Archive for August, 2008

USB Solar Power Never Looked So Good

A solar powered Bonsai tree, who would have thought?  Vivien Muller did.  Her design takes each end-point of the Bonsai tree and turns it into a small photocell.

usb solar power

Methodshop coined this as photovoltaic panels, but I like the term photogalactic a little better.  The unit recharges a hidden battery beneath the tray – which happens to be the same place as the wires for your gadgets – so even re-charging can take place during the night.  Of course USB support for those USB gadgets we all love. As you can see, one could make a nice solor tree for their kitchen table or large office desk, but what if your space was a little more cramped?  Well, the USB solar Bonsai can be redesigned and shaped to any dimension of your liking.  It can spin, detach and rotate through small connectors.

usb solar bonsai tree

So how much is this ingenious device cost?  Not much right now, it’s just a prototype.  Since this looks like such a great product, lets hope someone picks up the production rights.  Wouldn’t you say Vivien? Continue Reading

USB Microphone Stylized to The 60s

retro usb microphone

I’m not much of a retro styled bloak, but that doesn’t stop me from admitting this is one cool looking USB microphone.  The Brando wireless retro USB microphone is a great addition to the desktop for on-line chat without sacraficing personal style. The wireless mic spans up to 3 meters without fail and is simple plug-n-play technology. Since the USB microphone is wireless, the the mic is powered by 9V battary.  Priced at just $29 bucks. Brando retro style wireless USB microphone product page. Continue Reading

USB Hub Monster In Time for Halloween

usb hub monster

If you can’t tell from the picture, this is a DIY project on taking a regular USB hub and turning it into the ideal Halloween desk monster. Using stiff wire, USB cables, USB hub and some LED you can build the inner structure of the USB monster.  Then sharpen your sowing skills and make a fabric body.  The fun part about this project is turning those clawed USB feet into working USB connectors. Albeit not the most space conscience hub you could find, but it’s definitely a fun project for the upcoming Halloween season. Source:  SlipperyBrick via Instructables. Continue Reading

Nortel Launches Virtual Secure Office USB Stick

For the limited number of you who visit and work in a large, corporate environment, the Nortel virtual office USB stick might be your answer to working from home.  The Nortel virtual office is a plug-n-play stick to provide any remote user instant access to the company server via VPN.

Nortel USB stick

Access privileges can be set according to user IP address or authentication strength from data input.  Nortel’s VPN Gateway will authenticate the remote connection request and approve connection based on the information provided. This is a great solution for remote users who are looking for top level security over a Virtual Private Network.  A Nortel customer gives one good example of use:
Dr Zafar Chaudry, director of IT for Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Community-based midwives … will be using Nortel Secure Portable Office with hospital-provided laptops, 3G wireless data cards and Nortel Mobile Client Accelerator to securely access, review and update server-based medical records from patient homes.
Continue Reading

Kevin Rose says New iPods Coming Soon

Is founder and Diggnation star Kevin Rose abusing his Apple contacts? This past weekend Kevin blogged about some new stuff being released by Apple next month including new iPods and an iTunes update. According to Kevin, Apple will announce the following within the next few weeks:
  • the iPod nano will take on a slimmer, more rounded look
  • the iPod Touch will get an update with a new 2.1 operating system
  • Prices of the iPod line will drop to differentiate the product from the iPhone
  • iTunes 8.0 will be a major new release with several additional features
  • Further out Apple is planning to add Blu-ray support to Mac OS X
methodshop Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: How to Make a USB Coil Cable

Here is a simple USB tutorial on taking a typical phone cord and splicing it so USB connectors sit on each end.  The concept being a cheap and easy way to make a short cable expand out for long distance connection during use.

usb coil cable

The only fear is that phone cords are not well shielded and that might slow down the data transfers or possible drop packets.  But at the length shown here, we feel you’re alright. If anything, making the USB coil cable would be a nice little project for a DIY starter.  Great to sharp those soldering skills and steady hand.  The full USB tutorial can be found at Instructables. Continue Reading

