An affordable, high-quality digital mic for podcasts, VOIP, more
We've been writing a lot lately about some of the aspects involved in podcasting -- see this Pointers column as an example -- as well as moving our own site example of the form, The MacNN Podcast, to Soundcloud and now (finally) iTunes for better distribution. For some of our staff that contribute to the broadcast, its meant getting a decent microphone for the first time. As a veteran podcaster, currently a regular on no less than three very different podcasts, I generally recommend the Blue Snowball USB.
Lightning-to-USB offers reversible connectors at either end; standard not yet approved
While long-time accessory maker Griffin Technology had a few items to show off at this year's Consumer Electronics show, one of the most popular with onlookers there was one of its smallest -- a new Lightning-to-USB cable that featured a redesigned Type A plug that could be inserted in either orientation, just like Apple's Lightning connectors. The company says the new cable will be marketed as officially Made for iPhone (MFi) devices, but the new USB connector has not yet been certified as authorized.
Power360-Dock, Power360 six, Power360 eight added to lineup
California manufacturer of electronic and electrical protection products Panamax unveiled the three new models of their Power360 series today. The models include six or eight outlets and USB charging ports. The new Power360-Dock is a wall-mounted power station, while the Power360 Six and Power360 Eight offer six outlets and eight outlets, respectively, all protected from surges and brownouts. All three units feature status indicators for protection, voltage regulation and a third LED that indicates building wiring health.
Pair of researchers engineer hack, post code to shame companies into action
Security researchers Adam Caudill and Brandon Wilson have published source code for a theoretically-unpatchable USB firmware bug called "BadUSB." First revealed at at the Black Hat security conference in July, the two researchers who reverse-engineered the original finding say that they published for the public good, and "so people can defend against it." More severe exploits are possible using their method, but Caudill and Wilson are hesitant to release them, fearing more dangerous exploits.
New connector is symmetrical, similar to Apple Lightning
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has ratified the new USB Type-C connector. Initially revealed in December, the new connector is symmetrical, smaller in size, and has scalable power charging. Additionally, the new specification supports faster speed, and is still backwards-compatible (with adapters) to previous versions of the spec.
New research to be published at Black Hat points out inherent insecurity of USB
A pair of researchers are going to discuss a giant security flaw that illustrates how the Universal Serial Bus (USB) firmware can be exploited. Security researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell have developed "BadUSB," a malware package resident in USB firmware that can be used as an attack vector to install any manner of software on a PC, with little or no warning to the user, and - as of now -- no effective way to stop the attack or spread of the malware.
Aluminum hub with four USB 2.0, two power ports doubles as monitor stand
When computers don't come with enough USB ports to handle the growing number users require, consumers are left to find a way to accommodate their needs. Either users can swap out plugs as needed, or they can look into another solution, like a USB hub. These USB hubs come in a number of configurations, often presenting a number of ports or a device that can travel. But what about a USB hub that is a more permanent solution for desktops? The Quirky Space Bar is one such hub, giving consumers a desktop solution that doubles as a monitor riser. Would it be something to entrust your devices and monitor to, or is the Quirky Space Bar trying to do one too many things?
Asus demonstrates prototype 14-inch USB 3.0 display at Computex
Asus has quietly put a small touchscreen display on show at Computex, one that runs off a USB cable. The unnamed 14-inch USB touch monitor is powered-by and connects solely over USB 3.0, with Engadget noting it to have a resolution of 1,366x768 and ten-finger multitouch support. There are no launch details for the monitor, due to it being a prototype, with no suggestion made of a possible release date nor price.
Patriot launches new Stellar Boost XT and Stellar Lite USB OTG storage systems
Memory storage company Patriot has announced the release of two new additions to its Stellar USB On-The-Go memory storage ecosystem -- the Stellar Boost XT and Stellar Lite -- offering USB storage compatible with Android and Windows mobile devices. Both featuring a dual connector design for MicroUSB and USB connection options, the Boost XT is equipped with USB 3.0 connectivity, and the Lite with USB 2.0.
