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USB Soft Air Gun Mod

Jared Bouck from InventGeek come up with a great mod for those USB Missile Launchers from Dream Cheeky. Rather than toy around with a foam missile, Jared up’d the anti with a soft air gun able to shoot plastic BBs up to 250 FPS. This is an ideal mod for rabbit control or pidgin control with a high level of fun involved. The other benefit from swapping out the foam missile launcher head, is the higher accuracy rate you’ll get from the soft air gun. When I reviewed the USB circus cannon [basically same product] that was a big down fall is lack of accuracy.

usb soft air gun

The full USB hack isn’t listed here, but visit the InventGeek site for the 7 step process.Start your modContinue Reading

USB Hack: Background Image for USB Window

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a background image for the USB window upon connection of your USB storage device?  This simple, quick USB hack will show you how to create a background image.  In this example, I inserted the GetUSB logo at the bottom of my USB window, like this:

usb background image

To perform this simply copy the following information: [ExtShellFolderViews] {BE098140-A513-11D0-A3A4-00C04FD706EC}={BE098140-A513-11D0-A3A4-00C04FD706EC} [{BE098140-A513-11D0-A3A4-00C04FD706EC}] Attributes=1 IconArea_Image=your background picture Change: the IconArea_Image= to the name of your jpeg file…I did: getusb.jpg Next, save the code above as desktop.ini Last: place the ini file and the jpg file in the root of your USB drive. Refresh or reconnect your device and …bamb…USB background image done.  Tip:  The image will repeat so when creating the jpeg be sure to leave plenty of white space in your image file.  I used a canvas size of 800 x 800 pixels and placed the GetUSB logo near the bottom. Continue Reading

USB Hack: USB Caps Locker Gadget

usb caps lock gadgetHere is a Master Card commercial in the making – a USB gadget designed to randomly turn on or toggle a computer’s Cap Locks. USB connector = $1.30 Some logic = $4.00 A bit of code = $0.00 Watching your work buddy get frustrated because of random Cap Locks = Priceless. This DIY gadget will intermittently set the caps lock anywhere between 30 seconds and 8 minutes on the host system. What’s creative about this hell gadget is no software code is loaded to the system, thus spyware wouldn’t catch the culprit. Although it is hardware based – so probably not a good gadget trick for a laptop user or a savvy computer geek, but connecting it to the backside port of the idiots PC next to you at work – Priceless. If you are interested in the full tutorial, then check out Macetech.com. Or check out my other list of USB Hacks. Continue Reading

USB Lego Monsters By Mindstroms

lego mindstromWhat could be better than working with USB, robots, legos and our imagination? Our beloved memories of childhood play with Legos has now turned into adult fun with the new robotic line of Mindstroms. The Mindstroms from Lego is based off their NXT Technology whereby a main NXT brain unit controls 5 different robotic functions for you to let the imagination run free. Build anything you want with the legos, intuitive robotic software or get extreme with Lego’s open source developers kit. So what are the 5 building blocks of the Mindstrom units?
  • Touch sensor
  • Sound sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Ultrasonic sensor
  • Servo motors
Through these sensors, some crafty lego design build your robot and communicate via USB for software download and development stages. The world’s next Frankenstein is only a lego or two away. So this is how it works. Build your lego monster with available parts kits.

mindstrom lego kit

Launch the intuitive robot software and use pre-defined commands to build motion, touch, light and other sensory functions.

mindstrom software

Last, connect and communicate via USB to test your functions and ultimately download the finished firmware version to the NXT Lego robot.

usb mindstrom

The USB monster Lego kits, or Mindstroms are available for $250 from Amazon. This is one excellent gift for the 9+ age who’s into computers, gadgets and tinkering.
Continue Reading

USB Hack: Turn Any USB Drive Into a Readyboost Drive

Readyboost is a Windows Vista feature which uses flash memory to enhance computer performance.  The reports have varied about it’s success, but one thing is for sure – you need a Readyboost drive to use the feature – well, until now. Here is a USB hack or work-around for turning any regular USB stick into a Readyboost drive.  First, lets look to see what Windows would like in a Readyboost drive:
  • The USB Key must be at least USB 2.0.
  • The device must be able to do 3.5 MB/s for 4 KB random reads uniformly across the entire device and 2.5 MB/s for 512 KB random writes uniformly across the device.
  • The USB Key has to have at least 64mb of free space.
If your USB key is at least USB 2.0, but is rated slower for the random reads and writes required to use ReadyBoost, more than likely you have seen this message:

readyboost error window

If so, plug in the USB Key, and cancel Autoplay if it pops up. Click on Start button, and select “Computer.” After Windows Explorer opens, in the right window pane find the USB Key you want to use. Right click and select Properties, then select Continue Reading

