1406: "Universal Converter Box"

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Istaro
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1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Istaro » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:31 am UTC

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?

steaxauce
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby steaxauce » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:37 am UTC

So what, it still doesn't work in Europe?

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rhomboidal
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby rhomboidal » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:43 am UTC

And I'll bet Apple makes you buy one of these just to charge your iPhone.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Envelope Generator » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:45 am UTC

The absence of a cigarette lighter plug is a big oil conspiracy to prevent people from using the diesel end to convert their car to electric! I read about it on the internet!

Also I misread magsafe as massage.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:54 am UTC

"a 50-lb sack of gender changers"
That's the polite name for them.
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gtschemer
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby gtschemer » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:01 am UTC

Am I blind, or is it also missing two connectors still commonly used today -- 1/4 inch audio, and DB9 serial? :P

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ManaUser
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby ManaUser » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:10 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:"a 50-lb sack of gender changers"
That's the polite name for them.

Are you implying there might be an alternate, rude way to describe this?

Image

DSS94
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby DSS94 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:24 am UTC

Needs XLR.

peterburk
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby peterburk » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:51 am UTC

I lived in Shenzhen last year, where the legendary Huaqiangbei electronics market is located (aka eBay electronics store front). I actually collected all the adaptors I could imagine, which are most of the ones listed above.
The car cigarette lighter is super-useful to connect to FireWire, because they're both 12V. I've now got an external mouse and keyboard plugged into the 2 USB ports on my laptop, and my phone is charging through a USB car charger (12V to 5V) connected to my FireWire port with a homemade adaptor.

I made a website with photos of all this nerdiness.
http://peter-pockets.rhcloud.com

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latigid on
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby latigid on » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:06 am UTC

1/8" =/= 3.5 mm, do the math!

Otherwise I approve.

eidako
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby eidako » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:08 am UTC

Thanks to this strip I ran into this blurb while looking up connectors on Wikipedia:
KIK-30, a more recent fill device, is trademarked as the "Really Simple Key Loader" (RASKL) with "single button key-squirt." It supports a wide variety of devices and keys.

Single button key-squirt is my new favorite technical term. It sounds so naughty.

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alvinhochun
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby alvinhochun » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:17 am UTC

If the "USB (Weird Other End)" is supposed to mean USB Type-B connector, I am going to pretend that I haven't seen this comic strip at all.

Also missed USB 3.0 Type-B standard and micro connectors. Technically, the USB 3.0 Type-A male connector is backward-compatible to USB 2.0 so I will assume the unmarked USB connector to be USB 3.0.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby asdf28 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:45 am UTC

I had thought that some of the possible combinations were absurd, because of the rough categories
  • video-primary
  • audio-primary
  • other-primary (usb, ethernet)
  • power-primary (120 vac, magsafe, diesel)
not all, can be easily interchanged with each other.
But then, realized that by making a few simplifying assumptions, it would be possible to convert from video data
to diesel, without even using shannon's name or E=mc^2.

Presume that the video would have been played, on a 7-inch diagonal screen. I couldn't find the specs of a typical
screen quickly, but going by the Kindle Fire HDX's advertised battery life and reported capacity (10 hour runtime,
3.8 volts, 4550 mAh battery), we can estimate that a 7-inch diagonal screen consumes about 1.7 watts (seems low ? )
and would consume 6300 joules / hour.

Diesel fuel is reported to have an energy equivalent of 140 megajoules / gallon.

So, 140 megajoules / 6300 joules / hour -> 22,000 hours of video == 1 gallon of diesel.
But, since efficiency can't be 100 percent; it will probably be much less efficient than that. Say 10 percent efficient.
So, 140 megajoules / 6300 joules / hour * 10 percent efficiency -> 220,000 hours of video == 1 gallon of diesel.

Since 1 year = 8760 hours, this means that if we connected a single video input stream, it would take about 25 years
of waiting, for the first gallon of diesel to finish being pumped.

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keithl
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby keithl » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:46 am UTC

I built something like this in 1980 - all audio connections. Male and female of RCA, 1/8 phone, 1/4 phone, studio microphone, 0.1 inch harmonica square pin, 0.156 inch molex, and others I don't remember. Herbie Hancock was recording his album "Monster" at United Western Studio in LA. This ultrakludge moved various signals around while we soldered permanent patch cords, connecting all sorts of music synthesizers and oddball lashup electronics boxes. I am credited on that album as "The Universal Patch Cord".

The next year, we wangled press passes to watch the first space shuttle launch and landing. We were with CBS. The record label, not the TV network, but we didn't tell NASA that.

