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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

Spec for 100W over USB is Here

The USB-IF released the Power Delivery [PD] specification for USB 3.0.  In addition, the 2.0 forum approved it too. Because we are talking about 100watts over USB there is some risk associated with introducing such a spec.  The USB-IF said the power can be sent, both ways, intelligently where power ramps up or down upon delivery.  The spec includes an intelligent check of both the cable and the other end’s capability to insure nothing goes up in flames. If you stop and think about this, if a typical laptop has three USB sockets, what kind of power brick would you need to power the laptop plus 300watts of power, assuming all sockets are requesting a full load.  Maybe the power brick will end up being bigger and heavier then the laptop {grin}. For a very interesting read on the entire PD report, Continue Reading

MacBook Air Adds USB 3.0

Apple released their new MacBook Air product and we are very excited to hear USB 3.0 is now standard. If you have concerns about USB 3.0 being a new technology without much compatibility, you are totally wrong.  The great thing about USB is their backward compatible specification.  What this means, is the USB-IF [the forum which governs the technology] requires that any new USB specification work will all legacy USB protocols. So even using that ultra slow USB drive from 2004 will work in the new MacBook Air products.  Not like you would, but it’s just an example.  Another example is using slower USB products like USB keyboards or USB calculators or USB breast warmers will work from the Apple USB 3.0 socket. The USB 3.0 specification has a maximum transfer speed of gigabits per second.  That’s about 500MBs per second.  You must keep in mind this is the theoretical maximum and you can never expect this type of performance from a USB device, but it’s nice to know the efficiency ratios are dramatically improved with the new USB 3.0 specification. Continue Reading

Bootable Windows 8 Off USB

Microsoft is looking to make their OS more portable.  With Windows8 one of the features the Redmond Washington company is featuring is a bootable OS.  True, we’ve seen both Windows and Linux distro’s bootable off a flash drive, but what makes this a bit different is 1)  being legal and 2)  officially supported.  This seems a very smart move to keep Microsoft positioned to as an option as virtual desktop and thin client systems continue to rise in popularity. Many power users already run virtual laptops off of USB drives enabling them to work on a single consistent environment at both home and work without fussing with a laptop/briefcase. This should cement the concept and help keep MS moving towards more secure OS options comparable to VPMs. With an official version of bootable Windows OS, IT managers could now use a USB Duplicator, such as the one from Nexcopy Inc., to mass produce their installation and/or restore media in a much faster time frame then using an old school optical duplicator. An additional caveat of the portable Windows system is the speed of the environment.  Granted, there is nothing like running off a hard disk, but running of NAND flash will be almost as smooth…and with memory performance getting better with USB 3.0 flashdrive devices, it will become two of the same. Video of Windows8 running on a MacBook Pro after the jump Continue Reading

Skinny Jeans 2TB USB Flash Drive

Transcend and Taiwan’s ITRI are doing a joint venture design on an ultra slim 2TB USB flashdrive.  The “Thin Card” was shown at the Display Taiwan convention.  Not sure why the release was at a flat screen convention, but I guess a moot point. Nothing official from either company in regards to specs or a simple introduction, nor does the high-capacity USB 3.0 stick appear on Display Taiwan’s trade show website.  So adding this all up, it could be nothing more then a USB case and a trade show hottie giving out false information. If you watch the video [here] you can hear the girl say things like “this could be a 2TB drive” well no sh!t I could pull out any sized drive and claim it “could be 2TB” and follow up with a release date of March 2015. However, lets keep a positive attitude about this and hope a 2TB drive isn’t too far off. Continue Reading

USB-IF Releases USB 3.0 OTG Specification

The USB Implimentors Forum announced the availability of the USB On-The-GO [OTG] specification for embedded USB host controller applications where a PC is not required. The supplement ensures that mobile devices such as phones or cameras are able to use a SuperSpeed USB link in both USB host and USB peripheral roles through a single receptacle. OTG and Embedded Host Devices requiring fast synchronization or streaming of rich data will benefit from this feature. The USB OTG 3.0 and Embedded Host supplement offers power saving features equivalent to those available in USB OTG 2.0, enabling the adoption of SuperSpeed USB in mobile devices. Additionally, USB OTG 3.0 provides backward compatibility with USB OTG 2.0. To learn more about the specification, Continue Reading

Windows 8 To Offer USB 3.0 Stack

One of the main goals for Windows 8 with respect to peripheral support, is the robust support for USB devices.  From the first 1.1 standard, the high speed 2.0 standard and the newest addition of SuperSpeed USB 3.0. Microsoft expects to see all new PCs have a USB 3.0 port by 2015…but I think we’ll see USB 3.0 in all PCs before the end of 2013.  Microsoft also forecasts a number of 2 billion USB 3.0 devices to ship in 2015 as well. Microsoft’s game plan is keeping their current USB stack for 1.1 and 2.0 devices as it’s proven and stable, while incorporating a new USB stack for 3.0 devices. Continue Reading

