USB Accessories for your Mac

16 Comments

usb

To start it off, here’s everything that’s hanging from a USB port on my MacBook:

  • Logitech MX1000 or Trackman Marble (depending on home or work office)
  • External Hard Drives/Thumb drives
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Headsets (look for a review coming soon!)
  • Postage Scale (for shipments)
  • iMic
  • Digital Cameras/Memory card reader
  • Jog Dial for video work
  • USB to Serial (for work stuff)
  • iPod
  • Hubs which allow all these things to be used….

With only 2 USB ports on my MacBook, the Hubs I list last are the most important things here. The most I’ve daisy-chained are 2 and it seems to work fine (the hubs I’m using are powered), but does anyone know the limit to this practice? Can I daisy-chain 5? 10? What’s the limit and what’s the effect that I’ll see as a user?

On the more useless but fun side of things are things like the missile launcher, drink warmer/cooler, lights, fans, and of course the Snowbot. The list is seemingly endless (but fun).

So I ask you – what’s your favorite (useful or useless) USB accessory, whether you have it or want it?

16 Comments

Jordan

My favorite useful USB item is a drink warmer and cooler. It’s perfect for the office. Keeps my coffee warm in the morming and keeps soda cold the rest of the day. I bought mine online at http://www.vat19.com/dvds/usb-warmer-cooler.cfm I might give in and buy a “useless” USB Cannon just because it is so cool.

Nick Santilli

Sojourner –
Totally! I’ve been wanting to pick some of those up. Great one.

Darbie –
there ya go. The thing I never understood were the goofy usb drives everyong was selling – sushi, puppies, etc, etc. huh???

Darbie

I own the mother of all useless USB-powered devices – a mini glitter lamp. It’s so cheesy and awesome at the same time.

Nick Santilli

j.Lee – I’ve had that thought (groundless though it’s been) and have always kept my hard drives on the first ‘hop’ of my usb daisy chains. I like my data like I like my women, fast. (haha, sorry, honey, just joking around…)

j.Lee

You can safely assume that you can hook up 2 hubs without much problem. Add ing a third hub can cause issues, especially if you have harddrives on that third hub.
(YMMV)

Honza

Just a caveat… USB 2.0 != High speed. 2.0 is a specification that contains Low, Full, and High, speeds, but a device or host controller can be 2.0 without having to support all of them!

Nick Santilli

Daniel, you have just destroyed my Christmas dreams!!!

I’d hope that some enterprising individual fixes that problem. Until then I’ll have to plan on using it (because SOMEONE I know better get it for me! haha) on Windows under Parallels…

Steve

Or substitute the word “high-speed” for “2.0”. My brain is still drowsy from turkey and I can’t remember which is what. :)

Steve

You probably know this, but make sure you buy hubs that support both speeds at once, because some hubs will drop *everything* down to USB 1.0 speeds if one USB 1.0 device is plugged into it, then your 2.0 devices won’t be running at full speed.

Nick Santilli

Excellent – thanks for an answer on that. While I assumed the daisy-chainability (that’s gotta be a real word) was pretty extensive, I never [bothered to look it up] knew for sure. Appreciate the input!

jrobcet

Theoretically speaking, it should be possible to daisy-chain multiple hubs to provide access to 127 USB devices. The only caveat is that each hub would need to be powered externally in order to provide a full 500mA to each port.

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