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PERIPHERALS

Weird and Wonderful USB
By: Dan Wellman
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    2006-05-03

    Table of Contents:
  • Weird and Wonderful USB
  • USB Flash Drives
  • Light up Your Life with USB Devices
  • Useful(?) USB Devices

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    Weird and Wonderful USB


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    USB technology has a lot going for it, especially its plug-and-playability. This ease of use has apparently encouraged the creation of some pretty wild devices. Join us today as we take a look at the weird, wacky, and wonderful world of USB devices.

    The Weirder Side of USB

    USB technology broke into the computer peripheral industry approximately 10 yeas ago with a vision of replacing all legacy computer ports and becoming the number one connection standard.  While Apple embraced the USB standard, removing all other ports in favor of USB (and firewire), traditional desktop PCs didn't and to this day still include at the very least legacy mouse and keyboard ports.

    While USB didn't realize its dream of completely replacing all other ports, it did at least go on to become the most popular peripheral connection interface, and over the years has adapted and evolved into the five distinct standards that exist today: USB 1 (USB 1.1) the original specification; USB 2.0, a newer and much faster specification; USB OTG (on the go) which makes use of a smaller USB connection for compact mobile devices such as digital cameras; USB 2.0 OTG which is simply the smaller connection with the faster speed; and wireless USB, a red-hot USB specification just released last year (2005) that aims to keep the USB standard alive against other wireless standards such as Bluetooth.

    One thing that makes USB so great is its plug-and-playability. You can connect and disconnect devices while your computer is on and the devices and computer will operate as normal.  Most legacy ports do not support this functionality.  Another thing that marked it out as special was the fact that the single cable carries both data and electrical charge, allowing many devices to draw power from the computer, and it is this and the consumer drive for a combination of innovation and creativity that has led to the plethora of weird and wonderful desktop accessories that are available today. But is usefulness being overtaken by weirdness?  I intend to take you on a journey through the weird and wonderful world of some of the wackier USB devices around today. Does it mean something that most of these products originate from Japan?

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