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thyristor
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby thyristor » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:47 am UTC

Nooooo! Why is the fiber the only cable without a termination?
It could be a SC/APC or even.. an E2000! Goddammit, it was my time to shine here.

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PayasYouDraw
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby PayasYouDraw » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:49 am UTC

No 240V AC connector?
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sfmans
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby sfmans » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:14 am UTC

keithl wrote:I built something like this in 1980 - all audio connections. Male and female of RCA, 1/8 phone, 1/4 phone, studio microphone, 0.1 inch harmonica square pin, 0.156 inch molex, and others I don't remember. Herbie Hancock was recording his album "Monster" at United Western Studio in LA. This ultrakludge moved various signals around while we soldered permanent patch cords, connecting all sorts of music synthesizers and oddball lashup electronics boxes. I am credited on that album as "The Universal Patch Cord".


Genuine question - what the heck's a 0.1 inch harmonica square pin (Google just shows loads of jewelry), and is the fact that you needed one in a music studio a co-incidence or central to the story?

The folks who sorted out the connectivity between various synths, sequencers, and other electronic sound devices before MIDI came along deserve a special section in the Music Hall Of Fame ...

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pduthie
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby pduthie » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:26 am UTC

asdf28 wrote:Since 1 year = 8760 hours, this means that if we connected a single video input stream, it would take about 25 years
of waiting, for the first gallon of diesel to finish being pumped.


