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ISSUE 121 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/28/2007

Computer accessories amaze

By Hannah Hayes
Staff Writer

Friday, September 28, 2007

The long list of computer accessories that you purchase has reached critical mass. No matter what your unique computer demands may be, there is now a Universal Serial Bus (USB) device to fulfill every one of your nerdiest desires.

Along with the iPhone and nanotechnology, humanity has developed a whole gaggle of USB devices that range from the "awesome" to the "are you serious?" These devices plug into those ubiquitous rectangular ports on the side of your computer that you hook up your digital cameras and flash drives, and are typically marketed on websites like The USB options available online include hand warmers, beverage coolers and some seriously flashy flash drives.

To help you choose from the variety of USB devices currently on the market, we have compiled a short list of the some best and worst USB devices.

The 4 Best USB devices:

1. The USB Doorbell: If you have the cash and creativity, you'll want to order pizza every night. This doorbell allows users to play sound effects, music and audio clips, phrases or whatever else you can record on a computer. Connected to a computer via a USB cable, it plays 30 second WAV or MP3 clips as soon as the guest or victim presses the button.

2. USB Drink Warmer and Chiller: You'll never have a problem heating or chilling your beverages again if you purchase this USB accessory. Once plugged in, you can adjust the USB Drink Warmer and Chiller to take maximum advantage of a range of temperatures. The device is capable of heating drinks up to 120 degrees fahrenheit or, if you'd rather have an iced tea, you can dial down the device and chill drinks to a refreshingly cool 47 degrees.

3. The USB Massager: Don't you hate it when that crick in your neck from slacklining is nagging you during class? Just whip out this massager, which is as large as the palm of your hand, and instant ache relief is on its way.

4. The Ion USB Turntable: Any vinylfan knows that CDs and MP3s just don't sound the same. If you're missing that warm vinyl sound, connect the turntable to your computer via your USB port and sit back while Audacity software included with the turntable rips music directly from the USB device to your computer and converts it directly to an .MP3 or .WAV format.

The 4 Worst USB devices:

1. The USB Humping Dog: If you couldn't get enough of your Beagle's reproductive urges at home, this USB gadget is exactly what you're looking for. In all seriousness, though, the Humping Dog is relentlessly tacky and pretty pointless. If you're really sold on the idea, however, it's available in two different breeds. 2. The USB Bouncer: This Tommy Lee Jones-esque action figure is guaranteed to piss off your roommate. The motion-activated bouncer is programmed with six cliché phrases like, "You're cruisin' for a bruisin'" and "You're name's not down. You're not comin' in."

3. The USB Laser-Guided Missile Launcher: Just when you got North Korea off your mind, somebody went and created this USB-powered, laser-guided missile launcher. The "missiles" are actually foam darts, and the launcher can pivot 180 degrees horizontally and 45 degrees vertically to track your opponents. It sounds cool at first, but if it's placed in the wrong hands it becomes a WMA: Weapon of Mass Annoyance.

4. The USB Dance Mat: When you play Dance Dance Revolution with a finger puppet, it's safe to say you've hopped aboard the crazy train.

Purchasing a few of these USB devices for your PC or Mac is the computer equivalent of pimpin' your ride, and the accessories are a part of the growing geek subculture that celebrates all things electronic.

So whether you're a sucker for turntable music or a tiny, finger-powered version of DDR, you better act fast, because these USB devices are selling like hot cakes.

It's not as hard as you think to find these crazy USB devices. The websites devoted to techies or gadgetry sell them at fairly reasonable prices. For example, both the USB doorbell and turntable run for about $99. If that's out of your price range you can get a USB electric shaver for $20 or the drink warmer/chiller around $25. One can only dream of what the USB future has in store. USB George Foreman Grill anyone?

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