I have a love/hate relationship with things that plug into other things. Sometime you plug a thing in and it just feels so good, the snugness of the sides of the male as it engages with the female. Other times it is infuriating, with sloppy connectors that don’t fit properly, or put unreasonable demands on the user. Here are some of my favourite and least favourite connectors.
USB: Pretty good. A USB connector feels great when you plug it in, stays firmly, and generally requires no configuration. But WHY is it symmetrical? Half the time I plug it in backwards and have to reverse it. If you add up the time lost from hundreds of millions of people plugging in USB connectors incorrectly, you’d have enough time to initiate and complete a moon program. I won’t go into all the mini-micro variants. They are pretty universally mediocre.
Firewire-400: All the good of USB, with none of the bad. The asymmetrical plug removes all the ambiguity. The only possible downside is that it may be a little big for small devices such as laptops. Plus, you get the bonus that Firewire allows for much better channel sharing than USB. Too bad it hasn’t really caught on.
Firewire-800: What happened, Firewire? You went from head of the pack to near the back. Firewire-800 plugs aren’t nearly as secure as their 400 predecessors, plus we have the symmetry problem again. Boo on Firewire-800.
VGA: Whoever invented VGA connectors obviously wanted to inflict as much pain on the universe as possible. The thing doesn’t stay in unless you screw it in. To screw it in you rip your skin on these tiny little knobs. Then the little bolts on the case come off when you disconnect the thing. Plus they tend to be jammed close to other connectors, to you can’t even turn the knob properly. WORST CONNECTOR EVER.
HDMI: A million times better than VGA, and more functional. Feels good when inserted. I’ve heard audiophiles complain that their ridiculous heavy cables sometimes result in the connector becoming unseated. I’ve also had problems with the bandwidth of HDMI being insufficient for my super high res applications. But as a connector, I like it.
Those are the connectors I have strong opinions about.