News: PhotoFast iPADock for Apple Fanboy Family
Tuesday 31st August, 2010

PhotoFast is a name often associated with innovations, particularly in niche USB adapters. It's the same company that came up with the idea of a JBOD microSD card reader and a flushed USB 3.0 ExpressCard.
Now PhotoFast is back again with iPADock - a dock that is universally
compatible with any iDevices. This is the kind of device for everyone
in the iFamily owning more than one iPhone and iPad.

The PhotoFast iPADock has two full-sized slots for iPads. There are two smaller slots for two iPhones or iPods. Swap out the iPads and you can
sync and charge up to four iPhones or six iPod nanos
simultaneously. Besides a versatile dock, the iPADock also doubles a
USB 2.0 hub and a multi-card reader - presumably iPad-compatible. The
massive accessory comes with a 4A power brick in order to power all
these. PhotoFast is currently taking pre-orders for $80 if you want the iPADock by the end of September. But better check out the video first after the jump.

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In External Hard Drives
Review: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 3TB External Hard Drive
Saturday 28th August, 2010

When it comes to storage the old motto "Bigger. Faster. Better. MORE!" is in full effect; or at least Seagate seems to think so as their FreeAgent GoFlex Desk
just got a huge storage boost! Today I am going to look at their all
new THREE Terabyte version of their Desk version which not only boast
customizability but an industry leading capacity. To me the questions I
want answered are: is this down right awe inspiringly huge portable
storage device as good (or better) as its little brother the GoFlex Portable; and does all that size come with any downsides? Let's find out!

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In USB Technologies
News: Imation Link "Driver-less" Wireless USB AV Kit Powered by Alereon
Thursday 26th August, 2010

After months of waiting, Alereon NoWire HDTV Kit is picked up by Imation, which renames the Wireless USB video adapter to Link. Imation didn't mention the Link Wireless A/V Extender as a Certified Wireless USB device, largely because the UWB-based protocol is now relegated to niche interface. The Imation Link consists of a WUSB transmitter and a
shark fin-lookalike receiver with a HDMI output on the back. The said
transmitter is a USB dongle that can send lossless 720p video (courtesy
of DisplayLink) over UWB waveband to the receiver.

There shouldn't be any lag in frame rate since the application usually involves a laptop and the receiver (usually near the HDTV) in line of
sight of each other. Unless the wireless distance is over 30 feet, you
shouldn't see any performance degradation. Though, if you up the output
to 1080p, Imation Link can only manage photo stills at this resolution.
Imation Link is competing with Intel WiDi; the only difference is that
the Link is trying to grab third party PC/Mac accessory market while
WiDi can only be found on most recent Windows 7 laptops. The Imation
Link Wireless AV Extender is immediately available for $149.99 on

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In USB Flash Drives
News: A-Data Nobility N004 External (Internal) SSD Kills Two Bird with One Stone
Thursday 26th August, 2010

A-Data Nobility N004 Dual Interface is shaping up to be the next hot trend in storage. The 2.5" SSD appears to be yet another commodity external
drive, but it's actually a speedy SSD with SATA-II sitting alongside USB 3.0. What makes this special is that while you need a $40 USB 3.0 enclosure
to convert a regular SSD into an external drive, the A-Data N004
provides instant SuperSpeed connectivity. The plush aluminum chassis
should offer at least some protection, but with capacity up to 256GB,
N004 could turn out to be insanely expensive so we would recommend at
least a silicone case.

The 70g A-Data Nobility N004 combo with 8-channel technology is truly a speed demon. If you are going to install it as your primary drive, you will see a very
impressive performance jump to 250MB/s and 180MB/s for sequential read
and write respectively. For those with enough dose to afford the N004
as backup drive, you can expect read and write speed up to 200MB/s and
170MB/s respectively. A-Data got all these benchmarks from
CrystalDiskMark. If we have to choose, the A-Data N004 might be a
better choice than the OCZ Enyo though the latter (rated at 260MB/s read & 200MB/s write) is even faster.

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In USB Webcams , Camcorders & Digital Cameras
News: JVC Picsio Pocket Video Camera Returns with Touch-screen and Water-proof Body
Thursday 26th August, 2010

Though late to the game, JVC is still trying to play catch-up with Flip and others in the budget handheld camcorder market. Its first pocket
camcorder - looking like a a teen girl's bedazzled cellphone
- is kinda lame as it failed to differentiate from other similar
offerings. JVC now returns with two Picsio pocket cameras, both of
which are armed to the teeth. The Picsio GC-FM2 and GC-WP10 both take
still pics at 5-megapixel resolution without interpolation; and up to
1080p/30 HD video as well as 960x540/30p (Apple's beloved iFrame format)
motion picture. The latter format ensures seamless compatibility with
none other than Apple iMovie.

You'll also find a 3" touchscreen viewfinder which has found its way into various handheld camcorders lately. The screen's also sensitive enough for those wearing gloves. The two models are fundamentally the
same except the IPX8-certified GC-WP10 is waterproof to a max. operating
depth of 30ft. / 3m. Its nature also explains why the GC-WP10 doesn't
allow the slide-out USB connector that is found on the GC-FM2. Other
connectivity options are the identical, from SD/SDHC/SDXC card to Eye-Fi
SD card compatibility and mini-HDMI port as well as a headphone jack.
Despite of the appealing features, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2
is still one-step ahead with its 3x optical zoom and built-in flash.
Expect to find the two Picsio's in September for $179.95 and $199.95
(waterproof version). Video demo after the jump.

