June 7, 2007


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USB is hot
You’re getting warmer
By John “jaQ” Andrews  jandrews@hippopress.com

Last week, we delved together into the cool world of USB. This week, let’s raise the temperature and look at the Universal Serial Bus’s hot side.

Just as the electricity provided in USB ports can power your mice, keyboards and other accessories, it can be converted into heat. And there is no shortage of products taking advantage of this property.

• USB Powered Coffee Warmer, $2.99 at www.geeks.com: It’s happened to all of us. You make yourself a nice steaming cup of tea, sit down for a relaxing shoot-‘em-up game at your computer, and an hour later, after your last enemy has been vanquished, you remember your beverage. By now, of course, it is tepid and foul. If only you’d had some way of keeping it warm enough to drink between matches!

That’s what the USB warmer is for. It’s not designed for making tea or coffee in the first place, but one you have your drink, this thing keeps it between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. No more lukewarm joe! Huzzah!

On eBay, you can find warmers for just a couple bucks that double as USB hubs, allowing you to connect even more USB devices. If you’re willing to buy in quantities of 100 or more, check out www.shopfromchina.com. Their cheapest USB coffee warmer is only $2 per unit, also charges Nokia phones and has a plastic bezel shaped like a chicken. You can’t make this stuff up.

• Warmmi USB Heating Warm Slipper, $19.99 a pair at www.vavolo.com: Fuzzy purple plush, individual cables and power switches and a design that covers your ankles are all good reasons to invest in these heated slippers. Not only will they help you avoid frostbite when computing outdoors in winter, they’ll keep you from tucking your feet under your bum and developing knee problems later in life.

I mention the ankle-covering design because these are not by any means the only USB slippers out there. Most other models have only a single heating element, though, so your feet can’t separate, and they leave a critical gap between the bottom of your flannel pants and their warm embrace. If you’re willing to go with a lesser design to save on shipping charges, check out the next couple entries and combine your orders.

• USB Heating Gloves, $22 a pair at www.brando.com: Apparently girls get cold hands while typing more than their male counterparts do, because there are three bright color schemes targeted right at the fairer sex while boys get drab gray. Either way, each glove connects to its own USB port and has a mitten cover that folds back to reveal a fingerless design. They’re made of wool and have both high and low settings.

• USB Eye Warmer, $15 at www.brando.com: Once your feet and hands are toasty, your eyes are really the only place left to go. Of course, this means you’ll have to stop looking at your computer screen, but really, whose eyes get cold? This is better for relieving headaches caused by staring at the monitor too long anyway. And as the USB Eye Warmer’s product description says, it can “help you to get rid of tired.”.

5/31/2007 USB is cool

5/24/2007 Gadgets for nothing
5/17/2007 Make your gadgets better
5/10/2007 You may now unplug
5/3/2007 Mobile is nothing
4/26/2007 Expand your wireless network
4/19/2007 Expand your wireless network
4/12/2007 Get a newer brain
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3/29/2007 Security can be free
3/22/2007 Paper that's not paper
3/8/2007 Use any file
3/1/2007 Audiobooks for free
2/22/2007 What's for sale today?
2/15/2007 Prints in your pocket
2/8/2007 Watch this
2/1/2007 How open is your source
1/25/2007 iPhone it now
1/18/2007 Simplify, simplify
1/11/2007 Vista time!
1/4/2007 Google killers?
12/28/2006 Tech that didn't happen
12/21/2006 Do not want
12/14/2006 Meet the new web
12/07/2006 Extreme price shopping
11/30/2006 They want what?
11/23/2006 Zat zany Zune
11/16/2006 Shop smart
11/9/2006 Your data's new home
11/2/2006 Hotkey heaven
10/26/2006 Computer to go
10/19/2006 Tech news roundup
10/12/2006 A different drummer
10/05/2006 Who needs TiVo?
09/28/2006 Disk drives without disks
09/21/2006 Movies, just click your mouse!
09/14/2006 Laptops for less
09/07/2006 GPS everywhere
08/31/2006 The printer dilemma
08/24/2006 A series of tubes
08/17/2006 More music, more places
08/10/2006 How big is your drive?
08/03/2006 It's a WiFi world
07/27/2006 Fancy a spot of memory?
07/20/2006 Under the sea
07/06/2006 eBaysic training
06/29/2006 You paid money for that?
06/22/2006 Processing ... processing ...
06/15/2006 C:\Run for the border
06/01/2006 The keyboard is mightier
05/25/2006 Geek phone home
05/18/2006 Super highway information
05/11/2006 How to host a site
05/04/2006 If they mated
04/27/2006 Apples to apples
04/20/2006 Flash uber-drives
04/13/2006 Web site, by you
04/06/2006 Ayyy, jaQ's right!
03/30/2006 Choose wirelessly
03/23/2006 Tax programs cometh
03/16/2006 And the Spammie goes to...
03/09/2006 Take in the Vista
03/02/2006 Cheap moviemaking
02/23/2006 Go directly to iJail
02/16/2006 Will you stamp your e-mail?
02/09/2006 War of the machines
02/02/2006 Faster than a speeding packet

01/26/2006 Free software made simple
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01/12/2006 Radio you
01/05/2006 Making Movies
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