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Rich Gates

Administator for GetUSB.info GetUSB.info started in 2004 with the concept of providing USB information for everything USB related. At the time, USB was gaining momentum and every day new products, articles and news became published. Today, the site is focused on bringing technical information, tricks and hacks to USB related products. The site does publish off topic information as well, to keep the variety up. Please visit the footer area of any page if you or your company is interested in article or product placement via purchased advertising.

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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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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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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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 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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USB Flash Drive Doesn’t Get Assigned a Drive Letter: Solution

You’ve connected a USB flash drive, heard the familiar Windows sound of connection, yet no drive letter shows up. You then go into Disk Management for Windows and you can see the device and memory, but no drive letter.

What should you do?

USB key in computer

Most times this process is automatic and Windows will asign a drive letter to any storage device connected to your PC, whether it be a USB stick or a USB hard drive, or any other mass storage device.

However; in the event a drive letter isn’t assigned there is a very quick way to get your computer back to working the way it should.

  1. Open Command Prompt as Administrator (search for CMD and right click to open as Admin)
  2. Type ‘diskpart’ and hit Enter.
  3. Once in the DISKPART type automount enable and click Enter.

USB key diskpart

If the above doesn’t do the trick, another issue may be at hand. Maybe some conflicting registry entries from past USB devices connected to the PC and for this reason the automount was disable, or no longer working properly.

Nexcopy has a registry cleaning tool specifically design for USB devices connected to your computer. This utility is an exe file that does not require installation and does not have spyware, malware or anything else. It’s from a company you may

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Erase USB or Clean USB or Format USB?

We’ve seen these terms floating around in forums and How To’s for years when someone is explaining what to do with USB flash drives. I think most people glaze over the definitions of Clean, Erase and Format simply because they believe the terms are interchangeable, or they aren’t planning on doing the task mentioned in the post.

I hope the following information will clear up some terms and definitions so we can all better understand what people are talking about when passing along information about flash drives and the Clean, Erase and Format function.

All of these functions can be performed in your Windows 10 computer, or higher. I will start with the least complicated definition and task, and move along from there.

Format

This function is what 98% of Windows computer operators will use. This is the graphical interface inside Windows when you right click a drive letter and ask the operating system to format the drive. What is this function really doing?

Format is the least complicated of the tasks, and this function is removing the File Allocation Table of the USB and creating a new one. Said a simpler way… this function takes away the list of files sitting on the drive so it then appears blank with no data.

It’s important to note, the files are still on the drive, just not listed in an easy, organized manor which you can see through windows explorer (clicking on the drive letter to see the list of files).

Using the most basic file recovery software tools, like the one we wrote about several months back, you can recover all the files sitting on the drive.

Maybe a picture will help. Looking at the image below you can see the “data” is light grey. Meaning the data is still there, just not easily accessible. This data is what recovery software will look for, find, and list back on your drive. Also notice the boot code of the USB (if you want to load an operating system on your USB stick) isn’t touched either.

format usb flash drive

You might have questions if a USB flash drive should be formatted as FAT, FAT32, exFAT or NTFS and we did a great post about that a bit earlier as well.

Clean

The Clean function is a bit more in-depth than the format function. This function applies directly to the Master Boot Record (MBR) or boot code mentioned just above.

The Clean function will clear out boot code and will remove any partition on the flash drive. The partition of a flash drive is the information which tells a host computer how big the drive is, and if the partition should be bootable in the event you are trying to start the computer from a flash drive.

The Clean function is not accessible through the GUI of Windows, for example you cannot right click on a drive letter and find the Clean function. The Clean function is only accessible through the Windows utility called DiskPart.

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How To: Enable / Disable USB Write Protection in Windows 10

The link below is for a zip file which has two batch files to either set the USB write protection, or remove the USB write protection for a Windows 10 computer. This batch file also works for Windows 7 machines.

This solution is ultra-easy and very quick. One click to run the reg edit file and one click to confirm the task. That’s it.

Typically a person will want to lock down the USB ports of a computer to insure a virus doesn’t spread to the computer through a USB device, like a flash drive. The nice thing about this batch file is a very quick and easy way to both lock down your USB ports, and equally easy way to unlock your USB ports.

It’s important to note; do not have a USB flash drive connected to the system when you run either batch file.

For those looking for a bit more detail, the information below is the specific registry edit we are making. Changing the dword to 00000001 sets the device policy for the computer to be write protected. Changing that value back to 00000000 will make the USB ports read/write.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
\StorageDevicePolicies]
“WriteProtect”=dword:00000001

It is also important to understand this USB write protect solution is not specific to the USB stick itself. Nor will this solution work on all Windows machines when you move USB drives from computer to computer. Said another way, this change is PC specific.

If you need USB write protection to be permanent to the device and universal to anything the USB is connected to, you may contact Nexcopy.com and ask for their Lock License drives. This is a solution we have found works very well and is done at the controller level of the USB stick itself. Meaning, the USB is write protected for anything it is connected to. The value of this configuration is no chance for a virus to jump onto the USB stick in the first place. This last solution is really the best solution for universal USB write protection.

