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A USB Flash Drive Which Cannot Get a Virus

A computer virus is something we all strive to avoid because we understand the consequences and the amount of time and energy required to restore a computer to its original condition. In a recent poll by GetUSB.info when asking users to name the top three ways a computer can get a virus, they responded with:

  • # Link from an email
  • # Link from an unsecure website
  • # USB flash drive
  • However, if Nexcopy has anything to do with the last answer, a computer virus which spreads by USB flash drive will be a thing of the past.

    Nexcopy is a US company based in Southern California who specializes in flash memory duplication equipment, printers, FDA compliant flash drives, copy protection and now a road-blocking malware on flash drives.

    USB drive cannot get a virus

    A virus will spread via a USB stick because the device is writable. In fact, any device that is connected to a computer which is writeable could spread a virus; other devices such as external hard drives, SD cards, microSD cards, etc. all have the same potential for harm.

    But what happens when you turn these storage devices on their head and not allow them to be writable in the first place? This simple yet obvious solution is a gigantic step in the right direction for controlling the spread of a virus via USB.

    The Lock License flash drive designed and manufactured by Nexcopy is exactly that. The Lock License drive is a USB stick which is always write protected. The device doesn’t care what it’s plugged into, or when, or how, the Lock License drive will always be read-only.

    A virus will spread in a very specific way. A virus is designed to scan newly connected devices and ping them to see if they can spread (if the device is writable). A new device is defined by any computer system when “power” is assigned upon connection, which, coincidentally is the same time the virus will try and spread.

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Transfer Rates Faster Than USB

In the world of physics, heat represents resistance. Think of touching your car tire before you’ve driven it – cool. Think of touching your car tire after driving to the store – warm. Resistance.

Copper found in USB connectors and USB cables is the heat element which represents the resistance of faster speeds. The warmer copper gets, the slower the data transfer rates will be because the heat represents inefficiencies of the material.

Research presented at February’s IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference by lead author Jack Holloway and co-authors Ruonan Han and Georgios Dogiamis developed a data transfer system that can transmit information 10 times faster than a USB. The new link pairs high-frequency silicon chips with a polymer cable as thin a strand of hair.

Mr Holloway explains, “Copper wires, like those found in USB or HDMI cables, are power-hungry — especially when dealing with heavy data loads. There’s a fundamental tradeoff between the amount of energy burned and the rate of information exchanged.”

The most common alternative suggested to a copper wire would be an optical wire. Optical wires deal with photons and are extremely efficient but the problem are how the photons interact will silicon of a chip. Since photons don’t work well when talking to silicon, it means a direct connection from a fiber optic cable to a computer chip isn’t ideal.

The technology (by Holloway and team) is a plastic polymer material which works very well at sub-terahertz signals (very high signals) which translates to a competitive alternative to fiber optics.

Next, the team engineered a low-cost chip which pairs with the polymer conduit. Typically, silicon chips struggle to operate at sub-terahertz frequencies. Yet the team’s new chips generate those high-frequency signals with enough power to transmit data directly into the conduit. That clean connection from the silicon chips to the conduit means the overall system can be manufactured with standard, cost-effective methods.

The physical size of this plastic polymer is the same size as a human hair.

Resource: Fiber Optics.

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USB Flash Drive Speed Test – Built Free in Windows

Did you know Windows 10 has a speed test feature you can easily run from the CMD prompt?

This feature is what many USB flash drive speed test applications call upon during their operation. Rather than download some software utility off the internet, which only god knows what virus could be lurking inside, just use the Windows tool.

In addition to avoiding the possibility of a virus from a internet download, this tool is a standardized feature everyone has. In the event you are having performance issues you are trying to report to a flash drive manufacturer, this tool gives you both the same code to perform USB flash drive speed tests without having different applications giving varied results.

Every flash drive manufacturer claims a particular read and write speed of their flash drive and this is a great tool to verify what you purchased is what you received. It’s been said manufacturers will manipulate their computer environment to optimize the performance and use those optimized results as their marketing material. This could be true when a manufacturer is trying to determine the maximum performance, so let’s take a look now at benchmarking a standard environment.