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In USB Webcams , Camcorders & Digital Cameras
News: Kodak EasyShare M590 Point-n-Shoot Camera Approaches Credit Card Size
Monday 23rd August, 2010

Kodak has released a new point and shoot camera that would be perfect for taking family photos while on trips to Flatland. That's a nerdy way of saying that the Kodak EasyShare M590 is really thin. This point and shoot is very nearly the thinnest camera we've ever seen and packs a whopping 14 mega-pixel sensor into
the nearly 2 dimensional body. The M590 boasts optical image
stabilization and a 5x optical zoom. Getting moving lens elements to
produce this level of zoom is hard to believe. This is the equivalent
of a 35-175mm zoom lens. A lens that size for a DSLR could easily weigh
more than a 6 pack of these cameras.

Roughly half the size of a deck of cards, you also get 720p video recording options buffering with 32MB of internal memory onto MicroSD cards.
There's a handful of notable in camera digital offerings, but the other
biggest standout of this little guy is it's greatest power. Finally and
from on high, this camera can charge by USB. Hoo-ray, no more lost
chargers in the i-forgot-to-pack-it bag. From the pictures available,
it looks to be our favorite microUSB port.
If this is a standard cable, we'll be ordering one as soon as the
first review hits the blogosphere. All other features aside, if this
helps get rid of the tangled mess of chargers and adapters we have to
keep track of, the EasyShare M590 will be worth twice the $200 MSRP.

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In USB Gadgets
News: Star Wars Can't Save you from the O.I.C. USB Missile Launcher
Monday 23rd August, 2010

We cover a lot of products centered around desktop security but this is a slightly different type and MUCH more fun. Dream Cheeky has upgraded its hilarious O.I.C. Missile Launcher for more range and better remote control. The O.I.C. Missile Launcher is an internet toy,
O.I.C. stands for Over Internet Control. It's a remote control
nerf-type missile launcher and when we say remote we mean remote, as in,
anywhere in the world. You can control this mini launcher from any
place that's connected to the internet, via MSN Messenger.

The included software CD installs itself and integrates into MSN Messenger for Windows. Versions for Facebook, Mac and Skype are coming later this
year. The silo is equipped with a webcam and with the remote controls
you can zero in on your target. While the control is remote, the O.I.C.
USB Missile Launcher is tethered to your machine by a 4 foot USB cable.
Even on that leash, you can protect your desktop from all threats
foreign and domestic at ranges up to 30 feet. This might also be a
perfect tool to teach your cats to stay off the counter. Available soon
for under $50 or you can register to win one on their fan page on Facebook.

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In USB Flash Drives
News: MosKeyto & WriteCard - Some Svelte and Functional Flash Drives from LaCie
Monday 23rd August, 2010

LaCie, a company that has made its reputation on making storage fashionable, has a new pair of flash drives for your approval. These new drives take two completely different paths to get data into your hands and out
of your way. The cleverly named MosKeyto
is a flash drive of the nano variety, our favorite USB development to
date. The drive barely extends outside of the USB port on your
computer, but this tiny nubbin drive holds either 4 or 8GBs and can be
had for as low as $18 from their online store.

Also released today is the WriteCard, which is the right tool for the write job. Similar in concept to the Swiss Card from Victorinox, it substitutes a flash drive for the pen
knife. Besides the ultra thin flash drive, they also incorporate a tiny
ink pen and business card size pad of paper. Now unfortunately, this
will only hold you teeny tiniest of thoughts but it'll do in a pinch.
It might be a bit better served as a business card holder but the exact
dimensions of the notepad compartment aren't available. The slide out
flash drive comes in 3 sizes, 4, 8 and 16GB capacities. The WriteCard
starts at only $23 and should be available at their same online store in
a few weeks.

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In Gaming Headsets & USB Speakers
News: NXT DyadUSB Platform Paves Way for Loud Notebook USB Speakers
Monday 23rd August, 2010

NXT has announced big plans for its latest stereo amplifier module that boosts audio output to 15W per channel, all powered by a single standard
USB port. NXT cited this is the synergy between the company's proven
Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) and Audium amplifier chip technology. This
paves way for high-output portable speakers, useful whenever an
external power source is unavailable.

Bus-powered USB speakers have only traditionally been able to deliver up to 2W or sometime 3W with BMR technology. These USB speakers sell like hotcakes, largely thanks to the inferior netbook audio, but they do lack power. So, five fold increase in audio
output seen in DyadUSB is nothing short of breathtaking. This is
certainly a very interesting development; that is, if this works just
like NXT claims.

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In USB Webcams , Camcorders & Digital Cameras
Review: Samsung HZ35W / WB650 Digital Camera
Sunday 22nd August, 2010

Samsung once again wants to show the world they are innovators in the point-n-shoot camera arena. They want to show the world you can have a
"super zoom" camera with advanced features which is not as big as a
brick. They also want to show you don't need external attachments to
get GPS/Geo-Tagging. To do all this, Samsung have released their HZ35W / WB650 15x compact Point & Shoot camera. Can one camera do all this?

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In USB Webcams , Camcorders & Digital Cameras
News: Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2 Gives Handheld Camcorder Optical Zoom & Flash
Sunday 22nd August, 2010

If there's a reason why people would stop upgrading their handheld camcorders to a better model, it's mostly because of lack of optical
zoom and other advanced features. There's just no incentive to drop
another $200 on something that is technically the same. Granted,
there's no shortage of shameless Flip wannabe from Creative, JVC, Kodak, RCA, Samsung and Sony,
yet none of these have the said feature. Sanyo, coming out of nowhere,
outs the Xacti VPC-PD2BK - the first budget handheld camcorder with a
3x optical zoom.

