There are so many USB-based products out there that my head is starting to spin; some of these little rascals are way over the top, but every now and then...
Do you remember those old hand-held labeling machines you used to see around the place? After inserting a spool of plastic tape, you turned a big dial to select a letter, number, or punctuation character, and then you squeezed the hand-grip as hard as you could. Releasing the grip advanced the tape allowing you to see the character, which was white where the plastic had been stressed.
Once you had completed your label, a blade separated it from the main tape spool, then you peeled the backing off to reveal a sticky surface, and proudly attached your masterpiece to a folder or a cassette tape or the fridge or the cat or...
Some folks were born to label – it is one of their reasons for being. Take my business colleague Dean, for example; this is the man who keeps everything going around here. The last time I was away on business for a few days, I returned to discover that Dean had moved me into a new (better) office, purchased and installed a new flat screen display and docking station for my notebook computer, and reorganized and filed my numerous stacks of papers (the floor was my filing cabinet in my old office – visitors didn't even realize that I had a carpet under there).
The point is that if anyone would appreciate a good labeling machine it is Dean, which explains my excitement when I ran across a pert little USB-based version from Brando in Hong Kong. This little beauty (the Casio Egg-Shaped Printer shown below) sits on your desktop, plugs into a USB port (the cable isn't shown here), and prints using any TrueType font installed on your PC.
At only $29 I thought that this was a reasonably good deal, so I immediately emailed Dean to tell him about it. What a downer, Dean responded in a grumpy manner informing me that all of his USB ports are already in use. "Do not worry," I replied, because I had already discovered that Brando have the latest and greatest in Circular Chromatic USB hubs and Square (Snake) Chromatic hubs as shown below.
The problem with this site is that you start off by running into all sorts of weird and wonderful products, laughing your socks off saying "no one would buy that!". And then you blunder into something like a USB-based Can Cooler and Warmer and you think, "... hmmm, maybe my little bro' would like one of those ... " (Come on, who are we kidding, we all want one of these!)
But wait, there's more (much, much more). For example, how about a Thumb-size USB Fragrance Oil Burner , or a USB to SATA/IDE Combo Kit, or a USB Cup Warmer (With Cup), or a Ultra-slim USB Micro SD / T-Flash Card Reader, or a USB Mini Battery?
I could go on for hours, but I will restrain myself to one more item. Oh dear, I know I'm going to get into trouble for this one, but who amongst us could resist purchasing the USB Gift Set For Ladies for our nearest-and-dearest?
This enticing little offering includes a USB-based Mini Vacuum Cleaner, a USB Fan, a USB Lighted Mirror, and a USB Mood Light Pen Holder, all of which are – in the words of the Brando website – "Colored in sweetly pink." The really good news (in case you were starting to worry) is that the pen holder doubles up as a four-USB-port-power-hub, thereby allowing you to use even more USB-based devices. (Don't worry chaps, there's also a USB Gift Set For Men in silver, so now's the time to start dropping hints to your "significant other".)
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at email@example.com). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.