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All posts tagged "usb"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

USB 3.0 Performance - Can You Make It Better?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 04:30 PM,3215.html

"Why is it that an interface that operates at 5 Gb/s never reaches corresponding transfer rates? Our investigation reveals that not all USB 3.0-based solutions are created equal, and we explore two technologies used to bolster the performance of USB 3.0."

Not getting the USB speed you felt was promised when you moved to USB 3.0? You may have seen advertisements suggesting USB 3.0 could bring you a maximum throughput of 625 MB/s. Not getting it? You are probably not alone. Tom's Hardware decided to have a look at the issue and see if there was a way to improve USB 3.0 performance. Indeed, there seems to be some good news coming in the future. In the meantime, a read through the Tom's article does a very nice job explaining why the theoretical throughput is not achievable, and what is being done to improve performance. It is a detailed read, but very interesting if you have pondered the performance question in the past.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Windows 8 To Go (From USB drive)

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 AM

"But Windows 8 does offer a "mobile" alternative that may at least pique business and tech support users' curiosity: Windows to Go, an installation of Windows 8 that boots from a USB thumb drive. In theory, Windows to Go could give administrators a way of creating a verified, locked-down image of the Windows 8 OS that can be given to wandering users, temporary off-site contractors, or telecommuters to allow them to connect to the corporate network with confidence from their own (or someone else's) computer."

By now you probably have heard or read at least a story or two about Windows 8. Microsoft released a Windows 8 developer's preview about six months ago, and has just recently released a consumer preview. If you like to poke around at new technology then with the consumer preview you can download the code and test it out on your (hopefully) spare home computer. One of the really interesting aspects of this Windows 8 preview release is the ability to create a bootable USB drive. Ars Technica has been examining this capability and has suggested a number of scenarios where it could be very useful (e.g. tech support or temporary access to corporate networks). They have also prepared a recipe for how to create your own version of the bootable USB drive. The Read link has all the details.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

RCA's USB Wall Charger, Just Plug It In!

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 05:00 AM

"Most modern smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, and other gadgets rely on USB-based chargers. Some of these come with their own AC wall adapters, while others include nothing more than a USB cable-meaning you have to plug them into your computer to get them charged."

The nice thing about this thing is that you just plug it into the existing outlet, so it's basically a cover. No need to replace the current outlet so you don't have to worry about shocking yourself silly. And it goes for the small sum of $15.00 USD at Lowes (currently out of stock in my area), or you can get it at for $12.47 USD (currently in stock with both white and almond colored versions).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

14-inch DisplayLink-powered USB Mobile Monitor for $200 by Toshiba

Posted by Danny Simmons in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:00 PM

"Toshiba has quietly pushed out a new 14-inch mobile USB display, weighing just 2.8 pounds and retailing for a freakishly affordable $199.99."

Well done Toshiba! This is a very nice looking display at a great price. I can think of a million uses for something like this. It sounds like an optional AC adapter is required to get the full brightness from this device, but it will still give you basic functionality with USB power.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

U-Socket by FastMac

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:52 AM

"FastMac's U-Socket may have veered perilously closer to vaporware territory after what seemed like an endless series of delays, but it finally started shipping out back in January to those patient enough to hang onto their pre-order, and we recently got our hands on one to see if it was really worth the wait."

It's almost spring cleaning time. One to spruce up your house is by replacing your old wall power outlets with the U-Socket from FastMac. The U-Socket is a unit that contain the standard double three-prong outlets but then also integrates two USB ports for charging you various devices without the need for the converter/transformer.

Installation time depends on your existing setup. Engadget found that they had to change their electrical box to a 16-cubic-inch one in order to fit the U-Socket. If you have the bigger boxes already it should be a matter of remove and replace. If not, it might take you a few minutes more as you will have to replace the whole electrical box. The biggest barrier of entry to me seems to be the cost and availability of the U-Sockets. They cost between $23-26 and is only available from FastMac. Shipping is listed as four to six weeks after ordering.

