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Portable, Plugable USB Type C Dock Station

With the single USB-C port of the new MacBook laptop we knew a power station and/or dock station was right behind.  Here is a Kickstarter compaign to address the single port computer and connecting all your peripheral gadgets to your new computer.

The ultimate dock station will power and charge your system using USB’s new Power Delivery specification, while providing an additional alternate mode video output up to 4K resolution, gigabit Ethernet, audio input/output, and 4 USB ports.  The tall slender design of the dock station packs a number of sockets to support any type of peripheral you need to connect.

In addition, the USB 3.1 Type-C specification supports a feature called “VESA Alternate Mode” which works with the built-in graphics processor on supported systems to provide video output at resolutions up to 4K.  This is particularly important given the up-tick in TVs and monitors which are being released with a 4K specification.  The other two display outputs in the Ultimate Dock are enabled by the DisplayLink DL-3900 graphics processor, which can support two additional 1080P displays at 60Hz.  The DisplayLink driver is still in development, but the Kickstarter campaign claims the driver will have a final release by the time the dock station hits full production.

The Plugable Ultimate USB-C Universal Docking Station supports:

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How To: Make a USB Read Only

There are two ways to make a USB stick read only. One way is a universal solution and is 100% permanent, the other way is PC specific and a good deterrent. When we say 100% permanent, this means the USB stick is read only (write protected) on all computers, whether it be a Mac, PC, Linux, etc type computer, the USB is read only and the status cannot be changed. The other method flags a USB device to be read only in relationship to the PC it is connected to so that whenever that USB stick is connected to that computer, it makes the USB read only and blocks all write commands to the device.

Most times an IT manager or content owner wants the USB stick to be read only so the files cannot be deleted or formatted off the drive. Another reason for making a USB read only is for the original files to remain the same and blocks the ability for files to be changed or manipulated. Finally, it’s smart to have USBs read only so that virus’ don’t jump onto the drive and possibly spread to other computers.

Let us start with the less permanent way because it’s easier to do and doesn’t require any specific hardware. You will need a Windows7 machine or higher. The Windows7 machine will have DiskPart utility which allows us to perform all sorts of cool things to flash drives, like setting write protection.

  • Connect the USB to your Windows computer.
  • To begin, go to your Windows Start and in the Search Field type “cmd”

This will run your Command prompt.

  • Next, you will want to get to the C root of the Command prompt and if you are signed in as a user you can simply type cd\ this will get you back to the root of the C drive.
  • Type DISKPART
  • Type LIST DISK

Now you will need to find the USB stick connected to your PC. Most likely it’s DISK 1

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Our Answer to a Smartphone / Tablet Dock Charging Station

With the iPhone in its 8th iteration of the product and most likely you have some older models laying around. Those older models can be put to use, but chances are, you don’t keep them charged up. So after a couple of days without connection, they are dead. I currently use an older iPhone to stream my music at work. I don’t stream from my phone, because I always seem to get disconnect to the Bluetooth speakers after I take a call. USB charge dock station This is why I like the 10 port charging station from USBFever. It’s got a logical design for holding ten devices. With the USB ports on the bottom, it keeps the plugs from hanging off the wall. Just above the USB ports are hollow channels you can bundle up the USB cable and stash it away. On top are vertical channels to hold your iPhone, iPad, Smartphone or tablet. The vertical channels are tall enough the devices will sit sturdy and proper. Finally, the design includes a good balance of power output for the devices. There are a total of 10 USB ports. Eight of which push out a 2.5amp power supply and the remaining two are 1amp. This means the charging dock station will power the tablets as well as the larger iPhone and Samsung product while you can leave the smaller phones to the 1amp channels. The default color is Continue Reading

Biodegradable USB Cables

Doing anything to make your product stand out is the only way to get your company ahead.  Over the past 3 years, going green has been a very popular theme with many companies.  Qmadix is another company you can add to the list.  Qmadix introduces a biodegradable USB cable. The biodegradable USB cable works like any typical USB cable.  It is USB-IF certified to guarantee performance speed.  It comes in Type A and Type B connector styles.  Qmadix also includes HDMI and 30 pin Apple connectors. The big difference is the coating put on the cable.  The USB biodegradable cable uses a plant-based by-product to protect the internal copper.  The cable will remain stable during use in the home or office, but once put into a landfill, the degrading begins. We suspect is has to do with moisture levels, but not 100% sure.  The plant-based coating will biodegrade the cable in about Continue Reading

