October 2012 Archives

Need some help with your artwork? Not to worry

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We have many customers who come to us without their own graphic departments to create logos or convert non vector files to vector. Not to fret! We have an on staff graphic artist who is more than happy to work with you in creating your logo or converting your artwork so it is compatible with our systems. Check out more information on our website.
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Teardown revives hopes that Lightningmight be USB 3.0-compatible

Extra pins might mean the cable and connector directly support "SuperSpeed" USB.

Earlier today we linked to iFixit's iPhone 5 teardown, and there's something interesting lurking in the pictures of the Lightning connector. Although it's clear at this point that the iPhone 5 only sports USB 2.0 speeds, initial discussions of Lightning's support of USB 3.0 have focused on its pin count--the USB "Super Speed" 3.0 spec requires nine pins to function, and Lightning connectors only have eight.

 Image from USB.org
The Lightning cable and connector

However, iFixit's teardown shows the pins in the iPhone 5's Lightning receptacle, and there are two extras on either side:

 The iPhone 5's Lightning connector disassembled. Note two extra pins, possibly for ground return.

The Lightning connector itself has two divots on either side for retention, but these extra electrical connections in the receptacle could possibly be used as a ground return, which would bring the number of Lightning pins to the same count as that of USB 3.0--nine total.

If this is the case, then it shows that Apple has at least thought ahead with its new plug, and may have future-proofed it to support USB 3.0. This would be a wise tactical move on Apple's part and could open the door to Lightning being used to supplement Thunderbolt as a second high-speed standard port, rather than as a one-off iPhone connector competing awkwardly with USB 2.

Of course, the need for extra pins is obviated if the connector's shield can be used as the ground return; in that case, the extra pins are just extra pins, which would be used in some form or fashion for Lightning signaling. As usual, Apple is mum on the details and no official confirmation exists one way or another.

Apple spokespersons have confirmed that HDMI and VGA cables utilizing Lightning will be available soon, so the interface is clearly destined for more than just USB 2.0 data syncing.

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Our own Duplication

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At least half of all orders require preload services from small files that are a couple MB to videos and larger files upwards 8G. With all of the preloads we do weekly, it is important that our team is thorough and has the proper equipment to ensure quality of the process and end result. This is exactly why we have created our own machines and written our own program. We control the process every step of the way and check over every drive to ensure that the files are properly formatted and play to the standards of our customers. 


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USB Web Key

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Such an amazing new product! We have received great feedback from the USB Web Key, which directs users to a specific URL. We have had them set to home pages, surveys, specific product or service page, and more! The possibilities are endless. There are also custom packages that allow the buyer to see how many people have plugged in the USB Web Key, on what days, and how many times. Extremely useful tool for tracking success of a tradeshow or campaign. Check out more information on our website.


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Custom Packaging

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Check out our Black Box available for all USB Classic and Eco products. This is one of two custom packaging options available with screen printing. Personalize the package to a certain group of people or to a specific boss, employee, teacher, or friend. 


There's a First for Everything!

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As we all know, Lawyers love paperwork! They literally drown in documents every day. So it was quite a relief to us to know that some are becoming more environment friendly. We got an order this week from a Lawyer at a Law firm for a custom printed USB Flash Drive! What a great way to keep each client's information separated and organized. Maybe more will follow in his footsteps.... 

Saving Trees & Standing Out

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We have attended our fair share of Tradeshows, and after leaving another this past weekend, we realize how many people still hand out brochures and price lists! We left with so many business cards and papers, I don't remember who is who!Most of these papers will probably end up in the garbage (sorry!). 

Stand out from your competitors, make their life and your life easier by loading all your contact information, price lists, and catalogs on a custom printed flash drive. Include a headshot and some information about your position at the company and the services and or products you provide. This is a great way to help attendees remember you and contact you after the tradeshow!! 

Your welcome ;-) 

Corporate Holiday Gifts

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USB Media, a leading provider of custom USB flash drives and printing services is currently expanding its product range, preparing for the higher demand expected during the upcoming holiday season!! 

