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Increase Your USB Power

D-link 7-port USB hubEven if you're not so enamored with the USB interface that you'd consider using the technology to say, fire up your grill, there are tons of useful USB-powered devices and gadgets out there. (For example, in the last couple of weeks, I've shown how you can take advantage of USB ports to retrofit your computer with Bluetooth, turn a thumb drive into a computer key, and even make your new Vista PC faster.) But in order to do all of these things at once, you need a multi-port USB hub that provides easy port access and doesn't slow down under the weight of all your gear.

Generally, that means you need to get a self-powered hub that uses an external power supply to make sure that all of your ports get full juice all the time. Also, you want a hub that works for both old-school USB 1.1 devices and the newer USB 2.0 stuff. Two that have gotten great reviews (and cost about $30) are the D-Link 7-port hub and the slightly more stylish, if less stackable, Aluminum 7-port hub

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