. However, he told me that he was taking the day off work and wouldn’t be able to get the charger to me until Wednesday. I had already expected Wednesday, so the update didn’t change my situation at all. I still had to ration my use for a little while longer.
Tuesday evening, I received a picture of the charger in its shipment box. Battery salvation was right before my eyes. I only had to go the remainder of Tuesday and get through Wednesday morning before I would be able to charge the Chromebook again. When I got on the laptop briefly Wednesday morning, I started at 11% and just over an hour of use remaining. Just before I left for work, I had 6% and 24 minutes left.
Having the charger in my possession now, I won’t have to worry about conserving every drop of juice left. I’ll soon have a full battery and just pull energy directly from the outlet. More than likely, these energy conserving habits I’ve picked up over the last few days will be gone within an hour. I will certainly have a greater appreciation for a full battery, however.
One idea that did come to me over the past few days is that all obscure chargers should have a Micro USB backup. Every laptop I have ever owned has had a different charger. As frayed or decrepit as the charger might get, I had to hang onto the original since there was no backup. Though I don’t have much knowledge of batteries or Direct Current, I’m sure there has to be a way to offer some sort of backup charging.
While there are numerous different charging ports for different devices, Micro USB seems to have become the most prolific in recent years. All Android devices use it, PlayStation 4 controllers use it, and I’m sure a few other devices here and there rely on Micro USB charging. My wife and I have at least 3 Micro USB cables hanging from outlets at any given time, as I mentioned before. These would be a perfect alternative if any of our main chargers were to disappear or fall apart.
An argument could be made for many different charging ports. Firewire is popular and Mini USB is another good possibility. If there were an industry-wide accepted charger, this wouldn’t be as big of an issue. I do strongly believe that laptops, cameras, phones, and any other tech devices should have either a main or backup charging port that is common among all others. I shouldn’t have to scour the internet and pay top dollar for a backup charger if something happens to the original cable.
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