Drives use compact flash or CFast to emulate SSD RAIDs
Addonics Technologies has released two storage solutions using Compact Flash (CF) cards in five slot drive configurations with the Sapphire five-slot CFast and Sapphire five-slot CF drives. The drives use CFast and Compact Flash cards, respectively, to create RAID arrays for SSD storage solutions, aimed at systems using USB 2.0/3.0 or eSATA interfaces.
LaCie Culbuto USB key designed as wobbly decorative object
Storage product manufacturer LaCie announced today its latest USB key, the Culbuto. Its aesthetics suggest a decorative inspiration -- for when it is not connected to a computer, the LaCie Culbuto stands upright on its round end, and wobbles from side to side. The name 'Culbuto' comes from the French, a toy with a weighted base that keeps the object vertical, even after it is knocked over. Equipped with a USB 3.0 connector on the "top" end, the Culbuto has a soft-touch rubber exterior, and features a slit to hold a photo or business card.
Supplement to USB 3.1 specification could lessen USB cable frustration
Future USB cables will be able to be plugged in upside down, according to details about a future connector's specification. The redesigned Type-C connector will form part of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group's "supplement to the USB 3.1 specification," something which will potentially help lessen current frustrations by users plugging USB devices into hubs and computers.
Just Mobile releases dashboard charger, Lightning cable
Available today, Just Mobile has unveiled its latest products in mobile charging: the Just Mobile Highway Duo, Just Mobile Highway Max, and Just Mobile AluCable. The Highway Duo and Highway Max feature surge protection, mirco-LED green power light, and coiled cable to connect to your mobile device. The Highway Duo, priced at $40, supports both USB and Lightning (for iPhone) cable, and the Max, priced at $25, accommodates one USB cable. The Just Mobile AluCable provides tangle-free connection for iPhones, iPads and iPods with Lightning connectors. The Apple-certified USB-to-Lightning connector cable is available in four-inch and 10-inch lengths, for $20 and $25 each.
External battery for mobile devices identifies type of device
Anker has announced the release of its second-generation Astro2 external battery. A high-capacity 9000mAh battery, the Astro2 is able to charge two mobile devices simultaneously. The charger has no buttons, and instead requires a brief shake to activate the battery and LED power indicator. Available for $45, the Astro2 can be purchased at Amazon.
Higher data throughput, USB 2.0 compatability claimed
A faster version of USB 3.0 is in the pipeline, according to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group at CES. Expected to be completed by mid-2014, the development of a SuperSpeed USB enhancement will add a higher data rate to the USB 3.0 specification, allowing for up to double the date throughput of existing USB 3.0 connections.
Carrier aims to reduce environmental impact of phones
O2 and HTC will sell a future phone without the charger bundled in the box. According to Pocket Lint, the pilot scheme between the phone manufacturer and the UK carrier seeks to reduce the number of "wasted" charger in circulation, forcing customers to use existing chargers for other devices, a USB port on a computer, or to buy a charger separately.
Deals on portable hard drives, iPhone accessories, and more
Today's deals from DealNN include price breaks on portable hard drives, iPhone accessories, and more. Macmall.com's Deal of the Day today is the refurbished LaCie 1TB Rugged Triple Interface Portable Hard Drive, with a rubberized bumper and scratch-proof exterior, and transfer speeds up to 100MBps via FireWire 800. Currently featured at DealNN, the portable hard drive has now dropped 40% in price and can be purchased for only $119.99.
1080p, with 120-degree field of vision
In an industry first, peripheral maker Genius announced a 1080p 120-degree ultra wide angle USB2 web camera. The Widecam F100 shoots video for web chats in 1080p and is compatible with Skype, FaceTime, Logitech Vid HD, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. An integrated stereo microphone rounds out the features of the new camera.
Superspeed interface increases data transfer rate
Taking advantage of the new USB3 interface, Verbatim has unveiled the latest in the Store 'n' go flash drive line. Boasting up to two times quicker data transfer, the drives are available now.
