Are Standards really Standard?
I believe there are two types of standards. There are normal standards, and then there are ubiquitous standards. Ubiquitous standards are like USB, HDMI, ect. are fine because most computers and televisions, ect. all have the same standards, which allow for easier portability and and sharing. USB does have some competitors, like FireWire, which I will talk about later in the article, but I have not seen a computer without at least one USB port. USB is probably the most ubiquitous standard out there, and that has some good and bad qualities that go with that title. The best one is knowing that if you have a USB stick with important data on it, you know you will be able to access the data where in the world you are. That’s the ubiquity factor. There is a downside, however. The lack of upgrade. Have you seen how long it’s taken for USB to go from 2.0 to 3.0? It’s unacceptable. It’s what happens when you have a monopoly, which is exactly what has happened. When you take a step down from the ubiquitous standards, you have regular standards. Regular standards are standards, certified and all, but are not so common that it might actually pose a problem for you if you need to use it and you can’t. FireWire, the connection standard made and pushed by Apple, is a good example of this, however I have some more examples of this later on. FireWire was made by Apple and was heavily pushed by Apple until it became the de facto connection port for many high-end video cameras and still cameras. However, even though this is technically a standard, not every computer has a FireWire port. In fact, even Apple’s own last generation Macbook didn’t have a FireWire port. FireWire has many advantages over USB, including faster transfer speeds and the ability for two peripherals to talk to each other without a computer moderating. However it did not take off like USB did and is, in my opinion, not preferable to USB, no matter how much better it may be. Why? Because USB can be used anywhere, and FireWire cannot. It’s a standard, but it doesn’t come standard, and that’s a problem. Another standard is the mini-display port that have been on Macs and certain Dells for a while. I have a unibody Macbook Pro and I have a mini-display port and it’s annoying having to buy an extra adapter to use a VGA or DVI port, and it costs money. I don’t mind necessarily, but with the Dells they at least have a VGA or HDMI port to go along with the mini-display port so you aren’t left empty handed. Granted, standards isn’t the biggest concern with the tech world at the moment, and I do not foresee it becoming that anytime soon, however it does pose a problem for certain people. I wouldn’t consider not buying a product because of a small standard, or lack of a standard, but it does pose an important question? Will there ever be a time where everyone can agree on a single standard for anything? Possibly. The EU has been trying to get a single phone charger with the micro-USB, and I think that would be a big step forward in truly standardizing the tech that we use everyday.