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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Call for a radical new PC connector

Remember those "hole-and-peg" sets you may have had when you were a kid? Still a tousle-haired toddler, new to the world, you struggled to insert a star-shaped peg into a triangular-shaped hole. This exercise was meant to teach you a lesson - the lesson that the world had rules: square pegs go into square holes, round pegs into round holes

If only this could have prepared you for owning a PC. Hair no less tousled, you grunt and strain on two knees and one hand, the other hand unnaturally bent around the back of your PC case, only your twitching feet indicating to the casual passer-by that there is anyone under the desk.

You know exactly where the connector is in the PC case (USB, keyboard, mouse, monitor, take your pick). You even know which way up it is. There should be no need to actually have to SEE it. It ought to be a simple matter to just insert the cable you had correctly orientated prior to plunging yourself into the dusty netherworld that is the space under your desk.

But... It is the old "square peg in the round hole" situation. No amount of fiddling or twiddling seems to produce any result. You blindly try the USB connector both ways up - neither way fits. You rotate the keyboard connector through 720 degrees, yet at no point does it slot in and end your misery.

The temperature is now at dangerous tropical levels under the desk. You have inhaled several kilograms of dust. The quiet weeping which has been filtering up from the depths of your being now threatens to turn into a primal howling born of helpless rage.

You give up and drag the entire PC case out from under your desk, whip it around with a little more force than was strictly necessary so you can access the rear panel and, now that you can actually see the socket... in goes the connector first time, slotting into place as though it were the simplest thing in the world.

This is a call for a radical new variety of connector - one that can be inserted, blind, in one simple move. This will take a new breed of inventor, one who can think out of the box. The rewards could be huge - Nobel fame, riches beyond your wildest dreams, a happier humanity that will be able to forget the connector-based frustrations of yesteryear and focus on making this world a better place. Are you that person?