The 3.7 oz. Sanyo Xacti VPC-PD2BK offers a much needed 3x optical zoom with a 37mm wide-angle lens. This is coupled with a built-in flash and burst-shoot mode that snaps a
series of 2MP images. There's also the ability to shoot 720p60 to
capture fast moving targets; and 1080p30 to max out the HD pixels. The
slide-out USB connector takes care of battery charging and video / photo
syncing to a PC. All the clips and pictures are stored on a SD card
(supporting up to 64GB SDXC). If there weren't good enough, the same
slot is compatible Eye-Fi cards to upload files directly over a WiFi
connection. Expect the Xacti VPC-PD2BK to hit retail as early as
September 1st for $169.99.

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In External Hard Drives
News: Samsung S2 Becomes True Native USB 3.0 Portable Drives
Thursday 19th August, 2010

The original Samsung S2 has gathered attention in the blogosphere for being the first native USB hard drive on the market. That implies the traditional on-board SATA interface is replaced by USB. This results in a smaller chassis as you no longer
have to make room for the SATA-to-USB bridge. At the same time, the
drive likely performs faster without going through said controller.

Now, Samsung comes up with USB 3.0 version of the S2 Portable Drives. They only come in 320GB and 640GB with spindle rate at 7200-rpm to leverage
the full potential of SuperSpeed USB.
These drives as with other 2.5" internal counterparts are equipped
with noise reduction technology. If they break new speed record, we
don't mind a little noise. The S2 Portable 3.0 is also loaded with Auto
Backup, SecretZone and SafeyKey, the functions of which should be
pretty self-explanatory. Expect both models to hit Europe first and
then first of the world at a later date.

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In USB Mice & Trackballs
News: Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Surfaces, Confuses…
Thursday 19th August, 2010

Various sources have hinted that MS is working on a touch sensitive-model of the Arc Mouse. Many have hoped for a MS-version of Apple Magic Mouse, but it would appear that might not be the case according to some leaked info from a
German online store. The new input device, called Arc Touch, shares the same unconventional shape as its predecessor.
There's however one distinct difference; instead of going with a
foldable design, the Arc Touch's rear section is now rubberized and
seems to be bendy. This suggests the palm rest height could be

Details are sketchy as to what the touch actually does for this mouse. Since the $69.95 Arch Touch won't be shipping until late 2010 at the earliest,
we figure there would be at least some robust multi-touch capability.
You really can't expect people to fall for a conventional mouse with a
touch panel designed exclusively for vertical scrolling. Lastly, the
Arch Touch features a 2.4Ghz nano wireless USB transmitter. Simple input
devices that aren't true plug-n-play likely see to more refunds. It
probably makes sense to stick proprietary wireless USB connection for

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In Keyboards & Keypads
News: Logitech K800 Illuminated Keyboard Cuts the Cord
Thursday 19th August, 2010

Illuminated keyboards are great except of their dependencies on USB cables as their backlighting feature can be a real power drain so you don't ever see a
wireless version of these. That is until now. Logitech has officially
announced Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800;
the company cites it has put a lot of effort into maximizing the energy
efficiency. The first thing Logitech added is an ambient light sensor
which automatically adjusts backlighting level based on surrounding
brightness. The K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard even has hand
proximity sensor to detect when your hands approach the keyboard so it
can turn on and off the backlighting as needed.

Lastly, the K800 still allows you manually adjusts illumination level to suit different lighting conditions. All these add up to offer 10 days of
battery life. When battery eventually runs out, an indicator light will
alert you and then you can recharge the battery with included micro-USB
cable. As with other Logitech's mice and keyboards, the K800 maintains
wireless connection via a 2.4Ghz Unifying receiver which is universally
compatible with a number of Logitech's input devices, namely the mighty
Anywhere MX and Performance MX. The K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard goes for $99.99 - $20 more than the original wired version shipping since 2008.

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In External Hard Drives
News: ioSafe SoloPRO Backs up Your Data with USB 3.0 Disaster-proof Drive, Guaranteed
Tuesday 17th August, 2010

ioSafe finally adds the SuperSpeed to its impenetrable external survival drive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound it cannot but it
is now faster than a speeding bullet. The ioSafe has been making
headlines being able to hang on to its data in the face of many natural
disasters. Extremes of fire and flood are tolerated by the new ioSafe SoloPRO USB drive, just like its predecessors.
ioSafe cites SoloPRO's rugged disaster proof design allow the drive to
withstand 1550ºC fire for up to 30 minutes or to survive water
submersion at a depth of 10 feet for up to days.

Offering storage capacities from 1TB to 2TB, if you are actually using data in that order, you know that even USB 2.0 isn't quite up to the task. This
new line adds eSATA as well as USB 3.0
options. The latter interface will easily boost the SoloPRO
performance upwards of 100MB/s. ioSafe has been producing the drives
that really protect your data, but with the upgrade in speed you might
actually want to use it. On top of the speed, they add assurances;
ioSafe allows you to purchase data recovery services as part of your
purchase. They warrant that they'll pay to have your data recovered by
data recovery specialists in the case that any damage occurs within
limits. This service will cost you a little extra, but if you are
investing in the level of security of the ioSafe, you're probably
eventually going to need it.

