Friday, May 4, 2007

USB-powered desk lamp

I am amazed and amused by the wide variety of gadgets that can be powered from the USB port on a desktop or laptop. I've seen everything from lava lamps to heated slippers and cigarette smoke absorbers; and sometimes it can be hard to tell the real stuff from the April Fools fakery.

Many companies make gooseneck lamps that can be plugged into the back of a laptop and used to illuminate the keyboard. This is a great idea for light night or early morning computing in a hotel room or one-room apartment or dorm, if you need to work but don't want to disturb someone else by turning on a big light. Unfortunately, most of USB lamps use just a single LED as a light source, and can't light up all of the keys at one time.

I have a terrific five-LED USB-powered lamp, bearing the Totes label, usually found on folding umbrellas; and have used it on several vacations and business trips. Unfortunately, it seems to have been discontinued; so while I would like to recommend it, I can't tell you where to get one.

Therefore, in a departure from the way this blog usually operates, I'm going to suggest a class of products, rather than recommend a specific item: if you need a light for your keyboard, get one with four or more LEDs, not just one. There's a big selection at, and one of their lamps is pictured above. If you need to travel with the lamp, make sure it will fit into your PC case or other luggage.

No comments: