Two days ago, I argued that Wi-Fi access was far worse than described by CNET News.com, saying that the opinion of many technology columnists is biased because they look only at their home turf. Here is another example. PCWorld.com recently published Tips for Traveling With Tech Gear (picked by Slashdot). It is a very useful article -- if and only if you travel within the U.S. The top tip for traveling in the rest of the world is to pick a working AC adapter.
When you travel, you can carry a laptop or a cell phone. But you also use an electric toothbrush or a hairdryer. And what do all these things have in common? They need electricity. And if you spent all your life inside the U.S., you don't know that there are several standards to distribute electricity in the world. It can come in 110, 220 or 240 volts flavors, meaning that if your devices are not adaptable to different voltages, you'll need a transformer. And be warned: these transformers can be heavy and don't come up cheap!
Then, there are the plugs. How many holes are in the wall for each plug? Two, three, or more? Are they aligned? Are they strangely shaped as triangles with angles you would never have imagined?
And imagine traveling in the U.K. or in countries with traditionally strong British influences. Plugs there are different from anywhere in the world.
Of course, you'll discover that on a Sunday evening, or before a two-day long national holiday, or during a country wide generalized strike. And it will take a couple of days before being able to use your cell phone -- providing it even can catch the local network.
I have literally dozens of plugs, cables and adapters I collected during my trips around the world. An I pack them when I return to a country I previously visited. Believe me, in almost half of the cases, you need new adapters after a few years.
So, if you believe that the worst thing which can happen to you in an airport is to remove your shoes, think again. It will be after you arrive at your -- non U.S. -- destination.
Welcome to what is the reality for 95% of the people living in our world today!
Source: Roland Piquepaille, with various websites