As if the announcement that HP and Apple are partnering to sell iPods in "HP Blue" wasn't wierd enough (especially given that it includes preloading iTunes on consumer PCs and laptops - something that is likely to cause some issues with the Windows Media franchise...), now we have LOTR Barbie and Ken dolls.
I've also seen a number of mentions to Keyspan's new USB Server, which, despite being just as wierd an idea (in technical terms), seems like a damned useful thing to have on these days of USB printers and scanners - now you don't need to have the damn things right next to the computer, or cart them around to share them with another PC.
The Keyspan/USB Server will ship in late Q1 2004 with an MSRP of $129. Much like a USB print server, the USB Server enables attached USB devices to be used and shared by client PCs on a LAN. In addition to printers, the USB Server supports other USB devices such as hard drives, scanners, and more.
The USB Device Server provides 4 ports for connecting to USB devices at Full Speed USB (12 Mbps). It connects to 10/100 Ethernet networks via an RJ45 connector and supports static IP, DHCP, and Apple's Rendezvous address assignment. Client PCs must be running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Mac OS X 10.2.8 or higher.
"This USB Server makes it possible to use and share USB printers, scanners, and hard drives across a LAN," noted Mike Ridenhour, president of Keyspan. "Yet, its most innovative use may be to enable Wi-Fi-based laptops to connect to remote USB devices."
It's bound to be pretty much useless for storage (and raises a number of questions as to what exactly has to be plugged in/installed on the PC/Mac), but seems (on paper) to be a very neat idea.