Powering Up Overseas
A Web site maintained by a world traveler in Texas can help you quickly determine what phone line and electrical plug adapters you'll need when traveling to a specific part of the world. The site, operated on a noncommercial basis by Steve Kropla, contains both descriptive information and useful charts to quickly show you what you need and how to use it.
Kropla is employed by a petroleum industry trade association and routinely travels the globe to meet with both industry and government representatives.
"As I started traveling with a laptop," Kropla told Roadnews.com, "I encountered an increasing number of challenges when going overseas. It wasn't always as simple as having the right adapter. As I accumulated experience and references for my own use, I decided it would probably be useful stuff for other road warriors as well.
"The Usenet travel groups still get a lot of posts like 'What kind of electrical plugs do they use in Australia?' or 'Can I use my U.S. modem in Italy?' My site is designed to help people with those kinds of questions."
Web Site Profile
Kropla's site is divided into five main sections. First there's the World Wide Phone Guide, which contains descriptive information about how to go online from around the world. It includes information about phone line adapters and line testers and describes what to do in special circumstances, such as when the phone is hard-wired to the wall. There's also a chart giving you a list of adapters known to be in use in each country. There's also a list of vendors that sell the necessary adapters and other equipment.
The World Electric Guide takes a similar approach, explaining the variations in power supplies around the world and the differences between such things as transformers and converters. There's a chart that shows the voltage and type of electrical plugs in use in each country.
A section of the Web site on international dialing codes provides a fast way to look up country codes for making international phone calls. It's a good thing to print out and take with you on your next trip.
Another section, a World Television Guide, explains the differences among the three main television broadcast standards in the world and tells you which system is in use in each country. Last, Kropla's site contains a corrupt country index that lists the 10 best and the 10 worst countries in the world when it comes to the need for bribes and the like.
Kropla started collecting data for his various Web site charts in London. A phone plug guide compiled by TeleAdapt, a supplier of such equipment with offices in the U.K., the U.S., and Australia, provided the original data table for the phone plug chart. Then he acquired the National Technical Information Service's world electric guide and the British Standards Institutes survey of electrical systems and plugs. Later he obtained the AT&T International Dialing Guide.
"This information was the foundation, but unfortunately a lot of it is outdated, so there have been regular revisions based on my own observations and the dozens of reports I receive each month," Kropla says. "Recently I've taken to acknowledging and reporting these in the 'what's new' page on the site."
Contact: Steve Kropla's site is found at http://kropla.com/. He appreciates receiving reports from fellow travelers that can be used to update his Web site. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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