1406: "Universal Converter Box"

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teelo
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby teelo » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:18 pm UTC

In before someone makes a prototype.

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da Doctah
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby da Doctah » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:27 pm UTC

I need several of these, and can someone tell me where I can plug in all my PCMCIA cards?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby dtilque » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:51 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
ctdonath wrote:[pauses, contemplating] And that's why I take jokes/absurdities straight and see where they end up. Why don't we have any machines that DO take atmospheric H2O & CO2 and generate organic fuels suitable for common vehicles? Power consumption might be astounding, but at least try it to prove it's possible, and once it's functional feasibility is just a matter of refinements.


Because the technology required is (currently) indistinguishable from magic. And it's probably going to be more energy efficient to use electricity and/or H2 rather than synthesising medium-length hydrocarbons as an intermediate step...


Not quite indistinguishable from magic...



fatunga wrote:I'm showing my age, but where's the RS232 serial connector? Once upon a time it more or less was the universal interface. Hm... Yes, why not again!?


Right. Which of the 10,000 different variations (conservative estimate) of RS-232 did you want?
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:14 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
ctdonath wrote:[pauses, contemplating] And that's why I take jokes/absurdities straight and see where they end up. Why don't we have any machines that DO take atmospheric H2O & CO2 and generate organic fuels suitable for common vehicles? Power consumption might be astounding, but at least try it to prove it's possible, and once it's functional feasibility is just a matter of refinements.


Because the technology required is (currently) indistinguishable from magic.
While many cultures throughout history have revered various plants as magical, I was under the impression that most educated people had since moved beyond that notion...?
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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Derek
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Derek » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:29 pm UTC

Fuckin token ring connectors. I'm pretty sure that's just CMU's scheme to make everyone freshman spend an extra 15 bucks.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby DrBatman » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:09 pm UTC

I guess I'm the only one who noticed that he mixed up magsafe and magsafe 2?

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Flumble
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Flumble » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:29 pm UTC

Ah, it's an IBM Type 1 token ring connector. I almost believed I was crazy for thinking token ring is a concept/protocol instead of a connector. (by which I mean to say that I thought the only implementations of token ring used 6P4C or 8P8C connectors)

It's a shame to see so many connectors and protocols missing and a lack of all available genders sexes for each connector. :(

Also, I'm missing two Universal Converter Box connectors™ to hook up multiple universal converter boxes so you can split and merge streams at will. (lest not forget something as simple as converting male USB to male USB)

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby HES » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:38 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:(lest not forget something as simple as converting male USB to male USB)

That's what the "50-lb sack of gender changers" in the title-text is for.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby The Devils Engineer » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:04 am UTC

This converter box is obviously lacking......where is my GPIB (IEEE-488) connection? :D

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby johnms » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:15 am UTC

What? No IBM 360/370 Bus and Tag channel cables?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby kodiac » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:36 am UTC

I registered just to say:
Is there no-one else who wants a game-port plug on this thing?

I have two old Microsoft joysticks at home. Both were undamaged and fully functional last time I used them, but they require a game port.
I had to stop using the Sidewinder Force Feedback and buy another joystick some years ago when I got a new PC without a game port. The Logitech replacement never quite felt as nice to use, despite having a few extra buttons.

Also: this "universal" adapter needs multiple countries' AC power plugs.
120V versus 240V doesn't seem to matter much these days. Nearly every AC-powered device I've seen in the last 10 years (or longer) can handle both voltages.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby cryptoengineer » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:48 am UTC

Lots of Old School stuff missing. In particular.

RS-232 Serial (DE-9 and DB-25 connectors) - the latter was The Standard serial connector in data centers for a very long time, more or less until USB came around. This definitely shouldn't have been skipped.

External SCSI
20 mA current loop (for ASR-33 teletypes)

I suspect Randall didn't include stuff which is no longer in use.

ce

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby hamjudo » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:14 am UTC

johnms wrote:What? No IBM 360/370 Bus and Tag channel cables?


