With new technology comes the need to adapt

With new technology comes the need to adaptSanta delivered a lot of tech toys, devices and computers this holiday season and now you may be wondering how to connect everything so they can work together.

This can be especially difficult when the new devices do not connect directly to your older devices. The simple solution is to adapt. If you are an adapter, that is, one who likes making things work together, then you need some adaptors or those physical “thingies” that fit one piece of hardware to another.

For example, you have a VGA monitor input, but your computer only has an HDMI output. You need an adaptor, or a new monitor with HDMI built in.

Some adaptors simply plug into a cable or into the back of your device so your cable fits correctly and everything works as you expected. We call them “passive adaptors,” as in no setup or special requirements. Passive adaptors are usually inexpensive – $20 or less.

However, some devices are not as simple and require a special “chip” so they can convert one type of signal to another and allow the physical connection to work. We call these devices “active adaptors.” They will usually be at a premium price, above $20 but below $100.

Avoid the cheap ones

My advice is to avoid cheap ones and to read reviews or get some personal recommendations before you buy. The wrong active adaptor can harm your devices.

If you need a more expensive adaptor, it may be a better to purchase the correct component or device with the compatible part already in it. If the part you are trying to connect to is old (dog years in electronics), then it may be time to purchase the compatible device. Then you avoid the issue and put your money to better use.

If you like fiddling with things, you are an adapter. But if you don’t like messing around, take the easy way and buy a new one.

If you have ever purchased a new computer, you are likely aware of the issues with older printers and monitors. I believe the engineers intentionally make things difficult by changing connectors and purposes. Oh well, that’s progress, and I really like progress.
Happy new year to all, and don’t forget to adapt.

William Claney is an independent tech writer and former owner of Computers USA in the Clayton Station. Email questions or comments to willclaney@gmail.com.