USB is hot
You’re getting warmer
By John “jaQ” Andrews firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”.