New USB Power Specification – Dreamy

Cell phone standards ditched the AC/DC adapter about a year ago and it’ll be a requirement all cell phones power only via USB.  Now it looks like we could do the same for computers.  The USB 3.0 Promoter Group introduced a new specification to offer up to 100watts of power over a USB 3.0 cable.  How convenient would that be! Lets ditch the AC/DC power block with most laptops and just plug into one of those USB wall mount power stations.  Or recharge your laptop directly off your tower PC.  Or easily power an unlimited number of USB devices via your USB laptop USB 3.0 port. This means more and more peripherals will be powered via USB and not require the extra power adapter.  This ultimately mean less cost and less hassle for the average computer user.
“Building on the rapidly increasing industry momentum for using USB bus power to charge a broad range of mobile devices, the new USB Power Delivery specification extends USB’s cable power delivery capabilities beyond simple battery charging,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman, in a statement. “For example, charging the battery of a notebook PC, or simply powering that notebook PC while actively using the USB data connection, would be possible. Conceivably, a notebook PC could rely solely on a USB connection for its source of power.”
The preliminary spec indicated power is bi-directional and therefore no need to switch or swap the USB cable.  The new specification would be compatible with Continue Reading

Porsche Inspired LaCie USB 3.0 Hard Drive

Just looking at the picture, wouldn’t it be a shame if the Porsche inspired USB hard drive from LaCie got a scratch on it?  Not many tech products get designed after house-hold names, like Porsche, but it seems LaCie is making a good business out of it. The exclusive design is available in 500GB and 1TB size with an even more exclusive size of 750GBs only available at Porsche stores.  Wouldn’t that be odd, “Honey, I’m going down to the Porsche dealership to pick up a hard drive to expand the TiVo box.”  But, after she saw the hard drive, I’m sure she would understand. So when you can find a 500GB USB hard drive for about $80, why bother?  Drop another $20 and get the LaCie Porsche version.  Now that is money well spent. For the tech folks, it’s USB 3.0 so great transfer rates.  For the Uber-Geek, forget about Thunderbolt – sh!t, the spec just came out and I’m sure it took Porsche at least 6 months just to approve the design.  So stop getting theoretical Continue Reading

Review: Nexcopy 3.0 USB Duplicator

Review: Nexcopy 3.0 USB Duplicator

EverythingUSB posted a review of the Nexcopy 3.0 USB Duplicator with a bunch of “thumbs up” marks.  Lets take a closer look. As far as USB duplicators go, the Nexcopy SSUSB160PC is actually pretty stylish. Its form certainly flows from its function, but Nexcopy has made it to look in a German engineered car sort of way. Because of this form from function design, it is rather rectangular with flat boxy sides. However, Nexcopy did add in some flare where they could. For example, having the top slope downwards from back to front does give it a more aggressive styling. This dash of styling does makes it even more functional as sticking in the 16 flash drives into the 16 USB 3.0 ports on that self same top is actually easier when they are slightly offset in the vertical plane. It’s also a lot easier to check all 32 status lights for the 16 ports (red for bad, green for good). Where the Nexcopy USB 3.0 duplicator is a serious tool meant for serious work, there is no plastic fascia to be found anywhere. It is made from metal and metal only. Once again, Nexcopy did manage to sneak in some pizazz by having the front’s company logo be CnC’ed milled out. This allows air to be sucked in from the front (as well as the sides through copious amounts of air holes), flow over the internals and then be exhausted out the back of the case via the rear fan. This is a great example of form and function done properly. I first made an image file of my minted Windows 7 64-bit installation flash drive using the included basic software. (As a note, professional version or upgraded version of the software includes the ability to write protect drives, partition drives or set them as USB CD-ROM devices.) When that was completed, I setup a new batch job; pointed the software at the location of the newly created .IMG file on my hard drive; and then took Continue Reading

Apple 30 Pin Connector Supports USB 3.0

Did you know Apple will license it’s male 30 pin connector technology to just about anyone, but they will never license the female 30 pin portion of their connector?  For most, not a big deal, for some, they’d love to have that ability. Things could get interesting down the road as Apple was just awarded another patent for their 30 pin connector.  This time the pin-out includes support for data and power communication to 3.0 devices and also Thunderbolt devices.  What does this mean? It means Apple will be able to keep their slim line design and proprietary connector interface via their 30 pin connector.  The new design will still communicate with 3.0 devices, but without the traditional USB port interface.  A bit brilliant if you ask me. With the increased sales volume of Apple products, this new connector type could become an industry standard – oh wait – it can’t – because Apple wont license their female part of the connector.  This means tablets like the Motorola Zoom and others could not pivot off the 30 pin design.  But rather stay with traditional power pins and USB interface.  This gives Apple the edge up on keeping their products slimmer and thus more light weight. What do you think? Continue Reading

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