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Does Erasing Flash Memory Shorten It’s Life?

Yes. Performing an Erase or “full format” shortens the life of the device. The erase function is also very slow.

Here are some additional questions based on the answer above which we will address in today’s post:

Is “erase” and “format” the same thing?

Erasing flash memory (a.k.a. Setting all bits to 0, also called a “full format” by Windows) does more damage. Flash memory has a limited number of times that it can be written, and the more you write to it, the more it degrades. With an erase function, you’re writing to the entire device.

With a format, all that’s happening is changing a few bits at the front of the device to say the rest of the memory space on the flash drive is available to be overwritten. This saves the life of the flash memory because the old data is not being overwritten, just flagged to do it at a later time.

Why would you need to erase a drive?

Since a format is changing just a few bits at the front of the device, it means all the data is still on the drive. The few bits we are talking about which are changed, is related to the file allocation table. The changed bits in the file allocation table, mean there are no longer instructions about the location of the digital files. Recovery software can scan the memory space and retrieve those files even though the file allocation table isn’t giving instructions on where they are located.

Think of the file allocation table as the table of contents of a book. If you tear out the table of contents of a book, but all the pages of the story are still there, it’s the same concept as formatting a device. Sure you can scan the pages to find chapter 12 with the part about Paul getting a bucket of water, it’s just hard. Same thing with formatting a drive, you can use recovery scanning software to find the files, but it’s hard. Coming back to the original question, why would someone want to erase a USB flash drive? One possible reason could be a security risk of some kind and the operator wants to insure no data is on the drive. For example, you are donating a flash drive and you had financial or medical records on the drive. By performing an erase, that data cannot be recovered.

Why does an erase take longer?

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Remote access to USB security keys

If you are an avid user of USB security dongles, you might know how challenging it may be to get remote access to these devices. To simplify this task, Electronic Team, Inc. has developed a dedicated software solution capable of sharing USB protection dongles over the network.

Donglify is a lightweight desktop application that allows connecting USB hardware keys to remote computers over the Internet and LAN. The software uses the 2048-bit SSL encryption to secure your connections, so you don’t need to worry that your sensitive data will be intercepted or lost.

One of the nicest things about Donglify is that it can redirect one USB dongle to several remote PCs simultaneously. In order to make a USB hardware key available for use on multiple computers, you can just connect the device to your local PC and share it over the network with nothing more than a couple of clicks. This option, currently, works with HASP HL Pro, Sentinel HL Pro, SafeNet eToken 5110, and CodeMeter CmStick security keys.

USB hardware keys of other types can also be shared over the Internet but you’ll be able to access them from one remote machine at a time.

Donglify is available by subscription and comes with a 30-day free trial. When the trial period is over, you can continue using the service for $19.99 a month.

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New mini Size USB Duplicator from Nexcopy

LAKE FOREST, CA, USA, November 20, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — Lake Forest, CA – November 20, 2019 – Nexcopy Inc., introduces all new mini size USB duplicator, the USB104SA, a 4 target standalone USB flash memory Duplicator specifically design to be light weight and portable.

The USB104SA USB Duplicator has a list of features which pivot from the larger, award winning, Nexcopy standalone duplicators. Features include:

  • Asynchronous copy mode, all the time
  • Binary copier will copy any format; FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, HFS, Ext2,3,4, Proprietary
  • Binary CRC verification algorithm
  • Quick Erase and Ful Erase for disk sanitization
  • Four language modes in LCD menu
  • USB speed benchmark utility
  • Firmware upgradeable

“With the lack of optical drives in computers and laptop, the USB stick continues to grow in popularity,” reports Greg Morris, President of Nexcopy. “What we have seen is a demand for both small configuration systems for those transitioning from optical media to USB media and large production systems which we’ve serviced for years. The USB104SA is a great stepping stone for those coming from the optical duplication industry.”

Stan McCrosky, head of Sales, comments, “What we have seen, are small organizations and business requesting something low cost and low volume for data duplication. Our main focus is still business-to-business, but the growing demand for low volume duplication equipment justified the development of a product like the USB104SA.”