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In USB Webcams , Camcorders & Digital Cameras
News: Nikon CoolPix S1100pj Projector Camera Gets USB Video Out Option
Tuesday 17th August, 2010

Never thought the Nikon pico projector camera (S1000pj) would see an upgrade a year after its release. After all, the LED protection system did add a lot of weight to the camera, and the the
brightness rating at 10 lumens isn't exactly stellar. The sales number
likely convinced Nikon to give green-light on the CoolPix S1100pj.
There are several major improvements found on the S1100pj. The hybrid
now sports a 3" 460k-pixel touchscreen which can be used to draw on
images projected from the camera. This greatly contrasts with the 2.7"
plain LCD on its predecessor.

The brightness rating is also boosted from 10 to 14 lumens. Though, the Nikon S1100pj can only throw a VGA image at about the same size (47"
from 7 feet away) as last year model. And not surprisingly, the S1100pj
can now capture in 720p HD. Equally important is the addition of
built-in PC video capability which in essence, projects whatever that is
on the computer screen through the S1100pj's Hi-Speed USB interface.
(This reminds us of the Sanwa USB-only pico projector.)
Specs-wise, the S1100pj for a camera isn't that much different than
the 2009 version, but Nikon ups the S1100pj to 14 megapixel and adds
Expeed C2 image processor to optimize low-light performance. Expect the
project camera hybrid in black, green, silver and violent at $350 this

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In USB Flash Drives
News: Mimobot Yoda Finally Makes Debut with Good-looking Pointy Ears
Tuesday 17th August, 2010

Star Wars Mimbots - cute mashup of flash drives and designer toys - have become hot collectibles for fanboys and geeks alike. Even four years after the debut of the first series, the the force is still strong with the Star Wars-themed
Mimobots. The latest 6th generation is already the second set announced
in the year to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, and
this series brings the much anticipated Yoda.

Mimoco now makes much more accurate, albeit cartoonish, representation of the characters' faces. (The first series is a fail. No offense, but they
did put pointy ears on R2-D2 and Darth Vader.) Luke Skywalker also
makes second appearance, only this time he's dressed for the cold
wasteland of Hoth. The other two are Wampa and Snowtrooper. At this
rate, Mimoco could find itself running of Star Wars original trilogy
characters in a year or two unless they reboot the series with Jar Jar
Binks, Mace Windu and General Grievous.

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In USB Hubs & Peripheral Sharing
News: Toshiba Wireless USB Video Replicator Finally Goes Full HD
Tuesday 17th August, 2010

Laptop replicator is one of the few applications that truly benefits from UWB-based Wireless USB. The USB cable is too much of a hassle when you
need to re-connect the same cable every time you return to your desk.
Albeit a niche (and rather costly) accessory, wireless notebook docks do
prove to be useful in cubicle environment. The new Toshiba Dynadock
W20 is a modest upgrade over last year's Wireless U dock.

The improvements are the ability to output at full HD (1920 x 1080) through the unit's DVI port. Toshiba claims you can hook the dock with up to 3
monitors at once; though we don't see any additional video-out other
than one standard DVI-I. Additionally, you will find 4 USB 2.0 ports
all of which are Sleep & Charge capable. The Dynadock W20 also
works over wired connection. It has a few things missing however,
notably the 7.1 surround sound and Ethernet jack. As the W20 is
available anywhere in the world but North America, those of you in USA
and Canada interested in this niche accessory should check out Dynadock Wireless U instead.

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In MP3 Players
News: Philips GoGear Connect PMP Joins Android Gang
Monday 16th August, 2010

Anything that has to do with Android platform always becomes the center of attention among bloggers. That's largely the reason why this Philips
GoGear Connect PMP creates some excitement, but it's primarily because
of the possibility of running a bewildering array of Android Market apps
on this relatively unknown player. Specs-wise, the GoGear Connect
sports a 3.2" touch screen; comes with 16GB internal memory (microSD
slot provided for expansion); equips with a camera on the back; and
interestingly, packs with a GPS as well as HDMI-out (720p max. output).

There's also one curious looking button in the front of the horizontally-oriented PMP, but we weren't shown the GoGear Connect from
other angles so there's no way if there are other buttons. Other than
the fact the new Philips GoGear runs Android 2.1, the GUI skin isn't
anything to write home about. If Philips believes the Connect (£199.99)
has a chance, it better ships PMP internationally before the iPod touch
4 hits sometime this month.

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In USB Flash Drives
News: Nexcopy USB Duplicator Copies at a Jaw-dropping 1800MB per Minute to Each Port
Monday 16th August, 2010

Producing great swag for your next trade show just got a whole lot easier with the Nexcopy Standalone USB Duplicator. Nexcopy has been doing great things for USB drive distribution efforts for awhile now with USB CD-ROM emulation, write protection and
read-only partition creation. They've managed to get USB duplication
down to a manageable size and now they release you from the need for a
computer at all to do your duplication tasks.

The two new USB duplicators are able to copy a source flash drive to either 15 or 31 target flash drives, all without a PC. These newest additions
are no slouches on speed either, they both top out at 30MB/s write
speed. (In theory, each port can copy at a rate of 1800MB per minute.)
This is well above the capability of most USB 2.0 thumbdrives
so your mileage may vary. Regardless, this can greatly reduce the
amount of equipment you have to lug around while running your technology
booth or distributing a digital syllabus and books to your class each
semester. Nexcopy hasn't published a price on their website yet, being
something of a niche product they may not be at a mass production point
in their model yet. Expect delivery on the order of weeks for this
brand new arrival.

