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Video: USB Inkjet Printer for USB Swivel Drives by Nexcopy

Video: Nexcopy USB7P inkjet printer for USB swivel drives.

Nexcopy introduces the USB Clip Printer – a full color, inkjet printer that brings vibrant custom logos and graphics to any standard USB swivel drive – and it’s all available from your desktop.

The USB7P was engineered to address full color printing to USB flash drives at an affordable price. The idea is simple. Using the body of the standards swivel drive you swap the metal clip from your supplier for the inkjet printable clip from Nexcopy. Now, with an inkjet printable clip you can print full color images, on both sides of the clip, from any jpeg image. The results are fantastic. The print is durable and the print is highly

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5 Realistic Looking USB Airplane Flash Drives

Promotional items have been around for years. Coffee mugs, pens, etc are still the default item for marketing manager without an imagination. Back in 2000 the flash drive was the new kid on the block for swag. Flash forward five years and the USB stick was a bit like the coffee mug, old and boring. At about this same time manufacturing processes started improving for using silicon as a moldable material. This is where the custom flash drive started gaining popularity. As time move along, the process and technology got even better. Today we are seeing some fantastic promotional items in the shape of logo’s, parts, products and even airplanes. Today we list five realistic looking USB airplane designs that would get any marketing manager excited about a promotional flash drive. Let’s take a look large cabin cruiser airplane usb, flash drive Here is the Pilatus airplane flash drive airplane, pilatus Here is a Hawker airplane usb airplane, hawker Here is the F16 and F35 planes designed by Lockheed Martin usb jet, F16   usb jet, F35 These are all very impressive designs and certainly a piece of swag any trade show junkie, or even executive, would love to have. Times have certainly changed. The source for these designs is through a company named www.USBCOPIER.com and these products or any customized design can be created, just contact them. Continue Reading

Corsair Brings USB and microUSB Stick to CES 2014

Corsair continues their reputation for high speed, high quality USB products.  This year at the CES 2014 show Corsair is showing off their new Voyager Go USB drive. Two improvements with this device: 1)  The USB includes a standard USB connector and a microUSB connector.  This addition makes it easier to store files from a portable device directly to the flash memory. 2)  The USB cap and USB body include a loop so when connected with a lanyard you no longer have the option to lose the cap.  This is the first that I’ve seen with a cap/body configuration like this…and it should have happened years ago. Corsair USB The Corsair Voyager Go USB is available as a 3.0 device in 16, 32 and 64GB capacity.  USB 3.0 can boost transfer speeds in excess of 135MB/s however we must realize this spec is not real-world environment. Corsair microUSB Source:  Corsair, CES. Continue Reading

