Converting records to mp3's? Many uses of USB ports...
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Ask any laptop owner, and they'll tell you their notebook computer has done double duty as at least one of the following: a gaming console, a DVD player, a phone (thanks, Skype!), a photo album, a calculator, and a stereo system. As computers become better multitaskers, add-on gadgets have also grown increasingly sophisticated, as technology allows designers to breathe life into their most innovative (or bizarre) ideas. Through the magic of USB-connective devices, your computer can become a lamp, a fan, a fragrance burner -- even a cooking surface. (Yes, there are USB hot plates out there -- but in my experience, the farther food and drinks stay away from your computer, the better.) Get plugged in with these devices that straddle the fine line between novelty and necessity.
Verbatim's Clip-it USB drive has scooped up awards for its simple-yet-brilliant design. If you're delivering a hard copy of that presentation or school assignment and want to include a digital copy, just pop the digital version onto the Clip-it and stick it onto the corner of your report. The 4GB drives come in a variety of fun colours, so your work will remain a bright beacon in a sea of white paper. Find it at Amazon.ca for $24.99, or grab three for $36.18.
Crosley's Revolution turntable gives audiophiles an easy way to convert those stacks of records into MP3 format. Just plug it right in to a USB port, and you can use your computer to chop up those 12" platters into digitally portable tracks. The space-age-retro console takes its design cues from the Sound Burger, an '80s-era portable turntable. For today's music fan, that means a portable unit that provides some neat home office eye candy without competing with your other gadgets for desk space. Find it at Sears for $149.99.
Not only have USB drives become cheaper and smaller over the years, but the accessibility of flash technology means novelty drives are popping up like spam emails (in a good way). There's a design out there for everybody; we love this little spaceman drive, which holds 4GB of data, for its quirky charm. If you've ever wanted to pants an astronaut, this is the gadget for you. Pick one up at amazon.ca for $29.95.
Too many devices, not enough ports? Keep all of your gadgets afloat with this battleship USB hub. With five USB outlets built in, there'll be more than enough room on board for your MP3 player, phone, printer, camera, and e-reader. Sink one at Chapters for $19.50.
Shared dorm room residents, take note. You may never think about task lighting for your workspace until you find yourself burning the midnight oil writing an essay, while your roommate is trying to get some shut-eye seven feet away. A gooseneck reading light that can plug into the back of your laptop may be the perfect pick for keeping your keyboard, textbooks and hastily scribbled Post-Its illuminated well into the night. Pick one up at Chapters for $8.99.