10 Amazing Peripherals You Didn't Know You Needed

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tampatip

Couldn't clean up the props first huh .... dust .. finger prints .. scratches .. lol...

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furiousdc

Aluminum little league bat.  those small little bats are much easier to swing should anyone try to come in and steal your computer :)

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majorsuave

"If you've got one PC that's your main go-to system, and it crashes, how do you figure out how to troubleshoot it? "

Ha! My wife's PC is just next to my gaming PC, if not there's my laptop, and then some other PCs or laptops at home, most are decomissioned but still functional enough to google "error code something something"

Of course, if I am lost in the woods with no Wi-Fi, AC voltage and spare computers, I will be glad to know that I can tap on my Optimus' tiny screen to fetch a solution to my PC problem. ;)

Yes I do have an Android phone, but there's is more to it than troubleshooting, especially when there is always a laptop near. However, using it as a flashlight to lit the insides of the beast is cool.

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Jox

Just for the record (and because it's germane to the industry in which I am employed), the term PoweredUSB refers to a proprietary standard patented by IBM for retail point of sale systems.  It consists of a standard USB (which is the connector type you describe above) coupled with additional wiring for extra power output.  The resulting connector, while USB, will not work in your home PC without a PCI expansion card.  The voltage output for PoweredUSB systems is typically 5V, 12V, 24V or 0V.  Interestingly, 0V is not actually 0V, it's the standard 5V that would be output by the USB channel.  It just disables the seperate power source which would permit even flow of power should the USB channel be overloaded.

More info on PoweredUSB here:

http://www.poweredusb.org/whatispusb.html

Jox

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JohnP

I found that it is much better to have the DESK at the right height for typing rather than tucking the keyboard and mouse under it. The only reason I can see for keyboard trays is so that the wif will not complain about the "clutter" that a computer makes. By having the desktop at 27 inches, the keyboard and mouse are right at hand, the monitor is not stuck so far up in the air that you have to crane your neck, and writing is a breeze. I am totally at a loss why anyone would settle for layered desks, towers on the floor, printers in a drawer, and the bottom of monitors at the level of your chin. Take a slab of 3/4 inch MDF 4 foot by 3 foot, glue laminate on top and add 4 26 inch legs to it. The perfect computer desk. Add a smaller desk on wheels that height for a roll around printer...

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majorsuave

hehe, we don't have the same standards fo aesthetics ;)

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wrigleyjames

lol agreed major

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Ayeohx

Nice article Loyd.  I like your writing style - very personable and natural.  Thanks!

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audiomatron

Interesting you mention the smartphone or tablet. Just yesterday, one of the draftsmen and I (the IT Manager) had to completely rip apart an HP Designjet 800 42" plotter to replace a belt. My iPad loaded with a searchable PDF of the plotter's service manual was crucial to getting the job done. I've also used a smartphone to watch a youtube video on how to take apart a Dell laptop and replace the CPU fan when my PC wasn't near enough to my work table to watch the video there. Good stuff!

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bling581

I agree. Any 2nd device would do the trick though, including a 2nd computer or laptop. Before I had a smart phone if my computer had a serious issue I'd have to try and look it up at work or go to a friend's house and use their computer. Now I just grab my phone and get online for some troubleshooting.

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scoop6274

my opinion is the screen (even on large smartphones) is to small and tablets are still to expensive (for a quality one) thus, my netbook has been my go to piece for IT trouble shooting. Small, light, portable with a decent size screen and a keyboard. I pull out my netbook whenever I need a second computer to access the internet when my main machine is down. Sure, it is a little slow, but it has never failed to get the job done.

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Keno5net

I have everything but the Calibrator.  I can't justify the expense.  For workning in tight places I have a bent nose needle nose plyer that I find invaluble for things like placing scerws in holes and plugging in fans to MB headers.  The bent tips let me see what I am doing easier and allow easier accsses to tight places. 

For a hard drive dock I have one that is either USB2 or ESATA, USB 3 hadn't come out yet when I got it.

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Athlonite

1: I have an HDD dock from Vantec

2: I have forceps

3: I have an Soldeering station with udjustable temp

4: I have a 4x aa/aaa batery charger

 

but what I really want is for MaximumPC to put out another mouse pad as the one I have is now yeas old and very worn so hows about it MPC new year speacial

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smashingpumpin

This article is Awesome!, But....

Any chance MaxPC would do a single AA or AAA only, or anything in the portable keychain flashlight roundup review?

Now that would be Awesome!... Awesomer!

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Wily_One

Yeah I've tried the cheap LED flashlights and they don't last, if they work at all.

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Coldrage

Fantastic article Loyd, keep this sort of stuff coming.
If you find any more useful peripherals, feel free to make another article.

