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Can I Connect a USB-C to a USB 2.0 Port?

USB Type C Connector

Question

Can I connect a USB Type C cable to an older USB 2.0 port?

Answer

No you cannot.

The USB type C socket is a backward compatible technology with respect to the protocol but it is not backward compatible in the physical connection. Meaning, the sockets wont fit, but with an adapter you will have no problem charge devices or trasnfering data.

Why

The USB-C connection was design for several reasons. Of course a new specification will always be developed to increase data transfer rates or introduce new features, such as increased power across the buss to charge or power connected devices. The main reason for USB-C connectors is size. With USB being the world’s most popular technology for peripheral devices, the Implementers Forum (with members such as Intel, Acer, AData, SanDisk, Lexar, Micron and many others) they wanted to insure the USB specification continued to be the #1 method for connecting the ever decreasing size of digital devices.

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Trained Dogs to Sniff Out SD Cards and USB Sticks

USB stick, dog

Police dogs have yet another smell they must detect. Tactical Detection K9 company now trains dogs to sniff out SD cards and USB sticks. The training is in response to better assisting law enforcement in child pornography investigations.

The percentage of a dog’s brain which is devoted to analyzing smells is 40 times greater than humans. For example, humans can detect about 5 million scents and a German Shepherd can detect around 225 million smells.

In a recent investigation a dog was used in the FBI raid of the home of the former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle in Hancock County, Indiana.

What could take investigators hours to find an SD card or USB stick in a house would take a trained dog considerably less time, probably no more than 30 minutes.

According to Tactical Detection K9 it took scientists over four years to isolate the odor associated with memory devices. Now that a specific odor has been identified it takes 8-9 months for a dog to be trained in picking up that scent.

A dog which can sniff out SD and USB sticks can cost upwards of $9,000.

Source: IB Times and Dummies.com .

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Lenovo USB Compu-Stick

Computers on a stick will begin to gain popularity over the next two years. Lenovo is the most recent to offer a compu-stick. The Ideacentre 300 Stick is a 2GB of RAM computer with an Intel Atom Z3735F processor (2M cache + 1.83 Ghz) and runs Windows 8.1.

The Compu-Stick can be plugged into any computer and when you reboot, the hardware now uses the OS of the compu-stick.

compu-stick, usb

Alternatively you may connect the device to a TV and sync a keyboard and mouse and now you have a fully functioning PC with your TV as the monitor.

This is a great step in the right direction as all technology will move towards solid state memory. The Lenovo product has 32GBs of memory which is fine for a first generation product. If they can house a microSD slot in there for expanded memory, it would be an inexpensive solution to a possible data storage problem.

The only caveat left is that unless true Grade A memory is used in these devices the data retention and stability is the week point. With Grade A NAND memory you have a re-write of about 100,000 cycles. SLC memory will help this issue and improve reliability.

Reports indicate the Compu-Stick will run about $150.

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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

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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ECCN and HS Code for USB Flash Drives

When importing or exporting USB flash drives in the United States you will want to use these ECCN and HS Codes to help with customs paperwork. The ECCN Code for a USB flash drive is:  EAR99 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. HS Code is the  “Harmonized System” which is a 6-digit standardized numerical method of classifying traded products developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization.  The Harmonized System system (HS) forms the basis of all countries’ tariff Schedule all over the world.  Or it helps countries asses value to a product in a standardized way and by definitions all countries can agree and interpret. Continue Reading

8 Technology Gadgets To Boost Your Business

SmallBizBee posted a nice article today about eight tech gadgets which can help boost your busines in either profit, production, efficiency or exposure.  Click for the full article and how these items can impact your business.  For a quick read we have the summary:
  • ConnectMe Home Phone Adapter
  • USB Duplicator for data loading by Nexcopy
  • Wireless Solar Keyboard
  • Noise Canceling Headphones
  • MIFI Liberate
  • HDMI Pocket Projector
  • Absolutepower Charger
  • Touch Mouse T620
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Longevity of USB Flash and Wear Leveling

