LaCie, maker of storage devices, computer LCDs, and other computer peripherals, is one of the few companies to truly embrace original and clever aesthetic design. Why shove your gear into boring gray boxes (and then into a closet to hide the boring grayness) when you can encase it in colorful, whimsical designs that you want to show off?
LaCie's latest USB/FireWire hub is a perfect illustration of this marriage of tech and high design. The octopodal Huby (pronounced hub-ee) was designed by Ora-Ito, a French company. Each of the eight arms has a connector at the tip: four downstream USB ports, one upstream USB port, two downstream FireWire ports, and one upstream FireWire port. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously, and LaCie includes a USB fan and a USB light with Huby (as well as USB and FireWire extension cables). You can preorder now ($80), and it should ship soon (LaCie's site says late December).
So, we can totally see the utility and attractiveness of this product, but is anyone else worried it could come alive, drag itself down the hall with its eight flexible arms, and strangle you in your sleep? Eight arms, people!