First post, by sirnephilim
What sort of odd, questionably useless but oddly cool hardware did you used to own back in the day?
I think the weirdest thing I owned was the Cue Cat. It was a gimmick for one of those Internet Rewards programs so common back in the early aughts which tried to get you to buy products via their affiliates for discounts and points towards rewards, only this one was backed by hardware. It was an oddly shaped barcode scanner, resembling a big pen carved into the shape of a cat while also resembling a discreet marital aid with a USB cord for a tail. The trick was that each scanner would inject a unique ID when it scanned a barcode to associate it with your account. I never actually enrolled in the program further than what it took to get the device, but I imagine the idea was you'd scan something and it would take you to a site to order that product from one of their affiliates.
What I ended up doing with it was making a ghetto secure password device. Since it emulated a keyboard for inputting the scanned code, and also contained a unique ID, I would scan a 12oz coke can for my password. Didn't work with everything - the code was fairly long - but it worked for Linux and Windows just fine. It's still around here somewhere, just a question of which box in which area it ended up occupying.