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Archive for March, 2008

USB Tutorial: Assign USB Drives To Folders – Get Organized

Here is a nice quick and easy USB tutorial. Swapping storage can become a headache in Windows as you never know or can remember which drive letter Windows assigns your drive.  At Lifehacker, they posted a nice tip on assign USB drives to folders.  This method not only keeps things organized, but adds one additional benefit most wouldn’t think of.

usb drive in folder

First, the tip. Create a main USB folder where we will mount all the USB drives once connected.  Then assign all your USB devices to sub-folders within that main folder.  After creating the folder structure, do the following for assignment.
  • Click > Start > Run then enter diskmgmt.msc and hit enter. This opens the Disk Management configuration that should display all drives and devices currently connected to your computer.
  • Pick an USB device from the list and right-click that entry. Select Change Drive Letter and Paths from the menu.
  • This should open a new window that is displaying the current drive letter of the device and three buttons at the bottom which are named Add, Change and Remove.
  • Click on the Add button, select Mount into the following empty NTFS folder and click on browse. Now navigate to the subfolder that you want to assign the usb drive to and confirm the assignment. The USB drive will from now on be accessible from that folder as well if it is connected to the computer.
Now, the additional benefit: Continue Reading

Laser Beam Music System – USB Powered

The Sharper Image does seem to come out with some cool stuff.  Example, they announced a laser beam music system powered by USB.  The music system is shaped like a big “W” with laser beams spanning each post.  Using your fingers or hands, breaking the laser beams produces pre-authored sounds.

laser beam music system

Although it appears simplistic with only 6 laser strings, the pre-authored pulses allow you to play pulses, streams, riffs and loops from a variety of instrument selections.  Configure the laser beam music system to play strings, keyboards, winds and percussion instruments. The laser beam music system from Sharper Image includes 30 original songs in 19 different music genres.  Genres include Jazz, bluegrass, classical, hip-hop, reggae, heavy metal and more. Continue Reading

Philips Launches New USB Smart Key For Dictation Product Line

Press Release: Philips Launches New USB Smart Key for Dictation Product Line. Philips is the first company to offer such a tool, which replaces current dongles and older security codes that had to be manually typed in. The USB Smart Key is now packaged with Philips SpeechExec Pro Dictate and Philips SpeechExec Pro Transcribe, as well as Transcribe software packages.

philips dictation

The USB Smart Key can simply be inserted into a USB port and the software will automatically access the license stored on the key. The license can then be easily transferred to a computer with the touch of a download button and, after download is complete, the key is no longer needed for licensing and users can work on that computer without having to keep and carry a dongle. If a user wishes to work with the dictation software on an office computer as well as a computer at home, the USB Smart Key allows him or her to switch from one computer to another without having to purchase a second license. Continue Reading

Wii Title JoySound Is A Karaoke Singalong Perfect for American Idol

It’s been said for a while now that WiiWare was expecting Karaoke ability under a software program called Joysound. It appears this is finally coming to fruition. The Joysound Karaoke program has some ambitious plans with over 20,000 title by it’s release in mid summer with an additional 1,000 songs added each month.

wii joysound, karaoke

“Although it’s being referred to as a WiiWare title, Joysound is a bit different from the rest of the WiiWare lineup. Users download the Joysound program from a server that’s being exclusively set up for it. This server will also house the songs for downloading. Hudson is currently considering a billing system based not on a per song rate, but on a subscription rate. Users will presumably be able to download as much as they want over a set period of time.”
As previously mentioned the Karaoke Joysound will be available in two packages. You can either download the software to run Karaoke but you’ll need to have your own USB microphone. Or a bundled package will be available which includes the software along with USB microphone. There are even talks about including Continue Reading

GetUSB Dealz: P.H.A.T. HDTV Connection Kit

This “everything you needHDTV connection kit is one Pretty Hot And Tempting deal from Buy.com for only $22.49.  I’ve seen just a single HDMI cable at BestBuy for more than $50 so this deal is off the hook.

hdtv connection kit

What you get for just over $20 bones:
  • 6ft RCA Type Audio/Video Combination Interconnect
  • 6ft Component Video Cable
  • 6ft RCA Type Audio Interconnect
  • 2m HDMI High-Definition Multimedia Interconnect 2m TOSLINK Optical Digital Cable
  • 6ft S-Video Interconnect
  • HDMI to Male DVI Inline Adapter
All the cables have 24-karat gold plated connectors for optimal performance and quality.  The gold plated connectors also ensure long lasting quality without degradation for connect and disconnect sequences.  The cable ends are molded for ease of use, handling and comfort during installation AND these cables come with a lifetime warranty.  You can’t go wrong.
However, BUY.com did say the quantities are limited and this GetUSB Dealz will only be around for a short while.  $32.49 with $10 rebate.  Free shipping so total is $22.49.
Continue Reading

Review: Casio LK300 USB & TV Keyboard

Review: Casio LK300 Keyboard

Today I’m able to report about the Casio LK300 with USB and TV connectivity. I didn’t perform the review, rather my brother did. So lets see what Ned had to say: I have to say the Casio LK300 is bigger than I expected and definitely more solid and quality built than anyone would expect for the price (about $200). The LK300 keys provide just enough friction to make them feel almost real, but obviously not exactly like a real, piano hammer like feel. Although I’m not a piano enthusiast, I did pick up the LK300 to learn. After all part of the enticing thing about the Casio is the ability to connect it to a TV and learn along with instructional lessons. During a lesson, the LK300 keys will light-up as the song is played giving you the exact location of which key to hit and when. It’s even got a nice feature to cover any delay you might have in stroking the key…a little late…that’s OK, the sound still matches the lesson song.

