Last month Microsoft was forced to take down their Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool after it was discovered to contain open source code. The application allows users to create a bootable USB from an Windows 7 ISO to install the OS on a PC without an optical drive. Now the tool is finally available for download again and is covered by the GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2). It can be found on Microsoft’s open source software repository, CodePlex.
The controversy began in early November when Rafael Rivera posted his findings on the Within Windows blog. "The source code was obviously lifted from the CodePlex-hosted (yikes) GPLv2-licensed ImageMaster project. (The author of the code was not contacted by Microsoft)," wrote Rivera. The software giant later confirmed that a contractor had indeed “borrowed” some GPL licensed code. Microsoft admitted they should have caught the error, but didn’t.
While Microsoft did get a bit of black eye on this one, at least they didn’t take their ball (of code) and go home. Microsoft’s new posting of the tool requires users to complete multiple application installs “for clarity” due to different parts of the code falling under different license terms, but at least it’s available. Get it here.
If even the concept for a product exists, a modder out there will try and build it. That’s what’s happened with the vaporware Microsoft Courier. A wily user has managed to ditch the keyboard and attach a USB touchscreen display to his Dell Mini 9. The USB powered display is used for typing and writing on, and the original Dell Mini display is used for reading.
Windows 7 makes the whole affair moderately useful with its integrated handwriting and voice recognition. The mod is still unpolished and incomplete though. There’s not really a hinge attaching the two halves at this time. But still, you don’t see Microsoft showing an actual Courier around.
If you’re the type that really craves extra screen real estate with a minimum of hassle, you probably dig these USB monitors we’re seeing these days. But if you also happen to be hard up for cash, the Luma Labs UD7 may be what you’re looking for. Well, maybe if you have low expectations. The UD7 is a mere 1.5 inches across. The practical upshot of its small size is the similarly small price of $30.
Like its larger brethren, the UD7 is powered and controlled via a single USB input. Luma suggests running a calendar or twitter stream on the tiny device. They have included software to allow it to display just that sort of stuff. The bad news is that you’ll probably need the software, as the device likely won’t be detected as a real monitor. This makes it less an extra (if small) display, and more of an executive desk toy.
Maybe you’d like to have a very small slideshow on your desk? Despite its expected uselessness, Christmas is just around the corner. How would you feel if you got one of these under the tree?
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.