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Matt LeBoff

Kicking around in technology since 2002. I like to write about technology products and ideas, but at the consumer level understanding. Some tech, but not too techie.

USB To Kick Into High High Gear

You can’t help to think Apple’s push for Thunderbolt has something to do with the latest announcement from the USB-IF…in that transfer speeds via USB will double what the USB 3.0 specification currently is.  If development can stay on target, this increased speed should be seeing implementation by end of 2014. The new specification will run with USB 3.0 sockets and connectors; however, will require new wire setup for the cables. It is expected to see the faster USB spec in PCs, adapter cards and hard drives, but will take significantly longer to reach mobile devices and tablets.  As it stands now, USB 3.0 is just gaining momentum as a standard socket in PCs and mobile devices should start seeing 3.0 connectors in late 2013.   Continue Reading

Flash Memory – Supply and Demand

In recent weeks the cost of flash memory has increased substantially.  The commodity product, is for the most part, a stable consumable with pricing that fluctuations in single digit percentages.  However, lately the prices have increased between 10-30%.  As with any product there are variables which contribute to price and the following information might help explain why flash memory is getting more expensive. The two largest manufacturers of flash memory (NAND memory) are Samsung and Toshiba.  Together they account for about 70% of the world’s flash.  These companies produce a wide variety of flash memory models and the factories have various levels of quality for the output of their product. Typically the high performance memory that gets the best test ratings is sold to large consumers like Apple, Nokia and Sony.  As the ratings for the speed of the memory drop, these variants get pushed into the low-end market segments, such as USB drives and inexpensive MP3 players and other promotional gadgets. In Q3 2012 Toshiba made an announcement they will reduce world wide production by 30%.  Since this time, flash pricing has remained stable and has not decreased in cost. With the on-going patent battles between Apple and Samsung the Cupertino based company made a decision Continue Reading

Microsoft Foils USB Hack In Latest Windows Update

When a USB stick is connected to a PC the Windows operating system enumerates the device.  In simple terms, this means Windows will check to see what type of device was just connected, a HID device, Mass Storage Devicet etc, it will also check the speed of the device. During the enumeration process some registry entries are made into the Windows registry…this is where a hacker could get into your system and take control.  This is the update Microsoft issues earlier this week to fix the security flaw. Since the vulnerability is triggered during USB enumeration, no user intervention is required. In fact, the vulnerability can be triggered when the workstation is locked or when no user is logged in, making this an unauthenticated elevation of privilege for an attacker with casual physical access to the machine. Other software that enables low-level pass-through of USB device enumeration may open additional avenues of exploitation that do not require direct physical access to the system. So be sure to update your PC with the update notification comes through – it’s in your best interest. Full Microsoft article Continue Reading

Dell USB Project Called Ophelia

If you haven’t heard,DELL is looking to buy back it’s public shares and go private.  Why you ask?  Going private would allow them to make quick and swift changes with in the company to re-invent itself.  Currently the never-ending demands of the stock holders and investors ties their hands in freedom to create as they wish. DELL, so it is said, started a new code project call Ophelia.  The project is turning a USB key into a portable desktop.  The USB would have the ability to access online software tools and operating systems.  The USB solution from Ophelia will still require a hardware setup (someone’s PC) so think of it as a USB stick high-jacking the processor, RAM, motherboard, video controller etc to run it’s own OS. We’ve seen things like this from smaller, start-up companies,  but DELL has the ability to really make this main stream.  The rumor on target price is $50 US Dollars. I for one believe the ability to high-jack another PCs hardware doesn’t warrant it enough to be more then a complimentary tool to one’s main PC.  Now if DELL can high-jack the Continue Reading

Best USB Steampunk Flash Drives for 2012

What is it about USB steampunk flash drives?  Am I the only one with a keen interest in showing off these hand crafted USB drives?  Could it be the material used which draws my attention?  Could it be the fine detail of each device which peaks my interested?  Could it be the impressive number of hours required to make each piece?  I’m not sure, but I could flip through pages and pages of these USB steampunk drives. For 2012, here are the top 12 styles.  There is not particular order as each person will favor their own, but you will agree these are probably the 12 most unique designs you’ve seen the past twelve months. steampunk USB steampunk USB steampunk USB Continue Reading

“Spendy” $1,000+ Flash Drive

If you look up ambiguous in the dictionary [or wiki page] you’ll probably find a picture of a USB flash drive.  After all, aren’t they?  Not with standing, Zana Design has put craft, materials and resource to the limit with their Apophis meteorite flash drive. Of course, just being made with a meteorite seems like enough, but no, it also comes with a high-purity diamond embedded in it. The drive also incorporates African Black Wood, which is considered a rather high quality material. As far as the actual thumb drive is concerned, it’s USB 3.0-compatible, and comes with 64GB of internal memory. It also has a lifetime warranty, so at least you know if anything goes wrong with your ultra-expensive drive, you will be able to get it replaced. The device comes in two different flavors. Both have the diamond and meteorite, but the cheaper version also features silver and will set you back $1,130. The more expensive 18C gold model will set you back $1,990. My buddy made the comment:  Continue Reading

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