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How To: USB WiFi Signal Extender

Several years ago, I reported on a USB wifi extender in parabolic form.  Now, we’ve got a slimmed down version using an empty food can and your USB wifi dongle.

It’s not the prettiest thing, but it works and will boost your signal strength enough to grab the channel from your neighbor who’s barely showing up in your wireless network.

USB wifi extender

Plus this hack gives you adjustable control both up and down, and left and right.

The concept here is getting the can to increase your signal.  In addition, mounting the can and USB wifi dongle to a portable camera stand.  This will give you the stability you need to keep the signal strength strong while in use.  It will also allow you to keep the position for use from day to day.

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Review: USB Benchmark Software

Review:  USB Benchmark software by USB Performance.

USB Performance has a nice USB benchmark testing program with lots of features besides read / write tests.

The USB performance testing software gives you the option to test at a File Copy level or a Bit for Bit copy level.  The difference with the File Copy is the process includes reading from the File Allocation Table [FAT] and thus slows down the process.  The bit for bit read/write tests will show the best possible performance your device will be able to obtain.

USB benchmark

Included in the USB benchmark software are some bonus features such as file recovery.

We all know with flash memory once you click delete, it’s gone forever.  Well the USB Performance software will recover those deleted files.  OR maybe you’ve lost data with a system Blue Screen or hardware crash, again the USB recovery feature should be able to restore those lost files.

Another nice feature is the backup function.  The backup function will create a single image file on your PC.  You can restore or backup the image file at any time.  This nice thing about a single image file [rather than copying all the

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USB KVM Kit Turns Your Laptop Into Portable KVM Station

Have you ever thrown your hands up in frustration because you simply want to use the Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse of a laptop to access a server or other standalone device?  I have, but never know what product could help…now I do.

The Portable Laptop KVM Adapter from StarTech is specifically designed to turn your notebook into a portable KVM station.  Simply connect the adapter between your standalone [or GUIless device] and notebook and you’re off and running.

portable KVM station

I would think the biggest market for such a product are large data centers where they need to access any number of servers without a full KVM installation.

“Aside from a rack mount LCD console, which can be expensive, server administrators and technicians would typically have to use a server room ‘crash cart’, which is a cart comprised of a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Although a typical ‘crash cart’ is somewhat mobile, it lacks the portability of our Laptop KVM Adapter, which provides identical but more convenient control”.

The NOTECONS01 USB 2.0 Laptop KVM Adapter offers immediate BIOS-level access to the connected computer from the laptop control point, as well as the ability to handle full configuration of the attached PC, server, or other headless machines such as ATMs, kiosks and VLTs.

USB portable KVM station

But the portable USB KVM station doesn’t come cheap, the MSRP starts at $470.

Thanks Andrea!

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Tektronix Brings SuperSpeed USB Test Tools to the Geeks

tektronix usb 3.0Tektronix just announced test tools for the USB 3.0 SuperSpeed specification.  This means those uber geeks – and we don’t mean that in a derogatory way – will have the tools to prove their devices meet the new USB 3.0 specification.

It is estimated that initial SuperSpeed USB interface ICs and consumer products should appear in early 2010, with widespread adoption continuing throughout 2010. The first SuperSpeed USB products will likely include data-storage devices such as flash drives, external hard drives, digital music players, and digital cameras.

“SuperSpeed USB is a giant leap forward in data transfer rates for many devices and consequently requires much more sophisticated testing,” said Ian Valentine, general manager, Technology Solutions Group, Tektronix. “SuperSpeed USB will operate at 5 Gb/s, more than 10 times greater than the existing high-speed USB standard. This speed will require comprehensive signal testing for transmitters, interconnects, and receivers. Customers will be able to fully test the physical layers of their SuperSpeed USB devices using the latest test solution from Tektronix.”

The Tektronix test solution for USB 3.0 includes:

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USB Pregnancy Test Kit

So what could they think of next? A USB pregnancy test kit? – you have got to be kidding me! Nope.

Pteq is taking the process totally digital with their new USB pregnancy test kit. I’m not sure why, as any test kit is a simple pee on the stick, and wait for one strip or two. So what does the USB bring to the table?

Well, to answer that question lets visit ThinkGeek and see what they had to say…and I must say, the did a great job describing the product. Take a read:

usb pregnancy test kit

Quote:One line or two. Yes or no. Pregnancy tests are binary by their very nature. So when we found p-Teq’s USB Pregnancy Test Kit that’s chock full of extra scientific information, we knew we had to get this geeky goodness to our potentially spawning fans.

The process starts off like most pregnancy tests. You pee on a stick, specifically the absorbent test strip at one end. But everything’s different after that first step. Remove the cap from the other end of the stick (cleverly provided to keep you from accidentally contaminating the wrong end) to reveal the USB connector. Pop it in your computer. The power from your USB port starts the electrospray ionization process, creating a spectrograph of the various masses for your analysis. Get it? Your analysis? Urinalysis? *rimshot* Moving on.

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