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Morse Code Beacon via USB Board

For those into home-brew programming projects, its easy to make a microcontroller spit out some Morse code with the post shown below. What makes [pavlin’s] take on this project interesting is that it resides on a tiny USB board with an ARM processor. The design for the board is available with single-sided artwork suitable for production using simple methods like toner transfer.

The STM device has a built-in USB bootloader. It can also act as a serial port, which makes the project very simple and a bit more flexible. The only external parts are a speaker and an opt-oisolator.

The program provides a command line interface over the serial port that you can use to program the message and set other options like speed and the delay between messages.

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Sony Branded USB Turntable

CES, 2016. Sony releases a USB turntable, named HX500. Sony will provide backup- software for the Mac and PC and it connects via USB. From there, you can send the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) copies to your computer or device. Of course Sony would prefer you to play them back on their Hi-Res-playing Sony Walkmans.

The DSD audio is a lossless audio quality that will sound more full and rich than your downloaded MP3 file. Andy why not, vinyl records have been making a big comeback the last couple of years.

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AirBar – Make Any Laptop Touchscreen

The Airbar will turn any Windows laptop into a touch screen. Very cool. The technology is friendly with Windows 8 and 10 and this is because it uses Microsoft’s “Gestures” technology to turn your laptop into a touchscreen laptop.

The Airbar was designed in Sweden and made in Sweden. The bar is $50 US Dollars.

The Airbar works by invisible light beams. To get it working you connect is via USB and set the bar at the bottom of your laptop screen, just like you see in the picture.

The Airbar will project light upward. As your fingers break the barrier of the projected light, the bar will translate this into gestures. Through the Windows API for gestures your actions will translate to the programs running.

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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 method will make the USB read-only in anything it is connected to, so you could say this is a universal way of making a flash drive write protected.

The other way is a PC specific solution where some registry edits are required to any computer the USB flash drive is connected to.

When we say 100% permanent, this means the USB stick is read only (write protected) on all devices, whether it be computers like a Mac, Windows PC, Linux box or non-processor based products like a car stereo. This permanent solution also means the status of the drive 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
command prompt to make USB read only

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

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