Stupid Tip of the Day: When Other People Need Power From Your Device

Note: Stupid Tip of the Day is a not-so-new regular feature of The Gate which will not be featured regularly — if at all — after today…or maybe not. Does this disclaimer need a disclaimer?!? Okay…no animals were harmed in the creation of this disclaimer.

“E xcuse me, sir,” said a man who approached me here at Abu Dhabi International Airport while I await my flight to Johannesburg. “May I plug my device into the USB port on your laptop computer?”

As much as I wanted to assist him, I denied his request. It is not because I am a mean person; but I have no idea what may be on his portable electronic device which could potentially cause mayhem on my laptop computer — such as a computer virus, for example.

Fortunately, I came up with an idea after he walked away disappointed. Because I will be at this airport for several hours and can plug in my laptop computer later to have it fully charged before the flight, I whipped out my portable plug which has a USB port in it, which is shown in the photograph at the top of this article; unplugged my computer as I have only one adapter for an electrical outlet in the Middle East; and plugged the portable plug with the USB port into the adapter and into the electrical outlet itself.

I then went to the gentleman and proposed my solution, to which he seemed grateful. He plugged in the USB cable from his portable electronic device into my portable plug and charged it. When his flight to Doha was ready for passengers to board, he thanked me and unplugged his device. I was glad to be of assistance after all.

Actually, there are two stupid tips of the day here which should be learned from this scenario:

  1. Do not allow anyone to plug an electronic device into your computer or device for any reason and by any means unless you are certain that it is safe to do so — even when other people need power from your device — in order to protect your device and the information and software which reside on it.
  2. If you are going to use portable electronic devices when you travel, ensure that you have the ability to plug in the device so that it can stay powered; as well as carry a set of adapters if you are traveling to other countries.


Two stupid tips of the day for the price of one: how can you beat that deal?

Please do not answer that question…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

5 thoughts on “Stupid Tip of the Day: When Other People Need Power From Your Device”

  1. DaninMCI says:

    Good tip. Many TV’s also have USB power ports so that can work in a pinch. I also carry a small backup USB battery device and sometimes a small powerstrip that works well also to share outlets.

  2. Graydon says:

    Solid plan not a stupid tip. I never let anyone plug a device into my laptop. I do carry a couple Mophie battery packs with some short USB cables to charge my phone an iPad as I travel. I will happily let someone plug into one of these for a quick charge (and even show them that if you put the device in airplane mode it charges faster).

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Actually, I call the series “stupid tip of the day” because it is usually something about which a person would think other people already knew; and if they already do know it — well, then I already prepared them with the headline!

      Hmm…that is pretty stupid of me, isn’t it?…

  3. Atif says:

    Another good tip… Take ONE adapter and also a power strip! They make lots of compact travel power strips…. Many with USB ports built in.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is an excellent tip, Atif! Thank you for sharing it.

      Then again, if you are staying at a ratty hotel where the electrical wiring is iffy…

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