NEC Intros New Wireless USB Host Controller

nec logoNEC has long had the best performing USB PCI card with their USB host controller chip (uPD720170) and today they are expanding the portfolio to includes wireless USB.  The new wireless USB host controller will allow high speed communication between PCs and peripherals with wireless USB technology such as USB hubs, printers and external storage devices. The NEC wireless USB host controller received approval from the USB Implementors Forum and uses the WHCI protocol developed by Microsoft, NEC, Philips and Texas Intstruments.  The Wireless Host Controller Interface specifications supports data transfer rates of up to 480 megabits per second (Mbps) of data, comparable to wired USB 2.0 connections at close range. The NEC wireless USB host controller starts at $10 for sample and development use with prices dropping at higher quantities. Source:  NEC America. Continue Reading

Newton’s Cradle USB Hub

newtons cradle usb hubThe Newton’s Cradle USB hub is a fun twist on that traditional office gift of Newton’s Cradle.  Rather than stainless steel balls however, this one uses USB connectors to make up a 4 port USB hub. Albeit a bulky device for a USB hub it would create some interest from the folks around the office.  Clearly it would observe the law of conservation of momentum, but none-the-less a great conversation piece….for about 20 seconds. The Newton’s Cradle USB hub is available from but is currently sold out.  They are still booking orders. Source:  RedFerret. Continue Reading

USB Heating Blanket or Shawl

usb heating blanketDo you get the chills while at work but don’t have access to turn down the AC because the boss’ office is over heating from the corner windows?  Well, this USB heating shawl will definitely help. With a quick connection to a USB port, say goodbye to the mid-day chills.  Equally effective would be putting the shawl on your legs if the color doesn’t match your outfit [yes I’m talking to the women out there]. The blanket has a button on two ends to loop together so the shawl doesn’t fall off while warming up.  I could see this as a great office gift for those getting too cold in the summer months from AC or just too cold in the winter…because…’s winter. Source:  USB Heating Blanket only $30. Continue Reading

Darth Vader’s USB Web Cam

Darth Vader always had the coolest looking Twin Ion star craft, it was the one with the bent wings.  Now you can have that famed war craft as your USB web camera.  The Darth Vader web cam has several red LED lights that eluminate upon connection.

darth vader web cam

The Twin Ion cruiser comes with built in microphone and monitor clip for easy mounting.  Since it’s not available until the end of October [08], you’ll need to get your fix with some Mimobot Darth Vader gadgetry. This isn’t the best web cam gadget to impress your girlfriend, just your buddies, so if you’re still interested the Star Wars web cam is available through Forbidden Plant for $43ish. Continue Reading

GetUSB Dealz: $14 Equals 3 Port USB Hub, Multi-Card Reader, Small Package

Limited stock for this Nyko 3 port USB hub and multi-card reader which supports SD, Smart Media, Compact Flash and Memory Stick for only $14.99.  Great deal without rebate and free shipping.

usb hub card reader

Grab the GetUSB Dealz now!

The Nyko 3 Port USB Hub 2.0 with Multi-Card Reader gives you 3 USB 2.0 ports and a multi-card reader that supports Smart Media, Compact Flash, Sony Memory Stick and Secure Digital (SD card) formats. This item works with both PCs and Xbox 360 systems. The Multi-Reader for Xbox 360 lets you connect additional wired controllers, Flash drives, an iPod or PSP to your PC or Xbox 360. The Media Card Reader supports Smart Media, Compact Flash, Sony Memory Stick and Secure Digital formats. Easily view photos from a digital camera or listen to music stored on an iPod using your Xbox 360. The unit draws its power from the Xbox 360’s USB ports – no additional batteries or AC adaptor is required. Grab the GetUSB Dealz! Continue Reading

SuperSpeed USB Spec Released by Intel

superspeed usbIntel released a draft specification for USB 3.0 or SuperSpeed USB. The Extensible Host Controller Interface or xHCI provides a standard method for USB 3.0 host controllers to communicate with the USB 34.0 software stacks. Both AMD and Nvidia voiced complaints earlier in the year that Intel hasn’t released update information to make the new spec an open industry standard and an easy path for transition. Today’s release is Intel’s answer to that request. Dell, Microsoft and NEC also support the release because the xHCI will expedite the industry transition to next-generation USB 3.0 technology.
One important factor in adopting SuperSpeed USB products is interoperability between multiple devices from different manufacturers. The xHCI draft specification revision 0.9 aims to make interoperability easier to implement, while also making it easier for developers to create software support for the market.
The next revision update is expected at the end of 2008 with revision number xHCI 0.95. So no SuperSpeed USB yet, but the big boys are working their way to it. Source: CRN. Continue Reading

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