Curt Brandao reviews the usefulness of a tiny USB that keeps your can of soft drink cold.
Technophile: USB-powered amenities
USB Mini Fridge
The form Some people, mostly those who spend the majority of their lives staring into computer screens, are willing to take the "universal" in Universal Serial Bus (USB) very seriously, indeed. For them, there is a seemingly endless array of USB-powered devices that aim to improve their quality of life - such as it is - not the least of which is the USB Mini Fridge.
The features This highly stylised tiny fridge can hold one can of soft drink and gets its cooling energy directly from your computer.
The function The makers claim the fridge's cooling pad inside will fall to 8.5 degrees Celsius just five minutes after it's plugged in. Don't expect to feel a tiny Arctic breeze when you open its tiny door, but if you put an already-cold drink inside, it should stay that way for a longer period of time.
Thermaltake Mobile Fan II
The form This diminutive desktop version of a floor fan measures only 14 centimetres high and its rather geeky form factor rests on a wire frame.
The features The Thermaltake Mobile Fan II packs an effective punch, wind-wise, and features an adjustable speed knob. It runs rather silently as well, even at the highest setting. It comes with a retractable USB power cable.
The function Whether you use your computer for work or play, chances are you produce a fair amount of heat energy in the process. The Thermaltake Mobile Fan II offers welcome relief - it can also be used to cool the processor inside the computer that is powering it.
ValueRays USB Infrared Heated Gloves
The form These one-size-fits-most USB-powered gloves plug into your computer and warm the backs of your hands as you type.
The features The fingerless gloves are designed not to limit your dexterity as you type and come with a long 65cm power cable that will prove useful for those who operate wireless keyboards.
The function Some of us are very cold-natured, or work in an office with a jet engine blowing frigid air on top of us from the ceiling - either way, few would doubt that worrying about office-related frost bite is an impediment to productivity. These gloves will warm you up and reduce that work-related anxiety - even if they cost you a few style points.