Longevity of USB Flash and Wear Leveling

I think we have all heard a USB can only be used so many times.  Some say the number is 1,000 writes – some say the number is 100,000 writes.  One thing I do know for sure, it’s impossible to tell on any one specific device.  The life cycle of a USB is directly related to the flash memory…and from model to model or style to style, who knows what quality of flash is used.  With that said, we can still explain the theory behind making USB drives last longer.  For the most part it boils down to several elements  A)  the memory type and quality and B) the wear leveling technique. As a quick summary the NAND flash in USB can be either SLC, MLC or TLC (single cell, multi-layer cell or triple-layer cell memory).  Typically you will find MLC and now mostly TLC in USB sticks.  SLC can be found but typically on the very high end devices. Wear leveling is a technique to prolong the life of the erasable flash memory.  To summarize, flash memory has individual, erasable segments that can be set as zero’s or ones (set as either positive or negative charge).  However, after a certain number of erase and write cycles the segment (cell) becomes too unstable for reliable use. Wear leveling is the algorithm used by the controller on the device which attempts to arrange the erase and writes evenly across the flash medium.  Typically flash can have a cycle between 3,000 and 5,000 erase/writes.  In addition to the usable area, the flash also has some cells with specific blocks for extended live which can handle up to 100,000 writes.  This is the area where the controller makes not of the segments previously used and maps out the next best cells to use during an erase/write cycle. There are three types of wear leveling. No wear leveling – A Flash memory storage system with no wear leveling will not last very long if it is writing data to the flash. Without wear leveling, the Flash controller must permanently assign the logical addresses from the host computer to the physical addresses of the Flash memory. This means that every write to a previously written block must first be read, erased, modified, and re-written to the same location. This is very time consuming and highly written locations will wear out quickly with other locations even being completely unused. Once a few blocks reach their end of life the drive is no longer operable. Dynamic wear leveling – The first developed type of leveling is called dynamic wear leveling and it uses a map to linklogicl block addresses from the host to the physical Flash memory. Each time the host writes replacement data, the map is updated so the original physical block is marked as invalid data, and a new block is linked to that map entry. Each time a block of data is re-written to the Flash memory it is written to a new location. Static wear leveling – The other type of wear leveling is called static wear leveling which also uses a map to link the block addresses to physical memory addresses. Static wear leveling works the same as dynamic wear leveling except the static blocks that do not change are periodically moved so that these low usage cells are able to be used by other data. This rotational effect of block addressing enables an SSD to operate until most of the blocks are near their end of life. The above are three types of wear leveling and there are three types of techniques used to extend the life of a USB drive. Error correction – Code which is kept and logs bad blocks so they cannot be used again in future writes. Pool reserve – Where if a write fails to a block it can be re-routed to the pool of reserved blocks and written there. Track usage  – Blocks on the media can be tracked in a least recently used queue of some sort. The data structures for the queue itself must be wear leveled as well as this queue information is constantly changing. Source:  Wikipedia and Nexcopy Inc. duplicator manufacturer. Continue Reading

Rip and Tear Gigabytes To Go

Burning CDs is slow and impractical when at a clients site.  In addition, who wants to leave behind their 16GB flash drive with a mix of personal and professional information?  With that said, we designed a small pack of drives we could tear and use when needed.  Since we travel and present files to clients this gives us an easy, inexpensive and creative way to leave files with the client. The design lends itself to the old-school flyers you’d see around town for a local band playing at a pub or someone looking to offer odd-job services.  The physical form factor says it all…quick, easy, here-ya-go. Each pack of four is recycled paper used as it’s chassis/case and COB memory and USB connector (Chip On Board) for the memory.  Each tab is perforated for easy tear and use functionality. The designer Kurt Rampton of Bolt Group offers the drives in a couple different 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

Flash Memory Puts Mars Curiosity into Safe Mode

As with any good project, there should always be a back up plan.  The Curiosity for Mars is no different.  The system has a B-Side computer in the event the A-Side computer went down…well guess what, it went down. There is a theory that cosmic rays affected some of the flash memory on Curiosity causing the A-Side computer to shut down and reboot into Safe Mode. JPL is currently backup up the A-Side data to the B-Side computer and should reboot by weeks end.  Configuration and data transfer can take a while, then of course the verification process of everything done right. JPL states:
“The hardware that we fly is radiation tolerant, but there’s a limit to how hardened it can be, you can still get high-energy particles that can cause the memory to be corrupted. It certainly is a possibility and that’s what we’re looking into.”
For updates please visit the NASA website. 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

LaCie Porsche Design SSD USB 3.0 Hard Drive

Slim is in…hasn’t that been the motto of runway models for the past 20 years.  I guess you can say the same for tech gadgets, laptops and of course storage peripherals. LaCie introduces the Porsche Designed ultra slim 120GB SSD hard drive. The $149.99 Slim Drive P9223 by LaCie, powered by none other than USB 3.0, follows the same minimalist design set by Porsche Design. It has a thickness of a mere 11mm; this makes it a great compliment to a 17mm slim MacBook. It’s chassis is made of solid aluminum which doubles as a heat sink for fast dissipation of any heat build up from the NAND chips. The LaCie Porsche SSD can top a transfer speed of 400/MBs.  But it’s not a walk in the park to get that data transfer rate.  You need to have a computer which supports the USB Attached SCSI [UAS] protocol.  This is a protocol which overcomes the aging bulk-only transport method which has been around since USB 1.0. Source:  EverythingUSB. 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

Store Files on USB Flash or USB Hard Drive?

