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:
GetUSB reported on running Linux on a USB key, we even reported on a full running PC shaped like a key. Today we found Mac-On-A-Stick. A prebuilt package to run that ever so classic Mac 128K and Mac Plus.
You’ll need several utilities to build the Mac package and some time on your hands. I opt for the quick download…
So what could you do with this Mac-on-a-stick, well maybe show your kids what the original Mac OS looked like (good timing with the iPhone launch and show them where Apple began), play with some old system software to re-live the good-ol-days or possibly use a Mac on Windows or Linux machine.
You can download the zip and build everything on a flash drive as small as 32MBs (if you still have one that small) just make the jump over to Nothickmanuals.info.
The guys at Instructables came up with a chest harness to generate power for USB devices. Maybe they’ll give new meaning to the term wonderbra.
Using some high-ratio gear motors this “thorax expansion coupler” uses your body motion for regular breathing. Although the instructions to build such a device are a little taxing, it would be a fun gear-head project.
The goal of the chest USB charger would be generating about 500mW and in the enclosure size of a cell phone. The picture above is only a proof of concept and gets just a little over 50mW of power. At that rate, it would take about a day to charge one AA battary.
GetUSB.info has reported on several off-the-shelf USB extenders, but they are high priced, at least for the home user. If you have low signal strength and on a tight budget, here is a tutorial on making your own beefed up WiFi USB extender.
Using this home-brew WiFi extender will help pick up dozens more hot-spots in your area; don’t believe it – we’ll you’ll just have to try it – this really works. The premise of this solution is taking a parabolic dish and bouncing all possible waves into the focal point of the “dish” or in this case, the WiFi USB stick.
TrueCrypt has just what you are looking for, provided you are looking for free USB flash drive encryption software utilities.
The best feature of TrueCrypt is the automatic, on-the-fly, real-time encryption process. So it’s completely transparent.
The other great feature is the Plausible Deniability feature which provides two levels for you.
- Level 1: Hidden volumes. This is where a volume is created within another volume by TrueCrypt. The upper level (the one seen by a person forcing you to get the content) is filled with random data, so you can show them “Look man, there’s nothing there!”
- Level 2: A volume appears to consist of nothing more than random data, no signature or typology what-so-ever. Therefore, it is impossible to prove that a file, a partition or a device has been encrypted.
To round out the offerings of this free USB encryption software, TrueCrypt includes a key-log which records the time and date the last time modifications were made. Such as password changes, data access or more concerning information such as last time the device was mounted in an OS, or attempted to be mounted.
The only down side, which I feel
So here is a simple project to groom your child into the geek parent you are. Over at Hacked Gadgets Alan pointed out a “how-to” on creating your own USB charger from Lego’s.
The charger uses a Lego motor to generate current which passes through a voltage regulator and off to the USB port. If you don’t already have the Lego motor you can pick them up at target and the voltage regulator at Radio Shack.
When all done, rather then sending your kid to time-out, have them hand-crank and recharge your favorite MP3 player.
Here is a picture of the hand crank with electronics already installed.