All USB Ports Are *Not* The Same

Boy, what is it with temperamental USB ports / devices?  I've just spent the best part of ninety minutes trying to get my various USB devices working on my home PC. I thought all the USB ports were equal, that I could plug any device in any port and they'd play happily together - how wrong I was.

My PC has four USB ports on the back, and two on the front. It seems that devices that need to draw any significant current (portable hard drive, TV tuner, mouse) have to be plugged into the rear ports. Only the devices which carry their own power (iPod, printers, digital cameras) will function when plugged into the front of the PC. But for added quirkiness my Freecom DVB-T TV tuner only seems to work when plugged into one particular rear port. Oh, and the thing is so chunky that it blocks access to the neighbouring port, so I had to find an extension cable.

Now, the cables to two printers are aesthetically unpleasant when connected to the front of the PC, so I've had to invest in a USB hub (although I did find a neat one on eBay that doubles as a memory card reader).

I think, finally, I'm sorted. I can use my mouse (always useful), portable hard drive and two printers whilst watching TV, synching my iPod and copying photos from my CF cards. Hmmm, but all those photos are filling up the hard disks, I guess it's time for a new one - this time I think I'll opt for FireWire :-)