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In USB Flash Drives
News: Bootable Flash Drive Takes New Meaning with Dr. Marten's Inspired Drive
Sunday 15th August, 2010

Finally a flash drive worthy of my Dead Milkmen and Skinny Puppy MP3 collection. This flash drive (yes, probably boot-able) was produced by
Dr. Marten's to mark their 50th anniversary. Bobbies and punks alike
will gladly sell their soles to acquire one of these limited edition
flash drives. They managed to shoehorn in 2GB of flash memory into the
size µ leather boot. The shape may make it a little ungainly and hard
to insert and remove but this seems appropriate for any boots we've ever

The drive is available from their website for $25 but will probably be a limited run. This odd move on their 50th marks an eye on the future for
the famously non-marking shoe. The rest of their offerings are not
surprisingly low-tech. We doubt you'll be seeing a Dr. Martens laptop
any time soon but they could make one heck of an iPhone case. Package
the case with the entire discography of the Ramones and you've got a
real modern winner. Hey, we can dream can't we? Happy birthday Dr.
Marten's, here's to another 50 years making some seriously cool shoes.

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In USB Flash Drives
Review: Super Talent SuperCrypt Secure USB 3.0 Flash Drive
Thursday 12th August, 2010

When it comes to portable drives, especially "flash drives" some people have a need for speed while others value security above all else. Then there is the third class of people who want it all; they
want speed, security, portability AND ease of use that only a flash
drive can offer. For this elite clientele, Super Talent has you covered
with their SuperCrypt 32GB USB 3.0 secure flash drive. Is this a drive that can really be all things to all people? Read on to find out...

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In External Hard Drives
News: Century Japan USB 3.0 RAID Cage Breaks 200MB/s Speed Barrier
Wednesday 11th August, 2010

It finally makes sense for manufacturers to push USB 3.0 RAID. Here's one from Century Japan, the company that is always in the frontier to promote USB 3.0. The SuperSpeed USB RAID-1 likely shares the same enclosure with a similar storage solution equipped with a different interface.
Certainly, it won't win any awards home for design originality. From
the looks of it, the Century looks quite durable and the two SATA drive
trays are secured with key locks.

In terms of configuration, you can setup the Century USB 3.0 RAID cage in one of the following: RAID 0 for a total of 4TB max. storage (with two 2TB); RAID 1 for, well, data redundancy purpose; and JBOD (combining
two disks of different size into one partition). There's a toggle in
front so you can easily switch between modes. Century claims its cage
can do 122MB/s in RAID-1 mode with a pair of Hitachi 1TB 7200-rpm.
RAID-0 will boost speed to a jaw-dropping 210MB/s.

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In Gaming Headsets & USB Speakers
News: NuForce Icon uDAC-2 24-bit / 96kHz USB DAC to Hit Retail Anytime
Wednesday 11th August, 2010

NuForce Icon uDAC-2 is the latest external DAC that pairs with either your headphones or home stereo. It houses a 24-bit 96kHz USB receiver that
sends data to Sabre DAC to be decoded into a two-volt analog signal.
There's a Coax S/PDIF which interestingly can receive at the same time
as the RCA line-out. The headphone output is rated at 80mW x 2.
Additionally, NuForce throws in a highly linear TOCOS volume control to
improve channel tracking at low listening levels.

The Icon uDAC-2 is tiny (68 x 38 x 21mm) for what it can do, to say the least. It's also USB-powered, but don't expect it to work with iPad. Early reports
have clarified that the Apple tablet (with the camera connection kit)
won't support a USB DAC that goes higher than 48kHz in sampling rate.
That explains why most USB headsets would work. From the $129 nForce uDAC-2 ships in mid-August, it will ship in three colors: silver, red, and black.

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In External Hard Drives
News: WD Elements Play is 1080p HD Media Player for Budget Conscious
Wednesday 11th August, 2010

Western Digital's Elements has always been the company's budget line. You won't find anything fancy or flashy here, just plain, simple solutions.
WD's Elements Play is no exception. The Elements Play
is basically a media player set-top box with either a 1TB or 2TB 3.5"
drive enclosed. When we said about simple, Western Digital has skipped
Netflix, Flickr, YouTube or any other cloud-based media services
altogether as there's no Ethernet and Wi-Fi on the unit. There's no way
to 'stream' media to the box over the network, so that leaves USB the
only way to feed media to the Elements Play.

This works just like first generation of WD TV HD except the Elements Play features a built-in drive. As a media player, it should satisfy most movie buffs with the usual support for MKV,
H.264, RMVB, VOB/ISO, TS, M2TS, FLV, etc. The on-board HDMI out should
take care passing through multi-channel Dolby and DTS to your amplifier.
There are two USB 2.0 ports: one of right hand side and one on the
back. The one on the back is a mini-USB that allows you to transfer
files directly from your PC or Mac. There you can format it to NTFS,
FAT32, or HFS+ (no journaling). The other USB port is for copying media
from USB hard drives, flash drives, digital cameras or camcorders. For those who need to bring this type of device around, LaCie LaCinema Rugged HD is also something you may consider.

