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Archive for January, 2012

SumOfUs Watchdog Group Takes On Apple – Some Perspective

I just read this article from PC Magazine about watchdog group SumOf US taking on Apple for poor worker conditions in China.   I’m all for making the world a better place for mankind.  I also think some perspective is needed. One of Apple’s biggest contract manufacturers [CMs] FoxConn has been under fire the last 12 months for employee suicides and a fire in a production facility. It was reported the suicides are directly related to working conditions.  However, it’s important to keep some perspective.  FoxConn is an organization which employees well over 100,000 people.  I think it very likely a group of individuals from the 100K pool will find a common thread [depression] and lead their way to demise.  We’ve seen it before with other cult groups in the US. I’m not giving Apple a free ticket, but I certainly don’t think Apple is to blame.  With the above situation, Time Cook, now CEO made the following statement [for the record I completely believe] “We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain,” reads his letter; “Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us.” As for the Foxconn fire in one of their production facilities, this type of accident happens all the time.  In the US, Europe, Australia and of course Asia. I fully support the motion which SumOfUs has started,  but at the same time, I’m not holding Apple completely responsible for working conditions at FoxConn.  Sure they are one element, but not the entire picture. For those of you who are not familiar with FoxConn, it’s a CM which supplies many major companies in the US, not just Apple. Continue Reading

Biodegradable USB Cables

Doing anything to make your product stand out is the only way to get your company ahead.  Over the past 3 years, going green has been a very popular theme with many companies.  Qmadix is another company you can add to the list.  Qmadix introduces a biodegradable USB cable. The biodegradable USB cable works like any typical USB cable.  It is USB-IF certified to guarantee performance speed.  It comes in Type A and Type B connector styles.  Qmadix also includes HDMI and 30 pin Apple connectors. The big difference is the coating put on the cable.  The USB biodegradable cable uses a plant-based by-product to protect the internal copper.  The cable will remain stable during use in the home or office, but once put into a landfill, the degrading begins. We suspect is has to do with moisture levels, but not 100% sure.  The plant-based coating will biodegrade the cable in about Continue Reading

Another USB Wall Charger

Now that USB is becoming the standard charging bus for all portable electronic devices [at least in UK], we can truly embrace the wall mount USB charger. This slick looking wall mount uses one DC outlet from your wall and extends it to the face plate along with two USB charging ports.  The two ports can charge one iPad or two iPhones.  Of course it will accommodate other USB based devices like Android, tablets etc. It would have been nice to see some additional logic inside which would send enough current for 4 or 6 devices.  I also think if you are going to eliminate one complete wall socket, might as well offer more USB ports. RCA is selling the charger for $20 retail. Continue Reading

USB 3.0 Sony Micro Vault Flashdrive

USB 3.0 has been slowly making it’s way into the retail space.  When you have a new entry from Sony for such a technology I believe it’s safe to say the title wave is about to start. Enter the USB 3.0 Sony Micro Vault flashdrive.  The Micro Vault can transfer speeds at 120MB/s for reading and 90MB/s for writing.  Now that is fast!  Connecting this same device to USB 2.0 and you can expect around 40MB/s read speeds. The USB 3.0 Sony Micro Vault is made of brushed aluminum case, pop-tail for expanding and contracting the USB connector along with LED to show status light during activity. You can expect this product to hit the retail market by February 1, 2012. Continue Reading

USB Shaped Set-Top-Box by Roku

Roku has a USB looking set-top-box which runs streaming video off the Mobile High Definition Link [MHL] interface standard. It’s a sweet package all bundled up for portability.  As you can see the HDMI connector of the USB device, you click it once to a MHL supported TV and using the TV’s own remote you can steam video without the need of a bulky set-top-box. Televisions that support MHL will be able to integrate Roku’s streaming TV platform simply by plugging in the stick. With the stick docked, it will be just like having the Roku set-top box: it adds the Roku interface (and the 400+ channels it offers), Wi-Fi connectivity, and local storage to the TV it is used on. MHL standard is quickly becoming adopted by the major players like Continue Reading

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