Voltaic – Solar Charger For iPad & The Likes

Voltaic is a company that deals with voltage.  They specialize in the solar charging to create volts.  Their latest entry is the Spark.  The Spark is a solar panel design for tablet and notebooks. Voltaic is marketing the Spark for the iPad – and why not as there’s plenty of marketing spin going on for Apple tablets. The Spark will generate 8watts of solar power.  So for those who don’t have an electrical engineering degree, or simply can’t do the math – one hour of sun to the Spark will generate enough power to run one hour of video off the iPad.  Not bad.
  • Weather:  Panels are waterproof, lightweight and built to withstand abuse.
  • Charge times: About 10 hours in direct sun will fully charge an iPad, other tablets may take less time.
  • Peak Output: 6 Volts, 1,333mA or 12 Volts, 667mA
  • Connector:  USB and 5 standard adapters
So here is the price – $299 USD.  To learn more, visit Continue Reading

NES Cartridges as USB Storage Devices

If you have a geeky love one, the following NES USB storage cartridges might stike that cord to make a perfect Valentine gift.  Etsy dealer 8BitMemory is doing a fantastic job of  mod jobs for NES hard drives like the Zelda cartridge below: Some live, eat and sleep SuperMario, or at least did when they where younger will enjoy this small USB flash drive cartridge: Or for the hard cord geek who needs a boat load of extra storage you can pull out all the stops for this 1TB hard drive, Continue Reading

The USB Missile Launcher Is Back

Everyone loves a good USB missile launcher and Thanko has released yet another version.  The first thing you will notice is the cosmetic change to look more like an Army missile launcher, but Brando reports hardware changes as well.  The new missile launcher was retooled to have more power for longer distance and the software was updated to be less buggy. As with all previous models, you get four foam missiles, software which controls the cannons up, down, left and right.  You have the option to go into stealth mode and turn off the sound effects and of course, all this powered via USB. Software includes support for Windows 7, although not sure about 32bit verse 64bit.  Priced right at $36 + shipping. Continue Reading

WWWorks USB Steampunk Drive – New Kid On The Block

If you’ve been to this site before, you know we are a fan of USB Steampunk.  We just received word there is a new kid on the block who’s doing some cool USB steampunk. This design is coined “Steampunk Scorpion USB.”

USB steampunk Scorpion

WWWorks is the profile name over at Etsy and he’s done some nice work on his first release.  What I like about the style of this design is the lack of gears you so commonly see with USB steampunk.  Rather, WWWorks put some detail into the design on the brass. So here is a bit of detail about WWWorks.  Based in Budapest Hungary WWWorks is a computer IT guy by day and a craftsman by night.  Trying to break away from the Continue Reading

USB Solar Hub – So Close To What We Need

Yesterday we spoke about Elcom introducing a USB power strip and today we have USB Fever with a  solar powered USB hub.  We where very excited to hear about this product -  as it seems to be a step up from the introduction from yesterday, and it’s got some great features, but unfortunately, the solar power charging system isn’t for the USB devices which are connected, but rather the built-in LED torch light [insert sad face here].

USB solar charge Hub

I understand it would take a fairly big solar panel to correctly power 4-5 devices connected to a USB hub, but it would be nice to see a trickle charge feature for anything connected.  Like I said yesterday, in our house we have 3 iPhones, a Flip Video camera, two blue-tooth headsets and some other stuff, so a solar powered trickle charging USB hub would be nice. Continue Reading

Cleanliness is Next to USB Geekiness

No one likes the dentist and it’s tough getter there twice a year like everyone should.  So to help fight the war against plaque you can invest a bit of money into this USB toothbrush cleaning kit.  Powered by UV light, the USB toothbrush cleaning kit will sanitize your brush while you’re out getting your teeth covered in sugar-bugs.

USB toothbrush

The UVmini [as they call it] comes in two models.  A USB version and a USB + battery version.  Obviously the second version is geared toward the germ-a-fobes who travel and uses a lithium battery which can cycle 10 cleanings.  I would opt for the battery pack as keeping your toothbrush cleaning kit tethered to your computer’s USB port is a bit ridiculous [yet again, another reason to get a USB outlet kit]. We don’t have any price information as of yet but they should start hitting Pan-Asian vendors shortly. The rest of the world will have to wait a bit longer. Continue Reading

Paper Thin USB Key Turns Magazines Into USB Distribution Method

usb webkey

It’s a bit complicated of a article title, but the point is this:  It is now possible to put a paper thin USB key into a magazine ad to drive customers to your site. This fresh approach to implement USB technology into marketing is extraordinary to say the least. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about a flash drive with storage, I’m talking about a “web key.” A USB webkey is simply a device that auto launches your web browser to a specific web page.  That’s it.  But it’s incredibly powerful. Now a major retailer or manufacturer can send a magazine reader directly to a webpage via a paper thin USB key.  I’d try it just to see if it would work.  I would try it just to see if there was storage on there [if I wasn’t a USB-super-geek]. The process is simple.
  • Step 1 – Open magazine and see the ad
  • Step 2 – Pop out the webkey
  • Step 3 – Connect it to a USB port on your PC
That’s it.  Now your reader is on the web checking out your next greatest invention [Honda Unicycle] To learn more about the USB webkey contact USBcopier. Continue Reading

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