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In USB Mice & Trackballs
News: Logitech G700 Wireless Gaming Mouse Promises Lag-free Aiming Precision
Monday 9th August, 2010

It's been 5 years ago since debut of Logitech's first G-series gaming mouse. Until now, there isn't a follow-up to the G7 wireless mouse during this long period when both MS and Razer have the SideWinder X8 and Razer Mamba respectively. The Logitech G700 as the company puts it is made with MMO in mind. The wireless gaming mouse feature an
impressive 13 buttons placed all over the mouse, except the right side.
(The G700 isn't for lefties, sorry.) Each button can be configured
with a macro, Windows function key or keyboard key so you could have up
to 39 different functions just a mouse click away. Comparatively, the Razer Naga still overtakes the G700 with a jaw-dropping 17 buttons.

The Logitech G700 mouse wirelessly connects to nano-sized USB receiver which polls at rate of 1000Hz. There's still an option to connect the mouse via a USB data
cable should you worry about response rate in a busy wireless
environment (e.g. QuakeCon arena) The same cable also recharges the
G700's battery. Lastly, in terms of durability, the G700 can last up to
8 million clicks and its low-friction polytetrafluoroethylene feet
won't wear off until the mouse travels at least 250km on your desktop.
Between the $120 G510 keyboard and the $160 G930 Dolby headset, the $100 G700 wireless mouse is the least expensive of the 2010 G-series trio.

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In External Hard Drives
News: FlashRods' Flashy USB Hard Drives that You Can Almost Drive
Monday 9th August, 2010

FlashRods is making hard drive enclosures and flash drives for the extreme automobile enthusiast. Their 1/18th scale model cars are extremely realistic and almost impossible to discern as an actual
computer peripheral. The amazingly accurate and detailed hot-rods hide a
2.5" hard drive of varying capacities and the USB is extremely well
camouflaged amongst the other chrome effects. This automobile porn
comes in about 20 different drool-inducing models of both American and
European origination. So whether your heart melts at the sight of a
Ferrari, Porsche or a Shelby Mustang, this site must be seen.

The drivable drives aren't cheap by any means, a 500GB Audi R8 will set you back $275. These are all USB 2.0 hard drives from the look of them but
there is very little detail on the components in contrast to the high
detail of the cars. Probably the two biggest problems you will have
with these devices are due to how much they long to be touched. If you
can keep one of these gems from getting carjacked while you aren't
looking, then you'll have to contend with children of all ages wanting
to race them. Every office gets child visitors and if you have one of
these on your desk, you can bet that's where little hands are going to
head. Even if the car's exterior survives little Johnny's demolition
derby, the internal hard drive may not. Anyone without a locking office
door should probably look for a solid state version, if you actually
value the data you store on one of these. Check out their site for all
of their gorgeous models in technicolor glory. Fans of
vehicle-lookalike drives should also check out the NASCAR and Mini Cooper special edition.

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In Keyboards & Keypads
News: Logitech G510 Gaming Keyboard Offers Mix of G110, G15 and G19
Monday 9th August, 2010

G510, the latest G-series gaming keyboard from Logitech, reminds us of something from G15, G13, G19 and G110. You can see Logitech brings back 18 G-keys that are never seen again since G15v1. Even the mighty G19 has only 12. With all those
programmable G-keys, you can have up to 54 individual functions by
combining the 3 macros. The G510's 2-color LCD now looks much more like
an integrated part the keyboard. Its backlit color is shared with the
character backlighting which can be configured to shine in almost any
color via an RGB mixer built into the drivers.

The Logitech G510 also takes a page from the G110 by giving the gaming keyboard USB audio functionality with 3.5mm analog headset jack and microphone inputs.
The G510 is smart enough to tell if a headset is connected in which case
Logitech drivers will automatically force Windows to switch to
keyboard's USB audio. There isn't a hub however as the built-in LCD
likely consumes most of the power provided by USB. The similarities
don't end here. The G510's button layout is fundamentally the same as G110.
Media controls, volume roller, game/desktop mode toggle are all there
in the same place. The G510 gaming keyboard ($119.99) does ask for a
$40 price premium over the G110.

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In DVD & CD Writers
News: Hot No-PC, Concept Blu-ray USB OTG Burner from BenQ
Sunday 8th August, 2010

BenQ may have just cornered the market and won our hearts with a run of the mill Blu Ray burner with a completely novel new application. On the
surface, it looks like am average Dual Blu-ray BD disc burner. Capable
of burning up to 25GB on single layer discs and nearly 50GB on dual
layer discs, the DW 1000 is a very capable backup device. Despite the
lack of effluence of Blu-ray readers to date, BD discs are a very valid
form of backup media for consumers and business users alike. Where it
really shines is with its On-The-Go technology that makes it a friend to
photographers, musicians and anyone moving in the modern world with
digital assets like photos, music or data.

The On-The-Go technology (OTG) effectively gives the concept DW 1000 USB host capability. This means that you can connect cellphones, MP3
players, camcorders, flash drives,
digital cameras, etc... anything with a USB mass storage capacity.
Once connected the BenQ drive can backup and burn the data in the camera
onto BD disc. It can do this without ever needing to be connected to a
computer. This solid state storage makes easy work of safeguarding the
days photos with this quick backup solution. This should eliminate the
need to take a laptop along with you on vacation which invariably means
you end up working. There's no detail on release date or price but
every road warrior should be looking for a pre-order button from now
until launch.

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In Gaming Headsets & USB Speakers
News: Logitech G930 - First-class Gaming Headset, with First-class Price Tag
Friday 6th August, 2010

Logitech G35 has proved that Dolby Headphone 2.0 is almost as good as virtual surround sound can get. That is, when you can live up with the 60% game
compatibility (May 2009). Logitech seems to be pretty satisfied that
the the successor, G930, shares the same fundamental design as the G35.
There's however one very distinct difference. The G930 gaming headset
is wireless. It's not Bluetooth AD2P wireless, but it's uncompressed
48kHz audio streaming over proprietary 2.4Ghz RF. The signal is boosted
by the G930's dual antenna to ensure there's no noticeable audio lag.

