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Home Brew USB Charger / Power Supply

Over the years I think we’ve all gathered some extra power supplies and wall adapters. Here is a quick guide to a home brew USB charger or USB power supply. This USB tutorial is from the Hacked Gadgets website and Alan runs a good site – check’em out.

This unit is great for charging your iPod, PSP or any USB device and only costs pennies to make.

usb power charger

The main unit needs to run from a regulated 5vdc wall adapter with at least 500ma or higher. These are very common and I’d think most households have at least one extra laying around.

You’ll also need:

  • 330 ohm 1/4 watt resister
  • 10k ohm 1/4 watt resister
  • 3mm LED (any color)
  • USB type A jack (female)

So this is what we have for total parts:

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Run iTunes on a USB Drive or USB Stick

apple logo silver blue

Today I put together all the information needed to run a mobile Library from Apple iTunes on a USB stick or USB drive. This method will run the entire iTunes application from the storage device, making it easy to manage iTunes libraries from a single location. I believe this is how iTunes should have be developed – as having a library specific for each computer is a frustrating way to enjoy your music.

What pushed me over the edge is my wife wanting to purchase music from iTunes at work and sync them up with the iTunes computer at home. Typically this is done by purchasing the music and downloading directly to the iPod, but she’s a CPA and travels from location to location for audits and doesn’t even use the same computer all the time – yet she loves her music. The solution was to run iTunes from a USB flash drive to manage a single Library.

This tutorial includes installing iTunes on a flash drive, creating autorun files for auto-launching iTunes from the flash drive and how to set-up iTunes on different computers to run a music library from the single flash drive. Of course this method also works for larger storage hard drives – basically anything that appears as a Mass Storage Device on your system. If you are looking for a long term strategy for managing your iTunes music, I strongly recommend doing this process to an external hard drive that is, at least, 120GBs. So here we go:

Here is a quick summary so you know what we are getting into:

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Web Server on USB Stick

Several weeks ago I ran an article on running WordPress from a USB stick. That tutorial uses the same utilities as this USB Web Server product BUT since I received 11 emails about the WordPress post – I think a version which can be purchased is worth posting.

usb web server

The USB web server is $69 and runs the following applications:

  • CGI/Perl
  • PHP/Python
  • MySQL
  • Java/JavaScript
  • Flash
  • RealAudio
  • Windows Media

WebServUSB is a full featured web server programmed into flash memory a USB device. It features HTTP and FTP web services, plus a companion email server program which provides POP3 and SMTP mail services. By plugging WebServUSB into any PC with a USB port, it can enable that PC to become and Intranet (LAN) or Internet based web server.

Since I’m a DIY type; I prefer this method.

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Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device

On more occasions that I’d like to admit, Windows will not eject a USB device from my operating system when using the Safely Remove Hardware in the icon tray. The annoying error message Windows displays “The device cannot be stopped right now. Try stopping the device again later” usually appears in a time sensitive situation. So what is the work around?

usb device locked

Try using a freeware software utility I found while reading FreewareGenius.com called Unlocker. Unlocker is a utility that frees a file or folder which is being used by another program or process. Albeit there are situations that a file should remain tied to it’s process or program but other times you need to force the release.

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USB and DOS – Does It Work?

USB on DOS, does it work? Sometimes. At least that’s the answer Ed gave me from BootDisk.com.

dos usb

USB was never meant to run from DOS, yet there are situations you want a USB device to run from DOS. For those elite select few check out BootDisk to homebrew your own solution.

Unfortunately there isn’t one disc or zip file you can unpack, load and mount a USB device and for that reason BootDisk gives you several options to figure things out.

I would say BootDisk has the most complete collection of USB drivers around if you are one in need of USB on DOS.

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WordPress On a USB Stick

You can run WordPress, or any blog platform, from a USB stick. It’s easy and useful. If you are anything like me, you are probably laughing while asking the question “Why would anyone need to run WordPress from a USB drive?” I laughed too, until recently.

About two months ago I received a notice for jury duty. Just a couple days ago I served for jury duty. I wasn’t called into a trial, but I did make the most of my day. All thanks to my WordPress on a stick. I didn’t know if the court house had internet access and didn’t feel like reading a book all day, so I dove into a little project to run WordPress from a stick. After all I had a long list of website tweaks I wanted to perform and this could be the perfect day to do them.

After a day of working with my remote blog platform I came to realize there are many reasons why this is valuable…here is a short list I came up with:

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