The custom USB flash drives are the perfect corporate gift for companies that want to give clients something to use on a daily basis. In addition to being functional and practical objects, these portable storage devices can be imprinted with the company's contact details and be used to introduce a particular brand to prospects. Furthermore, the sleek case and beautiful USB Flash Drive printing will definitely make a great first impression.

Stay tuned for upcoming product additions including classic models as well as creative holiday drives! For more information or images please contact our sales team at sales@usbmediacompany.com. 
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Issues with the iPhone 5

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The recent release of the new iPhone 5 has been another success in sales for Apple. The company was able to rake in the profits from a total of 5 million units sold in the span of three days after the iPhone's official release. But for some users, the honeymoon phase has come to an abrupt end. Why? Apple's new Lightning cable has a tendency of getting stuck in USB ports. They are one of the many complaints being hurled at the new iPhone. With the change to the 30-pin connector, there is one more step against traditional USB flash drives and ports.


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Run Portable Apps with your USB Drive

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What's more portable than a laptop, tablet, or smartphone? Answer: A USB flash drive. If you want easy access to applications like Firefox, Chrome, OpenOffice, and more, all you need is your USB flash drive and a host computer.

In part five of our "What to do with your USB flash drive" series, we'll show you how to install portable apps onto your USB flash drive.

Step 1: Download the PortableApps 2.0 PR1.1 platform from PortableApps.com.

Step 2: Insert a USB flash drive into your computer and double-click on the downloaded file,PortableApps.com_Platform_Setup_2.0_Pre-Release_1.1.exe, to start the installation.

Step 3: At the "destination folder" section of the install, enter the drive letter of your USB flash drive, then click the Install button.

Choose location(Credit: Screenshot by Ed Rhee )

Step 4: Click the Finish button to end the installation and launch the PortableApps.com Platform.

Finish install(Credit: Screenshot by Ed Rhee )

Step 5: When the PortableApps menu appears, select Manage Apps, then Get More Apps.

Get more apps(Credit: Screenshot by Ed Rhee )

Step 6: Select the apps you want to install on your USB flash drive then click the Next button.

Apps list(Credit: Screenshot by Ed Rhee )

Step 7: Once all your apps are installed, you'll see a list of them in the PortableApps menu.

PortableApps full menu(Credit: Screenshot by Ed Rhee )

That's it. The next time you insert your PortableApps USB flash drive into a computer, the apps menu will automatically pop up. If it doesn't, you can just browse to the USB flash drive and double-click on Start.exe.

You can browse the Internet with Firefox or Chrome, scan the computer for viruses with ClamWin, work on documents with OpenOffice, and a whole lot more. The best part is, everything is stored on the USB flash drive so no trace is left behind on the host computer!


Save a CD, Use a Flash Drive

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So we learned this week that way too many companies and individuals are still using CD's to load videos, files, and important information. Please STOP! Although we were happy about this invention over 10 years ago, CD's are not reliable! They scratch and break way too easily! 

Ok, we'll play nice. Yes, CD's are still around and some people just feel comfortable using them. But let's go through some basic reasons why switching to a USB flash drive will benefit you. 

1. They do not break easily
2. The are small and compact
3. They store more information
4. Since the invention of the Macbook Air, more companies are creating too thin laptops that do not come equipped with cd inserts only USB plugs.. 
5. Easily customizable! 

We receive CD's with preloads too often, and I an say at least 20% of the time, they arrive scratched or broken. Sad, yes. Especially when you are on deadline! In addition, usb flash drives are s small and compact you can just add it to your keychain. Besides you never know when you will want to save something on there. It could be when your at a frends house, library, or even on your home computer. With all of the hats we all wear everyday, I'm sure there are files from work, videos, pictures and much more varying content on all your flash drives. Which leads us to the space thing. This small device holds SO MUCH! Seriously,  I mean who wants to carry around a stack of CDs? No one. With everyone rushing out to purchase small easy to carry Macbook Pro's with no place for a CD ROM, USB Flash drives are essential. How else are you going to save information from your school desktop to your own laptop? Email those files? Zip them? Wouldn't it be easier to have them saved on this nifty device and transfer them at one time? 

An lastly, they are so easily customizable! Either screen printed or etched, there is no printed label, not chance of it pealing or fading off! Hopefully we are able to convince you to at least try it out. We promise, you will thank us later. 