Dual drive docking station supports PATA, SATA
As a response to user requests, Startech unveiled the new Unidock 3U. The open dual hard drive docking station allows for one Serial ATA (SATA) and one older Parallel ATA (PATA or IDE) drive to be connected simultaneously with a USB 3 high-speed connection to the host computer.
Turn iPads into guitar and drum effects boxes
Audio accessory maker Alesis has debuted a number of new devices for musicians, including three new USB MIDI keyboard controllers along with a set of iPad- and iPhone-specific amp docks. All are on display at the company's booth (#6400) at the 2012 NAMM show in Anaheim, CA. The keyboards include two 61-note models as well as a 25-note compact model. The iPad and iPhone amp docks are based on the company's successful iO docks.
End-to-end encrypted data mirroring
Secure storage-and-sharing USB key iTwin has been upgraded to allow users to share files stored on a computer with multiple people simultaneously, providing an end-to-end encrypted solution for mirroring files that are on one part of the two-part USB key instantly to its mates. The free update lets multiple iTwin keys "belong" to each other, making transfer of data easy without the constraints of e-mail, the technical complication of VPN or the ongoing fees of cloud services.
Mobile devices charge while playing HD content
Onkyo has announced that it is set to introduce several new A/V receivers that are claimed to be the industry's first to support InstaPrevue and mobile high-definition link (MHL) technologies. The MHL standard, which is already utilized for a variety of tablets and smartphones, enables devices to transmit 1080p video with 7.1-channel digital audio across a dual-purpose Micro-USB port.
Uses Camera Connector Kit USB adapter
Marshall Electronics' MXL Microphones has launched a vocally-oriented USB-powered condenser mic called the MXL Tempo that can also be attached to an iPad via Apple's Camera Connector Kit, which includes a limited-use USB connector for the iPad. Aimed at podcasters and chat users, the mic includes a no-latency headphone jack for monitoring and works out-of-the-box with a wide variety of recording and chat programs.
Easy expansion of USB options
In addition to being useful for managing the ever-increasing number of USB devices in our lives, powered USB hubs also make great gifts that actually get used, even though some of them are small and cheap enough to be considered "stocking stuffers." In our latest review, Ilene Hoffman checks out two seven-port USB hubs from Targus and Newer Technology, as well as a four-port (but USB 3.0 compatible) hub from Targus. We weigh up the pros and cons of each model with all the info you need for holiday shopping decisions.
Extends number of possible monitors
The UDA2000 is a new USB 2 to HDMI display adapter from Cirago International that allows both Mac and Windows users to easily connect to HDMI monitors, projectors or HDTVs without having to add internal video cards, external breakout expanders or separate audio and video connections in order to increase the number of monitors they can work with. PCs can add up to six 1080p-compatible monitors, while Mac users can add up to four, each using a USB port and adapter.
Charges USB powered devices without an adapter
ThinkGeek is offering an AC outlet that doubles as a USB charger. The Fastmac U-Socket incorporates two USB connectors into a standard two-plug AC outlet. Using it, any USB powered device, including an iPhone 4, can be connected and charged without a dedicated adapter.
Dongle enables USB accessories, extra storage
Samsung has introduced a USB adapter that attaches to the company's new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. The dongle provides a single USB port, enabling users to expand the tablet's functionality with USB-attached mice, keyboards, memory sticks and other accessories. Users can attach the removable adapter to the tablet's 30-pin dock connector.
Features Launch2Net Premium for software control
Berlin-based Nova Media have introduced a "surfstick" for Mac OS X made in conjunction with Belgium company Option called the iCON 461, a world-wide 3G data stick modem that is completely unlocked and can be used with most 2G or 3G networks around the world. The modem features an integrated GPS chip as well as a MicroSD card slot, enabling it to double as portable storage.
System automatically switches between standards
Samsung's Galaxy S II handset reportedly represents one of the first devices to take advantage of a Mobile High-Definition Link port. Although a dedicated HDMI output was noticeably absent from the handset housing, the MHL port combines USB and HDMI standards for data transfer, charging, and connection to audio/video equipment.
