Hey there Siri, it’s me Voicelok. You don’t know me but I’m thinking we could be soul mates. You see, I’m a voice-authenticating USB flash drive and you, well, everybody knows who you are. At least they ought to by now. Unlike other USB flash drives or thumb drives, I have built-in voice recognition software. I am actually known as the only USB storage device whose contents are under voice activated password protection. I can be helpful without requiring the standard types of software installation. Owners need to simply find the nearest USB port and speak their password to authenticate. What’s that you say, laryngitis? Ah, what if the user has laryngitis? Well, as I was saying, I’m no ordinary USB drive, there’s an override for that. And by the way, I am PC and MAC compatible. I know, I know. For now, being a humble USB device I am not as fabulous as you, but I’m getting there. And well, you and me together – could be a match made in – science?
Category: New Technologies
Some time ago Victorinox, the Swiss Army Knife people, in recognition that the USB flash drive is practically a survival tool, added a USB flash drive to their famous, portable multi-tool set. But that was then. Now it’s a new day for Victorinox as they launch an even better USB drive. Well actually, they launched drives at CES 2011. One of these is the Victorinox SSD which offers a terabyte of storage capacity, enough to hold 220 million pages of text or almost two years worth of uninterrupted music. The other product is the Victorinox Slim, a USB drive with faster read/write speeds and enough bells and whistles to keep data secure and portable. And in recognition of today’s world, the Victorinox SSD has separate housing for flight-friendly or regular use of its implement. The flight-friendly version is a knife-free body, all the better to get through airport security. We can’t wait to see what they’re planning next.
Computing with a USB type device is now easier than ever thanks to the latest merger of USB connectivity with dual-core computing along the lines of the Samsung Galaxy tablet. Who would have guessed? The recently released technology is called “Cotton Candy,” due to its incredible lightness of being. It has a USB connector on one end and an HDMI jack on the other. In between it’s a 1.2 GHz computer complete with a MicroSD slot. Developers of the USB device call it “any screen computing.” Any laptop, TV set or phone can essentially be turned into a computer terminal once the USB device is connected to it. And it can deliver 1080p video. The Cotton Candy runs on the Android operating system. FXI Technologies, the Norwegian company behind the device says with this device, it has turned computing upside down, delivering the power of a PC to any screen. Okay, so when you actually give this some thought, you realize it’s not really a USB drive in the traditional sense of the word, but hey, it’s still a pretty cool thing. And we like that.
For all who have ever wished for a USB connection to their iPad or other iDevice, there is good news. And no, there isn’t a new generation of these devices with a USB port. Although, that would certainly be nice. The best hope for connecting via USB to an iPad is the i-FlashDrive. The i-FlasDrive is actually a dongle with a USB connector on one side and an Apple connector on the other end. This device is thought to be the first two-way communication device for the iPhone or iPad. Of course you’ll need to download an app to do it, but it’s a free app. With the i-FlashDrive you can send and receive photos, music and other files. The USB flash drive storage capacity runs from 8GB up to 32GB but you’ll have to pay nearly $100 for the 8GB and it goes up from there. On the upside, if it’s options you’re after, now you have one. Well you can pre-order one.
As consumer computing continues to evolve, the USB drive continues to evolve with it. News from Kingston Digital says they have new software for USB drives that makes portable computing that much easier. With it the USB drive more “interactive.” Before now, conventional wisdom may have suggested that the USB flash drive is a passive storage device, enabling users to carry files from one computer to the other with ease. Obviously, this can still be done. But now with urDrive the USB drive can be more active and engaged. It includes a built-in picture viewer and MP3 player. There’s also the built-in Web browser and Norton safety software. Listen to music, view photos, browse safely and boot-up from anywhere. Add to that access to games from EA and PopCap along with parental controls and what else could even begin to want? Well, there’s more. With this, you also get to store your bookmarks, browsing history and settings on the drive. Ah the places you could go.
On the one hand USB flash drives of all shapes, sizes and capacities continue to dominate the world of computing. Yes, we get that there’s the cloud but, quick, look around and there’s sure to be a USB drive in the vicinity. On the other hand, the popularity of these drives has led to ongoing concerns about USB security. There is much hacking going on, after all. And as we have noted before every action has an equal an opposite reaction, in which case, there is an equally fervent move to find more and better security for USB drives. Now along comes the Unisys Stealth Solution for Secure Virtual Terminal (SSVT). Reports indicate that it is “a secure solution residing on a federal government-certified USB device to help ensure that a mobile user’s data is secure and readily available to those authorized to view it.” In short, this drive can go into stealth mod where it is invisible to unauthorized eyes. One would guess that unauthorized eyes everywhere are stealthily devising schemes to invade the stealthy USB device.
Once again, the people at Victorinox have changed the game in the world of USB flash drives. A while back they added a USB drive as part of the Swiss Army Knife toolkit. Now they’ve improved on that by releasing an unhackable USB drive. At least they claim it’s an unhackable drive. It is a rather intelligent member of the USB species due to its ability to recognize when malicious software is attempting a break-in with thousands of passwords per second. If it “senses” that such a program is getting close to finding the correct password, it will short circuit itself. Another useful feature can be enabled to restrict access to specific files. The USB drive encrypts incoming files so that even those who know the password can only read files that are approved for them. Now that’s one intelligent USB drive.
Someone left his USB flash drive in the pocket of some pants that went into the wash. So what happened, you ask? Well, the plastic melted off in the dryer but the USB drive still works, with data still intact. Can you just see the advertising? It takes a washing but keeps on working – or something like that. In any case when you have a lot of storage in a small device, as is the case with USB drives, stuff happens. They get thrown in the laundry, rolled over by automobiles, chewed by dogs and, well we’ve covered the idea that someone once swallowed a USB drive to hide data from police. This is why the folks at wired.com decided to test the ruggedness claim of the Corsair Survivor USB drive. They stuck it in the refrigerator, swam in the ocean with it and dropped it from a moving vehicle. And that USB drive survived all this. So feel free to share your USB drive adventure stories with us.
Generally when we refer to USB technology here, we’re talking about the USB flash drive, its endless array of shapes, sizes and capacities, as well as its uses. We also often discuss portable applications that allow better portability, functionality and security with USB drives. But today’s news is all about the USB port which by now you should know is different from the USB drive – it is where you would insert the USB flash drive. Last year we spent some time discussing USB 3.0, the new standard of USB technology that runs faster and on occasion may cook you breakfast – though we aren’t ready to be quoted on that. Meanwhile USB 2.0 still seemed to rule widely. Now it turns out that numerous new devices from such respected names as AMD and Intel will be supporting USB 3.0 ports. This trend will surely migrate to all other devices, big and small, mobile and static – are there static devices? And for the late adopters among us, we’re thinking backwards compatible.
Some day your baseball cards will be able to play videos and they’ll have a USB port and obviously storage, pretty much like a USB flash drive. Well that was someone’s dream that was sent to R & D back in the day. And, drum roll please. Someday is now because there’s a line of trading cards for basketball players with these very features and a USB port. How cool is that? The new style of card premiers this month with Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, John Wall and Blake Griffin. Each card will have about 20 minutes of footage of the player and 2GB storage. The USB port can be used for charging the device/card which has a screen capable of playing HD video. The USB connectivity obviously adds all sorts of capability to the cards. And once such technology is out, we see a whole new future that merges USB flash drive technology with so many possibilities for marketing and other purposes.
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