I wonder whether Intel let USB turn into a mess intentionally (a bit like Google keeps up the churn rate for web technologies to kill off other browsers)?
I’d not assign to malice what is more easily explained by stupidity (or institutional inertia).
Or the economics of commodities.
Sad day for Intel if this really is stupidity…
The outcome, be it simple stupidity or institutional cultural stupidity, is that usb needs proper competition to kill it off.
Maybe by a bolt of thunder!
They didn’t even mention my bugaboo: USB cables that only carry power, not data. They’re packed in with (some) devices that only support USB for charging, and I seem to have accumulated a number of them.
So sometimes when I retrieve a cable from my stash to connect something to my computer, I have the frustrating experience of not being able to connect to the device, checking that I’ve installed drivers / put the device in “connect mode”, etc. until I remember that this must be one of those dud cables…
Ouch, I sympathize. I tend to store these sorts of cables separately, in the trash can.
I currently carry device chargers with me and avoid plugging my devices into other USB sockets to charge. This is mostly because I’m concerned about security.
As charging over USB becomes more common and available, I think ‘power only’ cables will be useful, though I might have to buy them in a particular, garish colour to avoid the nightmare you’re describing.
You can buy the “USB condom” adapters pretty cheaply, and use them to turn any cable into a power-only cable when you’re going to be charging from an untrusted port. I always used to bring a few with me back in the days when traveling was a thing.
I am dying today trying to plug a monitor in via USB-C, and apparently every single C->C cable I have is power only? Or maybe it’s this busted MBP? Or maybe it’s just the phase of the moon?
I hate USB more than almost anything else in computing.
O man, have you ever used SCSI? Macs used to use it, pre-USB. It wasn’t hot-pluggable, so you had to shut down everything first. And it sometimes required a “terminator” plug at the end of the chain, and there was weird voodoo about that which honestly I’ve blocked out of my memory. Plus the cables were as big around as a finger, stiff, and quite expensive.
I used to tend a big SGI (a Power Challenge!) with weird flaky terminator problems. It was the worst. Super fun having a whole academic department go offline because of some dumbass $1,200 hunk of resistors and plastic in that edgy shade of mauve.
USB is awful, and the fact that it’s largely being implemented by commodity consumer electronics companies means that is never going to be any good. Sigh.
The naming and lack of clear marking of the specs is terrible. But in practice, most of my use is for charging devices and gadgets, and it’s basically interchangeable for that if you’re okay with sometimes charging at a slightly slower rate. If I need fast data transfer, then I make sure to use one of the “good” cables that feels a bit more rigid.
The biggest problem I’ve encountered that it’s not mentioned in the article, is a lot of cheaper lower-cost usb-c devices don’t properly implement even the most basic specification, so cannot be charged with a usb-c to usb-c cable. They can only be charged using a usb-a to usb-c cable. I’ve found this happens with brands I haven’t heard of, with things like usb-c lights, toothbrushes, and various household appliances.