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Photoshop Tutorial on Making Animated USB Drive

If you have a few minutes and want to sharpen some Photoshop skills you can run through this tutorial on how to create a USB drive. I for one will definitely do this, as my USB Forum link needs an updated look. This Photoshop tutorial would also be a good project for anyone running a gizmo or gadget website to create some stock images for those random posts. Before you make the jump, the tutorial uses 19 steps to create the image below.

animated usb drive

However, I think a little more time is needed to make the object more proportional and some attention to shadows would also help. But if you are in a pinch and need something quick – this will work. Jump to Photoshop tutorial Continue Reading

Onion Powered iPod

So it turns out a white onion is not only good for salsa, but good for charging iPods too. Here is a video showing you how to charge an iPod with an onion, Gatorade and USB cable. I knew those electro-lights are good for something. For those not interested in watching a 3 minute video here is the down-n-dirty:
  • put two holes on either side of your onion with screwdriver
  • soak the thing in Gatorade until most is gone (about 1 cup worth)
  • use the iPod USB cable and push in the USB connector into the onion.

Your iPod will then turn on and charge shortly there after. So for about 1 cup of gatoraid soaked into the onion will get you about 30 minutes of charge time. Source: TreeHugger, YouTube link If you like this we have other USB hacks and USB Tutorials. Continue Reading

Having USB Problems With Vista?

usb problems with vistaWindows Vista has not been an easy transition for many people. One of the problems with Vista is USB support, or lack of. If you are having USB problems with Vista then please read on. Several months ago Microsoft released hotfixes for Vista for some badly-needed improvements for USB operation. Most notably is the problems, conflicts and issues related to USB and audio components. Microsoft plans to officially address the USB issues with their SP1 due out in early 2008, but in the mean time lets check out the Microsoft roll out update page. If you are using Vista and having problems be sure to double check the device manufacturer update before using the Microsoft updates, your solution might already be out there. Peter Kirn provided a couple valuable tips while diving into your problems, please read Continue Reading

DIY Power Hub via USB

Reading an article from Crave, I realized the very obvious… I should have written about this topic months ago…maybe years ago. Turning a typical USB hub into a power center for all those electronic gadgets. The key is getting a USB hub that has a dedicated AC Power adapter which plugs directly into the wall. This way a stable supply of 5v will be streaming to all ports. You can grab a 4 port, 6 port or 7 port hub for only a few dollars.
The power hub via USB is a perfect illustration of the potential of such a setup: pretty much anything that accepts USB charging (iPods, Blackberries, cellphones, headsets, Xbox 360 controllers, and the like) should be compatible.
You should be able to power up non USB charging devices as long as they are Continue Reading

Make Your Mac Work Like a DVR

The Mac can easily and quickly become a DVR with the right software and hardware. This Mac only tip comes just in time for this season’s prime time TV.
mac is dvr
Using a Mac, other than the one pictured, with a USB TV Tuner (like EyeTV Tuner) along with some DVD Burning software (Toast) you can watch, record and burn every season premier your wife demands while you’re watching real TV (Football and Baseball). For all the details jump to Macworld. Thanks LifeHacker. Continue Reading

Getting The Most Out of Your Mac Keychain Utility

I’m not a Mac guy, but I can spot a [good] nugget of info when I see it. The Keychain utility on a Mac is designed to safeguard your important passwords, credentials, log-in info, and all those financial records.
mac keychain screen shot
So how can you maximize your Keychain security – well at Nevali.net they marry up the Mac Keychain and USB drive for some good-ol-fashion USB security where even the most paranoid can sleep well at night. If interested, make the jump. Photo courtesy of Jaron Brass. Continue Reading

