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Where to buy: SD Duplicators, Some Say “SD Copiers”

SD cards are so popular today because the gigabyte capacity in relation to the form factor size is such a great trade off.  The average user on the street would associate an SD card with a camera, but we know heavy users of SD cards use them for embedded operating systems, GPS systems and hand-held point of sale systems.

With that said, for those who need to mass data load content to Secure Digital cards, you might be looking for options on where to buy the gear. The following article, which has no affiliate links for commissions, lists some house-hold names who offer on-line purchasing of SD duplication gear.

SD duplicators manufactured by Nexcopy are available from a variety of different on-line retailers.  The models available from the manufacturer range in different sizes.  The models also range between systems running from a host computer and systems which are stand alone. The following content will talk about both, PC based and standalone duplicators.

Wal-Mart is a growing on-line destination for purchasing technology equipment.  Yes, Wal-Mart.  For example, a user can buy a 20 target SD duplicator from Wal-Mart.

20 target SD duplicator from Wal-Mart.  A PC Based system for data loading to SD cards

This system is PC based and requires a very minimal Windows computer to run the software.  You might ask, why a PC based system?  What advantages are there with a system like this?  Here are some bullet points on why a PC based system is a benefit:

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Windows 10 Update, Hickup With Flash Drives

We have read on-line that Microsoft’s May 2019 update might not happen for those with connected USB sticks or SD cards. Microsoft claims the update will simply not happen if the OS detects these connected devices. The reason, Microsoft might re-assign drive letters to those connected devices.

On my first pass of reading this, the reassignment of drive letters doesn’t sound all that bad. Especially for a removable drive. However; Microsoft goes on to state that internal hard drives could also be affected by the drive letter shuffle.

There is your red flag!

The newly published Windows 10 support document reveals; those computers already having the April 2018 (version 1803) or October 2018 (version 1809) updates installed will receive this error message: “This PC can’t be upgraded to Windows 10.”

The Microsoft documentation does not referrence internal hard drives getting reassigned drive letters when no USB or SD card is detected and for that reason we feel you are safe during the update process. This is why Microsoft is blocking the update all together when a USB or SD card is detected in your system. Microsoft understands the importance of mounted internal hard drives; thus their blocking of the update.

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USB Steampunk – Tesla Generator V1.2

Who doesn’t love a steampunk flash drive? Or a steampunk anything for that matter.

Over the next couple of weeks, this website will post some outrageous steampunk USB products.

First up, the Tesla Generator by Megan Kening from Israel. Made from materials such as copper, brass, glass and paper, this is a hand crafted USB drive you will not get anywhere else. Megan has excellent reviews from the buyers.

A handmade product like this is only available at Etsy, link below.

Additional pictures after the jump…

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Microsoft Finally Capitulated the USB Safe Removal

In a battle that is so ancient most no longer consider it an issue, Microsoft has gone away with the safe removal for USB flash drives. The original suggestion by Microsoft was to eliminate data lose if a user removed the drive before properly ejecting it.

Nine out of ten times you wouldn’t lose data, unless a large file was being transferred, but it’s nice to see Microsoft adjust to user habits.

The update which includes this change is Windows 10 v v1809. If you are not sure the Windows version you have, simply right click the Windows icon in the bottom left of your screen and select “System

From the resultant page, you can view the version of your OS.

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USB4, The Royalty Free Thunderbolt from Intel

In the news, Intel has given their specification for its high-speed Thunderbolt technology to the USB-IF implementers forum.  This is the group which creates and manages USB technology.

The USB4 specification will follow the current USB 3.2 specification, yet an exact date of release has not been defined.

USB4 will double the bandwidth of USB 3.2 and provide transfer rates at a theoretical maximum of 40Gb/s. 

USB4 Flash Drive

USB4 will also enable the use of multiple data and display protocols simultaneously.  This implies you will be able to transfer data, run your monitor and power your devices through a single connection.

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TiSTICK – The Over Kill USB Flash Drive

The TiSTICK is currently available on Kickstarter. Here is your summary update if interested:

The flash drive has a titanium case, made of very durable material, has 256AES hardware encryption, available in several large GB capacities and is getting near full funding on Kickstarter.

We like the shape, we like the magnet on the tail of the drive, and we like the look. Great marketing and certainly sets itself apart from the rest of the “durable” flash drives. So well done Jörg Lingg.

In our humble opinion a bit over kill, but that is only our opinion. The following drive is made of aluminum, has been ran over multiple times with a car, and still works fine with it’s Alcor controller with encryption functionality.

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Harmonization Code for USB Flash Drives

HS Code for USB Flash Drives

When importing or exporting USB flash drives in the United States you will want to use this Harmonization Code to help with customs paperwork.

The Harmonization Code is tariff nomenclature for internationally trade which defines names and numbers assigned to traded products. The HS Code System came into effect in 1988 and has since been developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO), based in Brussels, Belgium. There are over 200 countries which participate in this program.

The HS Code for a USB flash drive is: 8523.51.0000

In the event your freight forwarder or delivery service tells you that an ECCN is needed to ship USB flash drives and is required to complete the Automated Export System (AES) or other documentation then please give them the above information and it should all work out.