Files for patents at home and abroad
Having just won a collection of patents, Apple has been revealed to be pursuing at least two more ideas. One pair of patent applications, originally submitted in September 2009, depict a cable that would merge DisplayPort and USB 3.0 into one connector. The technologies use comparable amounts of bandwidth, Apple notes, and combining the two would allow for smaller connectors and extra convenience.
HDD claimed to transfer at 625MB/s
Buffalo Technology has introduced the DriveStation HD-HXU3, a new series of external hard drives featuring USB 3.0 interfaces. The high speed connection option is claimed to support transfer rates of up to 625MB/s, beating USB 2.0 and even FireWire by a considerable margin. Users can still connect using the current USB standard, however the transfer rates drop to approximately 480Mb/s.
Also extracts music from iPods, iPhones
Clickfree has released the Transformer SE (Special Edition), a device for turning any iPod, iPhone or USB hard drive into an automatic storage device. After plugging the Transformer into a computer and connecting any storage via USB, it will automatically backup and organize files into free space. The device is capable of working with multiple computers or storage systems, and can be used to transfer data from one computer to another.
Camera sends uncompressed 1080p stream at 60fps
Point Grey has provided additional details regarding its USB 3.0-connected HD video camera that will be making an appearance at the Intel Developers Forum. The camera prototype integrates a 3-megapixel CMOS sensor manufactured by Sony. The sensor allows the camera to output raw, uncompressed 1080p images at 60 frames per second.
SuperSpeed USB boosts speed 10x over USB 2.0
A variety of USB 3.0 demonstrations have been planned for the Intel Developer Forum scheduled next week, according to CNET News. Grey Point Research will bring one of its prototype cameras with a 3-megapixel Sony CMOS sensor. The camera will stream uncompressed 1080p video at 60fps to a laptop outfitted with a SuperSpeed USB ExpressCard from Fresco Logic.
Radion intros new RAID 5 6TB storage systems
Radion has introduced several GearRAID quad-bay data storage subsystems with enhanced data protection when the drives are configured as a RAID 5 array. The storage devices integrate an Oxford936QSE chipset, enabling four 2TB drives to be configured as a RAID 5 array with a maximum of 6TB of overall storage space. The drives are capable of automatically backing-up data, while one hard drive can fail without any loss of data. Each storage system also supports eSATA, 1394b and USB 2.0 host interfaces.
iLuv expands iAD line
iLuv has announced the newest additions to its line of iPhone and iPod accessories, the iAD115 and iAD119. Both products plug into a users DC car jack and utilize USB inputs to connect to a users iPhone, iPod, MP3 player, or GPS. The iAD115 Micro features one USB input, whereas the iAD119 includes two USB inputs for multiple devices. Both chargers feature a blue power LED that indicates the devices are getting power from the DC input.
KVM Console Adapter ships
StarTech has introduced its KVM Console USB 2.0 Adapter, which essentially turns a users laptop into a portable KVM console. This allows service technicians to control a machine that does not have a keyboard, mouse or monitor. The device functions similarly to a crash cart (a technicians portable cart comprised of a keyboard, mouse and monitor), but does not require a power outlet.
MIMOBOT USB flash drive
Sanrio Global Consumer Products, in collaboration with Mimoco, has announced a new line of MIMOBOT USB flash drives based on Sanrio characters. First in the company’s lineup is the Hello Kitty USB drive, which will coincide with the character's 35th anniversary. In addition to Hello Kitty, customers will be able to purchase drives with other Sanrio characters such as Badtz-Maru, My Melody, Kuromi, Keroppi, Chococate and TuxedoSam.
LaCie ships new products
LaCie has released a new series of hard drive bags, while expanding its line of USB Hubs. The new USB Hubs consists of the Core4 and the Core7, each designed to add multiple USB ports to a user's computer. The three-model series of hard drive bags are intended to provide different levels of Hard Drive protection.
GizFever new mini keyboard
GizFever has released a new keyboard, the USB Smallest Mini Keyboard II. The item includes new features not offered in its sister model, such as a backlight and wireless capabilities which enable the keyboard to operate up to 10 meters away. The new model also features a power-conservation mode activated when the keyboard remains inactive for a period of time. Additionally, there is a Lock ID button that enables users to password-protect the keyboard.
