“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an empty USB port in good working order, must be in want of a device.”
— Jane Austen, Specifications and Serial Busses
I needed a USB hub. The Doctor Who TARDIS USB hub that I was given at work during the David Tennant era — so, circa 2008 — had given up the ghost. And while my computer at home has 10 USB ports — 6 USB 2.0, 4 USB 3.0 — between cables and keyboards, mice and cameras, wi-fi dongles and hard drives — I was doing too much swapping around. I didn’t like it.
And then I bought a cheap Bluetooth dongle to connect my computer to the Bluetooth speaker in my living room. How did it not occur to me until two weeks ago that I could blast my computer’s library of mp3 files on the Bluetooth speaker and hear it throughout the apartment? That I didn’t have to mess around with cables and moving mp3 files over to my phone if I wanted to listen to, say, the All Things Must Pass 50th-anniversary edition, in my living room and dining room?
I am just so, so dumb sometimes.
The Bluetooth dongle is perfectly fine for driving the speakers. If I want something that I can connect to my phone for file transfers so I don’t have to fish out the USB-C cable, though, it doesn’t work at all. So that needs another Bluetooth dongle… and another USB port.
Hence, the need for a USB hub.
To Five Below I went on Sunday, and with a USB hub I returned home. I set it up, sitting it on top of my tower. (It has a DC input, but I can’t figure out what sort of DC adapter I need to power it, and there was nothing with the packaging that indicated a voltage.)
And I was dissatisfied. I had an external hard drive sitting there. And now a USB hub. And sometimes my phone. It seemed like too much. It’s a computer, not a table.
So I thought about LEGO.
What if I built an enclosure that would hold my 4-terabyte external drive and, above that, held the USB hub?
This held possibilities!
I went to the office on Monday, and when I left I brought home my LEGO tub. (It’s all off-brand stuff I bought at Dollar Tree during the pandemic, just so I’d have something to goof around with.)
Then I set to work.
First I worked out how the base would attach to the tower and be stable.
Then I started building a structure around the hard drive. I didn’t really know what I wanted, and it kept breaking apart, and I kept adding bricks to it…
At last I thought it was done, and I affixed the structure, hard drive included, onto the base. Then I realized I needed a front, so I hastily assembled one.
Somehow, this ended up being almost exactly the right size for the USB hub! I only had to build walls around to hold it like a cradle, and I was done!
I should note that my basic rule was to use the first brick that fit my needs, not necessarily the brick that made the most aesthetic sense. Hence, it’s a multicolored mess. I think it gives it personality.
I like the little light indicators on the USB hub, and the on-off switches let me disable each port as I wish.
Then I noticed…
The hard drive was in upside down!
So, last night, I carefully peeled the structure off the baseplate. My first intention was to make a few tweaks, and I ended up rebuilding the whole thing.
The hard drive is a little higher up, and the front is actually integrated into the structure rather than a hasty add on.
And I like looking at my devices plugged into the hub. They’re like little spaceships docked to a space station, boldly going where no USB device has gone before.
Maybe I’ll decorate it with minifigs later.
Sunday afternoon I visited Mt. Rose Cemetery in York. I wasn’t looking for anyone, I just wanted to take some photos of the early autumn foliage.
From the top, you get a clear view into downtown York. The domed county building is center left. The York Revolution stadium would be behind the buildings at center. I should have taken my binoculars to be sure, as I think Prospect Hill Cemetery would be one of the green hillsides about center. And the large building atop the hill center-right? That’s not downtown. That’s a couple of miles out route 30. It’s the UPMC hospital, where I had my COVID vaccination in the spring of 2021.
I saw this billboard when I was at the grocery store this morning.
No, “common sense” is not voting for any of these clowns. And, in the case of Doug Mastriano, an insurrectionst, a proud neo-Confederate, and an open anti-Semite.
I couldn’t vote for Wendy Fink even if I wanted to. I don’t live in her district.