The USB104SA is a portable solution and ideal for trade shows or spoken word events. The unit weighs less than one pound and with a foot print of about six inches by one inch tall. The unit can easily fit into your computer bag, which is ideal for carry-on luggage at the airport.

The USB duplicator is powered by a microUSB cable which can be connected to your computer laptop USB port. A USB block is also provided for powering from an outlet.

Nexcopy firmware is a code technology which has evolved since 2008. This system is backward compatible with USB 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 flash memory. The system will accept SD card reader adapters, microSD and CF card reader adapters. The firmware may be used to speed test flash memory which is a great tool for understanding the quality of flash memory a supplier has provided.

EIN PressWire official news release

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Power Over Ethernet to USB-C From Far Away

USB-C is great. Ultra fast data transfer rates close to 10Gbps and increased power to charge laptops, monitors and TVs. However; the power improvement from USB-C doesn’t last over longer cables. The USB-C (or USB 3) specification indicates the optical power and transfer rates will retain as long as the cable length is under two meters, or about six feet.

POE or Power over Ethernet, is a way to get both data and power to longer destinations via cable. PoE Texas has unveiled such a product for USB-C connections.

“As a standard USB-C offers amazing speed and power delivery. Unfortunately, USB-C can only transmit power less than ten feet (three meters), and the cable infrastructure comes at a cost premium. Ethernet cable, nearly ubiquitous in modern construction, can transmit power and data 328 feet (100 meters). USB-C power and data transmitted over Power Over Ethernet significantly lowers the cost of adopting USB-C by eliminating the need for new electrical infrastructure.”

Let’s give an example of how the PoE USB-C product could work – the following is a real life example from our own experience:

A user has a work station about 30 feet away from the production unit it needs to communicate with. The production unit is a USB-C duplicator by Nexcopy. The work station has a manager who controls the data to be loaded to USB-C flash drives, and the production unit, or USB duplicator, is manned by a production manager who physically connects and disconnects the USB sticks during the duplication process.

Because a standard USB-C cable cannot be used, as the distance is too far, the User could employ the USBC Power Over Ethernet product and get both the power and data to the destination.

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How USB Cables Affect Charging – Simple Test

I came across an interesting article today from Dr Gough, a tech nerd. and thought it good enough to summarize here:

The USB specifications for power from a port vary from 100mA to 1.5A and up to 100W of power for USB Type C, but the cables and connectors used in a cable might not align with the power specifications of the product being designed and used. Cables are typically rated for about 1.8A of current, which is most common for cables used for charging.

usb cable

The 1.8A rating is based on safety limits for resistive heating of the cable and connectors. The rating is no guarantee your +5V at 1.5A setup will get you the maximum level of power. The important point here, the cable and connector combination is simply a rating to deal with heat, and ensures nothing melts. Going a step further, most specs ensure nothing gets noticeably warm to the human touch.

Every wire that’s not a superconductor has some finite resistance. Said another way, resistance is transferred into heat. Ohm’s law tells says that E = IR, where E is voltage, I is current, and R is resistance. So when you put power through a wire, the current X resistance gives me the voltage that will be “consumed” across that wire, power that turns into heat, and thus, never makes it to your phone.

I want to end this blog post with the above paragraph as that is the real takeaway here. The more inefficient (or cheap) a cable is, the warmer it will get. So if your iPhone cable is warm to the touch, it sucks. If your wire charging your power bank is warm, it sucks. Get a better cable. From what I can tell, there is no rating posted on all these cables you see on Amazon at cheap prices, so word to the wise using your tactile feel!

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Will The Optical Drive Survive Another Year?

Let’s face it, optical discs are large and bulky. At nearly five inches in diameter, the discs are big when compared to the size of modern laptops and now tablets. Even though the optical drives has been greatly reduced in size, more and more laptops have dropped the technology to conserve on space and power.

