DongleGate

DongleGate

When a dongle, isn't.

A lot has been said over Apple’s recent move away from “legacy” ports. Laptops are USB-C, the headphone jack is gone from the iPhone, and everyone’s talking about dongles.

Here’s the thing - making a USB-A thingy plug into a USB-C thingy doesn’t require a dongle. It requires an adapter.

Same goes for headphones plugging into Lightning ports. Or HDMI into USB-C. Or Thunderbolt to USB, or any of the stuff you would do with a modern computer.

Adapters make one kind of cable fit into a different kind of hole, and re-jigger the electrical mojo to make it work.

Dongles give computers extra functionality. If you plug a USB doohickey in that makes your computer have WiFi or Bluetooth, that’s a dongle. Back in the day, I had an encryption dongle that plugged into the parallel port of my PC so I could launch AutoCAD. That security key in there made it work (it also required me to unplug my printer to launch the program, but that’s a whole other thing.)

We can bitch about adapters all we want, but let’s not complain about the poor abused dongle.