The year 1999 is where we see adopters of
USB becoming a common place. The range of devices to use this nifty interface are starting
to flood the market. We see USB mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, webcams, modems,
speakers, gamepads and joysticks selling in shops all over.
"The ability to
connect up to a maximum of 127 devices into one PC (via multilevel tiered star topology
using USB hubs), makes running out of connectors a remote possibility."
USB is established as a standard connector
to make adding peripherals to PCs easier than ever. Without USB, you would have to
determine what kind of connector your device use and whether you have an available port to
support it. The keyboard and mouse plugged into PS/2 ports, modem into serial port,
joystick and gamepad into gameport, scanner into parallel or SCSI port, printer into
parallel port. What a mess!
Now, using USB devices will give you the
added advantage of true plug-&-play as well as the ability to hot plug and swap them
about. The ability to connect up to a maximum of 127 devices into one PC (via multilevel
tiered star topology using USB hubs), makes running out of connectors a remote
With direct support of USB in Windows 98 as
well as the presence of USB controllers and supported BIOS in todays machines, the
pains are indeed minimal. My own short experience has been a pleasant one. In fact, I love
this new method of connection so much Ive quickly outgrown the 2 USB connections
ports found on my Asus P2B motherboard. This brings me to the generic 4 Port USB hub I
purchased to support my devices.
Considering the growing number of USB
peripherals suggests that most users will soon end up, like me, with more devices than USB
ports on their PCs. Therefore, getting a USB hub would be a necessity sooner or later.
bonus was that I got the 'iMac' coloured version, a translucent green see-through case.
With a Creative Webcam II, HP Scanjet 4200C
and Creative Cobra to think about, I quickly made a trip to SLS where I purchased this
S$75 generic 4 Port USB hub. Since most shops either didn't sell them or displayed them in
obscure corners, I didn't have the chance to pick and choose. After a short deliberation
at the specifications on the box, I went ahead to pay by NETS.
I first tore open the box when grabbing a
bite at the food court downstairs. The thing was so tiny and <I refrain> cute! It
measured only 10cm by 6.5cm by 2cm - about the size of my Intellimouse. The added bonus
was that I got the "iMac" coloured version with a translucent green see-through
of this is that the hub will be able to provide a full 500mA per port."
The heavy weight of the package was
immediately noticeable and the culprit was none other than the AC adaptor - a damn heavy
brick if you ask me. Nevertheless, it was really love at first sight and I couldnt
wait to see it sit elegantly on my desk. =)