The read and write speed of a flash drive will depend on the USB port one is using during the test. You will see a performance difference between a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 device that is connected to a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 socket on your computer. So take note about what you are doing!

After you’ve connected the USB drive to your USB port, take note of which technology they are, and be sure no data is on your drive. Although this Windows utility did not remove our data during testing, one can never be too sure.

In Windows type CMD into the search field.

Please be sure to use the Ctrl + Shift keys when you click the Enter key. This will run the command prompt at the Administrator level. You want to run this at the Admin level because if you don’t, a separate window will pop up during the testing process and immediately disappear with the process is done… taking the speed test results with it!

Once you’ve opened the command prompt at the Admin level, type the following:

winsat disk -drive d (where d is drive letter)

Windows will perform it’s task and should take about one minute to complete. The results will be printed out in the console window once everything is complete. Take note from our example below. This is a 64GB drive which we connected to both a USB 2.0 socket and a USB 3.0 socket. You can see the performance difference.

The information you want are:

  • > Disk Sequential 64.0 Read
  • > Disk Sequential 64.0 Write

Nice feature, right? Free and immediately available.

For those who don’t want to go this far, you could always take a large file, say 100MBs or larger and drag-and-drop this to your USB flash drive for speed testing. Just look at the copy process window and you’ll get a fairly good idea of device speed.

It’s important to remember flash drive media does not copy at sustained transfer speeds. The speed process does move around during the copy process; however, the read process is more stable and should happen at a more sustained transfer speed. We’ve seen drives drop down to 1MB/second for a short bit, before jumping back up to 30+MB/second write speed.

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How To Get Large Videos Off iPhone

There are two popular methods to get large videos off your iPhone.

The most common problem is having a large video on your iPhone which you need on your computer. Email programs usually limit a file size at 20MBs, so if the file is larger, what can you do?

There are two popular options which come to mind: Use QuickTime or Use a USB flash drive.

Option #1

Use QuickTime. Macs already have QuickTime built into the OS, but Windows users must install it. Before deciding this as your best route to get large videos off your iPhone here is a list of things to consider:

  • You must backup your iPhone on QuickTime before you access the video
  • You need your computer (an authoized computer) to perform the backup
  • Windows user smust download and install QT
  • QuickTime is an invasive program which most Windows users will not like
  • Not a “portable” way to get the videos off your iPhone
  • However, this is a free solution!

Option #2

Use a flash drive.

Yes, you need to buy a specific flash drive, but after this investment it’s infinitely easier to get videos off your iPhone. Some advantages worth considering:

  • Get large videos off your phone without a PC
  • Share the videos immediately to another user’s PC
  • External storage device for backups of those videos

Point number one is really the value in all this {wink}.

Yes, you need to make a purchase of a product so you won’t be able to make the transfer ‘right now’ but will be able to once you have the USB device.

Specific USB drives have software which work with the iOS allowing the download of files from the phone to the drive. The one tested is the SanDisk iXpand flash drive at 128GB capacity and will cost about $40ish dollars.

The process is very straight forward.

  • Download the iXpand app from the Apple app store
  • Connect the flash drive to your iPhone
  • Select what file you want to transfer, that’s it
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How To: Watch Video, Play Music on PS5 from USB Flash Drive

Like the PS4, the Sony PS5 lets you play music and video from a USB flash drive through the console. The process is easy enough and some reminders on “how to” might speed up the process of getting things to work smoothy.

The PS5 will play MP3 audio and MP4 video from a USB flash drive. Unfortunately the Sony PS5 doesn’t play back all audio format types or video format types, so if you stick with the most common and most universal, which is MP3 for audio and MP4 for video, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Please take note: The PS5 supports all of the same formats as the PS4 family and supports video in max resolutions of 3840 x 2160. Unfortunately, trying 8K videos doesn’t work because the SP5 doesn’t support an 8K output (right now).

