Saturday, November 6, 2010

The future's pretty cool 13

13.  USB

It seems like it's been here forever, but USB is a relative newcomer when stacked up against things like the parallel interface, serial ports, and PS/2, which are still (relatively) ubiquitous.  We forget the bad old days, before hot swappable input devices were the rule, printers had cables that could actually bend with less than a one-foot radius, and adding more devices was a simple matter of plugging in a hub.

USB gets some flak from nerds for it's hub and star topology, inefficient use of bandwidth, and relative lack of hackability.  It wasn't that long ago that the people were really worried about what the disappearance of serial ports and parallel ports from PCs meant for hacking; with the advent of product lines like FTDI's USB chips that emulate serial and parallel interfaces, I think all but the most die-hard serial fans will agree that we've come out ahead.

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