The wireless G930 headset sports a industry standard micro-USB connector for battery charging. Recharging the headset takes approximately 2.5 hours. Each charge can
last to 10 hours, depending on the usage. The circumaural ear cups
offer up to 26 dB of noise isolation while providing 20Hz to 20kHz
frequency response. As with the G35, the G930 relies on Dolby Headphone
2.0 to provide 7.1 surround sound. It also shares the same three
programmable G-keys for quick access to chat, voice morphing and music.
Now, for the pricing, the G35 is already in the $100 range; the
Logitech G930 headset is going for $159.99. The price tag puts it on
the same playing field as Razer Megalodon.

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In USB Flash Drives
Review: Super Talent Express USB 3.0 Flash Drive
Friday 6th August, 2010

Let's face it, USB 2.0 flash drives just don't cut it anymore; everyone wants bigger, faster and better options which only USB 3.0 can provide. For the average consumer who wants more speed than USB 2.0 flash drives can offer, but doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg,
Super Talent has line of thumbdrives which comes with a more value
orientated price: the Express USB 3.0 flash drive. So how much speed does this reduced MSRP get you and is there any downside to it? Read on for my full review.

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In USB Webcams , Camcorders & Digital Cameras
News: Samsung PL90 is Flip-version of Compact Point-n-shoot
Friday 6th August, 2010

Samsung PL90 is a budget point-n-shoot camera with a twist: USB flip-out connector. The Korean company has apparently borrowed a page from Flip's playbook
and makes its latest camera dead simple to recharge battery and to
synchronize pictures on a PC with its integrated USB plug. No longer do
you need to worry about losing or damaging proprietary USB cable.

As with other Samsung compact cameras, the PL90 also bundles intelli-studio - a self-contained photo management software that pops up every time you plug in your camera. The
Samsung PL90 has fairly basic features for a point-n-shoot that won't
be ready for retail until Q4 2010. The PL90 shoots at 12.2 megapixels,
has 4x optical zoom (29 to 116mm), sports a 2.7" 230k-pixel LCD screen,
and only records video at VGA resolution. You'll also find objective
tracking smile and blink detection; auto-focus; and face detection.

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In USB Technologies
News: Gigabyte USB 3.0 Mobos First to Support USB Attached SCSI
Tuesday 3rd August, 2010

Gigabyte is trying hard to pull ahead in the race against Asus. First it came up with triple USB power capability, and now it's readying USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) support on their entire line of USB 3.0 motherboards. UASP essentially
is a replacement driver for aging USB Bulk-only-transfer MSC driver that
has been around for a decade. (MSC was first introduced in Windows
2000 so you know how old it is.)

UASP as the name suggests relies on proven SCSI protocol to leverage full potential of USB 3.0. NEC / Renesas hints UASP storage will see a 20 to 30% boost in performance when it's paired with a compliant host controller. However
we have doubts that UASP to become as mainstream as MSC BOT unless the
former gets native Windows support. Until then, to take advantage of
UASP, you'll need the right right storage products, motherboard and software stack.

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In USB Flash Drives
News: MXI Security Stealth M600 Passes UK Gov't Security Test
Tuesday 3rd August, 2010

Flash drives are regarded as one of the worst enemies government departments ever had due to all the embarrassing data loss reports. Now that authorities
around the globe are gradually lifting ban on thumb drives under
limited conditions. But most importantly, flash drives granted for use
to store sensitive data need to meet the most rigid security standards.
Passing these certifications cost money; so far, only IronKey S200, Kingston DataTraveler 5000 and MXI Stealth M-series obtained U.S. FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validation.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the British government has similar certification. It's called CAPS, and MXI Security's Stealth M600 has
become the first flash drive to pass it. The M600 is now formally
approved for use by the UK public sector. Also powered by MXI's
in-house Blue-fly CPU to handle hardware 256-bit CBC AES encryption and
authentication to protect against malware and brute force attack. MXI
Security should be awaiting orders now if UK government is still any
interested in allowing its people to transfer data on USB drives.

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In MP3 Players
News: Sony NWZ-E450 Walkman is All About Karaoke & Learning Languages
Tuesday 3rd August, 2010

Even when smartphones are taking over the world, Walkman stays true to itself with its music-oriented features. We are pretty sure there's
still a loyal customer base as there are some who would not risk
bringing their beloved iPhone to the gym if there's a chance of breaking
it. Well, the coolest thing next to iPhone is a Walkman. The latest
NWZ-E450 just proves it once again. The NWZ-E450 brings to our
attention with several interesting features.

First of all is SensMe which analyzes and categorizes your MP3s to create themed channels. You could say this is somewhat similar to Apple
Genius. And there's Lyrics Sync. As the E450 displays lyrics from the
.irc file, you can sing along. There's even a Karaoke mode which
basically lowers the performer's voice and which adjusts playback key to
match anyone's vocal reach. If you are into languages, the E450
Walkman's language Learning function can reduce playback speed without
losing clarity or altering pitch, making it easy to learn those tricky
phrases. As with other Walkmans, the E450 is also powered by what Sony
calls it the Virtual Phones Technology to add some extra dimensions to
your favorite tracks. The E450 series comes in 5 different colors, and
still has a button layout inspired by Mickey Mouse.

