Not all USB-powered devices are useless, so our editors have compiled a list of “Useful USB Accessories” — or as we’d like to think — including a web server, beverage chiller, and more. Which ones are your favorites?
USB NES Controllers
RetroZone is now selling pre-modified NES controllers, including the PowerGlove, PowerPad, FourScore, Advantage, and Max. Best of all, no drivers are required to install or update — perfect for emulators. They’re compatible with all WinXP, Win2K, MacOS9, and MacOSX systems. Prices range from $28 – $70.
While they might not be the best choice for playing Half-Life 2 they’re perfect for emulated versions of 1942 or Gauntlet.
ION’s iTTUSB turntable lets you convert old vinyls directly to MP3 or CD with the bundled recording software. There’s also a line level output for connecting to your home theater system with CD or AUX inputs. It’s compatible with all Windows and Mac systems that support USB 1.1.
USB Web Server
The “WebServUSB” is a fully functional web server crammed into a small USB thumb drive. This plug-and-play device features HTTP/FTP services and POP3/SMTP mail services. Plus, it runs all your favorite web programming tools like CGI, PHP, MySQL, and Flash straight from the drive.
Kensington USB Calculator
This multi-function device from Kensington is not only a USB calculator but also a full-sized numeric keypad for your notebook as well. Paste calculator results to your computer with the handy “send” button. For portability, there’s no contest; this small, lightweight device features seperate keypad/laptop functions and a retractable USB cable, making it one highly portable number cruncher.
USB Beverage Chiller
Introducing the “Beverage Chiller” by Cool It Systems. Now you don’t even have to leave your computer to get a nice cold beverage. Just plug this in to any USB port and it will chill your drink to 45-degrees F.
“Just seconds after plugging the chiller into your computer’s USB port (no external outlet needed), the coldplate chills to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the perfect temperature for keeping your beverage chilled.”
USB Pencil Sharpener
Ideal for road warriors, the iSharpener also doubles as a neon light to liven up your workplace.
USB-Powered LED Lamp
This “USB Parrot 6 LED Desk Lamp + Clock” is the latest gadget from Brando. Boasting 6 bright LEDs, a 360-degree rotatable clock display, and a parrot-shaped design. It measures 45.3 x 56.3 x 37.3cm and weighs 158g — priced at $10.