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Three degrees of freedom

One of the nicest things about Gadgetbox’s new digs is the sheer amount of space . I had to put up some wall hangings because the echoes were, frankly, deafening. But more importantly, it means a cavernous amount of room in which to store the immense number of gadgets and gewgaws I’ve got around here. Imagine that warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark except, you know, bigger .

This week’s Gadgetbox contains a revolution for the desk-bound and IT worker alike; an overpriced, under-powered way to free your peripherals from their USB shackles; and the ultimate device for those times when you need to venture forth into the cold, harsh light of day.

Holy USB hubs, Batman!

Once upon a time I used to do tech support in an office. The worst thing about the job? The sheer amount of time I spent under desks. Not only is it bad for the knees to have to crawl around the back of a computer tower to plug something in, but one time I swear I found the skeletal remains of the last IT guy to have ventured down there.

Belkin knows what I’m talkin’ bout, Willis. They’ve come up with this innovative line of USB hubs that fit in the cable passthrough holes you’ll find in many office desks. There are two models of USB hubs that fit 3” holes, each with four ports: one lies flat with the desk, the other inclines forward for easy access. There’s also a 3-port USB hub that fits a 2” hole, and—joy to the world!— an iPod dock version. All allow you to run other cables through the grommet, and all are soon to be available for $45.

While this wouldn’t have negated all of my under desk adventures, it would have greatly reduced the number of times that I had to combat the angry—and surprisingly well-organized—mouse hordes that lived there. [via Gizmodo ]

Wi-Fi and USB: two great tastes that taste “meh” together

The problem with houses is that they come with these pesky things called walls. All too often, one of them’s right in the way of where you could otherwise just string some cable with no issues.

When it comes to our laptop and desktop computers, Wi-Fi can alleviate this problem, but what about all your other gadgets? Your printer, your scanner, your USB-powered washer/dryer (don’t think they’re not coming). They’ve had to remain tethered to your computer, like dogs on a leash.

Icron’s WiRanger USB 2.0 hub brings the power of Wi-Fi to your USB peripherals. Plug the transmitter into your computer and the receiver into up to four USB 2.0 devices (you can daisy chain a standard USB hub if you need more ports).

While this might seem like a pretty slick setup, there are still some questions to address. For one thing, though the WiRanger lets you adjust channels to avoid interference, the frequencies in use by 802.11g have become increasingly saturated, so finding a clear channel may be difficult, especially if you’re already running an 802.11g network in your house. And while the max data rate of USB 2.0 is 480Mbps, the top speed of 802.11g is only 54Mbps, so this is far from the best solution for using external USB 2.0 hard drives.

And with all of those caveats, you’ll still have to shell out $395 for the WiRanger, which, let’s face it, is a far sight more than a long USB cable. My advice? Wait for the Wireless USB standard, which should offer better speeds at (hopefully) lower prices later this year. [via SCI FI Tech ]

DirecTV Sat-Go helps you get away from it all without getting away from it all

From time to time, I like to get away from it all and spend some time outside—yes, outside. You know, the big room with the blue ceiling. I prefer to go somewhere “off the grid” where the incessant demands of today’s technology—the beeping, the notifications, the flashing icons—can’t find me. Just me, my toothbrush, and my DirecTV Sat-Go portable satellite TV.

What, you expect me to live like some sort of savage ? This is the 21st century, friends, and technology is here to stay, whether you like it or not. The DirecTV Sat-Go folds a 17” LCD screen, a DirecTV receiver, and an antenna into one luggable 26 lb. package. So if you’re the type of person who can never ever be without television, this is for you.

The Sat-Go includes a remote, supports both AC and DC power, and can also run off an internal rechargeable battery for around one marvelous hour—just enough time to watch American Idol before starting the eight hour recharging process. You can also plug in an external DVD, game console, or LaserDisc player (kidding!) over composite or component interfaces.

The Sat-Go will be available in May, for an as-yet-unannounced price. But really, is there any price too high for the convenience of having satellite TV every place from the beach, to the woods, to the deck of your gold-plate, diamond-encrusted yacht?

You have one of those too, right? [via DBSTalk.com ]

And that’s all for this week’s installment of Gadgetbox. Be sure to come back next week when we’ll have more for you to peruse from our immense storehouse of high technology.

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