There's a good chance that the USB ports in your PlayStation 3 mostly, if not exclusively, get used to power and connect your gaming accessories. What's not obvious, however, is that those USB ports can also be used to read and write data to a standard thumbdrive.
What kind of data, you ask? Dust off your thumbdrive and check out these three useful ways to pair it with your PS3.
Three ways to use a USB drive with your PS3
Load up music, movies, and photos
There are a few ways to get music, video, and photos from your computer to your PS3: wirelessly stream it; burn a CD with the data; or use a USB thumbdrive. Streaming is a great option if you want constant access to your PC's media library, but often the experience is tainted by lag and a spotty Wi-Fi connection.
If you want to play back specific movies, photos, or music files on your PS3, use a USB drive. The PS3 supports a variety of file types, including MP4, DivX, AVI, and WMV. The trick is to organize the media on the USB flash drive into folders labeled MUSIC, VIDEO, and PICTURE.
Then, when you plug the USB drive into your PS3, you'll see the media in the folders appear in the Cross Media Bar (XMB) under their respective categories.
Transfer game saves
If you want to pick up where a friend left off in a game, borrow his or her MLB franchise, or play your game on a friend's PS3, it's all possible with a USB drive.
Plug in your USB drive, and from the Games menu, go to your game saves. Find the game you want to transfer and hit the Options button. If you don't see the option, it's likely that the game is license-protected. If you do, hit "Copy" and move it to your flash drive. When you plug your drive into another PS3, you'll find the game save in the Saved Data Utility.
Update your system
The PS3 is notorious for sluggish system updates that keep you waiting while a 100MB-plus file downloads, then installs at a snail's pace. One way to shorten this time-consuming task is to take your USB drive to work and download the update onto it while you're there. That way, all you have to do when you get home is plug it into the PS3 and install the update.
Go to the PS3 update page, download the latest update, and put it in a folder on your USB drive labeled UPDATE. Then, plug it into your PS3, head to Settings > System Update, and install it from your storage device.
If you have any cool uses for a USB drive, let me know in the comments, and check out these 10 awesome ways to use a thumbdrive with your PC.