A World Gone Mad

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.

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