Here is a screen shot of the two batch files:

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USB4 Is Coming: Here Is The Speed

USB 3.2, the most recent, shipping, standard sees a maximum transfer speed of 40Gb per second. USB4 will double that. Said another way, 80Gbps is equal to moving 10,000MB in one second. Said another way, that’s about 10GBs in one second.

Keep in mind, this is all theoretical, maxium speed. Real world applications will not get to this point. Never has, never will.

USB4 flash drive

USB4 is built on Intel’s Thunderbolt technology. You know, the technology Apple tried to force everone to use back in 2012. The big change for USB is the interface. The Thunderbolt licensing setup is expensive and thus, we never saw low priced accessories to accommodate the technology. This is why Intel was always so interested in getting Thunderbolt to be the backbone for USB. It would gain in both speed and reduced price.

USB4 is also backwards compatible with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3. Since the new standard merges both USB-C and Thunderbolt, we should start to see decreasing accessory price points that utilize faster speeds as USB4 gains popularity.

USB4 device manufacturers must also include USB Power Delivery technology, which regulates device charging. PD can quickly charge your phone or gaming laptop, sending the optimal amount of wattage for each device to charge quickly without damage.

Expect to see the first USB4 products hit the market as early as mid-2020.

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USB Wall Charger With Hidden Surveillance Camera

With USB gadgets like this, it’s hare to imagine companies like ADT stay in business for residential customers. This working USB charger includes a miniature camera which acts like a surveillance camera. You can plug any USB gadget into it for charging, all the while record or stream video for what is going on within it’s view.

Use your Android or iPhone you may stream directly to your connected app or stream to a group of people you’ve authorized within the app. The spy camera records 1080p HD footage and will also record that video to the 32GB microSD card (included). Bonus: You can set the surveillance camera to record only when it detects motion.

The camera view is anything directly in front of the plug, so no ability to turn the camera itself, but that is a simple enough problem to solve, just use an outlet that is in-line with the viewing area you want to record.

Here are some noteworthy bullet points about what you will get for the low price of $29USD:

  • Motion Detection – Can be set to initiate recording only when motion is detected and then send a notification directly to your phone.
  • Loop Recording – Can be set to automatically record over old footage, allowing for uninterrupted video recording.
  • Night Mode – Can be set for recording in dim and low light environments.
  • Multi-Use – Allows for multiple users to connect to the same device (Supports up to 8 users)
  • Multi-View – Allows for multiple cameras to be connected to the same APP / Software. (Supports up to 8 cameras)

The Evela spy camera comes with

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Review: Powerhouse 200 Portable Station by Anker

The Anker Powerhouse 200 is a product which you would say “I should have thought of that years ago.” Well this charging station, is truly that, a station of power.

I’m not even going put the features in some lofty gargon sentence, but rather list them off like a spelling test in 5th grade. After you read the following paragraph, I wonder what you will think; here we go…

Input High-Voltage Protection, Output High-Voltage Protection, Input Current Regulation, Automatic Current Matching, Input Short-Circuit Protection, Device Overcharge Protection, Static Resistance, Output Short-Circuit Protection, Output Current Regulation, Battery Overdischarge Protection, Output Temperature Control. That is an awesome sounding product.

Specifications are below, but we couldn’t find out how heavy the Powerhouse 200 weighs.

  • Capacity: 57600mAh/218.8Wh
  • Input: AC/Power Delivery
  • USB Output: 5V=3A (15W)
  • Power Delivery Output: 5V=3A, 9V=3A, 15V=2A, 20V=1.5A (30W)
  • DC Output: 12V=5A
  • AC Output: 110V, 0.9A, 60Hz, 100W
  • AC Waveform: Pure Sine Wave
  • Total Output: 130W Max
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F-104°F / 0°C-40°C
  • Recharging Temperature: 14°F-104°F / -10°C-40°C

Product page from retailer:

About Anker Electronics:

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Hynix Enters US Market With Ultra-Fast SSD Drive

Today, Hynix put out a press release on their Gold S31 solid-state drive (SSD). The SATA III, first generation, is the first of their SuperCore series of products.

With a 560MB/s read speed, this device becomes an ideal SSD drive for high demand users, such as Gamers. What’s also somewhat unique about the new Gold S31 drives is that they’re entirely built in-house.

“All key components in Gold S31, from NAND flash and built-in controller to DRAM and firmware, were designed and produced by SK Hynix. The in-house components are built for robust performance and reliability,” SK Hynix says.

SK Hynix G31

What is more interesting, at least for us at this moment, is the history of SK Hynix we uncovered by doing some research about the company.

I always wondered what happen to Maxtor, an optical media giant back in the early 2000s. Well, SK Hynix bought them. SK Hynix is the third largest conglomerate in South Korea.

Hynix is the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker (after Samsung ) and the world’s 3rd-largest semiconductor company. Founded as Hyundai Electronic Industrial Co., Ltd. in 1983 and hasn’t stopped growing since.

Hynix memory is well know for quality flash and used in products made by Apple, Asus, Google, Dell, Nexcopy and Hewlett Pakard.

The company also merged with LG Semiconductors in 1999.

These guys had an operating income of 18 billion for 2018, so it’s a company with

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