Flash drives are getting cheaper and flashdrives are getting bigger.  You get to a point and ask yourself, should I archive my valuable information on a large flashdrive or a USB hard drive?  For example, lets say you have 10GBs of photos from your phone or camera and you are looking to archive those pictures.  Should you do this to a flash drive or a hard drive? The easiest and most convenient decision would be saving your files to the flash drive.  Most everyone has a 16GB USB flashdrive these days, it fits in  your hand and you can carry it around with out trouble.  But will it last?  Is a USB flashdrive where I should put my photos if my computer crashes and I need to restore my photos?  Lets forget about the possibility you simply misplace the USB flashdrive.  Is the device archive worthy? The other option is the USB hard drive.  Most people don’t have one so you’ll need to buy one.  Although they are cheap, a USB hard drive is not as cheap as a 16GB or 32GB flash drive…and to be honest the 16-32GB sticks probably have enough space that it could hold your photos.  So is it worth the extra time and money to archive to a USB hard drive?  I guess this is the question more and more people are asking themselves.  Well I have the definitive answer: USB hard drive. Flashdrives are great products for quickly moving files from one computer to another.  However, they are not the best choice for archive purposes, and here are some reasons why: The devices are small and will most likely get damaged.  Unless of course you put the USB stick into the back of your desk drawer, a USB flashdrive gets banged around a lot and this abuse lends itself to failed cells in the memory.  Meaning, over time the files will get corrupted because the NAND memory gets damaged. Continue Reading

How To: Read CID on SD card

How To Read CID on SD card

If you are looking to read the CID number of an SD card, or extract the CID off an SD card then you’ve find this article very helpful.  Some also call this “reading the PSN off the SD card” or reading the product serial number off the SD card.

Most phones and much of the software on phones will lock in to the CID number of a SD card.  The CID number is a unique card identifier number that is unique to the card itself.  The CID number is valuable because software developers and hardware developers can lock software to the unique number of the device thus eliminating the ability to pass along licensed software.

Reading the CID number from an SD card is not an easy task.  It requires specific access codes to the index table of the memory card, and unless you know how to use the SD chipset of your card reader, chances are you wont get the number…or least the correct and accurate number.

What is the CID number of an SD card?

The CID register is 16 bytes long and contains a unique card identification number. It is programmed during card manufacturing and cannot be changed by SD Card hosts.  The CID number is a compilation of information about the card, such as manufacturer, date manufactured, checksum total, GB size and more.  Below is a table outlining all the items which make up the SD CID number.

So with all this said, how do you read the CID number from an SD card?  As we’ve mentioned it isn’t easy and it’s [more or less] hardware based.  If you do enough searching on the internet you’ll find some home-brew code to read the CID numbers, but that’s only if you have the SD card or microSD card connected via an IDE bus to your host computer.  This isn’t easy for everyone.  There is clear evidence that using a USB to SD card reader will not get you the information you require, or at least accurate and correct information.  Meaning most times the CID number generated is actually the serial number of the card reader itself, not the CID number of a specific SD card.

In addition, what if you are required to read the CID number off SD media in bulk?  A single, one-at-a-time solution is not practical.

In my search to read the CID number from SD media, I cam across Nexcopy – a manufacturer of USB duplicator equipment and other flash memory equipment.  Several models they carry are SD duplicators and microSD duplicators.  With the secure digital duplicators part of their feature set includes reading CID numbers from SD media.  The equipment can ready 20 cards at a time, 40 cards at a time, or 60 cards at a time, depending on the model.  The duplicators will read the CID number and exported to a .csv file for import into other business functions.  This configuration makes it quick and easy to obtain the CID number.  Granted, the equipment is not designed for single use operation, but rather reading the CID of SD media in bulk quantity.  Here is a screenshot of Nexcopy’s software reading 20 CID numbers:

I didn’t contact Nexcopy Incorporated for pricing of the equipment, but doing a quick search for the equipment shows me a price of about $1k for the smallest 20 target system and $3k for the largest, 60 target system.

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