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USB Tutorial: Wiki On A Stick

wiki on stickToday LifeHacker syndicated a short description on how to place a Wiki on a USB stick…and I thought…hmm interesting idea. So digging into things a little deeper it seems no more complicated than putting WordPress on a stick. But I think most of you would ask, why? The reason would be for off-line edits, organizing or remote access where there is no internet connectivity or you are in a facility which limits your access (schools & gov’t agencies). Here is the web page from the MediaWiki website which gives you all the juicy details on placing a wiki on a stick. Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: Make a Wood USB Drive

One of the most common problems with USB drives is the plastic casing getting cracked and breaking apart.  It’s a shame that such a cheap piece of plastic might encourage some to drop another $20 or $30 on a new device.  Of course fixing the plastic is never going to work as a long term solution – just a stop-gap. Instructables has a nice USB tutorial on taking a UFD and turning it’s case into a nice, customized wood piece.  Sure you could buy a fancy wood drive made from material carbon dated back 600 years or more, but sometimes making your own stuff is much more satisfying.

make wood drive, usb tutorial

The USB tutorial displays 12 steps from start to finish with a list of equipment you’ll need, but after reading through the tutorial, I think a dremel would replace most of the tools required.  And we all have one of those. So get going and as Eric would say “go build something…” Link to USB tutorial lesson. Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: Make a USB LED Greenhouse

With “going green” such a big trend right now you might find yourself wanting to put a little green in your workspace – and no, I don’t mean that green. The following is a video USB tutorial on taking some supplies from around your office or home, LED lights and some USB power to create your very own USB LED Greenhouse. Video is 3 minutes. Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: Turn VHS Tape Into Glowing USB Hub

VHS USB hub

Instructables posted a great little USB hack for turning an old VHS tape into a glowing USB hub.  I like this mod because it takes an old, out of date medium, puts some retro lighting in there which creates a modern day device I can use everyday. Instructables also brings up a good point with hubs getting smaller these days, it’s more likely you’ll lose it behind your desk.  Having a honk’in big VHS tape solves that problem. So what is this USB tutorial all about?  Well, in short, you will destroy an old VHS tape, cut out some through-holes for USB ports and power.  Secure some LEDs for effect and reassemble everything to impress your buddies.  Since this outline isn’t enough to start or finish the project, jump over to Instructables for the full low down. Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: Cool Looking Sawed Off USB Key

With over 5,300 Diggs, I figure this would be a good article to report about on how to make a sawed-off USB key.  Nothing about this project is too technical, but the idea is clever enough it’s gained a lot of attention.

sawed off usb

The sawed off UFD is a mod of using a slim Kingmax USB drive, USB cable and some glue + knife for a very cool looking storage device. The intro line to this tutorial from the main page is:
“Holy crap– somebody just went and TORE MY FREAKING USB CABLE IN HALF while it was still attached to my laptop!!! No– wait– sorry. That’s just my USB drive. My bad. Never mind.”
Which I think is pretty funny. So besides getting a slim Kingmax USB drive (here is a 4GB for $15), you will need the following:  USB cable, X-acto knife, glue, pliers, small screwdriver and some mad cutting skills. First thing you will want to do is cut open the female end of the USB cable so you can insert the memory for storage.  It’s fairly straight forward in the process.  Some additional pictures are available Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: Assign USB Drives To Folders – Get Organized

Here is a nice quick and easy USB tutorial. Swapping storage can become a headache in Windows as you never know or can remember which drive letter Windows assigns your drive.  At Lifehacker, they posted a nice tip on assign USB drives to folders.  This method not only keeps things organized, but adds one additional benefit most wouldn’t think of.

usb drive in folder

First, the tip. Create a main USB folder where we will mount all the USB drives once connected.  Then assign all your USB devices to sub-folders within that main folder.  After creating the folder structure, do the following for assignment.
  • Click > Start > Run then enter diskmgmt.msc and hit enter. This opens the Disk Management configuration that should display all drives and devices currently connected to your computer.
  • Pick an USB device from the list and right-click that entry. Select Change Drive Letter and Paths from the menu.
  • This should open a new window that is displaying the current drive letter of the device and three buttons at the bottom which are named Add, Change and Remove.
  • Click on the Add button, select Mount into the following empty NTFS folder and click on browse. Now navigate to the subfolder that you want to assign the usb drive to and confirm the assignment. The USB drive will from now on be accessible from that folder as well if it is connected to the computer.
Now, the additional benefit: Continue Reading

Network Your External USB Hard Drive

Someone once asked the question if they could network their external USB hard drive so other computers could share and store information on it. Surprisingly it isn’t that hard. There is no need to build a NAS (Network Attached Storage) server or configure NAS software on a host computer. All you need is changing some privileges to the USB external hard drive.

share network usb drive

Granted, this solution isn’t for the hard-core network user(s) environment, nor is it ideal for business applications where large or frequent data storage transfers are required or networks where users are accessing storage via a remote server. Rather, this is a simple solution for a home network or small business office. Simply use the file and printer sharing setting in Windows to network a USB external hard drive. Or you can use the Windows mapping tool to map and share a drive to other computers on the network. Continue Reading

DIY: New Term For Video iPod (Hint: Projector)

I enjoy the Instructables weekly email about DIY projects. Occasionally you see one worth trying or sparks your interest enough to consider trying. This week we found an instructable for a DIY iPod Video Porjector. To turn your dream into a reality, you’ll need an iPod, mirror, lens and flat wall for projected image. Here’s the DIY video for the iPod video projector…and sure you could get a dock station and connect your iPod to your TV, keep the lights on and enjoy the latest Jon Stewart download…but where’s the sizzle in that? Source and full tutorial: Instructables video iPod. Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: USB Telescope for Under $40

The guys at Instructables have come up with yet another great tutorial to add some USB gadgetry to your closet. This time we take a look at building a USB telescope from an old analog zoom lens, webcam and PVC piping for housing. Reading through the instructions, the USB tutorial is a seven step process. You will need some prep work done at the hardware store and have your zoom lens and webcam available (both items can be found on eBay for under $15 each). Here is a video summary:
For the full USB Telescope tutorial make the jump. Continue Reading

USB Hack: Disable The AutoPlay Pop Up Window

The first couple of times I connected a USB drive to my computer it was nice to see the pop-up window asking me what I wanted to do with the drive. However, the pop-up window gets old. Here is how to disable the autoplay pop-up window for USB drives: Go to your Windows Start button and navigate to RUN… type in:
gpedit.msc then click OK
A Windows Group Policy window pops up. This is where you configure the pop-up window setting.

group policy window

Click the Administrative Templates folder, then click the System folder. On the right side of the window you will see (may have to scroll down) the “Turn Off Autoplay” item. Double click that item.

set USB autoplay function

Another window pops up and this is where you enable the turn-off autoplay pop-up window dialogue box. Simply click the radial button for “Enable” now select “All drives” or “CD-ROM drives”   Click OK or Apply and you’re set.

disable usb autoplay

Please note, this setting will also affect your CD-ROM autoplay function as well. I’d like to see the ability to select only USB devices, but that’s just not the case. To reverse the setting, follow the above instructions and set the radial button to either “Not Configured” or “EnabledIf using Windows Vista – the process is just a little easier. Go to your Start button, or Windows Logo and navigate to “Dafault Programs” here a pop-up window opens and click the link for “Change AutoPlay Settings” which then takes you to the following window to configure your autoplay settings for all your devices. Continue Reading

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