A few weeks ago, I went on my semi-annual trip from Texas to Virginia to spend some time with my family that lives there. Throughout the duration of my stay, I had to tether for internet access, as I generally stay with my grandparents (<3), who don't have internet. They're extremely old-school country folks who like to keep things simple. Visiting them is actually incredibly refreshing – the air is pure, and lifestyle is vastly different than what I'm used to.
But I digress, this isn't about lifestyle or family. It's about convenience. While visiting my family and relying on tethering as my only connection to work and the internet, I always have to carry several USB cables with me. Oftentimes I use USB tethering to connect because it keeps my phone juiced while I'm working, but I really dislike long USB cables. I have a few shorties, but on the most recent trip the only one I brought crapped out on me. It got a short in it. So, long cable it was. Not only that, but it was one of the cables that I was using to charge my gear at night, so I had to move it back and forth from the charger to my computer. That may not seem like a big deal, but the charger was tucked in behind the bed, so it was a real pain.
It was at that moment I decided something had to be done. There had to be a better, more portable, compact solution. In a moment of what can only be described as providence, we got an email about a new product from Scosche called the MicroBox. I'll be damned if it's not exactly what I was looking for.
Here's the basic gist: it's a little box – about two inches long, an inch and three-quarters wide, and half an inch thick – with a flat, retractable microUSB cable stuffed inside. Well, it's not really stuffed, because it's retractable. So it's really nicely wound inside. But you get the idea.
The cable is about three feet long when fully extended, but it has multiple stopping points along the way. Need a one foot USB cable? No problem. A foot and a half? You got it. Two feet? OK then! You get the idea. Just tug both ends at the same time to extract the cable and stop it where you want. It'll lock in place at the closes available spot. But I'm sure you already know how these things work.
The ends of the box have cutouts specifically for the plugs on the USB cable, so everything stays nicely tucked away when the box isn't in use. It also has a little hole so it can be attached to a lanyard or keychain, so you always have a USB cable with you.
All in all, I like this little box. It's a little box of charging and syncing goodness, and I wish I would've had it a month ago, before my trip. If you travel a lot, this thing is a no-brainer. If you don't travel a lot but constantly need a USB cable by your side, then it's good for that too (I am curious why you need constant access to a USB cable though).
Anyway, it's only $15, which is pretty reasonable for the convenience it packs. I got the red one (which you can clearly see), but it's also available in all black if that's your thing.
PS – I realize there wasn't actually anything "dirty" about this hands-on (including my hands), but I thought it sounded good in the title, so I left it.