If you are not talking about the size of the mobile computer, the space used up by an optical drive can be used for more practical things. That space could be better used for the battery which can extend the overall running time of the system. If the system is designed for performance, it could store a better or bigger solid state drive in addition to a hard drive for added performance. Maybe the computer could use a better graphics solution for graphic design or gaming.

When CD-R drives first came into the market, they offered a huge storage capacity that rivaled traditional magnetic media of the day. After all, 650 megabytes of storage was well beyond what most hard drives were at the time. DVD expanded this capacity even further with 4.7 gigabytes of storage on the recordable formats.

While the growth rate of optical media was good, it is nowhere near the exponential growth that hard drives and USB sticks have seen. Optical storage is still stuck in the gigabytes while most hard drives are pushing even more terabytes. Using the CD, DVD and Blu-ray for storing data is just not worth it anymore. The write time is too slow and the seek time to find your data is equally as slow. The hard drive and it’s portable version, USB flash drive have found the main stream masses.

Keeping these points in mind, you can see why optical media is all but dead. Sure, the CD-R and DVD-R will last another year, probably another five, but it’s USB and hard drives which have taken over. The next step in the logical progression, is how to data load USB media? With optical media you had CD and DVD tower duplicators. There are many systems with robotics and printers so duplicate to the optical media and also print a label. But those systems are getting harder and harder to find.

The equipment most companies and organizations are seeking now are USB duplicators. These are flash memory copier systems which can data load content to USB flash drives at ultra-fast speeds. CD and DVD duplicators went through some phases of supported formats like discs being finalized or disc-at-once over track-at-once. Well, USB duplicators have a similar issue to resolve. There is file copy and binary copy and duplication from an ISO file or an IMG file. There are many ways to copy the data from the source to the target USB media.

It’s important to have a USB duplicator which supports all these functions. There are some duplicators with as many as six copy modes. A system like this makes it extremely versatile for the user to move data around. There is file copy, copy add, unique data streaming, copy from a physical device, copy from an IMG file, copy from an ISO file. These are all great resources to have if you are not sure how the content is being given to you.

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USB WiFi Smart Adapter – But Why?

Given USB is everywhere, this guy gives you the ability to control the on and off power of a USB powered device.

I think for most people, there is no real difference between a WiFi outlet and the WiFi USB adapter. The only difference would be if you want to control the power of a USB gadget which is being powered from your computer. If it’s anything else, as for the power source, it will be a wall outlet.

Can you plug in your Alexa via USB? No. Can you plug in your Google Home via USB? No. Can you plug in your lamps in our family room or living room via USB? No. Can you plug in your bluetooth speaker to charge vai USB? Yes, but who cares about controlling the power of that? Can you plug in your phone via USB to charge it? Yes, but who cares, you want that thing to charge to it’s full capacity anyway. Oh wait, unless you are a super nerd, like these guys (read the comments section).

For the $6.50 that Sonoff is planning to charge you, I would put my money towards a more usable product, like the Smart Life WiFi outlets.

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Change USB Connection Sound, #Easy

We all spend so much time on our computer, its worth customizing sounds and events we experience while using the computer. Today, we will cover the topic of changing the USB sound when a USB device is connected. You can really have some fun with this, especially if you consider some of the USB jokes mention before, and how those jokes could apply when a USB is shoved into a USB port.

While your mind wonders, I’ll move along to the tutorial part of this post:

In the search field, type in Control Panel and select the Control Panel.

From with in the Control Panel click Hardware and Sound

From the Sounds category, select Change system sounds

The window will pop up on the “Sound” tab and you’ll need to scroll down through the list of “Program Events” to find Device Connect and you will click on that time to highlight it.

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USB Vacuum For Holiday Season

For most, the middle of November is when you start thinking about Christmas and the holiday season. With that in mind, if you have an office gift exchange, this USB vacuum could make your short list, if you draw the office IT person as your secret Santa.

What tipped my memory about seeing this USB vacuum several years ago, is a commercial during Sunday night football. Yup, someone actually worked this USB gadget into a prime time commercial. First image is from the commercial, second image is the link to get the USB vacuum from Amazon (or equivalent).

