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I added a usb extension cable for easy access and microphone/headphone extension cables so I could have a lot more freedom to move around the office. What computer accessories do you find useful that you think aren't commonly used?

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Should be a community wiki. –  MicTech Jul 23 '09 at 13:35
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12 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

This feels like it may not be uncommon, but I have an audio splitter so I can keep my speakers and a set of headphones/mic plugged in at the same time. I can just switch between the two without having to get at the back of my machine.

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I used to do that as well! But nowadays, the speakers are on the back, the headphones on the front... –  fretje Jul 23 '09 at 14:37
    
Yeah, I have a case/mobo that's a wee bit older. Hardly anything on the front. –  Jay Sheridan Jul 25 '09 at 2:57
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Wireless headsets! I've been looking for a good wireless headset for a long time and there are only a few out there. I think logitec just released a pretty good one though. I have a bluetooth headset that is pretty nice but the sound quality suffers for music and the range isn't the best.

I think a UPS is the best investment that I bought for my home desktop and not a lot of normal users have those but they're gaining in popularity.

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Not exactly Accessories, but...

Every time I buy a disk I go back the next day to buy data and power cables/connectors, and a bracket to mount it in a larger drive bay.

I keep a straightened paperclip for stuck CD/DVD drives. And a Leatherman - no idea how many computers that has helped me work on.

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+1 for the straightened paperclip! –  scunliffe Jul 23 '09 at 15:51
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External Enclosure

These let you take an internal hard drive and use it as an external one, with a power switch and USB connector. I found one that accepts SATA and PATA drives, and it helped me a lot with migrating files from one computer to another (with different internal drive connector types). Now my old drive serves as an external backup.

I'm not sure how unusual this is, but it was news to me.

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I have one that supports eSATA for full drive speed, plus USB for portability. –  pgs Jul 23 '09 at 14:58
    
I have something similar that's not an enclosure but more of a caddy that you can just "plug and play" with a 3.5" hard drive. –  Travis Jul 23 '09 at 20:49
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A trackball instead of a mouse.

I think it's a good idea to switch pointing device once in a while to avoid getting strains from doing the same motion over and over again.

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Bluetack to stop the keyboard moving around.

Duct tape to hold mouse cable where it goes over the back of the desk so the cable weight doesn't drag when you move the mouse.

Screen cleaner (actaully window cleaner) spray.

Paper towels for spilled coffee.

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+1 for the Paper towels! –  Marshall Jul 23 '09 at 18:34
    
I have one of the Microsoft gaming mice and it comes with a little weight-clip thing that goes around the cord instead of duct tape. Works nicely! –  Travis Jul 23 '09 at 20:51
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I use an audio input switch so I can choose to listen to my computer audio, or my Zune. It also lets me switch my output from the computer speakers to my headset with a button push.

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Sounds cool. Got any links? –  skypecakes Jan 6 '10 at 20:13
    
Mine is from Radio Shack, but has been discontinued. Here is something similar: amazon.com/Plantronics-PC-Headset-Speaker-Switch/dp/B000069E1V –  Beaner Jan 7 '10 at 16:26
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  1. I have an ATEN KVMP switch (similar to this) so that I can switch the keyboard, screen and mouse to one of the physical computers whilst being able to move the headphone connection to the same or a different one.

  2. I, too, have USB extension leads from computers that are not on my desktop to provide Type A, Type B and micro USB connectors on the desktop.

  3. The headphone lead from the ATEN KVM is an extension lead so that I can easily plug in either the headphones or a lead going to an appropriate input socket on an amplifier to allow easy switching to good speakers rather than headphones when appropriate.

  4. A final odd accessory. As I use a USB keyboard and mouse but the BIOS on my main desktop machine does not recognise USB (yes, it is that old), I have a Fujitsu Siemens numeric keypad plugged directly into its keyboard PS2 socket to select boot up options, when needed. Even though my keyboard doesn't have a numeric pad I don't use the numeric keypad for its intended use.

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Space Mouse. It looks like a hockey puck, but it is a 6 DOF force sensor that lets me move around and rotate 3D drawings. Most 3D CAD programs support them.

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Although it is not a hardware thing (what's the difference?) PulseAudio has been a godsend!

I can stream music around my computers in all kinds of crazy configurations!

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Is there a nice UI for PulseAudio yet? Last I looked I couldn't find a nice way of configuring what sound goes where (and at what volumes etc.) –  Greg Jul 24 '09 at 10:50
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The most used accessory I have is a IDE/SATA to USB cable to easily hook up and restore harddrives that fail. Many of our bookkeeping department have computers manufactured in 1992. We recently replaced about 70-100 of the older models, but the bookkeeping department wanted to keep their oldie goldies. So now I'm stuck with tons of spare parts. I guess as long as they can put up with it, I can keep replacing harddrives. I haven't had many processors/power supplies fail, just harddrives.

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Does a tablet count? it's much nicer to use sometimes then a mouse, and as a plus it helps with art related tasks!

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Definitely. And a wireless tablet is even better. I like the Wacom 6x8 Bluetooth. –  bill weaver Sep 25 '09 at 17:59
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