I managed a bunch of computers in 1987 that shared a computer room with an IBM 360/370. That is to say, it was a 9370 baby mainframe with peripherals from a variety of eras going back to the 360 era. The machine was used for developing and testing some system software. The software supported a lot of historic stuff, so the test machine had at least one each of all these ancient peripherals (ancient as seen from 1987). The disk controller booted off of a read only 8 inch floppy drive. The disk controller was in a mainframe style cabinet sized so it would just barely fit into a Manhattan freight elevator. The cabinet was mostly empty, as the controller hardware was well under a cubic meter.

We had a spare set of Bus and Tag cables. The cables were at the maximum length. If the cables were any longer, they would have weighed too much for a single worker to carry under OSHA rules. Obviously, you needed both a bus and a tag cable, because if the two cables were combined, the single cable would be too heavy. Each of those cables weighed just under the OSHA limit of 60 pounds.

I did an image search on bus and tag channel cables. It seems that more modern versions of those cables were much more slender.

That sort of thing would blow out the 50 pound weight limit on the adapter bag.

Now that I think about it, you might be able to find 50 pounds of USB adapters without duplicating an adapter.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:30 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
mmcmonster wrote:
Neil_Boekend wrote:
speising wrote:i'm disappointed that all kinds of fuel are on one spout. a converter diesel - 93 octane would be useful.

I am disappointed that there is no 95 nor 98 octane. Modern engines can correct their timing for lower octane levels but older engines would crap out at such crappy fuel.


Is there any vehicle that requires 98 octane? Maybe a race car?
Apparently they measure octane differently in Europe than the US, so I suspect 95 and 98 in Europe are roughly equivalent to 91 and 93 in the US.

Never knew that. Yaay for standards!
I always thought more efficient engine designs without a ECU were more picky and in Europe more efficient has long been a selling point.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby addams » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:23 am UTC

Istaro wrote:Image

Title text: "Comes with a 50-lb sack of gender changers, and also an add-on device with a voltage selector and a zillion circular center pin DC adapter tips so you can power any of those devices from the 90s."

Totally worth it just for the macro USB joke.

What's the MagSafe 4 supposed to be, though?

That is hysterical.
I don't know Why.

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Every good home would have several of those.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Antarctica » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:31 am UTC

Could you please add a GHT connector?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby orthogon » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:05 am UTC

addams wrote:There would be Peace in the Middle East.

I fear it will take more than an adapter to get those two to communicate; the problem is at a higher protocol layer. And I'm not sure that even Postel ("be conservative in what you send; be liberal in what you accept") would stretch his law to mean that you should accept incoming rockets, bombs, bullets, suicide bombers etc. I'm not taking sides here; I can see both points of view and the whole situation is horrific and intractable.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:40 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:Never knew that. Yaay for standards!

"The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from."

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Tyrannosapien » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:48 pm UTC

Congratulations, you just invented Radio Shack.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby moody7277 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:22 pm UTC

Lazurite wrote:Where's that funny little thing with the claws I use to hook up my Atari?


Took me a couple seconds to remember what you meant, but then the nostalgia flowed.
The story of my life in xkcdmafia:

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Flumble » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:24 pm UTC

HES wrote:
Flumble wrote:(lest not forget something as simple as converting male USB to male USB)

That's what the "50-lb sack of gender changers" in the title-text is for.

Oops, I totally forgot about the text. :oops:
Still, there's no duplicate of any connector on that box and I think a male-to-male piece is cheating, because it doesn't use the box.

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keithl
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby keithl » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:40 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
keithl wrote:I built something like ... Herbie Hancock was recording his album "Monster" at United Western Studio in LA. ...
Man, that's cool. Herbie Hancock!
I don't know if you feel the same, ... Do you know what happened to your ultrakludge cable? ...
Long gone I'm sure.
orthogon wrote:Also, I was going to order that album on the back of your story, but it's on Amazon for a rather steep £26.77 (it's even more on amazon.com).

