Cheap Gadgets to Make Your Life EasierAbout a month ago, Kingston technology announced they would be releasing a one terabyte USB flash drive, the largest flash drive available. For those not familiar with a terabyte or too lazy to Google it by the time you finish reading this sentence, a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes, or 1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion) bytes. In comparison, Apple just announced a 128 GB version of the iPad; this 72mm x 27mm USB can hold nearly eight times that.

As cool as a terabyte pocket USB is, it’s not going to be flying off the shelves at the hands of blue collar workers or middle class families. Kingston hasn’t announced how much this mammoth USB will go for, but when asked they gave a wink and a nod to the price of their 512 GB USB: $1,750. So with that USB being about half the size of this new terabyte USB, we can speculate the price of a trillion byte flash drive going for around $3,500. So while many of us dream of having a massive amount of information on a little metal stick no bigger than a chicken nugget, it isn’t going to be affordable for most of us.

That may be disappointing for some people but, like all technology, just wait another ten years and it will be available for a fraction of its initial cost. But don’t you fret! They may not be terabyte flash drives but there are plenty of nifty, albeit somewhat gimmicky, gadgets and tech toys you can buy that can help you out in way that a USB flash drive never could.

USB Outlets

I wouldn’t be surprised if this became a Home Depot and/or Lowes staple in the next few years, considering how many things are USB charged these days, but until then there are two different types of USB outlets for whatever you may need to charge. For a camping trip, gaming room, or whenever you may need a USB plug on the fly, try this power strip with two USB ports as well as electrical outlets. It usually runs for just $20 on and has a foldable plug to make it more convenient for travel.

Perhaps you’re looking for a more permanent option or something around the house that a USB port can be thrown onto. Try this U-Sock USB Wallplug that runs for about $30; it requires some assembly to replace the existing outlet (so if you’re not handy find a handy friend) with a wall plug that contains two USB ports that are wonderfully placed right next to the regular plugs. Nothing says a 21st century humble home like accommodating your guests’ needs with USB wall plugs.

Green Gadgets

Nobody said high technology and being ecofriendly have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, when a fusion of the two is successfully implemented it can create some pretty cool technology. Batteries, for example, are far from being green, and tons of them wrongfully end up in landfills every year. So try ordering a few of these USB rechargeable AA batteries, and make a tech savvy effort to better the environment. There are lots of rechargeable batteries available in the market today, but this is the first time I’ve seen USB ones to go with the wall plug and/or USB power strip you bought after reading the previous paragraph.

An even sleeker and more practical way to eliminate battery use is to get a solar powered product, but I’m assuming you’re asking “What is practical and solar powered?” Shockingly, a wireless keyboard. Logitech has made wireless, solar powered keyboards for PCs, Macs, iPads and iPhones, and they all look pretty cool on top of being green. It runs from $50-$70 online depending on which version you get, but considering the keyboards last for three months in total darkness after being charged from a single life source, you’ll probably make a bit of money back in the long run after not using batteries for them.

Extremely Handy

We’re in the thick of winter, a time when most tech products are deemed useless when outside in the arctic tundra. Even when you do decide to send a text outside in the cold, you’re faced with the incredibly tough first world problem of struggling to send a text through gloves, mittens/glittens or using your bare hand in the cold. Not anymore, said the creators of Digits, makers of conductive glove pins that make texting and using your phone with gloved hands a breeze. Usually only $12, but on sale for a dirt cheap price of $2.49 at the time this article was written, one shipment will get you four of these cell phone enablers to stick to whatever gloves and fingers you deem necessary.

When you get back inside and realize you’ve been texting too long with your Digits outside, you may find that your coffee, tea, or hot beverage is no longer the temperature it should be. Well just go back to your computer or USB power outlet and plug in your USB Cup Warmer so you can get back to work. Serving as a fully-functioning digital hot plate, an emphasis should be made that this is not a toy, as it can warm and maintain any hot drink you have. Running for £8.99, or just over $14 US, the USB cup warmer is perfect for those who are glued to their computer for work and need their coffee to keep them going.

For the Hardcore Techie

Okay, so you’re familiar with helpful gadgets, but you’ve seen some stuff in your work life. Maybe a manager got fired and things went all Lord of the Flies at your office, or maybe you were in the trenches for the infamous server crash of ’03. Regardless, you need some serious equipment in your repertoire to get your job done.
Whether it is for ease or your office is being raided, some people need to shred documents on the fly. Try this (you guessed it) USB portable paper shredder to get the job done when it matters. It’s only $14, and kind of looks like a hair straightener or a curling iron. Point being it’s discreet, and I’m assuming it’s the handheld shredder of choice for secret government agencies.

But if you’re an honest John, and you’re just looking for something practical, then try investing in the Victorinox Slim Signature Swiss Army knife. It’s got everything you need in a 21st century Swiss Army knife: a blade, nail file, screwdriver, scissors, key ring, retractable ball point pen, and a 4GB or 8GB removable memory stick.  You never know what you’ll need in the moment at work, but this handy tool will cover all of your needs from data transferring to sharpening a small stick.

It takes an eclectic collection of items to cover all of the needs of the average person, and the previously mentioned gadgets should cover a fair amount of those. I hope they made you forget about that terabyte USB, because unlike the previously mentioned gadgets, it’s still unaffordable. But let’s help each other out: what affordable tech items have you found that make life more convenient?


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