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Amazon Takes Steps Against Hazardous USBs

Amazon will no longer allow the sale of USB cords with the potential to fry a consumer’s technology.

USB Type C

In its list of banned items, USB-C cables or adapter products have been added. This of course is not a blanket statement since USB-C is taking the world by storm with companies like Apple even going so far as to release a macbook with only 2 ports total. Any USB Type-C cable or adapter product which is not compliant with standard specifications will not be allowed on Amazon for sale or resale.

The new Type-C power cord is small, multipurpose, universal, and reversible. Capable of suppling power, video output, and an enourmous amount of data per second, USB Type-C is looking to unseat micro-USB cords seen on many standard smartphones. Cheap power cords are nothing new and are still readily available but cheap, poorly made cords have proven to be dangerous to users and to their tech.

The USB-C standards-setting group, the USB Implementers Forum, has been issuing a seal of approval for safe USB-C cords since they first appeared on the market last year. Amazon, up until now, had allowed non-certified cords on its website. Since they are now following suit with many physical stores such as Staples and Best Buy, products and pricing between in-store and online may have much less of a contrast in the future.

Source: Amazon

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Dangerous New USB Malware

Data security through the internet is one of the most volatile industries in today’s world. Bug exploits, malicious code, and all kinds of data stealing programs being born through the constant fluidity of web content has led to many companies and organizations removing their valuable information from the grid altogether. A new threat on the hardware front however, may prove to be a challenge for even this avenue of data protection.

USB



A new malware sample, appropriately named “USB Thief”, was discovered by researchers at the award-winning ESET security firm. As its name implies, the malware is completely USB-based, meaning it spreads only through devices plugging in through the USB ports of a computer.

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Saelig Electronics Introduces A 16 Port Charging Board

USB Device

In response to the countless devices we use such as tablets, ChromeBooks, phones, MP3 players, and even 3D glasses, Saelig Unique Electronics has released a product to keep everything juiced up simultaneously while maintaining safety for each unique device.

The Cambrionix U16S Universal USB Charging Board allows users to charge up to 16 USB 2.0 devices at manufacturer-approved speeds and at up to 2.1A per port. Available for Mac and Windows environments, the U16S is ideal for schools, restaurants, airports, or any other location where customer services could be enhanced by offering a universal charging facility.

The U16S also includes compatibility with LCD or LED displays enabling users to view the status of their battery and other specifications such as time remaining or current (in Amperes) flowing to each device. The included LiveViewer software demonstrates the unique benefits and facilitates this informative display. LiveViewer shows each port if a device is attached and how much energy it is using. Furthermore, each port can be configured on or off from the app to avoid unwanted use of the product at certain times or after a period of usage.

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Spring Cleaning and Image Files to Boot

Nexcopy Releases Free Image File Creation Tool To Their Reliable Registry Cleaning Tool; USB Scrub

CopySecure

Nexcopy Inc., a leading manufacturing of USB duplicators and printers, introduces a new image creation tool to make an exact copy of master flash devices. The image tool is an add-on feature to Nexcopy’s already popular USB Scrub application and is designed to clean old registry edits of mass storage devices in Windows 32-bit or 64-bit operating systems. The new feature gives users the ability to create binary image files of USB flash drives, hard drives, or any other mass storage device. The image creation tool uses a binary process to make an exact archival copy of any target device.

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Transform Any Smartphone Into A 3D Printer

The 3D printer for the average consumer is here and it goes by the name of OLO. Shattering its Kickstarter goal in a matter of hours, OLO is a device designed to work in tandem with a smartphone to create a fully functional 3D printer. The reason for its surprising success? Backers can now have a 3D printer in their home for just $99.

OLO


The phone-sized prism is touted as 3D democracy and its design is based around the concept that half of a 3D printer’s hardware is already in the pocket of 92% of American adults. The printer consists of a reservoir, a photopolymer resin that is poured inside, and a mechanized lid containing the build plate and control electronics. The base of the device holds a piece of polarized glass which the phone is placed underneath, facing upward. Once the lid is placed on top and the printer starts going, the OLO phone app displays specific patterns on the screen. The polarized glass takes this light and focuses it to beam directly upward and cause the layers of resin to harden onto the build plate into any conceivable pattern as the plate moves up.

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Multi-Focals That Can Adjust Their Refraction

A new use for the phases of liquid crystal, changing the nature of eyewear, and even pushing the boundaries of the mechanic assisting the organic. DeepOptics is looking to accomplish all of the above and more with a new omnifocal which adjusts in response to the activity of our eyes.

DeepOptics
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Amazon’s Virtual Assistant

Responsive robots may have begun as a dream and subsequently a Jetsons character but as we get closer to the broadly defined sci-fi “future”, more and more of those futuristic ideas are becoming a reality. Alongside Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana, the Amazon Echo features a similar computational companion, Alexa.

alexa

The Echo includes a Texas Instruments ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 256MB of LPDDR1 RAM, and 4GB of storage space while also utilizing cloud based processing and storage through Amazon Web Services. In its default mode, the device is constantly waiting for its name or customizable “wake word” but can also be configured for manual activation. Once it receives the go-ahead, music, audiobooks, news, calendars, and even the functionality of a home such as lights and thermostats are at the user’s command. With a 7 piece microphone array and omnidirectional audio, its clear the product was designed to hear, and be heard, from anywhere in the room and its voice recognition has had much success in command interpretation despite interference such as running water, or a loud TV.