You may want the vinyl anyway. Digital may sound better, but my guess is they copied the sound from the master disk to the digital. The studio recording was mixed by Fred Catero, and I remember this bizarre digital kludge based on TV studio video tape that they were using, not the usual 2 inch multitrack audio tape. One piece of equipment was a 10 dollar discount store record player - part of the mix process is listening through a piece-of-s**t sound system, because thousands of listeners would be. It had to sound good on everything.

Herbie is a true hacker. His first love is mathematics - he applied to MIT and was rejected because of racism, but was accepted by his fallback school, Julliard. My connection was a friend, bbell, Herbie's keyboard manager. Herbie had one of every kind of synthesizer - all with incompatible control voltage ranges and gates. I designed a crossbar box (analog, but with an Apple II for control) that would route three keyboards to any of a dozen different synthesizers, so that Herbie could bring all his synthesizers on the road and select three of them to play for any given song.

The Apple II was problematic. For about a year afterwards, Herbie spent more time programming that, and hanging out on programming BBSs with 12 year old hackers, than he did making music. Herbie loved gear, wrote code and soldered some of it. There are threads leading from that to ProTools, Midi, and iTunes.

I've lost track of Herbie, but we sometimes see each other when he comes to Portland for a gig - most recently, playing with the Oregon Symphony.

The crossbar box is long gone, too. I later designed a 160 port bidirectional crossbar integrated circuit for a startup, I-Cube Design Systems, which became the core of the first Cisco internet routers. So there are threads from Herbie to the internet, too.
Last edited by keithl on Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:42 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

dtobias
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby dtobias » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:40 pm UTC

I think such a converter box would better-off be made of unstable molecules (Fantastic Four uniform style) or other "morphable" matter so that each end of it can form itself into whatever shape may be needed to handle the jacks it needs to be connected to.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby cantab314 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:52 pm UTC

Where's the tribophysical waveform macro-kinetic extrapolator? Because if you want to convert universes, you're going to need to hook this thing up to a TARDIS.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby keithl » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:10 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
mmcmonster wrote:Is there any vehicle that requires 98 octane? Maybe a race car?
Apparently they measure octane differently in Europe than the US, so I suspect 95 and 98 in Europe are roughly equivalent to 91 and 93 in the US.
Never knew that. Yaay for standards!
I always thought more efficient engine designs without a ECU were more picky and in Europe more efficient has long been a selling point.
High octane originated in American aviation (racing and military), espoused by Jimmy Doolittle when he consulted for Shell Oil. High octane is indeed energetically inefficient, but it can move an aircraft farther and faster, enabling fighter escorts to protect Allied bombing missions far into Europe during World War II, and long distance missions in the Pacific. The Germans may have been better chemists and mechanical engineers, but depending on Fischer-Tropsch to synthesize fuel meant they had to worry more about efficiency than maximum performance.

Because Americans had plentiful cheap high octane gas, we saved urban real estate by designing short, high acceleration freeway onramps. Now we need powerful engines to survive merges at high freeway speeds from these onramps. I would like to see smart onramps with electromagnetic accelerators, and gap-creating braking systems in the merge lanes, but I am a geek, and of course such systems could be used to kill humans during the Robot Uprising.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby shieldforyoureyes » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:14 pm UTC

hamjudo wrote:
johnms wrote:
[...]

The disk controller booted off of a read only 8 inch floppy drive. The disk controller was in a mainframe style cabinet sized so it would just barely fit into a Manhattan freight elevator. The cabinet was mostly empty, as the controller hardware was well under a cubic meter.


Are you aware that that was the first floppy drive? As in: the first EVER floppy disk was a read-only drive for loading firmware into IBM 370 CPUs & disk controllers.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby squall_line » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:29 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:
HES wrote:
Flumble wrote:(lest not forget something as simple as converting male USB to male USB)

That's what the "50-lb sack of gender changers" in the title-text is for.