ECCN stands for Export Control Classification Number. An ECCN is an alpha-numeric classification used in the Commerce Control List to identify items for export control purposes.

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Look What 10 Years Does for Lexar and SD Cards

Almost ten years ago Lexar announced it’s first 1GB SD card. Today Lexar announces their first 1TB SD card. My, how times have changed. A one GB card ten years ago cost about $125 and difficult to find at that capacity. The 1TB card announced today is $499. Doing a quick calculation means the price per Megabyte went from $0.12 cents all the way down to $0.0005 per Megabyte. Awesome!

If the price difference isn’t a big enough shock to you, consider the storage capacity increased this much, yet the form factor of the SD card has not changed.

Lexard 1TB SD Card

This new Lexar card is a Class 10 device with transfer speeds over 95MB per second. Ideal for newer cameras capturing video in 4K.
Lexard 1TB SD Card

About Lexar:

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Pocket Sized USB DNA Reader

I won’t claim to be a science expert, but found this article very interesting about a DNA Reader just a little larger than a USB drive.

For years, Illumina Technology has the lead in genome sequencing. Their gear is good and from what I understand their gear is expensive. The MinION (from Oxford Nanopore ) is an inexpensive alternative with some great upsides.

The DNA sequencer is just over $1,000 at the time of this post. Traditionally, a DNA sequencer could only read about 200 basis. A “basis” is a nucleobasis which is a collection of biologicial compounds that make up the basic building blocks of nucleic acid… or DNA.

The MinION is impressive with the ability to read 900,000 basis. Also called “long reads.” With the long reads you get a better idea of the compounds making up the DNA. Although the longer reads are not as accurate as short reads, the trade-off isn’t bad. The amount of time and effort to construct a long read from a collection of short reads is considerable. The less accurate long reads from MinION and not that far off base, thus a bit of a break through.

It is simply amazing that 15 years ago the human genome was a global effort, yet today it can be done in a device no larger than a flash drive.

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Could USB 3.x See 40Gbps?

It could be said the top five topics for CES 2018 were robots, driverless cars, virtual reality, internet of things and drones; however, we should keep our eye on less flashy topics like our beloved USB.

We learned at CES the USB Implementer Forum is looking at the capability to increase data transfer rates up to 40Gbits/second. Translated into a more common term, that is about 5,000 MB/second.

It was reported Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB Implementers Forum, was said this is a real possibility and the wiring currently used, is capable of such speeds.

chart of all USB connectors

Those who favor Thunderbolt because it’s speed capability will no longer have a debatable advantage over USB, because once this new specification is released the speed between USB 3.x and Thunderbolt would be the same, maxing out at 40Gbps.

It’s always nice to appreciate our past before looking into the future. With that said, here is a chart of the USB ports currently available:

USB speeds

…

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How Man’s Best Friend Can Sniff Out Electronics

If you’ve ever misplaced a phone or USB drive in your house and wished for a way to find it, a dog with a keen nose and a playful attitude could have helped you out. Fortunately, with skills like that, our canine friends are finding a much higher calling working with police, the FBI, and homeland security.

USB Dog

As devices improve, a tiny microSD the size of a fingernail and less than a millimeter thick can hold hundreds of gigabytes of data. With this advancement comes the tools for criminals to hide and transfer enormous amounts of information without even lifting a finger. Where does that leave the fine men and women tasked with staying one step ahead? In Ogden, Utah and across the United States, they are getting the edge with their friendly Labrador companions. Ogden is home to one of fewer than two dozen “Electronic Sniffing” dogs in the nation’s police force and his name is URL (pronounced “Earl”). URL sniffs out electronic media like flash drives, memory cards, and cell phones. While they’re not exactly cryptography experts, they are consistently able to find devices that humans might otherwise miss.

Starting around 2015 with a K-9 named Bear, investigations involving trafficking, pornography, and counterterrorism have had success with the sharp noses of the dogs alongside them. The dog’s expertise comes from playful, but rigorous training exercises and are on a food-reward diet. Dogs could be led to search an office piled to the ceiling with boxes, or an open field with evidence buried underground, and within minutes they will lead their handlers to the prize. What’s the secret? The common element between all these eletric devices is a circuitboard. Compounds are added to the board to help them deal with overheating and it’s this compound that officers train their K-9 partners with. Initially using large amounts and then all the way down to a standard thumb drive, the dogs familiarize the scent and the training to be able to search houses, vents, cars, and people if deemed necessary.

From detecting drugs, to explosives, and now to electronics, the utility of a canine’s senses can’t be understated. Craig Angle the co-director of the Canine Performance Sciences program at Auburn University said he’s seen dogs identify very small targets from incredible distances. “I’ve seen them detect two ounces of explosives from more than 300 yards away,” he said. “They can detect through barriers and masking agents. We see a lot of natural instincts in a dog’s ability to detect innate behaviors like understanding and utilizing wind currents and scent plume.” From a researcher perspective and from the law enforcement officers working with these animals, it’s clear that the full potential of cooperation like this has immense potential for evidence gathering in the future.

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