Well, what was it there for in the first place?

I must be loosing my touch. Either that or I'm going senile. You see, I was always under the impression that you needed to plug in electronics to make them work. But apparently that's not the case.

A couple of months ago, I bought a new USB hub. I'd had my old one for about 5 years and it only did USB 1.1, which meant that using it to transfer large amounts of data to my thumb drive or MP3 player was painful. And due to an oversight in ordering the case for my current system, it only has one front USB port - the one in the memory card reader. So I ordered a nice little 4-port Rosewill USB 2.0 hub. Only problem was, it didn't work.

The wierd thing was, the hub looked like it should be working. The power light on the hub was on. When I plugged my MP3 player into it, it at least detected that it was connecting to something. But I couldn't get my system to detect any USB device I plugged into it - not my MP3 player, thumb drive, gamepad, nothing! They just sat there and udev never even made a device node for them.

So after putting it off for a couple of months (mainly because the only time I ever thought of it was when I was on my way out of the house and needed to dump something on a USB drive), yesterday I finally got sick of it and took a look at the hub. My plan was just to quickly verify that it was, in fact, broken and then just junk it and pick up a new one in Walmart. So I unplugged it, tried it in a different USB port, swapped out the cable - you know, the usual stuff. Well, just on a lark, at on point I decided to try it without plugging in the external power cord. And it worked!

Maybe I just don't know enough about hardware, but I found this bizarre. When I unplugged the hub, it worked perfectly. When I plugged the power cord back in, it stopped working. I have no idea why. Maybe it has something to do with the unreasonably huge converter on the plug - it weighs over a pound, whereas the hub itself is less than three ounces. I don't know if that would cause any problems, but it just doesn't seem right.

I still don't understand why, but at least everything is working now. The plug for my hub is sitting in a box in the closet and my MP3 player is transfering data through the hub. It just feels weird to have fixed the problem by getting rid of the power cord. Sounds like it should be a sign of the apocolypse or something.

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