Limitations with some of these features however, do exist. As expected with many interpreters of the English language, word confusion does still occur and Echo is sometimes mixed up when presented with certain homophones. Additionally, certain background noise may not be viewed as such as seen in an ironic set of incidents for NPR listeners when a segment discussing how the voice activated assistant was helping customers. Upon hearing its wake up word, the story ended up triggering Amazon Echos in the homes of a few listeners and modified or reset their thermostats.

Additional concerns revolve around privacy and security to which Amazon responded to swifty. Caution around the device’s feature to perpetually monitor for its wake up word was dissuaded by the online retailer when they enumerated the absence of any streamed recordings prior to the wake up word. When, and only when, Echo receives this cue, does it begin to stream audio to the cloud for processing. As for Echo’s future, updates and apps are not in short supply. Because much of Echo’s intelligence lies in the cloud, significant functional enhancements can be made to Echo without updating the software version it is running. New features and fixes will be implemented without the user needing to update the product so as time goes on, the bridge between reality and the sci-fi fantasies of the past looks to be growing shorter and shorter.

Source: Amazon

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Sony files patent for a glove-like controller

With the advent of Virtual Reality consoles upon us, now is as good a time as any for accessories which can be used in tandem with the technological leap. Electronics giant Sony has recently filed for a trio of patents and they look to be taking VR to an interesting new place.

The trio of patents are for a new glove-based controller system which centers around a finger-tracking flex sensor, a separate contact sensor that registers when the user touches a physical object, and a communications module that sends this data to a VR headset where it is incorporated into the simulated experience.

psvr

The patent filing describes the system as “a trackable object that is configured to be illuminated during interactivity with at least one inertial sensor for generating inertial sensor data”. Reminiscent of the Move Motion “wand” revealed in 2009 and released for the PS3, the glove appears to be more dexterous and its collaborative capabilities have the potential to make gesture actions or motions applicable far beyond the world of gaming.

An important note to make in the nature of patents is there is no guarantee a product of this nature will ever see the light of day. Between cost, time, and how well it would actually work, Sony may choose to simply hold the patent and work on other projects but it does suggest they are at least considering wearable computing in the future.

Source: Sony

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Quick Tips for Faster Wi-Fi

Slow internet connections can turn the most innocent web browsing session into an absolute struggle to maintain sanity but luckily there are a variety of steps available to increase speeds once again.

First up, ethernet cables. Ironically the best Wi-Fi tip is to not use your Wi-Fi connection, but rather a wired connection to ensure stability by reducing interference. Plugging an ethernet cable from your machine to a router will ensure connection integrity and having a connection that doesn’t drop out can be particularly helpful for videos and game console activity.

Second, all to often, routers are stuffed in a closet in some far corner of the house. Getting it out in the open and as high as possible will create a larger and more consistent coverage area. Additionally, keep as few walls as possible between the router and the usual location of frequently used devices.

Third, if you’re running 802.11n, you might want to try connecting via 802.11g instead. Throughput speeds can potentially double but it does usually depend on other ISP variables and especially upon what other wireless sources are overlapping signals with the router.

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It’s not always necessary to buy a new router to speed up your Wi-Fi, but if a router is more than a couple years old, an upgrade may provide some benefits. And if you own new gear that has 802.11ac built in, it’s definitely time to upgrade your router. Best of all, some of the least expensive 802.11ac routers out there deliver excellent performance.

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Create your own Custom USBs

Branding products isn’t a new concept in today’s marketing world, but Nexcopy has made it a lot more accessible to brand one of the most versatile pieces of technology in the industry. With the new USB7P full color inkjet printer, anyone can bring their designs or images to life on their flash drives. Below is a video illustrating the product with its features and benefits.

For more information about customizing this video for our reseller channel, please contact Nexcopy directly.

Source: Nexcopy Inc.

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A Breath of Fresh…

Helium?

The gas most commonly associated with balloons and chipmunk voices has recently seen use in Western Digital’s hardware. The memory provider unveiled a new set of their helium-filled drives this week, aimed at personal and small business use. While some of their sizing options are above and beyond what many users would care for, bringing these kinds of options beyond just server use can be a step in an uplifting direction.

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Just like their predecessors, the new hard drives come with SATA III interfaces. With a density one-seventh that of air, helium filled hardware reduces the drag force acting on the spinning stack and lowers fluid forces affecting the disks, enabling thinner platters in larger numbers. The family of WD’s hermetically-sealed hard drives will include 8TB options with 5400RPM or 7200RPM spindle speeds and looks to be optimized for mixed workloads. While the only helium platforms available are for NAS drives, the use of the gas leads to speculation that Western Digital is working on more inexpensive helium-filled platforms. Hopefully, this will lead to helium adaptations of their high-performance HDDs currently on the market for desktop use.

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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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