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120 v. 240... PAL v. NTSV... Ugghh

I’ve spent the past week trying to find a power adaptor that will work for Alex’s XBox360 here in Australia – and it’s absolutely killing me.  It has caused me to create a guiding principle for international moves which would read something like this… “If it runs on electricity, leave it home, no exceptions.”  When we were moving to Australia I thought we’d be okay with any electronics that had an outboard power supply that converted power from the wall outlet into usable (DC) power for the device.  Boy was I wrong.  This is often true for laptop computers and other things that charge (cameras, cell phones, etc.) but for video game systems that is definitely not the case.  
First we bought a very expensive step down transformer that should have allowed both the Wii and the XBox to work, it didn’t.  Then I found a tiny little store in a back room at the top of three flights of stairs in chinatown (no joke it was as clandestine and dramatic as it sounds).  They had Wii power supplies, but didn’t have any for the XBox.  With that, the Wii was working, but the XBox was still not in action.  This afternoon I went back to my friends in Chinatown (oh, by the way, the store isn’t marked in anyway, unless the Chinese writing on the wall says something like “Bootleg Electronics, Really Expensive!”).  They sold me an XBox power supply, it’s not exactly the one I need, but I’m willing to give it a try to protect sanity in the house.
I also found out around the time of our move, that movies have a different code here… PAL vs. NTSC back in the states.  Uggh, here I go again, running afoul of international standards.  I’m tempted to give up and read a book.
It all reminds me that things are a little bit different everywhere you go around the world, but that’s okay, it is the little differences that make places wonderful and unique.  People are different too, but they always surprise and humble with their generosity and willingness to help.  Australian’s may use different money and have more power coming out of their outlets, but they are genuine, wonderfully funny and helpful (except the people at the Sydney RTA, but that’s another story).    
Now, back to international standards.  Alex had a question the other day – and I might add – a really good idea too.  We were watching the World Cup championship match and Alex says with a smile, “Dad?”
“What Alex?”
“If the US were ever to win the world cup, would the rest of the world have to call it Soccer?” 
I laughed of course.  But it made me think.  It’s not such a bad idea.  If the world would call it soccer after a US victory, I bet Americans would get behind the idea and field a championship team, the US is after all a high-performance culture.  What could be next?  We could stage an international electrical engineering competition and the winner could decide 120 v. 240.  Not a bad idea at all.   

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