The confusing world of USB

For decades, my perception of USB was that of a technology both simple and reliable. You plug it and it works. The two first iterations freed PCs from a badly fragmented connector world made of RJ-45 (Ethernet), DA-15 (Joystick), DE-9 (Serial), DIN (PS/2), and DB-25 (Parallel).

When USB-3.0 came out, USB-IF had the good idea to color code its ports. All you had to do was to “check for blue” in the chain to get your 5 Gbit/s. Even better, around the same time were introduced type-C connectors. Not only the world was a faster place, now we could plug things with one try instead of three.

Up to that point in time, it was a good tech stack. Yet in 2013 things started to become confusing.

USB and ThunderBolt have become incredibly complex, and it feels like a lot of this could’ve been avoided with a more sensible naming scheme and clearer, stricter specifications and labeling for cables.

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