Pro tip: Make sure your MP3 audio and MP4 video are organized in folders because the PS5 will make a play list order from the content found within those folders. It’s a manual process, but it’s best if you want to have somewhat of an organized playlist. Maybe make different folders from different artists to play MP3 audio from a USB flash drive on your PS5.

To play back video and audio from a USB stick you’ll have navigate to separate sections.

Don’t go to the Media section. That section is only for streaming content you purchased from the PS Store.

To watch video, long-press the PS Button and select Media Gallery from the main list. Then click USB on the far right. You can only access video this way.

ps5 media gallery usb screen shot

Navigation looks something like this:

PS5 Home -> Media Gallery -> USB

Remember, the files stored in the folder are arranged like a playlist with the PS5 console is indexing the content. You can press R1 or L1 to skip back and forth. Press right and left on the D-Pad to skip ahead in small chapter-style skips.

To play audio, simply press the PS Button once to open up the Control Center quick bar. Then select the Music icon. It’s pretty bare-bones right now, but it’s functional.

Music can be played in the background as you do other things/play games. Once music is playing, you can pause it and change tracks right from the Command Center.

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Disk Signature Collision While Cloning

Microsoft Windows has been sending out updates which have created some problems for those cloning mass storage devices like USB flash drives and USB hard drives. This article should help you resolve those issues.

The Disk Signature is a unique ID Windows will assign to a device inside the Master Boot Record or MBR. The disk signature is 6 bytes long and sits in the first sector of the mass storage device. The disk signature becomes a problem for those cloning flash drives or hard drives with either a software utility or a large duplication equipment like a USB duplicator. The disk signature compounds itself if a multi-partition device is being cloned.

Many times a multi-partition device is created in Linux and at the time of create only one disk signature is assigned to the physical device. However, if multiple units of those copies are put in a Windows computer, Windows will try and assign a disk signature to each partition. This will cause a collision.

There are different situations one could have a disk signature collision, so this is only one example.

GetUSB.info did a write up about this a couple months back, here is the full blog post:
https://www.getusb.info/only-1-usb-drive-can-be-use-others-are-ignored/

In addition, we found the following website which does a fantastic job about how one would edit the disk signature using a hex editor:
http://www.multibooters.com/tutorials/view-and-change-disk-signature-in-mbr.html

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Maintenance for USB Flash Drive Duplicator

USB flash drive duplicators are typically in production type environments because the equipment is being used to make hundreds or thousands of flash drives. In this type of environment if may be required to perform routine maintenance to keep the duplication equipment operating at peak performance.

As with any flash memory duplicator system, there are no moving parts. This certainly makes it easier on keeping the gear in tip-top shape. Although there are no moving parts there are still cleaning steps one can take. There are three areas to consider for maintenance for USB Flash Drive Duplicator.

usb duplicator, usb 3.0, super speed

The USB socket of a USB duplicator receives the most wear-and-tear. The standard USB socket has a specification of 100,000 connection cycles. During that time, it’s possible dirt and dust can get into the USB socket. However, more likely will be plastic shavings form the USB stick itself found inside the socket. If a user connects a USB stick at a slight angle and with a bit of force, it’s possible some of the plastic inside the USB stick connector is shaved off and falls into the USB socket of the flash drive duplicator.

If this happens the quick, simple and effective solution is applying compressed air into the USB duplicator socket to blow out any debris, dust or dirt. By cleaning out the sockets you will insure a better point of contact between the pins of the USB flash drive and the pins of the USB socket.

Another common issue with USB duplicators are the sockets themselves getting lose from all the connection cycles during the production process. Inside each USB socket there are metal tongs which provide tension as the USB stick is connected to the socket. Over time, these tongs lose some of their elasticity and thus result in less tension. When there is less tension between the socket and device, it is possible a good connection is not made. By taking appart the duplicator and adjusting the tongs of the USB socket you can create good, strong tension.