casio lk300

With the lessons, the software will provide feedback in the form of a scoring system whereby it calculates the number of Continue Reading

USB Lego Monsters By Mindstroms

lego mindstromWhat could be better than working with USB, robots, legos and our imagination? Our beloved memories of childhood play with Legos has now turned into adult fun with the new robotic line of Mindstroms. The Mindstroms from Lego is based off their NXT Technology whereby a main NXT brain unit controls 5 different robotic functions for you to let the imagination run free. Build anything you want with the legos, intuitive robotic software or get extreme with Lego’s open source developers kit. So what are the 5 building blocks of the Mindstrom units?
  • Touch sensor
  • Sound sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Ultrasonic sensor
  • Servo motors
Through these sensors, some crafty lego design build your robot and communicate via USB for software download and development stages. The world’s next Frankenstein is only a lego or two away. So this is how it works. Build your lego monster with available parts kits.

mindstrom lego kit

Launch the intuitive robot software and use pre-defined commands to build motion, touch, light and other sensory functions.

mindstrom software

Last, connect and communicate via USB to test your functions and ultimately download the finished firmware version to the NXT Lego robot.

usb mindstrom

The USB monster Lego kits, or Mindstroms are available for $250 from Amazon. This is one excellent gift for the 9+ age who’s into computers, gadgets and tinkering.
Continue Reading

Multi Media USB Mouse Sports 11 Buttons – Increasing Your Efficiency

USB Fever is sporting their new 11 button multi-media USB mouse as the best ticket to enhance your work productivity, increase your efficiency and ultimately land you that promotion.  Well, maybe not the last three, but chances are with an 11 button mouse things will be [a bit] more convenient.

11 button usb mouse

So for those armchair executives, consider the following 11 quick access features the USB Fever mouse offers:
  1. Internet key
  2. Speed switch
  3. Volume down control
  4. page forward
  5. page backward
  6. volume up control
  7. left button
  8. double click button with only single click
  9. click wheel
  10. right button
  11. play and pause button control
Granted you’ll need a weeks worth of practice to flawlessly work the 11 button super mouse, but the payoff is huge. The multi media 11 button USB mouse is only $15 directly from USB Fever with an additional $3 for shipping anywhere in the world. Thanks for the tip Thomas! Continue Reading

Turnable USB Star Hub from Brando

Yesterday we spoke about the asterisk USB hub which solved a basic problem of USB ports being too close together.  Today, Brando announces a new turnable USB hub which also address tight layout of USB ports found on most hubs.  The turnable USB hub not only offers the ability to rotate 180 degrees for each connector, but Brando spiced it up with some flashy color.  Making it easy to find that hub in your pile of papers, coffee cups and other desk junk.

turnable usb hub

Running through the rainbow colors you have a 4 port hub with one up-stream port.  From purple, to red, orange, yellow and finally green. It’s definitely a fun looking little hub which might double as a 1 year old twisty-turn toy.  Price from Brando is $12.00 with a few more chips for shipping cost. Brando Turnable USB hub product page. Continue Reading

Asterisk USB Hub Looks Fancy But Doesn’t Work

The Asterisk USB hub is one fancy looking device, too bad it doesn’t work. This is another design prototype from contempo designer Joel Escalona. What I like about this layout, besides the bright Ferrari red is the space between each USB port. Too often have I not been able to use all the ports of a USB hub, making it half as efficient as what it should be.

asterisk usb hub

The issue I see with Asterisco hub (Asterisk hub) is how wide it would be if directly connected to a USB port. It would clearly block other ports to the sides, so an extension cord would be needed to make this ideal. Give and take I suppose. If you are not familiar with Joel’s work, maybe you can jump over to view his USB bomb or USB furniture. Both are enjoyable to consider. Joel – if you’re out there – has anyone picked these up for production? Continue Reading

Tokidoki For Mimobot Is Coming

Mimobot, the company which makes those lovable, fun and sometimes crazy looking USB drives is now coming out with Tokidoki Branded UFDs.  Renowned Italian artist Simone Legno and his popular Tokidoki brand is crossing over to the fashion tech world with the introduction of the Tokidoki Mimobot. Legno, the artistic genius behind the wildly successful, super-kawaii Tokidoki lifestyle brand, joins creative forces with Mimoco to bring you monkey adorned Meletta, Italian devil chef Pastaio and treasure hunting Pirate Nero.

tokidoki mimobot

Meaning “sometimes” in Japanese, Tokidoki was named because of Simon’s love for Japanese culture and because he believes “everyone waits for moments that change one’s destiny” The Mimobot series will be released April 18th where Simone wil be in New York at the Comic Con store.  You can pre order now, and if you’re into Tokidoki you should as only 2,000 of each Mimobot Pirate Nero, Pastaio and Meletta will be made. Continue Reading

Quality, Portable, Personal Wifi Wherever You Go

The world is quickly moving to a wireless environment. Earlier in the year I talked about how to boost your Wifi signal, and today we talk about making your own, portable, personal Wifi for wherever you go. Granted this isn’t a hack or tutorial, but with the use of the PHS300 Personal Hotspot, creating an island of connectivity has never been easier.

portable wifi

CradlePoint manufactures the PHS300 and with their technology and any broadband-enabled mobile phone or modem, simply plug in the phone or USB modem to the CradlePoint router then connect your computer, get access and share. I guess you could add in a few extra steps if WEP/WPA security options are required.
“The personal hotspot includes a built-in lithium-ion battery that will keep it running for several hours and can be recharged via USB when connected to your computer. It can even be used to recharge a phone that’s connected to the USB port, though that will no doubt reduce its own battery life.”
So lets take a look at some applications the CradlePoint PHS300 would be valuable for: Continue Reading

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