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Store Files on USB Flash or USB Hard Drive?

Flash drives are getting cheaper and flashdrives are getting bigger.  You get to a point and ask yourself, should I archive my valuable information on a large flashdrive or a USB hard drive?  For example, lets say you have 10GBs of photos from your phone or camera and you are looking to archive those pictures.  Should you do this to a flash drive or a hard drive?

The easiest and most convenient decision would be saving your files to the flash drive.  Most everyone has a 16GB USB flashdrive these days, it fits in  your hand and you can carry it around with out trouble.  But will it last?  Is a USB flashdrive where I should put my photos if my computer crashes and I need to restore my photos?  Lets forget about the possibility you simply misplace the USB flashdrive.  Is the device archive worthy?

The other option is the USB hard drive.  Most people don’t have one so you’ll need to buy one.  Although they are cheap, a USB hard drive is not as cheap as a 16GB or 32GB flash drive…and to be honest the 16-32GB sticks probably have enough space that it could hold your photos.  So is it worth the extra time and money to archive to a USB hard drive?  I guess this is the question more and more people are asking themselves.  Well I have the definitive answer:

USB hard drive.

Flashdrives are great products for quickly moving files from one computer to another.  However, they are not the best choice for archive purposes, and here are some reasons why:

The devices are small and will most likely get damaged.  Unless of course you put the USB stick into the back of your desk drawer, a USB flashdrive gets banged around a lot and this abuse lends itself to failed cells in the memory.  Meaning, over time the files will get corrupted because the NAND memory gets damaged.

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MacBook Air Adds USB 3.0

Apple released their new MacBook Air product and we are very excited to hear USB 3.0 is now standard.


If you have concerns about USB 3.0 being a new technology without much compatibility, you are totally wrong.  The great thing about USB is their backward compatible specification.  What this means, is the USB-IF [the forum which governs the technology] requires that any new USB specification work will all legacy USB protocols.

So even using that ultra slow USB drive from 2004 will work in the new MacBook Air products.  Not like you would, but it’s just an example.  Another example is using slower USB products like USB keyboards or USB calculators or USB breast warmers will work from the Apple USB 3.0 socket.

The USB 3.0 specification has a maximum transfer speed of gigabits per second.  That’s about 500MBs per second.  You must keep in mind this is the theoretical maximum and you can never expect this type of performance from a USB device, but it’s nice to know the efficiency ratios are dramatically improved with the new USB 3.0 specification.

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How To: Read CID on SD card

How To Read CID on SD card

If you are looking to read the CID number of an SD card, or extract the CID off an SD card then you’ve find this article very helpful.  Some also call this “reading the PSN off the SD card” or reading the product serial number off the SD card.

Most phones and much of the software on phones will lock in to the CID number of a SD card.  The CID number is a unique card identifier number that is unique to the card itself.  The CID number is valuable because software developers and hardware developers can lock software to the unique number of the device thus eliminating the ability to pass along licensed software.

Reading the CID number from an SD card is not an easy task.  It requires specific access codes to the index table of the memory card, and unless you know how to use the SD chipset of your card reader, chances are you wont get the number…or least the correct and accurate number.

What is the CID number of an SD card?

The CID register is 16 bytes long and contains a unique card identification number. It is programmed during card manufacturing and cannot be changed by SD Card hosts.  The CID number is a compilation of information about the card, such as manufacturer, date manufactured, checksum total, GB size and more.  Below is a table outlining all the items which make up the SD CID number.

So with all this said, how do you read the CID number from an SD card?  As we’ve mentioned it isn’t easy and it’s [more or less] hardware based.  If you do enough searching on the internet you’ll find some home-brew code to read the CID numbers, but that’s only if you have the SD card or microSD card connected via an IDE bus to your host computer.  This isn’t easy for everyone.  There is clear evidence that using a USB to SD card reader will not get you the information you require, or at least accurate and correct information.  Meaning most times the CID number generated is actually the serial number of the card reader itself, not the CID number of a specific SD card.

In addition, what if you are required to read the CID number off SD media in bulk?  A single, one-at-a-time solution is not practical.

In my search to read the CID number from SD media, I cam across Nexcopy – a manufacturer of USB duplicator equipment and other flash memory equipment.  Several models they carry are SD duplicators and microSD duplicators.  With the secure digital duplicators part of their feature set includes reading CID numbers from SD media.  The equipment can ready 20 cards at a time, 40 cards at a time, or 60 cards at a time, depending on the model.  The duplicators will read the CID number and exported to a .csv file for import into other business functions.  This configuration makes it quick and easy to obtain the CID number.  Granted, the equipment is not designed for single use operation, but rather reading the CID of SD media in bulk quantity.  Here is a screenshot of Nexcopy’s software reading 20 CID numbers:

I didn’t contact Nexcopy Incorporated for pricing of the equipment, but doing a quick search for the equipment shows me a price of about

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Zip Mini – Magnetic Charging Station

The Joy Factory has a smaller version of their popular Zip charging station, but looks just as cool.

The ZipMini Touch-n-Go™ charging station is the next step in the evolution of mobile device power.  Now you can take a call or check your e-mail without having to manually disconnect cables. Your device reconnects itself when you move it back near the charging station. This sleek little powerhouse charges up to four devices at once, eliminates cord clutter, and looks great doing it.

Touch-n-go™ is a revolutionary combination of a magnetized base unit paired with magnetized 3-inch mini-cables knows as “zip tails.” The zip tails pop immediately into place on the charging station via the built-in magnets, and safely snap off when you move your device.

The only problem I have with this solution is finding additional 30 pin connectors since I have four iPhones to charge.  In addition, TheJoyFactory doesn’t give specifics about charging times with multiple devices, so a good chance you’ll get a trickle charge to the iPad while have several other devices connected at the same time.

Purchase price for the ZipMini

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