Your computer comes with a flexible connection port called USB (short for Universal Serial Bus ). Bearing a flat, rectangle shape, it enables you to attach up to 127 separate and distinct items that will expand its capabilities.
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USB cables have two types of plugs, so that you can connect the correct end to the correct end. The part that plugs into your computer (or a hub) is small and rectangular. The side that goes into the device itself is square. Some USB devices support a different style of connection, but it is always obvious which end goes where.
Here are some advantages of USB:
Speed ” The USB port is capable of up to 12 megabits per second transfer speed. This is perfect for scanners and input devices such as keyboards and mice.
Easy Hookup ” As you'll see shortly from the seven steps for hooking up a FireWire or USB device, it's about as easy as it can get. So, if you are anxious to try out your new peripheral, you'll be glad to know that it will be up and running in minutes.
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USB is hot-pluggable , which means you can attach and detach the item (with a few cautions ) without having to turn off your computer.
Growing Selection ” In this cross-platform world, the manufacturer of a USB product for the PC can easily make it work on a Mac, simply by writing a new software driver (and with some mice and keyboards, new software might not even be needed).
Before you buy a USB peripheral, you'll want to check the requirements to see if you need anything extra. Don't forget the cable. For some reason, not all manufacturers supply them. If in doubt, ask your dealer .
If you have used up all your USB ports, you may need to purchase an expansion hub. It's a small box with a half dozen or so extra USB outlets. The hub shown in Figure 7.1 is typical. Plug it into one of the computer's USB ports and fill up the ports with as many USB devices as you have. When you hook up a large chain of USB devices, you might need a hub, which is a central connecting device. Some items work as hubs (such as an iMac's keyboard), and some don't.
Figure 7.1. This is 7-port Entrega Mac hub.