USB is cool
And it can make you cool, too
By John “jaQ” Andrews firstname.lastname@example.org
I promise I’ll get off this kick eventually, but I do have to spend some more time extolling the awesomeness that is USB.
Aside from enabling simple connections of accessories that require data transfer, USB ports also supply up to 5 volts of power. An ever-increasing number of accessories are using that power to provide useful — and not so useful — work.
• FlyFan Mobile Personal USB Fan, $1.98 at www.outletpc.com: Your lap is now no longer burning up, but dang, that sun is beating down on you. Rather than wait for a cool breeze, make your own with a fan that plugs right into your computer. Nice.
There are literally scores of different USB fans, but again, this one came up as the cheapest on a quick Google Product Search. The flexible neck makes it pretty darn easy to position the fan exactly where you need it, assuming where you need it is within about a foot of the USB port.
For a few bucks more, www.pchub.com has a bunch of combination fans and LED lamps that plug into your USB port. Some of them also take batteries if you’re for some reason away from your computer, and one of them is shaped like a pig. No lie.
• Notebook Cooler Pad, $6.98 at www.outletpc.com: Nothing makes you feel warmer than the seeping heat from a laptop computer on your legs. You know manufacturers refer to them as “notebook” PCs rather than “laptops” because they don’t want to give you the idea that you can blithely rest them on your lap? Aside from flooding your nether regions with heat and radiation, laptop batteries have a rare but non-zero probability of exploding.
To keep your portable computer cool, this notebook cooler pad — and more expensive ones that are probably of better quality — uses fans to direct air right up at it from underneath. This especially helps if you’re playing intense games, as processors, memory and graphics cards can really heat up under those conditions. If you’re shopping around for a notebook cooler, the key feature to compare is air flow: the more cubic feet of air the thing moves per minute, the more effective it’ll be.
• USB Mini Fridge, $33 at www.brando.com: Home of every weird USB peripheral, including a roll-up USB drum kit and more than a dozen light-up USB Christmas decorations, no other site than Brando could have debuted this refrigerator, exactly large enough to hold one 12-ounce can of soda. The company claims the inside of the fridge cools down to 8.5 degrees (Celcius, I assume) in just five minutes.
The thing’s pretty neat looking, with a retro red-and-white color scheme, perfect for Coke cans, and a little silver handle. An indented circle in the floor holds the can securely. There’s even an LED inside to help you navigate the inky depths of this icebox.
Next week: USB is hot. Oh yeah.