The technical trainwreck that is USB-C


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/14/the-technical-trainwreck-that.html


#2

I say this as a tech retailer: fuck USB C.


#3

So it’s just SB-C, then?


#4

USB-C has reversible connectors, which is lovely.

But other than that it’s a massive clusterfuck. I mean I consider myself to be a pretty technical person and I can’t keep up with all the gotchas and exceptions to contend with here.

Using the same connector and cables (sometimes) is a good idea in theory but in practice, you end up with what you see happening here.


#5

Indeed. I have been living with it for a couple of years with a chromebook pixel and nexus 6p. Lot of nice things about carrying around one charger, but the standards are screwy and no way to tell much about the cable without plugging it in. Trouble is the cheap ones might fry your phone/laptop.


#6

USB-C is the Universe’s way of telling you to go back to pocket calculators, pencils and paper. Or maybe it’s just telling you that a bunch of companies dumped products on the market that weren’t really ready for market–so the executives involved could collect their bonuses.


#7

Two chromebooks and 3 nexus phones, all USB c, no troubles here. I am careful purchasing additional cables, though


#8

Lately, I’ve had the thought more and more frequently that if Steve Jobs was still on this side of the dirt, there would be a bunch of differently-made decisions about what Apple is bringing to market, the oddities of USB-C and it’s implementation as discussed in the linked article included. For better or for worse, I kind of miss the guy.


#9

This negates my feeling left out. Still don’t have anything with USB-C. It would appear that I’m not missing much.


#10

Let’s be honest. Apple loves USB-C because it lets them blackball third-party peripheral manufacturer that use Texas Instruments thunderbolt controller chips and any other manufacturer that doesn’t assume the position for Apple. The new Macbook IO is a giant middle finger to consumers with a price hike thrown in for good measure. Which is SOP with Apple. Honestly, anyone who buys their machines at this point deserves what they get.


#11

Sounds like an attempt to codify the mess from previous versions of USB.

'Course, such an effort is doomed to failure.


#12

mini-USB was deprecated. I think my camera and my scanner use it-- but those are circa 2010 at the latest.


#13

In the phone and tablet arena, USB-C may not be perfect, but it is pretty good and dramatically better than what we had before. Yeah, the incompatibility with the non-standard quick-charge sucks – but that isn’t so much a problem with USB-C as with human nature. No matter what you can do, some manufacturer will do something non-standard. Likewise, it is annoying that you don’t know what the alternate modes are supported by looking at the device or cable. But it is way better situation that non-standard manufacturer extensions that you also can’t tell by looking. The reality is that in the cell phone form factor you really need to cram everything into one port. The options are basically non-standard connectors like lightning, non-standard extensions to micro-B like quick charge, or something like USB-C.

The situation is a lot less rosy on laptops and desktop computers. This is where the power profiles start to be a much bigger problem and you could reasonably expect to have dedicated ports for video, network, etc.


#14

of course there are two USB-XKCDs for that


#15

So… USB-C is Mormonism?


#16

Kinda like the original implementation of Firewire? My last Sony laptop and PowerBooks back then, plus a variety of 4 to 6 pin cables and adapters and drives and a scanner and so on, or as @Jorpho points out, all the other versions of USB ever.


#17

I got a really lovely and powerful laptop is what I got.


#18

You could use authentication chips in your new USB-D protocol that would offer some warranty of spec compliance. Of course, this would mean 40 dollar cables.


#19

Reminds me of the good old days (1980s) when everything was proprietarily incompatible.


#20

If you’re happy, I’m happy for you. I’d rather pay 30 percent less and get more up-to-date specs with comprehensive IO that won’t scoff at an external display. The only area Apple continues to slam their less expensive competition is their admittedly glorious trackpads.

To be clear, I’m not criticizing people who actually like Apple’s computers. I’m criticizing people who continue to buy them while complaining about things like USB-C.