Unresponsive iPod

Do you have an iPod that is unresponsive? Occasionally an iPod may freeze or fail to respond to your commands. There are a few things you can do to troubleshoot this. Here’s an email from a MethodShop.com reader about an unresponsive iPod:
“I’m using a 40GB click-wheel iPod in Windows 2k. It is unable to fully boot up. When I turn it on, the Apple symbol comes up and the hard drive sounds like it begins to spin, and then it stops. Occasionally it gets to the folder w/exclamation point screen and then the hard drives stops and then starts again, going back to the apple screen. The iPod update application either doesn’t detect the iPod or it freezes my whole computer. I have tried resetting, and since Windows/iPod update don’t detect it, I can’t restore either (even in disk mode). I have been unable to get the disk scan working.” ~ dan
You most likely dropped your iPod or hit it pretty hard. This happened to a friend of mine (Bill) when he threw his backpack on the floor. His iPod was inside the backpack and the jolt from hitting the floor physically damaged the iPod’s hard drive. Unfortunately, if your hard drive is physically damaged, there’s only one way to fix it – get it replaced. If your iPod is still under warranty or you purchased extended AppleCare for your iPod, then have Apple replace or repair your iPod. If your iPod is out of warranty, there are several third-party companies that can fix your iPod like these guys. But before going through the hassle and cost of sending your iPod off to be repaired, try these free iPod troubleshooting tips first. Good luck! BeSocial: methodshop Continue Reading

Home Brew USB Charger / Power Supply

Over the years I think we’ve all gathered some extra power supplies and wall adapters. Here is a quick guide to a home brew USB charger or USB power supply. This USB tutorial is from the Hacked Gadgets website and Alan runs a good site – check’em out.

This unit is great for charging your iPod, PSP or any USB device and only costs pennies to make.
usb power charger
The main unit needs to run from a regulated 5vdc wall adapter with at least 500ma or higher. These are very common and I’d think most households have at least one extra laying around. You’ll also need:
  • 330 ohm 1/4 watt resister
  • 10k ohm 1/4 watt resister
  • 3mm LED (any color)
  • USB type A jack (female)
So this is what we have for total parts: Continue Reading

Run iTunes on a USB Drive or USB Stick

apple logo silver blue

Today I put together all the information needed to run a mobile Library from Apple iTunes on a USB stick or USB drive. This method will run the entire iTunes application from the storage device, making it easy to manage iTunes libraries from a single location. I believe this is how iTunes should have be developed – as having a library specific for each computer is a frustrating way to enjoy your music.

What pushed me over the edge is my wife wanting to purchase music from iTunes at work and sync them up with the iTunes computer at home. Typically this is done by purchasing the music and downloading directly to the iPod, but she’s a CPA and travels from location to location for audits and doesn’t even use the same computer all the time – yet she loves her music. The solution was to run iTunes from a USB flash drive to manage a single Library.

This tutorial includes installing iTunes on a flash drive, creating autorun files for auto-launching iTunes from the flash drive and how to set-up iTunes on different computers to run a music library from the single flash drive. Of course this method also works for larger storage hard drives – basically anything that appears as a Mass Storage Device on your system. If you are looking for a long term strategy for managing your iTunes music, I strongly recommend doing this process to an external hard drive that is, at least, 120GBs. So here we go:

Here is a quick summary so you know what we are getting into:

Continue Reading

Web Server on USB Stick

Several weeks ago I ran an article on running WordPress from a USB stick. That tutorial uses the same utilities as this USB Web Server product BUT since I received 11 emails about the WordPress post – I think a version which can be purchased is worth posting.
usb web server
The USB web server is $69 and runs the following applications:
  • CGI/Perl
  • PHP/Python
  • MySQL
  • Java/JavaScript
  • Flash
  • RealAudio
  • Windows Media
WebServUSB is a full featured web server programmed into flash memory a USB device. It features HTTP and FTP web services, plus a companion email server program which provides POP3 and SMTP mail services. By plugging WebServUSB into any PC with a USB port, it can enable that PC to become and Intranet (LAN) or Internet based web server.
Since I’m a DIY type; I prefer this method. Continue Reading

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