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Ghok

What exactly does a monitor calibration puck do, and how does it work?

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Mortal_M

Forgot about Google? :P

Basically it calibrates your monitor so that the pictures in your monitor look like the ones out of the printer.

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Ghok

I figured that part out, thanks. I'm looking for more than a basic explanation.

There are google results, sure, but nothing I found that would explain how it does so to someone who is faily technical, yet has no experience with such a device. Most are just trying to sell something. I can find some instructions on how to use the device... but they don't really say how it work. It's just, plug the device in somewhere, put it on your screen, and voila your screen is now configured?  That doesn't tell me much, the thing could be using magic for all I know.

If you found a good result, you are better at this than I am. Please link it here. I'm only curious. I'm sure the information exists somewhere.

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wrigleyjames

Ghok, we use these all the time at work as I am a graphic artist. I wouldn't go as far to say what you see on the screen is what prints, but they definitely help. They are extremely simple to use. You set it on the screen and it uses colored boxes to find out where the 'eye' is. Once it does that it runs through the spectrum then adjusts your monitor. It is a program that always runs in the background. There are advanced features, but we usually just use the basic auto calibration. Hope that helps some. =)

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mesiah

Loyd, You just made my life so much easier. I have been going back and forth over replacing my desk for a year now. The platform for my keyboard broke and I had to screw it in so it does not slide. I love my desk but the keyboard tray was killing me. I was finally about to replace it until I saw this article. I never even considered an adjustable keyboard arm. Hell, I didn't even know they made them! Now I will be playing the old republic and typing term papers in comfort. Thanks!

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fygquas

I don't understand. Why do you need two different keboard heights for gaming and typing?

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compro01

Presumably as you're using different hand positioning.

 

When typing, you're using both hands and if you type "properly" both hands are around the home row.

 

When gaming, you probably have one hand on WASD and thereabouts and the other hand on the mouse.

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Windbreaker

May I suggest a new makeup blusher? The bristles are stiff enough to get dust out of everything (like on the USB HDD dock you've got pictured) yet gentle enough to use on laptop/tablet/big-ass TV screens without fear of scratching the surface.

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Trooper_One

Hehe, I pretty much got everything in the above list, with the exception of the hemostat; the needlenose plier out of my Leatherman seems to do the trick, even though its radius could be a bid big sometimes.  Yes, i concur with Alexw1234 - magnetic screwdrivers are a must.

 

EDIT: oops, i don't have the monitor calibrator either...  but I don't really do photopraphy or video editing so doesn't really matter to me.

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biggiebob12345

For screwdrivers I recommend getting ones with free-spinning tops.  This makes it so you can nestle it up against your palm and twist it using just your fingertips.  Awesome for working in tight spaces.  There's a few generic brands but the name brand is "Wiha Precision Screwdriver Set".  The problem with the "electric" screwdrivers and multi-bit screwdrivers are they're WAY too fat to work inside a lot of cases.

Hemostats are also great for soldering wires to stuff.  Holds them springy buggers down.  Hemostats don't work for everything though...especially when you just want to grab something without "locking" on it.  Thus I have some "extra thin" 8" needle noses on hand.

My last builders tip is to have a pair of fine point angled tweezers.  VERY helpful for placing really tiny screws or fishing screws that slipped out and are about to roll under the mobo.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

This is an AWESOME article.

Just built inside a black case, and it sucks, for sure. I try holding a flashlight between my teeth, but then I'm drooling and slobbering like a vegetable. I thought a headband light would work, but they're all too weak. Anything less than 100 lumens is a waste of money.

Someone needs to sell a tall (18-24"), articulating LED lamp that you can clamp to a case or stand nearby on a table.

And peripherals that are on forever....I turn my PC off, my scanner, printers, and external hard drives stay on. I will have to look into these green power strips. Didn't even know there was such a thing.

I recommend screwdrivers with magnetic tips for any build. Sometimes, it's hell when you lose a screw under a bay or board.

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praetor_alpha

http://koncept.com/products.php

I've had one of their I Bars for almost 2 years. It's about 18" tall or so. I recall it came with a screwable clamp, but I've just had it with the flat base, sitting on my speakers. It's so bright that it's usually the only light on in my apartment.

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alexw1234

Magnetic screwdrivers are great, but using them near that new that new $300 videocard is a little touchy.

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compro01

Your videocard doesn't care about the piddling magnet inside a screwdriver.  Your hard drive doesn't care about them either (there's a big freaking pair of them inside it for the frictionless bearing).

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Slurpy

I second the Fenix LD15.  It's pricey, but it's amazing, and takes a beating.

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