Here is a close up picture of a USB socket from a USB flash drive duplicator made by Nexcopy. The red arrow points the tension tong. Using some sort of sharp mechanical tool, push the tension tong down towards the inner part of the USB socket. Do not push or bend the tong too much, but enough to create good tension when a USB flash drive is inserted into the socket. Apply this technique to all sockets of the duplicator.

usb duplicator, tension thongs on usb socket

The last bit of maintenance for a USB flash drive duplicator would be the internal fan and components. As with any computer, the internal fan will pull or push dust into the chassis and cover the components. The dust itself will not damage the components, but the dust will cover the components on the inside and make them run hotter than what is ideal. For this reason, it is a good maintenance step to open the duplicator unit and apply compressed air to the inside of the unit.

By thoughtfully and methodically applying the above maintenance steps your USB flash drive duplicator will continue to run for many years.

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Universal USB Type A Connector – Doesn’t Matter What Side Is Plugged In

There are some USB articles floating around right now about the USB type A connector and how it takes three tries for a connection. Well, we do agree with them but it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a universal USB connector for the Type A, it’s just not that readily available.

Would you buy this? Shoot us an email if interested {gmo [@] getusb [.] info}

Pictures first, here are three up-close pictures of the universal USB connector

universal USB connector

universal type A connector

picture of universal USB connector

Physically, a USB type-A connector appears to be symmetrical. It’s rectangular in shape with no clear marking of a top or bottom. I think most have figured out the seem on the USB is the bottom side, the smooth side would be the top. HDMI for example is very easy to distinguish top and bottom because each side is shaped a little differently. However, the type A connector is not symmetrical! Looking inside the connector one will see a slight position change of the internal USB connector. One side up – one side down.

It is unclear why this USB connector type has not gained more traction with vendors and manufactures. Our company received samples of this several years ago with the comment product would change to this connector type; however, that shift has never come to fruition.

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Quickly Eject USB Flash Drive in Windows

It seems the Microsoft updates are endless for Windows 10. Most users don’t bother with reading the notes about what has changed or been updated, myself included.

Today we noticed the eject feature in the Windows toolbar for quickly unmounting USB flash drives.

This isn’t breaking news. Simply a post about a feature you might not have noticed.

How to quickly eject a USB flash drive in Windows:

Click the access arrow in your tool bar

Hover over the USB icon and click

Your list of connected devices will show up. Hover over the USB flash drive device you want to Eject and click it.

That’s it. Your USB flash drive is now ejected.

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ASUS Tinker Board 2 With Four USB 3.0 Ports

ASUS unveiled the Tinker Board 2 and Tinker Board 2S, its most powerful single-board computer or (SBC) and was designed to challenge the Raspberry Pi. The Tinker Board 2 and Tinker Board 2S have a Rockchip RK3399 processor, and up to 4 GB of dual-channel LPDDR4 RAM in addition to more USB connectivity than before with one USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C socket and three USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A sockets.

The only thing distinguishing the Tinker Board 2S from the Tinker Board 2 is its 16 GB of eMMC flash storage. The latter relies on a microSD card reader instead, which the Tinker Board 2S also has. All other specifications are identical, though.

Underpinning both SBCs is a Rockchip RK3399 processor that includes two ARM Cortex-A72 cores, four ARM Cortex-A53 cores and an ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU. There is also 2 GB or 4 GB of dual-channel LPDDR4 RAM.

Here is a list of the I/Os:

  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C (OTG & DisplayPort 1.2)
  • 3x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
  • 1x 22-pin MIPI DSI
  • 1x 15-pin MIPI CSI-2
  • 1x RJ-45 Gigabit LAN
  • 1x Wi-fI 802.11 ac & Bluetooth 5.0
  • 1x 40-pin GPIO header
  • 1x DC fan header
  • 1x RTC battery header
  • 1x Power and recovery headers
  • 1x 12 V – 19 V DC-in barrel connector

Now heres the real question; will ASUS have the same problem with nearly zero support for the board? The thing that keeps the Pi above everyone else, is the support/community behind it.

