Joe from USB Geek sent me an email about his new USB washing machine alarm clock, I thought we hit the mother-load. We didn’t. But lets stop and think for a minute, could we – one day – have a USB washing machine? It’s possible if the USB 3.0 spec really boosts the power over the bus to 12v. Until then, the USB washing machine can only be an alarm clock.
The USB washing machine plays four crappy alarm clock sounds along with an hourly chime and LED signal. Perfect for late night slumber.
In case you have a military friend you can set the hours for 12 or 24 and power the gadget via USB or two double A batteries.
At just $20 you can please any gadget lover who’s a germaphobic and likes to sleep in.
Visit the USBGeek web page and get a sample of the alarm clock sounds. Music to the ears [not].
USB washing machine alarm clock product page.
Not to anyone’s surprise…the USB 3.0 jacks and sockets look exactly the same. Go figure, as part of the specification is to be backward compatible. But taking a closer look, you do see some differences.
The folks from Register Hardware had a peak at the USB 3.0 connectors while at CES 2008 this year. As you can see from the image below, the USB 3.0 sockets have an additional row of connectors. The connectors located in front are to keep the backward compatibility to USB 1.1 and USB 2.0. The connectors placed behind this first row are for USB 3.0.
The new USB 3.0 specification is promising transfer speeds 10 times greater than current 2.0 standards – to that of 4.7Gb/s. There is also a fiber optics connector which hasn’t been made available yet.
As the USB 3.0 specification is expected to be finalized sometime in June of 2008 – we can expect to see product following by the end of this year. Although I am looking forward to the new, faster USB 3.0 spec, not everyone shares the same love. Here is what some are saying:
Buffalo figured out a way to turbo boost USB 2.0 to claim increased transfer speed of up-to 60%.
So what’s the deal? Buffalo gives no detail to this increased performance and makes a broad statement about Windows and Mac compatibility for the two new USB Turbo products, the MiniStation and DriveStation.
I would figure Buffalo addressed power issues as many USB devices have poor power management which directly effects performance.
The Buffalo MiniStation with Turbo USB is a portable storage device designed to withstand durable environment such as bumps, drops and turbulence (what?) you’d experience in everyday life.
The Buffalo DriveStation with Turbo USB is a tower configuration ideal for home or office and includes a 7200 RPM SATA drive with Turbo USB enhancements.
The MiniStation has a price range of $99 to $250
The DriveStation has a price range of $130 to $500.
Buffalo Turbo USB information page
WUSB or Wireless USB products just began to ship and WUSB 1.1 is ramping up. Although a mild ramp, as with current transfer rates of 40Mbits/second the 1.1 spec needs to hit at least 500Mbits/second otherwise it’ll never see the light of day.
The 1.1 spec will support band groups at 6 GHz and above, including the 3-4 GHz supported by wireless USB 1.0. It aims to lower power consumption by an undisclosed amount. It also will adopt the techniques of near-field communications for letting two devices identify themselves to each other with a simple contact.
As (source) Gizmodo said: “…realistic or not, we like the ambition.”
Currently the USB Implementers Forum has certified a handful of notebooks and hubs for the 1.0 spec. The WiMedia Alliance is expected to certify the first 1.0 products shortly.
The Who’s Who of technology got together and established USB 3.0. Backward compatibility is covered with the same wired connection and greater speeds, up to 10 times faster than 480Mbps, and will include fiber optics support.
“USB 3.0 is the next logical step for the PC’s most popular wired connectivity,” said Jeff Ravencraft, technology strategist with Intel and president of the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). “The digital era requires high-speed performance and reliable connectivity to move the enormous amounts of digital content now present in everyday life.
Intel, HP, Microsoft, NEC, NXP Semiconductors and Texas Instruments are the rat-pack for USB 3.0 while the USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum) will act as trade association for the USB 3.0 Specifications.
The full and complete USB 3.0 specifications are expected to be released sometime during the first half of 2008. The mission statement throughout this process is:
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group is committed to preserving the existing USB device class driver infrastructure and investment, look-and-feel and ease-of-use of USB while continuing to expand this great technology’s capabilities.