When I first started playing with Macintosh computers in the 1980's, Newer Technologies was making gadgets and gizmos and add-ons that improved the computing experience, added a new dimension, or just made things more interesting and fun. They're still doing so. In those days before USB, almost every computer and every device had its proprietary inputs and outputs. Get a new computer or printer and everything except the connection to the wall would be new.
Fortunately, the USB standard means that even if I have a wired mouse, I don't need to count pins before plugging it in. Enter Newer Tech with the Power2U outlet, an easy way to wire my house to charge up my USB gear without booting my computer. Or, as in my case, without having to figure out what to pull out to free up a USB port for charging.
The Power2U unit is a substitute wall outlet. That means that one must replace an existing outlet. Short of replacing all, or several, this involves some consideration about which outlet would be most convenient and accessible for charging, as well as which outlet is accessible for swapping. In brand new construction, no problem. In my cluttered, busy world full of racks and bookcases and shelving and cabinets, the choices were automatically narrowed considerably. Don't want a charging station near the cat dishes, either. Ooh, wires: yum!
Fortunately, the receptacle I settled on is in the New Part of my house, upgraded to code at the very end of the 20th Century. The Old Part of my house was built about a century before and wired around the time of the Great War. The knob-and-tubing wiring was replaced mid-century, but the wall receptacles remained unimproved and shallow. Narrowly averting another major home improvement project, with some well-aimed pushing and shoving and folding of wires the receptacle space in the New Section was just big enough to accommodate the extra depth of the Power2U, needed because of the extra USB electronics.
I haven't had so much fun installing an add-on since the days of adding firmware cards to an Apple IIe. The instructions to the Power2U come printed in a reasonably-sized font on both sides of a single 8.5" x 11" sheet. They start off with a warning that failure to proceed correctly can result in permanent injury or death and that all local and national electrical codes must be observed. Not every installation will include the challenge of a building wired in two distinct eras, with several circuits helpfully labeled "lights and plugs." But anyone who's willing to wade into Real Warfare Northern Crusades or join Men Of War Red Tide will charge right ahead into the reality version of home wiring. Fortunately I had an live expert willing to make a house call on New Years Eve day. Adding to the challenges in higher levels of the Installation Game: the screws for attaching the wires to the Power2U could have been about 2 mm longer without damaging the equipment but giving the electrician a chance to capture the wire without invoking every four-letter technical term in two languages.
I have one Power2U installed. We (tech support and me) won this round, and as any gamer knows as long as you win it's worth the play. Short of a (highly unlikely) repeat of last century's major renovation project, I probably will quit while I'm ahead. But if I'm ever looking at remodeling or building at my house or anywhere else, I will certainly want to know if Newer Technology offers a contractor's discount or bulk sales. This little gizmo adds more than its cost in benefit and is one more step in making my computing life about getting something done rather than managing the stuff needed to get something done.
I certainly hope Newer Technology is marketing to the hotel chains where I stay. These folks do remodel on a frequent basis. Finding a Power2U outlet in my room would persuade me I'd landed in the luxury suite. For a quick upgrade to your own environment, think about adding a Power2U receptacle.