Before you get your hopes up the USB vacuum actually works, it doesn’t. The thing will make a vacuum noise, but doesn’t suck anything up.

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USB-C to Lightening Cable, Unique Combo For Sure

We really don’t like reporting about cables. It’s boring. But this post is going into publication for two reasons: 1) The model used to show off the product is a complimentary image {wink} and 2) It’s actually a unique feature combination for a USB cable.

Hyper has a new USB-C to Lightning cable that makes it convenient to keep the cable near by and doubles as a cleaver key-chain holder. The new HyperDrive Cable series includes Key-chain, Lanyard, and Tough. All of the cables are MFi certified (Made For iPhone/iPad devices) and make use of bulletproof ballistic nylon for high durability and longevity.

The cable length is 3.3 feet, or 1 meter.

Made of TOUGH 2m material by Hyper. This is material that can withstand 70kg of tension before something bad happens.

The key-chain has made of aluminum and screws into the capsule like casing which also doubles as the housing for the ends of the USB-C and Lightening connections.

They Hyper cable starts out at $27.99 USD at the time of this post.

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Google is Releasing a USB-C Titan Security Key

Last year, Google released the Titan security key. It can be used as ultra secure methods for two-factor authentication for some online services over USB-A, NFC, or Bluetooth. Today, Google announced an updated USB-C key to the lineup, which will be available tomorrow from the Google Store for $40.

The new USB-C key appears to have similar functionality to their previous model, all of which are built to the FIDO standard. The USB-C model lacks the NFC capabilities that its other two keys have, but this shouldn’t matter as the USB-C design is meant for you to plug it directly into your portable device, such as phone or ultra-thin laptop. That said, NFC is a bit moot.

Google’s new USB-C key is compatible with Android, Chrome OS, macOS, and Windows devices (Only the Bluetooth key works with iOS, and it requires the installation of Google’s Smart Lock app.) Like its previous keys, Google says the USB-C key’s firmware is permanently sealed into a secure element hardware chip, making the key more resistant to physical attacks.

Google partnered with security key-maker Yubico to manufacture its new USB-C key. Google’s key looks a lot like Yubico’s YubiKey 5C. Both keys are pretty similar, but Yubico’s keys support a few more protocols than Google’s Titan keys do, such as WebAuthn, so they might be the better option for some, depending on what you need.

Google’s other two Titan security keys were previously only available as a $50 bundle, but Google says you’ll be able to buy them individually starting tomorrow. The USB-A / NFC key will cost $25, while the Bluetooth key,

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USB Juice Jacking – A Total Long Shot?

Will “USB juice jacking” trend on Twitter anytime soon? Probably not. Should you be paranoid about USB juice jacking? Probably not.

What is USB juice jacking anyway?

The idea is someone, a hacker, trying to steal your data while you are charging up, or “getting juice” from a public USB port.

Yes, it can technically happen, so don’t be fooled. But could it actually happen? Probably not, so don’t sound like a fool.

Getting down to brass tacks of how this could happen, what would a hacker need to pull it off?

First, they’d need to make a connection, either WiFi or Bluetooth. This connection would transmit your valuable data to the hacker. To do that, the hacker needs some sort of device that holds that communication chip. That chip would need to sit behind the USB port in the string of communication. This “device” would also need power.

Given the above, a quick observation of the USB port you are planning to use, will tell you everything you need to know. So basically if you see a big block with a USB port, don’t plug in your device. If it’s a wall mounted USB port, chances are ultra-slim there is a technology behind the placard stealing your data.

So take airport chairs and charging stations for example; as this is the most comment place a website gives for the “scare.” You are not going to get hacked using those ports. First off, airports are high security areas and those charging stations are monitored. Second, the security cameras will pick up on someone trying to tamper with a charging station or USB port on the chair. Third, the people in the terminal need a boarding pass to get to those spots, so their identity is already known if anything suspicious does turn up.

Now, if we are talking a coffee shop just be sure

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