LaCie USB keys
LaCie has introduced several new storage products designed by 5.5 Designers, including the iamaKey, itsaKey and PassKey. The iamaKey and itsaKey are both key-shaped USB flash drives, featuring metal construction and capacities up to 8GB. The gold-plated connectors are claimed to be water- and scratch-resistant, with transfer rates of up to 30MB per second via USB 2.0.
TRENDnet 300Mbps adapter
TRENDnet has released the TEW-664UB, a dual-band Wireless-N USB adapter that supports transfer speeds up to 300Mbps. The device can be used on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bands, including 802.11b, 802.11g or 802.11n networks. The antenna offers Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology and the company claims a coverage area of up to 50 meters indoors or 100 meters outdoors. Data communication can also be protected by 128-bit WEP or WPA encryption.
Samson USB Go Mic
Audio company Samson Technologies has announced its latest USB microphone, the Go Mic. The device can be attached to a notebook computer via a built-in mount, or placed standalone on its base that allows a range of orientation adjustments. The condenser mic touts a frequency response of 20Hz to 18kHz, with a selectable cardoid or omni-directional polar recording patterns. When not in use, the head folds into the base for storage or transportation.
EZQuest Thunder Pro RAID
EZQuest has introduced the Thunder Pro Triple series of A/V RAID storage devices. Each unit offers two FireWire 800 ports, a FireWire 400 port and a USB port. The three-drive arrangement ships pre-configured as RAID 0 for the highest capacity and speed. The Oxford-chipset Hitachi SATA II drives run at 7200RPM with up to 64MB buffer cache. EZQuest claims data transfer speeds up to 80MB per second, with support for DV, HDV and DVCPRO HD with real-time effects.
Gadget4All mouse pad, hub
Gadget4All is offering a roll-up mousepad that has an integrated speaker and USB hub. The device has four USB 1.1 ports and a 3.5mm stereo jack that allows users to connect compatible MP3 players and iPods via their headphone connection. An on-off button and volume knob gives users basic control of the device.
Wireless USB Adapter Set
Cables Unlimited has released its latest connectivity product, a Wireless USB Adapter Set that allows users to connect USB peripherals remotely. The package consists of two USB dongles, one for a notebook or PC and the other that can be plugged into a device. Users can move the device-side dongle up to 30 feet away, according to the company. The system can be set up to wirelessly send data to and from an external hard drive, printer, digital camera, or optical media writer.
iCON 401 wireless modem
Nova Media on Wednesday unveiled the iCON 401, a new wireless USB modem that boasts worldwide coverage, and upload speeds of up to 5.76 Megabits per second. The iCON 401 includes an integrated antenna, built into the swivel clip, but also includes a connector for external antennas as well. Nova Media also includes the launch2net connection software to provide connection settings for almost any wireless provider. The iCON 401 is currently available for €199 (~$280)
Rohos Logon Key
The first line of defense to keep unauthorized people from messing with your Mac is your password. Choose a simple password and it will be easy for you to type and remember, but also just as easy for someone else to guess. Choose a more complicated password and there’s a good chance you’ll forget or mistype it, and wind up locking yourself out of your own computer. Since passwords can be bothersome to use, consider using the Rohos Logon Key for the Mac.
2TB OWC hub storage
Other World Computing today announced it is now offering a 2TB version of its Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual-Drive USB 2.0 hub/storage device. The Mercury Elite is a "Plug 'N Play" external hard drive for Mac or PC that also offers three powered USB 2.0 ports. The drive runs at 7200rpm and has 64mb data buffer cache. OWC claims data transfer rates of 60MB/sec; the drive is packaged with Prosoft Engineer Data Backup for Mac OS X 10.2.9 or later, NovaStor NovaBACKUP for Windows 2000 or later, and Intech SpeedTools Utilities for Mac OS 8.6/X. A USB 2.0 cable is included with the drive. Storage capacities for the Mercury Elite series range from 500GB to 2TB, with prices ranging from $170 to $440, respectively.