More interestingly, I assume that conversely we could break YouTube by uploading at least 200 years of static feed simply by filling up my car and having the right adapter?
~~~
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Locoluis » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:28 am UTC

And to think that, back in the old days, each cell phone model came with its own proprietary battery charger.

Nowadays, there are two kinds: the USB ones, and the obsolete ones I would never consider buying.
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Neil_Boekend
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:52 am UTC

Locoluis wrote:And to think that, back in the old days, each cell phone model came with its own proprietary battery charger.

Nowadays, there are two kinds: the USB ones, and the obsolete ones I would never consider buying.

All hail the EU for that. They did it the nice way. They told the phone manufacturers "get together on one common standard or we are going for one that none of you like". Lo and behold: the phone manufacturers could work together.
However, there are cheaters. iPhones need a converter cable (which wasn't explicitly forbidden) and Nokia's have (had?) a proprietary cable with some additional, required, pins. If the applicable EU commission really cared they could forbid sales in the EU. Demand a microUSB connector on the phone itself.
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Spiny Norman
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:14 am UTC

IBM did it first: Universal Business Adapter

Also, where is the serial cable? Or DIN (you need 2 in case you want to connect your old turntable to your big old keyboard)?

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby mmcmonster » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:59 am UTC

He forgot Mini HDMI. I wish I could forget it.

Fobs
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Fobs » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:21 am UTC

Gotta say. Macro USB made me laugh.

Essah
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Essah » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:21 am UTC

what if you need to convert between 2 types that are on the same side of the converter box?
buy another variant? or buy 2 converter boxes and an adapter to go between?

EB01
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby EB01 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:26 am UTC

I need to convert Nintendo AV cable to BNC to a project that I'm working on; does the company also sell a universal model that handles these two standards?

Graham Finch
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Graham Finch » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:45 am UTC

Make a Kickstarter for it.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby speising » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:52 am UTC

i'm disappointed that all kinds of fuel are on one spout. a converter diesel - 93 octane would be useful.

taemyr
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby taemyr » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:00 am UTC

Fobs wrote:Gotta say. Macro USB made me laugh.


Yes, we are all familiar with Micro USB. But Macro USB is impossible and has never been observed.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:03 am UTC

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.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby sotanaht » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:22 am UTC

taemyr wrote:
Fobs wrote:Gotta say. Macro USB made me laugh.


Yes, we are all familiar with Micro USB. But Macro USB is impossible and has never been observed.


Just want to point out that he "forgot" Micro/Mini B. Apparently he doesn't know the "weird other end" Is USB B (with the standard flat end being the A) either.

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3rdtry
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby 3rdtry » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:34 am UTC

So I saw this and immediately started thinking about the feasibility of this thing...

VGA, DVI, HDMI, Component, RCA, 1/8" audio, 1/8" video (assuming it existed) and S-Video can all be easily converted into a single video+audio stream (let's assume only one is connected at the same time). SCART and F Connector work as audio + video outputs. The necessary electronics would probably fit in a small-ish box.

Airline pneumatic and string are also pretty easy, you'd just need to attach them to a mic and a speaker, or attach them together if that's the only "conversion" you need.

The general purpose ports are more complicated, and would have to be evaluated on a protocol-by-protocol basis. If there's a HID (Human Interface Device, aka a keyboard or mouse) connected you could just replicate it on the various USB ports and maybe the bluetooth dongle. "Mass storage" devices (including floppy and IDE disks) could also be replicated over USB, and maybe NAS over ethernet. Network protocols (ethernet, ethernet over HDMI, token ring) could also be bridged (I think). This would also fit in a small box, although I don't know how powerful of a processor and memory you'd need to handle every case.

For the electrical connectors (120v AC and Magsafe) just use a standard power supply.

The fuel output would be considerably harder than the rest. While synthetic fuel exists, you still need input products, and I don't see any holes on the left for coal, natural gas, biomass or hydrogen. The only way you could create fuel seemingly out of nowhere is by absorbing and converting the air around the converter box, or by converting energy (from the 120v input) into matter, both of which are far beneath the capabilities of our technology.

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby TheEngineer » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:40 am UTC

If it had an ODB2 automotive diagnostic connector, presumably you could download the 93 octane fuel from your car and convert it to diesel at the same time. I smell profit!

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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:00 pm UTC

3rdtry wrote:The fuel output would be considerably harder than the rest. While synthetic fuel exists, you still need input products, and I don't see any holes on the left for coal, natural gas, biomass or hydrogen. The only way you could create fuel seemingly out of nowhere is by absorbing and converting the air around the converter box, or by converting energy (from the 120v input) into matter, both of which are far beneath the capabilities of our technology.

There is an air intake at the back. CO2 and H2O + a whole lot of energy + a dash of magic => fuel.
To improve intake efficiency it could have a particle accelerator to create the energy it needs instead of dumping that much N2 and O2. You wouldn't like the energetic efficiency though.
TheEngineer wrote:If it had an ODB2 automotive diagnostic connector, presumably you could download the 93 octane fuel from your car and convert it to diesel at the same time. I smell profit!

That would have been useful last week. I was absent minded and tanked benzine in a diesel car.
Last edited by Neil_Boekend on Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:02 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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orthogon
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby orthogon » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:03 pm UTC

keithl wrote:I built something like this in 1980 - all audio connections. Male and female of RCA, 1/8 phone, 1/4 phone, studio microphone, 0.1 inch harmonica square pin, 0.156 inch molex, and others I don't remember. Herbie Hancock was recording his album "Monster" at United Western Studio in LA. This ultrakludge moved various signals around while we soldered permanent patch cords, connecting all sorts of music synthesizers and oddball lashup electronics boxes. I am credited on that album as "The Universal Patch Cord".

Man, that's cool. Herbie Hancock!

I don't know if you feel the same, but given that music and electronics are two of my loves in life, audio hardware has always had a special significance to me. I can't shake the idea that a cable or mixing desk somehow retains a trace of the music that has gone through it. The mixer that my old college band used to gig with may be gathering dust on top of my wardrobe, but there was a time when those very transistors were responding to our instruments and voices; surely the ghostly echoes of that music are still in there somewhere... Do you know what happened to your ultrakludge cable? That its electrons have borne the genius of Herbie would confer on it a status equivalent to that of a religious relic. (Tangential question for the physicists: how many of the original electrons does it still contain?)

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).
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby ghlargh » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:04 pm UTC

PayasYouDraw wrote:No 240V AC connector?


Yes, all ~20 different 220-240V connectors please! Or at least a europlug...

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cellocgw
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:07 pm UTC

Hmmm.... https://xkcd.com/927/

Also, I could swear I saw a cartoon very much like this one somewhere, but can't find it now :-(
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Lazurite » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:11 pm UTC

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

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cellocgw
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:25 pm UTC

sotanaht wrote:
taemyr wrote:
Fobs wrote:Gotta say. Macro USB made me laugh.


Yes, we are all familiar with Micro USB. But Macro USB is impossible and has never been observed.


Just want to point out that he "forgot" Micro/Mini B. Apparently he doesn't know the "weird other end" Is USB B (with the standard flat end being the A) either.


You need to buy the Premium version to get those (plus mini HDMI and ADB connectors and a few MIL-38999 variants)
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby Envelope Generator » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:31 pm UTC

Does the premium version convert between 1/4" and 3/8" drive ratchets? I'd like to get more use of my torque wrench.
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Re: 1406: "Universal Converter Box"

Postby PayasYouDraw » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:31 pm UTC

Needs a Sinclair joystick connector too.
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