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Pocket Sized USB DNA Reader

I won’t claim to be a science expert, but found this article very interesting about a DNA Reader just a little larger than a USB drive.

For years, Illumina Technology has the lead in genome sequencing. Their gear is good and from what I understand their gear is expensive. The MinION (from Oxford Nanopore ) is an inexpensive alternative with some great upsides.

The DNA sequencer is just over $1,000 at the time of this post. Traditionally, a DNA sequencer could only read about 200 basis. A “basis” is a nucleobasis which is a collection of biologicial compounds that make up the basic building blocks of nucleic acid… or DNA.

The MinION is impressive with the ability to read 900,000 basis. Also called “long reads.” With the long reads you get a better idea of the compounds making up the DNA. Although the longer reads are not as accurate as short reads, the trade-off isn’t bad. The amount of time and effort to construct a long read from a collection of short reads is considerable. The less accurate long reads from MinION and not that far off base, thus a bit of a break through.

It is simply amazing that 15 years ago the human genome was a global effort, yet today it can be done in a device no larger than a flash drive.

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Morse Code Beacon via USB Board

For those into home-brew programming projects, its easy to make a microcontroller spit out some Morse code with the post shown below. What makes [pavlin’s] take on this project interesting is that it resides on a tiny USB board with an ARM processor. The design for the board is available with single-sided artwork suitable for production using simple methods like toner transfer.

The STM device has a built-in USB bootloader. It can also act as a serial port, which makes the project very simple and a bit more flexible. The only external parts are a speaker and an opt-oisolator.

The program provides a command line interface over the serial port that you can use to program the message and set other options like speed and the delay between messages.

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USB Flash Drive Power Monitor

Smartronix has a USB power monitor and it’s ideal for those who want to regulate what power is coming from a USB device.  Most notably would be the ability to test power from a suspect defective drive or gadget.  With so many useless USB toys made in cheap factories over seas, one can get a product which plays havoc with your system.  Most problems always come from power.

Granted the power meter probably takes more juice then any USB power gadget your testing, but again, this is designed for the hobbyist or guy troubleshooting some gear.

This is also a good device to test products which claim to fall into the USB-IF specification for a USB device, something like this USB power meter could help prove your case against an overseas supplier who’s not fessing up to their poor quality work.  (can you tell we’ve ran into this problem on multiple occasions !)

Too bad it doesn’t measure calories, otherwise we’d find out just how hard that USB humping dog is really working.

Smartronix webstore, vai Gadgeteer.

Features:

  • USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 compatible
  • Large, easy to read LCD
  • Folding Stand
  • Auto Power-Down
  • Peak Hold
  • Measures current in either direction (Host>Device or Device>Host
  • Batteries and USB Cable included

Specifications:

  • Maximum Voltage Reading +/- 19.99 Volts
  • Voltage Reading Accuracy: +/- 0.1 volt from -10V to 10V; 5% from 10.01V to 19.99V; 5% from -10.01V to -19.99V
  • Maximum Current Reading +/- 1999 mA
  • Current Reading Accuracy: +/- 2mA from -500mA to 500mA; 5% from 501mA to 1999mA; 5% from -501mA to -1999mA
  • USB Type B upstream Jack
  • USB type A downstream Jack
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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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Microsoft With USB Anti-Malware RootKit

Microsoft has made available a new version of “Defender” to ride infected computers of malware, including rootkits which highjack your boot process and corrupt your computer.

The “Defender Offline Beta” is available from Microsoft for free [here] and does require updates as virus definitions are always changing.

Definitions are files that provide an encyclopedia of potential software threats. Because new threats appear daily, it’s important to always have the most up-to-date definitions installed in Windows Defender Offline Beta. Armed with definition files, Windows Defender Offline Beta can detect malicious and potentially unwanted software, and then notify you of the risks.

The Redmond company suggests you make a USB drive with the Defender Offline Beta software from a PC which is not infected.  Doing so on a corrupted computer could interfere with the USB and yield the Microsoft tool useless.

To use Windows Defender Offline Beta, you need to follow four basic steps:

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Solar Powered Guitar Tuner by Tascam

Tascam Solar Powered Tuner

Whether you are a serious musician or just like playing as a hobby to relax, chances are you have a guitar and a tuner.  As with most musicians your budget is probably tight or with the casual player you don’t keep up on the up-keep of your gear, so when your guitar is out of tune, you go for the tuner.  But most likely the battery is dead because A) you didn’t want to spend the cash or B) hadn’t played in so long, the batteries just went dead.  This is why the solar powered guitar tuner makes perfect sense.

Tascam has done a great job with this tuner and thought about including a USB port just in case that tuner was stuffed in your guitar case for too long and you need a quick fix to get back in tune.

Released just in time for the holidays and priced right [under $20] with a range of hues to select from: black, pink, orange, green, blue, white.

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