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Archive for May, 2007

Internal Readyboost Saves USB Port

PQI has a thoughtful approach to USB Readyboost. Rather then sucking up a cherished external USB port PQI is taking an internal approach. Here you see a PQI 2GB memory enhancement for Readyboost via the USB header connector on a motherboard.
PQI internal readyboost
Although it might not enhance the performance of your Vista system, it is a nice internal solution. Maybe PQI knew Readyboost was a bunch of marketing hype and came out the champion to support the PC monopoly all-the-while keeping the commoner happy with the same number of USB ports. But, putting some thought into PQI’s approach there is an advantage. One interesting possibility would be if you could boot from it, as it could make for a great companion for a media center machine if you run some kind of Linux version on it, as you don’t have to waste drive space on the OS. Continue Reading

Watch YouTube on Your Apple TV

Here’s a YouTube video showing off a new Apple TV plug-in called “A Series of Tubes.” The plug-in allows you to browse YouTube videos on your Apple TV. Sure, the Flash encoded YouTube videos look like crap on a HDTV. YouTube doesn’t even look good when stretched out to its default 480 x 360, let alone 640 x 480 or HD. But YouTube does have thousands of clips and can provide endless hours of entertainment. Not ready to start tinkering around with plug-ins for your Apple TV? You can still save videos off YouTube and convert them for your iPod/iTunes. Check out this tutorial: How to Copy Videos Off YouTube. Continue Reading

USB Video Player Concept Device

Ian Murchison is an Industrial Design engineer at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada and came up with some outstanding product ideas.
usb concept video player
Ian’s most recent design is the Video Player Slideon with USB connectivity (above). From a recent email interview Ian developed this product design from his original Slideon concept (below).
A follow up design was needed as a lot of people liked the original design, but some were also looking for a more “video player” type design.
As with the original, it’s a slider concept meaning; Continue Reading

Jungo Releases USBTester Version 1.01

Jungo’s Software Connectivity Business Unit, a market leading provider of USB software protocol stacks, driver development tools and testing tools, today announced the release of version 1.01 of its USBTester product line: a software USB testing tool that enables USB developers to quickly validate their USB devices for USB compatibility, Chapter 9 conformance and mass storage functionality and performance.
USB Tester
A thoughtful feature Jungo included with this release version is the ability to configure read and write tests to any block size. I’m especially pleased with this configuration option as I spoke with Matan Naor of Jungo to implement this ability. Thanks! It allows developers to test their code when optimizing for different packet sizes in their embedded firmware. Continue Reading

The Octopus USB ChargePod

There are times when digging around for a charge cable becomes extremely frustrating. The tangled mess of cables, the inconvenient location of the power strip on the floor – what a pain in the a$$.
chargepod callpod
The Chargepod from Callpod is a welcomed charger which solves all this. The Chargepod is a slick design for charging 6 devices at once. The Chargepod comes with extra short cables to decrease the clutter of wired cables. There is some engineering that went into this as well. Callpod made sure to put in Current Control (IC) logic so each devices gets the exact amount of energy needed for a charge. This is smart because it wont fry your USB gadgets and it reduces heat of the Chargepod itself. So – an ideal product for the messy office or traveling professional the Chargepod is well worth the extra few bucks from your typical charger. $49 for the unit and accessory cables for just a little more.
usb chargepod
Continue Reading

USB Panic Button – Obvious Stealth

Can I apply oxymoron to a product? If I could this would be it. The USB panic button. The idea is a single tap on the panic button clears your computer screen of those erm suspect websites and opens a generic document so your boss or wife doesn’t catch your mouse where it shouldn’t be.
usb panic button
Another tap of the USB panic button and “game-on.” My problem with this useless USB gadget is the large, obtrusive, colorful button grabs plenty of attention and your boss will want to push it as badly as you. BAMB, now you’ve got your boss in your face and p-rn on the screen. Too bad those Corona Time-Out’s don’t really work. The USB novelty gadget is kinda cool, but it’s definitely not the USB self-destructing button. Continue Reading

Poll Results: The Worst Your Flash Drive Went Through

Rugged flash drives have been a trend these last couple months. Manufacturers see how popular flash drives continue to be and conclude a more durable version is needed for every day use. So along with the never-ending quest of more data storage, manufacturers are developing ways to make UFDs last longer and handle more abuse. We put the question out there, “What’s the worst your flash drive went through?” and this is what we found:
poll results rugged flash drive
It’s predictable that our most popular abuse was dropping them. Although it doesn’t sound like a much, it can be. Flash drives – well the memory in them – are sensitive and cannot take large amounts of shock. Many times dropping a drive from your table top is good enough to damage the drive. I did find it interesting the next most frequent UFD abuse came from submersing them in water. I’ll assume in this case, the most common mistake is forgetting about the drive and accidentally washing it. Whatever your daily routine, it’s worth taking an extra few minutes to search out the right flash drive for your habits. Rugged flash drives will become more popular as 1) materials drop in price to build a better box and 2) users continue to put more and more valuable information on their flash drives. Continue Reading

Mario Brothers USB Mouse

Stuck in the past, listening to your play-list of 80s music and still trying to beat your high score on Donkey Kong? This stylish Mario Brothers or Golden Star mouse might get you that mojo you need to actually do it!
mario brothers mouse
Both offer a retro 8-bit appeal and feature the original mechanical mouse ball mechanism that you probably forgot existed. Push one of these beauties across your desk and imagine that you are playing Super Mario Brothers… rather than filling out those boring TPS reports. For only $24 give your self the gift of the past – or maybe a good Father’s Day gift. Continue Reading

Deep Breath Please

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.
usb breath charger
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.
gear ratio usb charger
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