I’ve written before about the uses of USB keydrives (here’s the latest list of programs that will run off them). But the USB port can be used for more.
Since taking root in an office I’ve found the Dell desktop has a pretty generous six USB ports. None of them used for anything official so I’ve colonised some of them with:
- A Logitech cordless mouse — much nicer than the PS2 mouse the office provides. It’s the same mouse I use at home, so my hand is used to it, and it’s easy enough to throw in my bag along with the USB dongle. No installation software really needed.
- A charger for my Palm. One of those retractable USB charger/sync cables, which also takes up next to no space in the bag, but means my Palm (or cellphone, or Treo) won’t run out of juice during the day.
- An external hard drive. Just buy an extra cable and you don’t even need to bring the cable along with you. (Companies don’t always like this kind of thing, so check with your sysadmin first, or just keep really, really quiet about it).
Of course, it needn’t stop there. There are mug warmers, desktop lamps and fans that will run off a USB port (designed for laptops and travelers), so if you find your office is scrimping on the water heaters, lighting or air-conditioning, just bring your own.