Toss a USB wristband charger into your kid's stocking this holiday and one of two things will happen. Either he'll get pummeled at school for being the class dork, or he'll stand as a deity among his electronically charged classmates toting around handheld gaming systems, smartphones, media players, and all sorts of gadgets that trump anything we used to bring to school.
The wristband is made by Brando, a company Gizmodo once accurately dubbed Hong Kong's USB Willy Wonka. It comes with a 1,500mAh, 5.5V battery and includes LED charge indicators. And of course it includes the usual bevy of USB tips, including both Nokia types, mini USB, LG, Samsung, Sony/Ericsson, PSP, Nintendo DS Lite, and the DSi. When you're ready to recharge the charger, just plug it into your PC's USB port.
Pretty handy for a $35 gadget. Slap a clock or some kind of watch-face on that sucker and we'd be sold.
We place such a premium on USB ports because, let's face it, just about every digital gadget plugs into one these days, many of which are capable of recharging themselves through your PC. But instead of keeping track of both a USB cable and a power plug, why not just convert a spare in-wall outlet or two into a USB outlet? In the words of the Guinness brewmasters, "Brilliant!"
All this mod takes is about $10 and a half-hour of your time, with a little bit of courage and a whole lot of safety precautions highly recommended. The relatively simple mod involves taking a pair of cheap USB chargers easily obtainable for a few bucks on eBay and stripping off the extra casing. Mod the faceplate, wire it up, and you're good to go!
You can find more detailed instructions here, and when you're finished, hit up this link to see all of what you can plug into your new outlet, including a USB fridge.
Now available from USB Geek is the aptly named USB Wireless Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad. The marketing gurus have pegged the device as a simple wireless input device, but this could be the perfect stocking stuffer for HTPC enthusiasts.
You won't find a multitouch interface nor is there an LCD. But it does come with a trackpad, wireless USB dongle, and a QWERTY keyboard in a form factor that will have all those hours honing your text messaging skills paying off.
It works from up to 30 feet away, and a bright backlight ensures you'll have little trouble manipulating your DVR in the dark. It also comes with a built-in rechargeable battery and supports Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 2000. And at $62, it's not going to break the bank either.
Check out a video of the remote USB Wireless Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad in action here, then hit up the product page for more info.
I recently reformatted my computer after a failure with an old Seagate 7200.11 1TB. Lately, though, I have been noticing problems with my USB ports. Whenever I connect my iPhone 3G, it is very hard for iTunes to recognize it and the popup tells me that the iPhone isn’t plugged in to a high-speed port, even though all my USB ports should be 2.0. This has raised even bigger concerns about my other devices connected via USB.
My motherboard is an Asus P5Q-E. The CPU is an Intel Q6600. My initial thought is that an upgrade to my mobo’s BIOS or other utilities might fix the problem, but I’m wary of undertaking such a feat without knowing for sure what the problem is, because I’ve heard updating the BIOS can be dangerous. If a BIOS update is necessary, what sorts of precautions should I take?
Read the Doctor's advice for Taylor after the jump.
The "U" in USB stands for "Universal", and no other I/O port does so much for so many computer users as USB. From providing a home for keyboards and mice to driving printers, scanners, all-in-one units, and providing access to terabytes of storage and the Internet, USB ports do it all. That also means that USB-related problems can cripple your PC, leaving it unable to access storage, input, and output devices.
Tracking down the causes of USB-related woes can be difficult, but in this article, we show you the common and uncommon causes for USB problems – and their solutions.
We all know how important brand recognition is. A Swedish maker of USB drives, Sandryds Handel AB, is showing how acutely aware of that they are by commandeering a very well known logo: that of The Pirate Bay. The company plans to offer a series of USB drives bearing the logo. That by itself isn’t actually illegal or cause for concern. The Pirate Bay logo is intentionally not registered so that it may be used freely.
It all goes off the tracks when Sandryds Handel AB decided to register the logo themselves. This would limit the ways others could use it. “It will be turned over quite easily; it’s a preliminary registration that is being ‘tested’,” said former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde.
The Pirate Bay is seeking to have the decision by the patent office annulled. If the Pirate Bay still has the sway online that is once did, Sandryds Handel might want to rethink this course of action.
At first I thought it was a fluke, but when I first installed Win7 Beta on a new HDD on my laptop, one of my USB ports stopped working and performance of the others took a nosedive, with some USB devices not getting enough power. I tried a reinstall with Win7 RC and now three of my four USB ports are having the same issues. It may not even be an issue with Windows 7 but there seems to be a correlation that the problem started and got worse with each installation.
I have Windows 7 running on two other PCs with no issues and all I can find on the Internet are people with the same problems but no solutions. I’m sure you can imagine how much it sucks having to use a four-port USB hub just so I can connect more than one USB flash drive.
Apple is all about controlling their products and services. So it’s no surprise that they have locked the Palm Pre out of iTunes again in the new version of the software. The 88.5 MB update, v9.0.2, added support for the new version of the Apple TV software, but for those Pre owners that didn’t investigate fully, it also broke their syncing capability.
Apple and Palm have been playing this game since the Pre came out back in June. Palm knew from the start that Apple could continue issuing updates forever, but they hoped to get some support from the wider tech community. After having their complaint to the USB Implementers Forum thrown out, Palm was also told that their practice of faking Apple’s USB ID was unacceptable.
There are numerous ways to sync music with a Palm Pre, but Palm seems only to be interested in iTunes. There’s an argument to be made for Apple here: It’s their software, and they can do what they want. Would it be nice if they let the Pre sync? Sure, but it probably isn’t going to happen. In the meantime, Palm just isn’t providing their customers with a reasonable syncing experience. Should Palm just get over it? Should Apple take the high road and stop the patch battle? Let us know in the comments.
A bootable USB key is a convenient way to install operating systems on netbooks without optical drives, or carrying around a Live OS with you at all times. It especially makes sense if you're installing software on a machine that otherwise has no need for an optical drive, such as a Windows Home Server. Here’s a definitive guide to making a bootable USB key with either Vista or Windows 7 in just 9 steps.