Geekspeak: January 21, 2001

A plug for good connectors.

These three power connectors for AC adapter/rechargers reveal rather different ideas of good design. Apples connector (left) looks a little too much like an audio or video plug—although the diameter is actually slightly smaller, and that scary-looking exposed center pin doesnt carry above-ground potential. The translucent ring glows green or orange to indicate charger activity. (Please, does everything need to make a fashion statement? And whats the point, when the open screen hides this expensive indicator?)

Hewlett-Packards plug for its Jornada 560 Pocket PCs (right) breaks all the rules: Its a custom design that exposes the live voltage contact. Ugly, fragile and dangerous, all in one.

In the middle is a standard plug, with a recessed contact and polarity markings molded into the shell. This model citizen connects to a laptop computer from Sony. Perhaps other vendors will become equally restrained in their attempts to electrify their users?