To read the full review by Engadget click the read button.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Best Ways to Share Files With a Nearby Computer

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:30 PM

"[W]hen you're trying to share files with someone in the same physical space as you, it hardly seems necessary to go through the slow process of uploading files to and downloading files from the internet, especially if they're rather large files. There's always the tried-and-true method of dumping your file(s) on a USB thumb drive, but if you don't have one handy (or you don't have a big enough drive), you've still got options...."

The article touches upon setting up file sharing under MAC and Windows 7, and then discusses transferring via Wifi (including using an Ad Hoc wireless connection), FireWire, and Ethernet (for which you may or may not need either a cross-over cable or adapter. The latter is pictured above, lower center). Of course, there are other alternatives available, including a USB Transfer Cable (upper left above), or via a "LapLink" transfer cable (upper center), although you might have trouble finding serial or parallel ports on many modern computers. Was amused at the thought that the "tried-and-true method" of local file transfers has become via a USB drive, whereas the "sneakernet" that many of us remember involved floppies (and 5 1/4" floppies, at that!). USB has the advantage of being nearly ubiquitous: does that make it the best choice? What is your favorite method of transferring files from one system to another (especially if away from your home or business network)?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Never be Short on USB Plugs Again!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM,news-6213.html

"The concept is simply brilliant, eliminating the need for USB hubs by allowing peripherals to connect to each other at the jack level, just like you would multiple strings of Christmas tree lights. Users with limited ports (such as on a laptop) won't be forced to hot-swap devices or purchase a USB hub."

The idea looks neat, but I suspect that the concept has been patented, limiting the amount of devices that would use this concept. In a more practical world though, notebooks tend to have just barely enough USB ports, and for those that do not, there are an incredible selection of USB hubs available. The downside of the infinite USB plug concept is that if you need to disconnect something that is earlier in the chain, you would have to unplug everything past that. This is not true with USB hubs, which may be why this idea has not come up earlier. Besides, can you imagine hooking 7 devices up in sequence with that setup? You would have a long USB stick that is just begging to be snapped!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Get Your USB Devices Online With Iomega's iConnect

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:30 PM

"Iomega's iConnect... is designed to put your existing thumb drives, external hard drives and / or printers online. We've had less-than-awesome experiences in the past with devices that turn localized storage into network accessible storage, so we went into this overview with fairly low expectations. Much to our surprise, we came away duly impressed with the package that Iomega has assembled...."

Engadget reports favorably on the iConnect Wireless Data Station, which does indeed look like an attractive option for connecting a variety of USB devices to your network. It offers both Gigabit and Wireless connectivity to your router, and permits remote web access to connected storage devices. There are products which compete with parts of the iConnect's feature set, and while the Engadget article mentions the similarly priced (under $100), but less feature-rich Pogoplug, I think the Belkin F5L009 5-Port Network USB Hub looks like a closer competitor, or you could opt for a software solution, such as FabulaTech's "USB Over Network" application. But the iConnect seems to trump all of these with a broader feature set, 3 Year Warranty, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux compatibility, and a software package that includes Trend Micro's Internet Security, Iomega's Retrospect Express back-up utility, and the MozyHome Online Backup service. Is this a product category you have any interest in? Or do you already have some sort of device sharing solution in place?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Infinitec's IUM Promises "Infinite USB Memory"

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:30 PM

"[Infinitec's IUM]... ad hoc streaming stick creates a local WiFi network... for all sorts of media and data to flow from your PC to, well, pretty much anything. PC to PC, PC to Blu-ray player, PC to printer...."

Engadget has been following the development of Infinitec's IUM device, which is expected to be available in July 2010 at a list price of $129. The IUM is uniquely paired to your laptop, via Infinitec's "Infinite Portal" software, and then can be plugged into almost any other device that has a USB port, where it appears as a simple USB thumb drive - but uses your laptop's WiFi signal to create a connection that can access the installed hard drive, as well as any external drives your laptop has access to. Although the "unlimited" tag is arguably a bit of a stretch, the IUM promises the transfer, or streaming, of a wide variety of data or media files, including full HD (1080p), and does so without storing any data internally, so if the IUM itself is lost, no data is compromised. This looks like a promising product, although it does have competition - for at least some of it's functions - in devices such as IOGear's USB Net ShareStation (Ethernet or WiFi), or any of a number of "Certified Wireless USB" (WUSB) devices, which use Ultra-Wideband technology.

