You've just purchased some portable device (be it an MP3 or MP4 player, mobile phone, PND, etc.) and you want to charge it, but you have no “traditional” power cable, just an USB cable provided in the sales package. What's to be done in this case? How can you provided the much needed power to your product?
Well, look no further, we've got an answer for you. There are two distinct methods, one which involves no money, just some poking around the USB ports' area, while the second, although more costly, can also prove to be a lot more useful on the long term.
So, if you're not keen on spending any more money, you can simply insert the USB power cable into the nearest available (and powered) USB port. Typically, powered USB ports are found on computers and laptops, rather than USB hubs, so it's very likely that you'll have to search for a port on your system's case.
If your system happens to be a notebook, then connecting the USB cable will actually be a pretty easy task, since in the case of portable systems, the respective ports are quite easy to reach. However, things are a bit different in the case of desktop PCs, whose cases are typically found underneath desks and in hard-to reach places. If you've got the active USB ports on the front side of the case, then you're in luck. Otherwise, you're other have to “dig” your way to the case' rear or, better yet, connect either a hug or an USB extension cable to one of the available ports.
The first alternative to the aforementioned issue is to purchase a powered USB hub. Unlike ordinary USB hubs, which can be used solely for transferring data, powered USB hubs (which are accompanied by a power adapter) can also charge the devices connected to them, thus enhancing their level of versatility and, in the same time, allowing users to keep the computer's USB ports free.
The second alternative (which is actually recommended) is to purchase an adapter. There are quite a few mains-to-USB power adapters out there, and these devices can probe to be extremely useful, the main reason being the fact that they allow users to charge their USB devices even in the total absence of a computer and wherever they might want (as long as there's a power socket available, of course).