Oops, I totally forgot about the text. :oops:
Still, there's no duplicate of any connector on that box and I think a male-to-male piece is cheating, because it doesn't use the box.


I'm still trying to figure out what a "male USB to male USB" converter would even be used for. USB cords are almost exclusively all male-ended, and the USB standard pretty much guarantees that one end will be USB-A on one end and USB-something-else on the other end. There are VERY few USB-A to USB-A cords in existence, because B-ends are usually used for power-drawing devices, while A-ends are used for power-delivery devices.

So, that said, what would USB-A-male to USB-A-male be used for? Why would you want to "convert" from one connection type to the *exact same* connection type?

There are a small few female-USB extension-type cords in existence but, again, with the limited transmission length of USB, these are few and far between; generally, hubs are used for such things.

Since all of the USB connectors on this device are male-ended, what exactly are you trying to create with a male USB to male USB?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby addams » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:35 am UTC

squall_line wrote:
So, that said, what would USB-A-male to USB-A-male be used for? Why would you want to "convert" from one connection type to the *exact same* connection type?

There are a small few female-USB extension-type cords in existence but, again, with the limited transmission length of USB, these are few and far between; generally, hubs are used for such things.

Since all of the USB connectors on this device are male-ended, what exactly are you trying to create with a male USB to male USB?

A Loop.

The author of the Comic is the same mind that invented Black Hat Guy.
Each of the characters are a peek into the soul of the creator.

The answer is A Loop.

What the Hell a person would do with such a Loop is beyond me.
I'm not Black Hat Guy. He's smart.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby hkfczrqj » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:58 am UTC

No DisplayPort? (no, thunderbolt doesn't count) I HATE the fangs on those things... when I get caught in them it looks as if a cat scratched my hand.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Coyne » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:02 am UTC

addams wrote:
squall_line wrote:Since all of the USB connectors on this device are male-ended, what exactly are you trying to create with a male USB to male USB?

A Loop.

So those bytes would be moving in a circular course; and at USB speeds, they would be "going nowhere mighty fast."
In all fairness...

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby addams » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:59 am UTC

Coyne wrote:
addams wrote:
squall_line wrote:Since all of the USB connectors on this device are male-ended, what exactly are you trying to create with a male USB to male USB?

A Loop.

So those bytes would be moving in a circular course; and at USB speeds, they would be "going nowhere mighty fast."

Yes. You understand it.
Now; How can you use it to fuck-up another person's day?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby cptjeff » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:06 am UTC

squall_line wrote:
Flumble wrote:
HES wrote:
Flumble wrote:(lest not forget something as simple as converting male USB to male USB)

That's what the "50-lb sack of gender changers" in the title-text is for.

Oops, I totally forgot about the text. :oops:
Still, there's no duplicate of any connector on that box and I think a male-to-male piece is cheating, because it doesn't use the box.


I'm still trying to figure out what a "male USB to male USB" converter would even be used for. USB cords are almost exclusively all male-ended, and the USB standard pretty much guarantees that one end will be USB-A on one end and USB-something-else on the other end. There are VERY few USB-A to USB-A cords in existence, because B-ends are usually used for power-drawing devices, while A-ends are used for power-delivery devices.

So, that said, what would USB-A-male to USB-A-male be used for? Why would you want to "convert" from one connection type to the *exact same* connection type?

There are a small few female-USB extension-type cords in existence but, again, with the limited transmission length of USB, these are few and far between; generally, hubs are used for such things.

Since all of the USB connectors on this device are male-ended, what exactly are you trying to create with a male USB to male USB?


Laptop to DAT projector, or something along those lines. The projector we have at the office has options to input data using USB A, USB B, HDMI, Serial, Component, S-Video, RCA, and Coax. While we usually use USB A- USB B or serial from the windows computers and the HDMI to mini HDMI from the Macs, you could fairly easily do USB A to USB A. From the windows computers. Macs don't play nice with USB and projectors, apparently.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Coyne » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:23 am UTC

addams wrote:
Coyne wrote:
addams wrote:
squall_line wrote:Since all of the USB connectors on this device are male-ended, what exactly are you trying to create with a male USB to male USB?

