Plugging in a USB connector
The USB connectors are practically universal on computers today. I use one almost everyday to connect a mouse to my laptop computer. My problem is that when I try to plug the USB connector in, I frequently turn it the wrong way. I have seen other people have this problem. It is difficult to tell just by looking which way it plugs in. Usually, manufacturers print the USB symbol on "top" of the connector so if the connector is oriented horizonally, the symbol faces up. That doesn't help if the connector needs to plug in vertically. The USB symbol usually isn't very salient either.
This is not a huge problem. When you try to plug it in the wrong way, it doesn't go in. You just need to flip it over and plug it in. But the problem is persistent. I still catch myself doing this occasionally, even though I know it is a problem. There are more than a billion of these connectors in use today. Even if a billion people make this mistake only once and only lose a second correcting the mistake, the lost time adds up to 31 years.
If the connector could be inserted either way and work, or if it was asymmetrical, like the mini USB connector in Photo A., which plugs into B., this problem would be solved.
Michael J. Darnell 2010. All rights reserved.