It must have been strange and exciting for homeowners in the early 20th century to see wall outlets installed in their homes. To people whose only exposure to controlled electricity was streetlights and factory power, bringing electricity into the home was completely foreign. Today, we see something similar with the USB charging ports.
USB charging ports are now pretty pervasive, if not ubiquitous. But to older people who did not grow up with digital technology, getting used to USB proliferation is a lot like their grandparents getting used to wall outlets. Indeed, today's USB charging ports are the new wall outlets of our generation.
Just Plug It In
Imagine being alive before homes and offices had electrical systems. Light was provided by candles and lamps. Food was kept cold by a literal icebox, not a refrigerator. There were no electric pumps for running water. You operated a manual pump by hand. How do you think you would have felt about electricity being brought into your home?
It is safe to say that a lot of people were amazed by the idea of just plugging something in. Plug in a bulb and you get light. Plug in the vacuum cleaner and you can suck the dirt off your rugs. It must have been an amazing thing to experience way back then.
Fast forward to the 21st century and you see something similar occurring. The USB port, once just a port for data transfer, is now used for electrical charging. You can use any USB port to charge any device with a compatible input.
Take our USB rechargeable batteries. You can charge them by plugging them into your computer. You can charge them in your car if its information and entertainment system has a USB port. And of course, dedicated charging stations are popping up everywhere. You can't go to a restaurant, hotel, on a plane, etc. without seeing them.
More USBs Than Wall Outlets
By the way, this post was prompted by a recent hotel stay. I grew up before personal computers existed. I remember when the first USB port was introduced. So for me, USB charging stations are somewhat of a foreign entity. I discovered on my trip that my hotel room offered more USB ports than wall outlets.
I counted six total wall outlets: two in the bathroom and four in the main sleeping area. By contrast, I counted 14 USB ports between four charging stations. That's amazing. Had I used all 14, I could have charged a ton of USB rechargeable batteries.
So why so many USB ports? Because we are a society that relies heavily on our electronic gadgets. I'll admit, I used one of those charging stations to charge my cell phone. I have a second cell phone, an older one, that I use as a white noise machine when I sleep. That was charged every morning.
Had I brought USB rechargeable batteries with me on this trip, they would been plugged into one of the charging stations. The same for my tablet, my digital camera, and even my electric razor. The point is that I could have used every single one of those ports had I brought enough devices with me. I have that many.
USB charging stations are the new wall outlets. To those who were raised on digital technology, USB charging ports are a normal part of the daily landscape. For those of us older folks, it's strange to walk into a room and see more USB ports than wall outlets. But that is where we are in the digital age. It is okay, too.