A Loop.

So those bytes would be moving in a circular course; and at USB speeds, they would be "going nowhere mighty fast."

Yes. You understand it.
Now; How can you use it to fuck-up another person's day?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is to plug the Ethernet connector to a network, so it jabbers.
In all fairness...

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:26 am UTC

squall_line wrote:I'm still trying to figure out what a "male USB to male USB" converter would even be used for. USB cords are almost exclusively all male-ended, and the USB standard pretty much guarantees that one end will be USB-A on one end and USB-something-else on the other end. There are VERY few USB-A to USB-A cords in existence, because B-ends are usually used for power-drawing devices, while A-ends are used for power-delivery devices.

So, that said, what would USB-A-male to USB-A-male be used for? Why would you want to "convert" from one connection type to the *exact same* connection type?

squall_line wrote:generally, hubs are used for such things.

How would you connect your laptop to a USB-hub?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby phlip » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:52 am UTC

cptjeff wrote:Laptop to DAT projector, or something along those lines. The projector we have at the office has options to input data using USB A, USB B, HDMI, Serial, Component, S-Video, RCA, and Coax.

USB A and USB B are different things, though, with different uses... assuming your projector is designed sanely (which, admittedly, is not a guarantee), the USB B connector should be used to connect the projector to a computer or suchlike, while the USB A connector would be used to connect other devices to the projector (like tablet or something).

To be more specific: by design the A end is the end that provides power, and the B end is the end that receives power. 99% of the time that also means the A end is the host, and the B end is the device. The reason they never make A-A male-male cables is that this would involve you connecting a power source directly to another power source, and probably blow something up in the process.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:20 am UTC

Male USB to male USB wouldn't be half as weird as female USB to female USB. Which side would provide the power in that case?

I could imagine an impromptu data connection over male USB to male USB. The cable would need some kind of box that offers a USB modem to both sides.
It would also need to have optocouplers or something like it because else the ground loop could mess up both systems.

Unless that is the idea. Although in that case I would just design a capacitor/battery circuit to store the energy from a USB port with an voltage converter circuit to "give" it back at high voltage. Last time I played with a USB scope 240 V clearly only damaged the specific USB usb port and luckily not the complete PC. So you'd need more.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby alvinhochun » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:17 am UTC

phlip wrote:
cptjeff wrote:Laptop to DAT projector, or something along those lines. The projector we have at the office has options to input data using USB A, USB B, HDMI, Serial, Component, S-Video, RCA, and Coax.

USB A and USB B are different things, though, with different uses... assuming your projector is designed sanely (which, admittedly, is not a guarantee), the USB B connector should be used to connect the projector to a computer or suchlike, while the USB A connector would be used to connect other devices to the projector (like tablet or something).

To be more specific: by design the A end is the end that provides power, and the B end is the end that receives power. 99% of the time that also means the A end is the host, and the B end is the device. The reason they never make A-A male-male cables is that this would involve you connecting a power source directly to another power source, and probably blow something up in the process.

Could have been a male USB Type-A connector...

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HES
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby HES » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:02 am UTC

Why can't you link two computers with male-male USB? I assume there's a sensible reason.
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Flumble
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Flumble » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:36 am UTC

HES wrote:Why can't you link two computers with male-male USB? I assume there's a sensible reason.

Sure you can! :D
But, as USB is a master-slave system (as mentioned somewhere ealier in the thread) and computers can't stand being slaves, they defy communication. [edit]not entirely true, since you can install USB slave drivers for some OSes, e.g. for linux.[/edit]

In the near future you can probably hook up a USB cable to yourself, you being the slave, the PC being the master. :twisted:

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby conorjh » Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:29 am UTC

How could the RS232 be forgotten when it was once immortalized in song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDlj0jBtYmQ


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