Asus Tinker Board 2 and Tinker Board 2S

Small at 85 mm x 56 mm supports Debian 9, while ASUS plans to deliver Android 10 by Q1 2021. So it’s heard, the Tinker Board 2 and Tinker Board 2S will offer up to 1.5x the performance of the original Tinker Board. It is unknown when ASUS plans to release either board though, or how much they will cost. However, we expect them to arrive by Q1 2021, going off ASUS’ commitment to delivering Android 10 in that quarter.

Although the Tinker Board 2 isn’t available as of this post (Nov 2020) you can click this Tinker Board 2 link at any time to search it’s availability on Amazon.

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Press Release: Nexcopy Introduces Default State USB Write Protection Flash Drive – Lock License

“The fundamental change towards how our flash drive works should draw attention for those looking for read-only USB flash drives” says Greg Morris, CEO of Nexcopy Inc.

What is unique about the Lock License approach is whenever power is cut to the device, for example disconnection, the USB is automatically write protected. This is the strongest first line defense against malicious software or virus jumping onto a flash drive without the user knowing. It is impossible to infect a USB drive if the device is write protected.

Lock License flash drives require a password upon first use. This password is used to unlock the write protection and make the USB a read/write device. This feature provides a personalized solution for each business which uses the Lock License technology. There is no need to set the write protection after being unlocked because simply cutting power to the device will put the USB into its default state: A read-only device.

The Nexcopy Lock License USB flash drive has the following features:

  • Default state of drive is read-only, a.k.a write protected
  • User assigned password to remove write protection
  • No password is required to read from the drive, acts as normal WORM device
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) to set password and remove write protection
  • Command line utility for custom integration to remove write protection
  • No back door password or feature from Nexcopy to unlock the drive
  • Available in USB 2.0 and 3.0 technology and ranging from 2GB through 128GB capacities

Stan McCrosky, head of Sales, comments, “System Control manufacturers for waterworks, electrical utility and petroleum companies need a solution like this. The ability to load software or firmware to a hardware based USB read-only device gives system control companies an incredible amount of security for in-field deployment via USB. More importantly, the command line utility gives the manufacturers a secure way to unlock the drive and update the content remotely without the worry of the drive remaining read/write. It’s simply impossible for the drive to remain writable.” McCrosky concludes.

The Lock License USB flash drive is simple to implement. Steps include:

  • Connect USB to a Windows computer
  • Open either GUI or command line utility to remove write protection
  • Assign a password to be used when removing the write protection
  • Data load the drive as needed
  • Eject drive from computer once copy process is complete
  • At this point the USB is write protected at the hardware controller level
  • The Lock License drive can be read (used) by any device on any platform
  • Password not required to read data from the drive
  • Password is only used when removing write protection to make the USB read/write

Nexcopy Lock License media is available in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 technology and range it capacity from 2GB through 128GB. Nexcopy offers six body styles for the Lock License media with a wide range of body colors available for each stye, all available for custom branding. The six body styles include Oxford; a capless swivel style drive. Newport; a classic rectangular shape with cap. Lexington; a classic rectangular style with rounded edges and cap. Augusta; a shorter style drive with large lanyard loop. Huntington and Geneva which uses an aluminum body for more durability and also better suited for laser etch branding.

The Oxford style swivel drive is the in stock media Nexcopy carries for same day printing and shipping. Nexcopy inventories USB 2.0 media of 2GB and 4GB capacity and in stock USB 3.0 media of 8GB, 16GB, 32Gb, 64GB and 128GB capacities. The in stock Oxford media is a black body with white swivel clip with full color printing via the Nexcopy Logo-EZ USB flash drive printer.

The Lock License utility is available for download off the Nexcopy support page. The utility requires a Nexcopy licensed USB flash drive. The Lock License USB write protection is not a universal solution for any thumb drive, a Nexcopy drive is required in order to take advantage of the increased security the technology offers.

Official press release:

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