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Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device

On more occasions that I’d like to admit, Windows will not eject a USB device from my operating system when using the Safely Remove Hardware in the icon tray. The annoying error message Windows displays “The device cannot be stopped right now. Try stopping the device again later” usually appears in a time sensitive situation. So what is the work around?
usb device locked
Try using a freeware software utility I found while reading FreewareGenius.com called Unlocker. Unlocker is a utility that frees a file or folder which is being used by another program or process. Albeit there are situations that a file should remain tied to it’s process or program but other times you need to force the release. Continue Reading

USB and DOS – Does It Work?

USB on DOS, does it work? Sometimes. At least that’s the answer Ed gave me from BootDisk.com.
dos usb
USB was never meant to run from DOS, yet there are situations you want a USB device to run from DOS. For those elite select few check out BootDisk to homebrew your own solution. Unfortunately there isn’t one disc or zip file you can unpack, load and mount a USB device and for that reason BootDisk gives you several options to figure things out. I would say BootDisk has the most complete collection of USB drivers around if you are one in need of USB on DOS. Continue Reading

WordPress On a USB Stick

You can run WordPress, or any blog platform, from a USB stick. It’s easy and useful. If you are anything like me, you are probably laughing while asking the question “Why would anyone need to run WordPress from a USB drive?” I laughed too, until recently.

About two months ago I received a notice for jury duty. Just a couple days ago I served for jury duty. I wasn’t called into a trial, but I did make the most of my day. All thanks to my WordPress on a stick. I didn’t know if the court house had internet access and didn’t feel like reading a book all day, so I dove into a little project to run WordPress from a stick. After all I had a long list of website tweaks I wanted to perform and this could be the perfect day to do them.

After a day of working with my remote blog platform I came to realize there are many reasons why this is valuable…here is a short list I came up with:

Continue Reading

Mac On A USB Stick

GetUSB reported on running Linux on a USB key, we even reported on a full running PC shaped like a key. Today we found Mac-On-A-Stick. A prebuilt package to run that ever so classic Mac 128K and Mac Plus.
mac on usb stick
You’ll need several utilities to build the Mac package and some time on your hands. I opt for the quick download… So what could you do with this Mac-on-a-stick, well maybe show your kids what the original Mac OS looked like (good timing with the iPhone launch and show them where Apple began), play with some old system software to re-live the good-ol-days or possibly use a Mac on Windows or Linux machine. You can download the zip and build everything on a flash drive as small as 32MBs (if you still have one that small) just make the jump over to Nothickmanuals.info. Continue Reading

Deep Breath Please

The guys at Instructables came up with a chest harness to generate power for USB devices. Maybe they’ll give new meaning to the term wonderbra.
usb breath charger
Using some high-ratio gear motors this “thorax expansion coupler” uses your body motion for regular breathing. Although the instructions to build such a device are a little taxing, it would be a fun gear-head project. The goal of the chest USB charger would be generating about 500mW and in the enclosure size of a cell phone. The picture above is only a proof of concept and gets just a little over 50mW of power. At that rate, it would take about a day to charge one AA battary.
gear ratio usb charger
Continue Reading

Home Brew USB WiFi Extender – Dozens of New Access Points

GetUSB.info has reported on several off-the-shelf USB extenders, but they are high priced, at least for the home user. If you have low signal strength and on a tight budget, here is a tutorial on making your own beefed up WiFi USB extender.
USB wifi extender
Using this home-brew WiFi extender will help pick up dozens more hot-spots in your area; don’t believe it – we’ll you’ll just have to try it – this really works. The premise of this solution is taking a parabolic dish and bouncing all possible waves into the focal point of the “dish” or in this case, the WiFi USB stick. Continue Reading

Free Open Source USB Encryption Software Utility: TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt has just what you are looking for, provided you are looking for free USB flash drive encryption software utilities.
usb encryption software
The best feature of TrueCrypt is the automatic, on-the-fly, real-time encryption process. So it’s completely transparent. The other great feature is the Plausible Deniability feature which provides two levels for you.
  • Level 1: Hidden volumes. This is where a volume is created within another volume by TrueCrypt. The upper level (the one seen by a person forcing you to get the content) is filled with random data, so you can show them “Look man, there’s nothing there!”
  • Level 2: A volume appears to consist of nothing more than random data, no signature or typology what-so-ever. Therefore, it is impossible to prove that a file, a partition or a device has been encrypted.
To round out the offerings of this free USB encryption software, TrueCrypt includes a key-log which records the time and date the last time modifications were made. Such as password changes, data access or more concerning information such as last time the device was mounted in an OS, or attempted to be mounted. The only down side, which I feel Continue Reading

Hand Crank USB Lego Charger

So here is a simple project to groom your child into the geek parent you are. Over at Hacked Gadgets Alan pointed out a “how-to” on creating your own USB charger from Lego’s.
hand crank lego USB charger
The charger uses a Lego motor to generate current which passes through a voltage regulator and off to the USB port. If you don’t already have the Lego motor you can pick them up at target and the voltage regulator at Radio Shack. When all done, rather then sending your kid to time-out, have them hand-crank and recharge your favorite MP3 player. Here is a picture of the hand crank with electronics already installed. Continue Reading

Zune Hack: Run Zune on Vista

My buddy purchased a Zune a couple days ago and learned it didn’t work with his Windows Vista. He did figure out how to run the Zune on Windows Vista. A little digging around he came up with the following article, thought to pass it along.
Run Zune on Vista
Before you start be sure you have the Zune CD, WinRAR (if you don’t have it, grab a trial version) and a this Zune.msi install patch (here *requires log-in on forum). There are 10 steps to this process and please don’t plug in your Zune until prompted to by the Zune software. Instructions: Continue Reading

USB Dog Humps on Command ah…Copy

The original USB humping dog was out about 6 months ago and humped while plugged into a USB port. Now, there is a mod thats more of what you’d expect. He’ll hump only when copying data or accessing data. Unfortunately it’s just a mod so not for sale, but follow the tutorial and you too could have your own USB humping dog on command copy.

usb humping dog mod

Video after the jump Continue Reading

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