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USB Jewelry: USB Millefiori Gift Idea

Here is a great gift idea that includes a splash of tech…give the gift of millefiori glass with a USB stick tucked inside.  Granted, the picture is what caught my eye for this article, but the bottom line is that:  it IS a good gift idea.

USB millefiori

Personally an image like this might work even better…but who am I to judge. usb drive clevageTo create the millefiori USB drive can be done in several simple steps.  If you haven’t heard of millefiori then let me tell you: Millefiori is a glass work technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware.  The term “millefiori” is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers). The millefiori technique has been applied to polymer clays and other materials. Because polymer clay is quite pliable and does not need to be heated and reheated in order to fuse it, it is much easier to produce millefiori patterns than with glass.  And this is what we are going to do today. In seven steps you can produce a nice looking USB necklece.  The detailed how-to is over at Instructables but here is the general idea. Get a small USB flash drive and take it apart.  Get some polymer clay, such as Fimo Soft or Fimo Effect.  Prep the millefiori material into a cane like shape.  Include a core in the cane shape as this is where the USB stick will go.  Cut the cane so you have Continue Reading

How To: Make Favicon For Flash Drive

How To Make a Favicon for a Flash Drive

In the heat of getting a new site launched over the weekend, I needed an .ico Favicon for the website.  I came across this free on-line tool which made everything a snap.  No software download, no .exe to load…just down and dirty ico creator.  Today I thought it would be a great review [from original post] to go over How To Make a Favicon for a Flash Drive. It’s just several easy steps.  Lets begin.
  1. Using a program to create an image file, make a jpeg for what you want the ico to look like.  You can use something as simple as Microsoft Paint or something as fancy as Photoshop.  When you make the jpeg, make the overal shape square.  Try and keep the logo simple – simple will translate best into an ico file.
  2. Browse to Chamie and click the “Favicon from Pics” link.  Upload your file.  Chami will automatically generate your ico file.  Chami gives you some great options for the USB favicon file.  You can get a static image or an animated .gif file.
  3. Once you have the .ico file, save that image to the root of your USB flash drive.
  4. Next, open Notepad in Microsoft [or any plain text editor] and type the following:
[autorun] icon=favicon.ico
Save this to the root of your USB stick as “autorun.inf

USB favicon - How To Make

Once you’ve done all the above, Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: Charge Any USB Gadget With Your Bike

The world is going Green.  This is your chance to keep those USB gadgets, yet charge them without consuming electricity and leaving your carbon footprint.  The idea behind this USB tutorial is taking the kinetic energy of your bike and turn that into re-powering any USB gadget.

recharge USB

I found this fun little project off the Instructables website.  Apparently the author received some grant funds from Lemelson-MIT program and put together a team of 6 students to create this solution. The team got their idea from shake-up flashlights which are based off the Faraday Principle – which is a type of electromagnetism reaction to generate energy. You will need to get a bread-board and create a small circuit to capture the energy produced by the bike and turn it towards your USB gadget.

USB recharge bike

Next, you’ll need a motor provider that will actually “capture” the energy, feed it through your newly made circuit.  There are many options for this, check Continue Reading

Custom Flash Drive With Post-It Note Dispenser

This should really be a post about a DIY project.  This custom flash drive stores your data and gives you a post-it note dispenser to write down what’s on the drive. You can buy the official version for about $30 overseas [here] or you could spend a few hours this weekend and create your own.  What you need:  Flash drive, wood, post-it note pad.

post it note custom flash drive

Step one.  Shape some wood to about the size you’d like to make the USB stick and post-it note paper.  About 3/4inch wide and 3 inches long. Step two:  Cut out a part of the wood block to place Continue Reading

How To Format Any Size USB Drive as NTFS

If you take a typical USB stick and select the Windows format option, you only get the FAT and FAT32 option for anything under 4GBs.  However, there are times you might want to format as NTFS.  For example, you want to set specific file and folder privileges to the content and you feel NTFS is the best way. Well, there is an easy solution and it’s just a matter of setting the options correctly in Windows for your device. This is how you do it: Start > My Computer > Right click on the drive letter for the USB stick and select Properties.

ntfs for usb

Next click the Hardware tab of the Properties dialogue box and select the device which you’d like to change.  In this case, it’s drive letter F shown as “Simple Flash Disk 2.0 USB Device“  From here you can double-click the device or highlight in blue and click the Properties button. Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: How to Make a USB Coil Cable

Here is a simple USB tutorial on taking a typical phone cord and splicing it so USB connectors sit on each end.  The concept being a cheap and easy way to make a short cable expand out for long distance connection during use.

usb coil cable

The only fear is that phone cords are not well shielded and that might slow down the data transfers or possible drop packets.  But at the length shown here, we feel you’re alright. If anything, making the USB coil cable would be a nice little project for a DIY starter.  Great to sharp those soldering skills and steady hand.  The full USB tutorial can be found at Instructables. Continue Reading

Error: This USB Device Can Perform Faster if Connected to Hi Speed USB 2.0 Port

Have you seen this error message before from your Windows machine when a USB device is connected: “This USB Device can Perform Faster if Connected to Hi Speed USB 2.0 Port?” Well, I’ve seen it recently and went through a fairly long process to figure out how to correct it. Surprisingly it’s not difficult. usb perform faster error messageFirst, let me say I’ve found little information on WHY this error occurs and how to avoid getting this error message when a USB device is connected to your computer. From the research I’ve done, this USB error message of “device can perform faster when connected to hi-speed USB” stems from a corrupt setting for a device on your computer in relation to how it communicates with the hi-speed USB host controller. So here is the quick and easy fix: Reinstall the drivers for your Enhanced USB controller. Sounds complicated, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s a simple right click and a reboot. That’s it. Here’s how you do it: Step 1: Unplug any USB devices from your computer with the exception of your keyboard and mouse [if they are connected]. Step 2: Navigate to your Device Manager page by doing: Start > Control Panel > System > go to Hardware tab > Device Manager From this window scroll down until you see the + sign for “Universal Serial Bus controllers.” Click the PLUS sign and another list will expand out. Simply identify the item which references a “USB Enhanced” controller and right click. From the options provided from your right click select “uninstall.”

install enhanced usb controller

You will get a warning sign, but don’t worry. Click OK. Your computer will go through the process of uninstalling the USB Enhanced USB controller. Your computer will then immediately go through the installation process as well. After the re-installation you computer might seem all-is-well; however, your error message will not go away until you reboot your machine. Do that now. If you have any questions or comments hit the forum post for follow up. 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

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