Not all USB-powered devices are useless, so our editors have compiled a list of “Useful USB Accessories” — or as we’d like to think — including a web server, beverage chiller, and more. Which ones are your favorites?
USB NES Controllers
RetroZone is now selling pre-modified NES controllers, including the PowerGlove, PowerPad, FourScore, Advantage, and Max. Best of all, no drivers are required to install or update — perfect for emulators. They’re compatible with all WinXP, Win2K, MacOS9, and MacOSX systems. Prices range from $28 – $70.
While they might not be the best choice for playing Half-Life 2 they’re perfect for emulated versions of 1942 or Gauntlet.
USB Wireless Transmitter with Lock
One quick way to protect your computer is with Brando’s “USB Wireless Lock”, it boasts a transmitter that locks up Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP as someone nears. If an intruder decides to smash the receiver into tiny bits and pieces, a password is still needed to unlock the computer. The included software lets you set the timer control for up to 8 hours of monitoring. It’s available here for $27.00.
ION’s iTTUSB turntable lets you convert old vinyls directly to MP3 or CD with the bundled recording software. There’s also a line level output for connecting to your home theater system with CD or AUX inputs. It’s compatible with all Windows and Mac systems that support USB 1.1. [Source]
USB Web Server
The “WebServUSB” is a fully functional web server crammed into a small USB thumb drive. This plug-and-play device features HTTP/FTP services and POP3/SMTP mail services. Plus, it runs all your favorite web programming tools like CGI, PHP, MySQL, and Flash straight from the drive. [Source]
Kensington USB Calculator
This multi-function device from Kensington is not only a USB calculator but also a full-sized numeric keypad for your notebook as well. Paste calculator results to your computer with the handy “send” button. For portability, there’s no contest; this small, lightweight device features seperate keypad/laptop functions and a retractable USB cable, making it one highly portable number cruncher.[Source]
JamMate UG-1 USB Guitar
Simply plug this guitar in to a USB port and your ready to jam. The JamMate UG-1 USB Guitar even has its own pro sound card and class-D ampliefier which can be purchased seperatley. It features chrome hardware, diecast tuners, and a Rosewood bolt-on 25 1/2″ maple neck. [Source]
USB Beverage Chiller
Introducing the “Beverage Chiller” by Cool It Systems. Now you don’t even have to leave your computer to get a nice cold beverage. Just plug this in to any USB port and it will chill your drink to 45-degrees F.
“Just seconds after plugging the chiller into your computer’s USB port (no external outlet needed), the coldplate chills to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the perfect temperature for keeping your beverage chilled.”
USB Pencil Sharpener
Ideal for road warriors, the iSharpener also doubles as a neon light to liven up your workplace. [Source]
USB Sewing Machine
Yes, this USB sewing machine actually works, it even comes preloaded with 78 Disney prints to get you started. [Source]
USB-Powered LED Lamp
This “USB Parrot 6 LED Desk Lamp + Clock” is the latest gadget from Brando. Boasting 6 bright LEDs, a 360-degree rotatable clock display, and a parrot-shaped design. It measures 45.3 x 56.3 x 37.3cm and weighs 158g — priced at $10.
Antec’s USB Powered FanPal
If nothing else, the FanPal is commendable for lighting up your desk with colorful red, green, and blue LEDs. Better yet, it’s a USB-powered fan with 35.1 CFM airflow, an adjustable stand, and a 31.2 dBA noise rating.
Amuse yourself with a sparkling light show while savoring a refreshingly cool breeze. FanPal circulates welcome cooling air around your desk, and delivers a vibrant mix of colored light.