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In USB Hubs & Peripheral Sharing
Review: SIIG 4-port SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Hub
Monday 2nd August, 2010

It is sad, but the fact still remains that no matter how new your system, you are going to have at most TWO SuperSpeed USB ports. This may sound
like a lot right now, but as more and more USB 3.0 devices
come on the market, you soon are going to feel the pinch. To help
alleviate this issue, powered external USB hubs are coming back into
vogue, such as the SIIG SuperSpeed 4-Port USB 3.0 hub. Are there any negative effects to using a USB 3.0 hub? Let's find out!

Permanent Link

In USB Webcams , Camcorders & Digital Cameras
News: DXG 3D Camcorder Drops HD for 3D, 1 Step Forward 2 Steps Back
Sunday 1st August, 2010

DXG explores the novelty of the 3D market, but unfortunately, renders its latest 3D camcorder a bit of a novelty item. The DXG 5D7V Camcorder is
another consumer ready 3D device that is striving to get this new
technology some 'depth' into the market. Pocket sized and looking like a
cousin to the shoddy Sanyo Xacti camcorder line of cameras, the 5D7V
can record 3D video onto standard SD memory cards up to 16GB in
capacity. The video is stored in the H.264 variety and is recorded at
800x480 resolution. This equates to 480p, technically it is still high
definition but as most pocket cameras can record 720p video, this really feels like a step backwards. For comparison, this is lower definition than the iPhone 4.

The new technology here comes with a pretty hefty cost of $600. For that price it's hard not to be stung by the glaring atavistic features you
have to put up with. The DXG only carries 128MB of internal memory and
doesn't include a memory card. If you buy a memory card you have to
find a standard SD card, the DXG doesn't seem to support SDHC cards.
800x480 video looks great compared to a cell phone or 3D webcam
but it is going to look fuzzy and blocky on any modern high definition
television you try to view it on. The 7" LCD view screen that they
include sounds nice but for some time that may be the only place you
actually view your videos. This is probably the perfect gift for that
person that has everything but for the rest of us this may still be just
a little too close to the bleeding edge.

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In USB Technologies
News: Asus P7P55 Mobo Moves USB 3.0 Seats to Front of the Bus
Sunday 1st August, 2010

Asus has announced that as of today, USB 3.0 is getting upgraded to first class on some of their commercial motherboards. To date, USB 3.0
has been relegated to the back panel of newer desktop motherboards,
while USB 2.0 ports ride shotgun on the front of most PC cases. This
isn't solely the fault of the case manufacturers, USB 3.0 motherboards
run the risk of hitting bandwidth bottlenecks if more than a few USB 3.0
devices are allowed to run on the same computer. USB 3.0 is so fast it
can actually bog down the main IO bus of the motherboard.

Asus and other manufacturers have been struggling with the bandwidth problem for awhile and have come up with a few tactics to try and tame the SuperSpeed beast. Asus uses the dual chipset approach and assigns one NEC controller to the rear USB 3.0 ports and a separate controller chip for the front panel USB 3.0 devices. It may take a bit of jury-rigging to get a front
facing USB 3.0 port into your case but at least now it's possible. The
extra controller should only add a few dollars to the original price of
the motherboard. Asus hasn't announced a launch date for these boards
yet but it should be soon and will likely trickle into their high end
line first.

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July 2010

In MP3 Players
News: Amazon Refines Kindle 3 to Keep Bookworms Happy
Friday 30th July, 2010

It's now or never for Amazon. In face of fierce competition from Apple iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook and an increasing number of eBook readers,
Amazon would be smart to refresh its Kindle. But the question remains:
are the improvements enough to keep bookworms happy? The new 6" Kindle
didn't get neither an apps store nor a color screen. Instead it's 21
percent smaller and 15 percent lighter (now 8.7 oz.) over its
predecessor. The display also receives a significant upgrade, using the
same E-ink Pearl screen adopted on the 9" Kindle DX. This results in a 15 percent brighter screen with 20 percent faster refresh rate.

The new Kindle comes with two version: 3G/WiFi and WiFi-only. The former will cost $189 while the WiFi-only version goes for $139. The aggressive price finally puts it in the hands of lots of
budget-conscious bookworms. The new refresh rate also makes the
built-in browser much more functional as there are inherently more page
refreshes during web surfing. Did we forget to say the Kindle is also
in graphite now?

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In USB Laptop Coolers
News: Cooler Master NotePal U3 - The Last Notebook Cooler You Ever Need?
Friday 30th July, 2010

A inherent problem with notebook coolers is that they don't always align with the vent holes on the laptop's underside. Other than finding a cooler with a fan big enough to cover
the entire laptop or perhaps just one that fits well with your notebook,
there's no perfect solution until now. The latest Cooler Master Notepal U3 can accommodate up to 19" notebooks.

The mammoth cooler is unique not only because of its size, but also its unique flexibility to meet different cooling requirements. The Notepal
U3 has three 80mm modular fans which can be easily placed anywhere
underneath the unit to align with your laptop's CPU, GPU and HDD. These
fans are controlled by a nifty speed control clip (fan sped between 950
and 1800 rpm). The Notepal U3 itself is made primarily of aluminum,
and is tilted 10-degree for better ergonomic positioning. It measures
420 by 320 by 65 mm, so it's even big enough secure your notebook with
the bundled elastic belt. You couldn't ask for more from a notebook

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