I think we have all heard a USB can only be used so many times.  Some say the number is 1,000 writes – some say the number is 100,000 writes.  One thing I do know for sure, it’s impossible to tell on any one specific device.  The life cycle of a USB is directly related to the flash memory…and from model to model or style to style, who knows what quality of flash is used.  With that said, we can still explain the theory behind making USB drives last longer.  For the most part it boils down to several elements  A)  the memory type and quality and B) the wear leveling technique. As a quick summary the NAND flash in USB can be either SLC, MLC or TLC (single cell, multi-layer cell or triple-layer cell memory).  Typically you will find MLC and now mostly TLC in USB sticks.  SLC can be found but typically on the very high end devices. Wear leveling is a technique to prolong the life of the erasable flash memory.  To summarize, flash memory has individual, erasable segments that can be set as zero’s or ones (set as either positive or negative charge).  However, after a certain number of erase and write cycles the segment (cell) becomes too unstable for reliable use. Wear leveling is the algorithm used by the controller on the device which attempts to arrange the erase and writes evenly across the flash medium.  Typically flash can have a cycle between 3,000 and 5,000 erase/writes.  In addition to the usable area, the flash also has some cells with specific blocks for extended live which can handle up to 100,000 writes.  This is the area where the controller makes not of the segments previously used and maps out the next best cells to use during an erase/write cycle. There are three types of wear leveling. No wear leveling – A Flash memory storage system with no wear leveling will not last very long if it is writing data to the flash. Without wear leveling, the Flash controller must permanently assign the logical addresses from the host computer to the physical addresses of the Flash memory. This means that every write to a previously written block must first be read, erased, modified, and re-written to the same location. This is very time consuming and highly written locations will wear out quickly with other locations even being completely unused. Once a few blocks reach their end of life the drive is no longer operable. Dynamic wear leveling – The first developed type of leveling is called dynamic wear leveling and it uses a map to linklogicl block addresses from the host to the physical Flash memory. Each time the host writes replacement data, the map is updated so the original physical block is marked as invalid data, and a new block is linked to that map entry. Each time a block of data is re-written to the Flash memory it is written to a new location. Static wear leveling – The other type of wear leveling is called static wear leveling which also uses a map to link the block addresses to physical memory addresses. Static wear leveling works the same as dynamic wear leveling except the static blocks that do not change are periodically moved so that these low usage cells are able to be used by other data. This rotational effect of block addressing enables an SSD to operate until most of the blocks are near their end of life. The above are three types of wear leveling and there are three types of techniques used to extend the life of a USB drive. Error correction – Code which is kept and logs bad blocks so they cannot be used again in future writes. Pool reserve – Where if a write fails to a block it can be re-routed to the pool of reserved blocks and written there. Track usage  – Blocks on the media can be tracked in a least recently used queue of some sort. The data structures for the queue itself must be wear leveled as well as this queue information is constantly changing. Source:  Wikipedia and Nexcopy Inc. duplicator manufacturer. Continue Reading

Ajay Bhatt Inventor of USB, Nominated

One of the most underrated and overlooked advancements in personal computers is the USB port.  The USB protocol has given countless device makers, cable manufacturers and peripheral innovators the ability to quickly and easy connect their products to a host computer.  It has finally been recognized that Ajay V. Bhatt and his team are getting the praise they deserve with the nomination of the European Inventor Award in the non-European Countries category. It may not be as well known on this side of the Atlantic, but the European Inventor Award is highly regarded and considered the “Oscar” of the technology award. By nominating Bhatt and his team for their amazing efforts to bring about “one of the most revolutionary advances in computing since the development of the silicon chip”, Europe is finally taking steps to give these inventors the credit they so rightly deserve. While we may take it for granted, the PC industry was a mess back in 1997 and installing a new device – be it a mouse, camera, printer or even storage – was not as simple as plugging in a standard cable and installing a few drivers. Thanks to Bhatt’s leadership, this all changed and now consumers can be almost assured of interoperability between peripherals and the operating system. Since 1997, over 10 billion USB devices have been shipped and we are not exaggerating when we say that entire markets owe their existence to the lowly USB standard. Hopefully, on May 28th Bhatt Continue Reading

Gadgeteer Loves USB Power Now on Alaska Airlines

Question:  Would you take a slimmer seat cushion (thus less space) to gain USB power? If your answer is yes, then Alaska Airlines has you covered. Alaska announced last week that the new seats, manufactured by German company Recaro Aircraft Seating, will also include 110-volt socket AND USB power outlets on the seat back in front of every passenger.  To date, the company has installed the slim seats with USB sockets on seven new planes and plans to have them on 75% of its fleet of 125 planes by the end of 2014. Initial response from customers Continue Reading

USB To Kick Into High High Gear

You can’t help to think Apple’s push for Thunderbolt has something to do with the latest announcement from the USB-IF…in that transfer speeds via USB will double what the USB 3.0 specification currently is.  If development can stay on target, this increased speed should be seeing implementation by end of 2014. The new specification will run with USB 3.0 sockets and connectors; however, will require new wire setup for the cables. It is expected to see the faster USB spec in PCs, adapter cards and hard drives, but will take significantly longer to reach mobile devices and tablets.  As it stands now, USB 3.0 is just gaining momentum as a standard socket in PCs and mobile devices should start seeing 3.0 connectors in late 2013.   Continue Reading

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