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Not What You Store, But How You Transfer It

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM,2534.html

"Several years ago, users had to replace their PC’s hard drive or install an additional one to increase storage capacity. However, today there are many options with which to expand storage space by adding external devices, including 2.5” portable drives with 640GB (and soon 1TB of capacity) and 3.5” products that offer up to 2TB on a single hard drive."

The conclusions that Tom's Hardware arrives at is hardly surprising. There is a clear choice for performance, and a clear choice for convenience. For everything else, well, there's room enough for everyone. Reading through though, I would point out that this matters more to people who need a directly attached storage device; either you have a single computer, or your files are your own. With households having multiple computers and home networks, I felt the article should have covered NAS based solutions as well, since they allow for much more flexibility. Adding networks into the mix, my suggestion is if you intend on doing a lot of file transfers, like what Tom's Hardware was doing with 300GB samples, gigabit is an absolute must. Even at the theoretical limit of Fast Ethernet, it still pales in comparison to a USB connection. In fact, you could probably copy the files to a USB hard drive, walk up to the other computer and offload it faster than what Fast Ethernet can do! Anyone have any suggestions on how to increase storage capacity in an efficient way?

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Behold the arrival of USB 3.0

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"USB 3.0 is here! After long delays and much touted promotion of the new specification, USB 3.0 is now finally available or soon will be on some new ASUS and Gigabyte motherboards. ASUS has also announced an add-in PCIe x4 card with USB 3.0 support, though it is compatible only with its P55 series of motherboards after a BIOS upgrade."

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

USB has become so ubiquitous with computers and small handheld gadgets, it is hard to imagine the mess that we would have had it not come along. Well, maybe not, since many smartphones still use proprietary connector cables for now. USB 3.0 is the long awaited update of the standard which has remained stagnant for the better part of a decade. With it comes faster speeds and more power carried along the cable. Unfortunately, the cables for USB 3.0 will only be partly compatible with the older versions, which I think will hamper adoption a little. That was one of the great things between USB 1.x and USB 2.0. The same cables, more or less, would work regardless of the version you were using. Still, the faster speed is definitely welcome, which will make syncing your devices faster, and the added power should bring charging times down.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

One (USB Receiver) to Rule Them All

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM|Unifying

"The Logitech Unifying receiver is a tiny wireless receiver that can stay plugged into your notebook’s USB port and lets you easily connect up to six compatible wireless mice and keyboards to the same receiver. There’s no need to unplug it when you move around, so you won’t have to worry about losing it."

Meh. While I love Logitech's tiny receiver (I have one for the mouse on my netbook), this issue has already been solved by Bluetooth. Plus I'm betting that this is a proprietary solution, so no mixing Logitech mice with a Microsoft keyboard.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Addonics Launches Tiny USB NAS Adapter

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 PM

"Ever wish you could convert your large external USB storage drive into an NAS server? Well, Addonics says you can easily for $55. Just plug your USB drive to the back of this peripheral and connect the adapter via Ethernet to your router and you’re good to go. The Addonics NAS Adapter essentially converts your drive instantly into a network SAMBA share accessible by any Windows, Mac, or Linux PC. What’s more, users can FTP to their drive as well as use it as a BitTorrent appliance or print server."

Since its release, some more details have surfaced about this wee NAS. It can also act as a UPnP AV server. However, the NAS needs to format any drive you want, in FAT32 no less, and its hobbled with a 10/100 ethernet port. The price is attractive, and it pretty much sips power, but a lot of compromises have been made. For someone who just wants to have a low power NAS solution to back up some files, this might work, but I have some concerns about it being able to perform the more demanding tasks one expects from a NAS. I have doubts to whether it can sustain one or more HD feeds or whether it can quickly manage large backups like system images. The NAS doesn't provide any fault tolerance either. Until these doubts about these tiny NAS devices have been addressed, I'll stick to a more powerful storage solutions.

Tags: nas, usb, addonics, fat32

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