USB Hack: Disable USB Port on PC

usb connector, usb portFor many IT managers USB port connectivity can still pose a large threat to company security.  One quick down-and-dirty method is disabling the read and write from any system USB port.  This can be done through a quick registry edit. Here is the full Microsoft article explaining how to disable a USB port (link). Note:  This is a registry edit so be sure to backup your registry first and know how to restore it in case something terrible happens. To disable the access to USB port, in windows XP and 2000: 1. Click Start, and then click Run. 2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK. 3. Locate, and then click the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor 4. In the right pane, double-click Start. 5. In the Value data box, type 4, click Hexadecimal (if it is not already selected), and then click OK. 6. Quit Registry Editor. To re-enable a disabled port: 1. Click Start, and then click Run. 2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK. 3. Locate, and then click the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor 4. In the right pane, double-click Start. 5. In the Value data box, type 3, click Hexadecimal (if it is not already selected), and then click OK. 6. Quit Registry Editor. Continue Reading

USB Drive Ejector Software

I reported a while back on a product called Unlocker if you are having problems unlocking your USB drive from a Windows operating system. Today I bring you another package which does the same function; however, is easier to use. USB Drive Ejector is a simple utility which lists all USB devices on your buss and with a double click – you can unlock and eject the device.

eject usb drive

This is a great tool to have in case you’ve ran into:
  1. Cannot delete file, access denied
  2. Sharing violation
  3. Source destination file in use
  4. File is in use by another program, etc.
However, you should always proceed with caution when a stubborn drive wont eject. Sometimes…and I mean sometimes…there are reasons. Such as virus software scanning the memory device or Windows writing to the device in cache memory. These examples are far and few between so a couple of common sense activities might be in order, such as Continue Reading

6 iPhone Hacks An iPhone User Would Probably Want

I don’t own an iPhone, but my neighbor & buddy & fellow entrepreneur does. Recently he showed me some cool things he’s done with the phone. So here are 6 iPhone hacks any iPhone owner would probably want [to check out]. Note: You take responsibility for your actions.
iphone hack
  1. iPhone Interface Tool – This toolkit lets you move files around on the iPhone, run any desired applications on the iPhone or activate the phone without iTunes.
  2. Use LED lights to create your own flash for the iPhone camera.
  3. Drop your iPhone and broke the screen? No problem, learn how to replace it here.
  4. Here’s another way to unlock your iPhone SIM card.
  5. Include the WiFi music store with this firmware version of 1.1.1 release.
  6. Not a true “hack” in the traditional sense, but create and order your own customized cover design for the iPhone.
When my buddy isn’t chatting it up on his iPhone or texting with the footer “Sent from my iPhone” he runs a nice little Photo Birth Announcements business. Continue Reading

Onion Powered iPod

So it turns out a white onion is not only good for salsa, but good for charging iPods too. Here is a video showing you how to charge an iPod with an onion, Gatorade and USB cable. I knew those electro-lights are good for something. For those not interested in watching a 3 minute video here is the down-n-dirty:
  • put two holes on either side of your onion with screwdriver
  • soak the thing in Gatorade until most is gone (about 1 cup worth)
  • use the iPod USB cable and push in the USB connector into the onion.

Your iPod will then turn on and charge shortly there after. So for about 1 cup of gatoraid soaked into the onion will get you about 30 minutes of charge time. Source: TreeHugger, YouTube link If you like this we have other USB hacks and USB Tutorials. Continue Reading

Hack: iPod Touch as Mass Storage Device

As if you need one more device for storing files you eventually can never find, the iPod Touch can now be used as a USB mass storage device.
ipod touch hack
At this time, the following hack only applies to MacFanBoys – I’ll post a PC solution when found. Per TUAW:
You know that “Enable disk use” checkbox? The one that appears in iTunes for most modern iPods? That checkbox isn’t there for the iPod touch. The touch provides no built-in disk access utilities but if you have an Intel Mac, and aren’t afraid of the command line, you can use these Media Folder utilities to copy files to and from your touch.
Note: To follow updates jump over to TUAW. Continue Reading

PStart – Your Custom Desktop Start Tray for USB Stuff

Is your UFD stuffed with portable applications? Do you find yourself constantly exploring the USB drive to launch your program? If so, forget about it. Use PStart. I while back I wrote an article about 55 Portable Applications to Make a Super Stick – well that list is nothing without the PStart tray tool. (PStart is apart of that list too).
pstart
Pstart is a simple tray tool to start user defined applications from their flash drive. Designed to run portable applications you can start anything without actually opening up and exploring your flash drive – do it right from your desktop tray. Of course Pstart is as portable as your applications and will work on any PC system. PStart has four useful tabs to help in your daily routine. Items, Search, Notes and Info. Here’s a break down: Continue Reading

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