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July 08, 2006

I really like the convenience of rechargeable electronics, but they can also be a headache.  Sometimes I feel like I'm always recharging something, so I thought I'd see just how bad it is by making a list:

Power adapter

Things I have to recharge

  1. Mobile phone
  2. Bluetooth headset
  3. Digital camera
  4. Wireless computer mouse
  5. Notebook computer
  6. Beard trimmer
  7. Electric razor
  8. Electric screwdriver
  9. Dremel rotary tool
  10. Cordless drill
  11. Hedge trimmer

The list is shorter than I expected, but I think the real  challenge is not the number of things to recharge, but managing everything so it's ready when I want to use it.  This can be tough when it comes things I use very rarely, but want to be charged when I need it, like my cordless drill.  It came with two batteries, but despite having used it ~5 times and rotating the batteries once in a while, one is dead & the other holds only a small charge.  I guess that's why it was only $49.  In fact, buying two replacement batteries would cost just about as much as a new drill (of the same type)!

Update: 2007.03.31 - It looks like this may become less of a problem, now that a company called Powercast has invented a way to transmit power without wires!

Not all rechargeable electronics are created equal.  Here are my preferences for the major types: 

  • Ideal:
    • Works with a power cord attached in addition to battery power.  Example: notebook computers.
    • Takes standard batteries (rare these days) in addition to rechargable ones.  Example: my old digital camera (If I ever ran low on power, I could stop at a store or gas station almost anywhere and get batteries.)
  • Reasonable: Permits easy battery swapping.  This is fine, provided battery cost isn't exorbitant.  Example: modern digital cameras.
  • Bad: Uses integrated rechargable batteries.  Example: my electric razor and screwdriver.  Both of these have lasted and performed very well, but why not give them virtually infinite life with a replacable battery?  These devices fall into the category of unnecessarily disposable items, about which I'll write another time.

What's on your list of things to recharge?

March 01, 2005

Toothpaste flavor is all personal preference, but Crest clearly put some research into "toothpaste user interface", and did an amazingly good job with the design of their flip top.

We've been using Colgate Total Plus Whitening Tartar Control toothpaste for years, but recently got a trial pack of 3 of Crest's new "Whitening Expressions" flavors in the mail. We really liked the Extreme Herbal Mint; enough so that I think we're going to switch toothpastes. (The marketing worked!)

Crest Extreme Herbal Mint toothpaste

The flip top on the Colgate tube was always a double-edged sword; yes, you get the convenience of a flip top, but a bit of toothpaste always seemed to somehow get outside the flip top and onto my fingers.

Crest's new tube, on the other hand, has a large cap that's really easy to flip up, and completely encloses the tube opening. It seems to have been designed so that it tends to keep its shape, causing the toothpaste to suck back into the tube a bit after you squeeze. These two things make it almost impossible for toothpaste to unintentionally get out, so no more mess!

I know that this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I was always annoyed by Colgate's flip top; I loved the idea, but Crest got the implementation right. (Not to mention a very good flavor & texture with the Extreme Herbal Mint!)