Ps. Your Welcome :) 

Upgraded Flash Drives

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Throughout the work-week, our sales representatives recieve multiple quote requests for plain flash drives, custom printed flash drives, and preloaded flash drives. And just like any other retailer / wholesaler, many of our customers try to negotiate pricing on large unit orders. However recently, this has been happening with smaller unit orders as well. As a startup and very loyal company to our clients, we always try to accommodate other's budgets when we can. Nevertheless, when a competitor is telling you they can sell you flash drives at a lower than market price ( I mean lower than we even pay for them!) then there is something not right there. Which brings me to the upgraded flash drives.

Upgraded flash drives are flash drives that have been corrupt to seem like a higher Megabyte or Gigabyte than they are. Thus, when large files are loaded, the flash drive crashes. We are not going to out anyone on here, but be weary when a company gives you too good of a price. We have seen 2G that are really 256MB drives too many times to count. 

Thanks to our amazing Tech team, the very few times this has happened to us, our team has caught it before sending it to the customer! We have a very thorough analysis that is done in our office every day on every order. 

We have also had past customers or those who called for a quote, call back and tell us about their experience. As people and not just a company, we try to be fair and tell our customers and potential clients the truth. Some still chose to buy from the less expensive retailer (I mean who doesn't love a great deal?!) but at the same time, you get what you pay for. 

Moral of this blog: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! 

Plug in a USB cord the right way, the first time

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Visualize yourself holding a USB plug. Now visualize yourself trying to put said USB plug into its port on your computer. Hmm, it didn't go in? You must be holding it the wrong way; try turning it over. Still nothing? Odd, try it the first way again. Oh look, it fits now.

This scenario is something a lot of computer users have gone through at least once. Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to spend time fiddling with the USB plug every. Single. Time?

The problem at hand can actually be avoided rather easily. One detail commonly overlooked on a USB cord is the presence of a raised or printed USB symbol on one side of the plug-end (for almost all cables). Knowing this can make plugging in USB devices a lot less of a hassle, since the side with the symbol is usually facing up or pointed at you from the ports on a monitor.

Since many of the USB cords that come with devices are a dark color (or the symbol is the same color as the rest of the cord/plug), you can mark the symbol side to take out the guess-work in low-light situations. For the marking you could use a bit of Wite-Out, a permanent marker, or even a sticker (perhaps a gold star for getting it right every time?) on the USB symbol side.

This simple fix may not save you hours of time or relieve stress-related headaches, but it will definitely give you one less thing to shake your head about during your day-to-day computer usage. And since the average day gives us more than enough things to shake our heads about, scratching one thing off the list with such an easy fix is well worth it.

USB devices can be hot-swapped, but their convenience is hindered by their need to be removed safely by using the Windows Safe Removal option. There's a policy for each USB device, however, that allows you to set them for quick removal, at the expense of a very minor performance hit.

Here's how to check to make sure that your USB device's quick removal policy is turned on:

Step 1: After you've inserted your USB device, launch Device Manager by hitting the Windows logo key, then typing "device manager" and selecting it from the search list.

Step 2: Drill down in Disk drives and double-click on your USB device.

Step 3
: Go to the Policies tab and make sure that "Quick removal (default)" is selected.

That's it. Keep in mind that this policy setting doesn't mean you should remove your USB device in the middle of a file operation. It just means that once the copy, delete, or move operation has been completed and the activity light on your device is no longer blinking, you can remove the device without using the Safely Remove Hardware notification icon.

For a rep by step guide with images, please click here.

10 awesome ways to use a USB flash drive

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Your trusty USB flash drive is much more versatile than you might realize, packing capabilities that go well beyond storing and transferring files.

These little-known tricks can be utilized by computer newbies and technogeeks alike to achieve anything from restoring a virus-ridden computer to launching and playing portable apps right from the drive.

USB drives(Credit: Ed Rhee/CNET )

Unlock our top-10 ways to use a USB flash drive with the guide below. Thanks to fellow How To blogger Ed Rhee, and the team at CNET, you'll be surprised to find that storing files might not be the best use of thumbdrives after all.

1. Lock and unlock your computer, secret agent style
With Predator, you can turn your USB drive into a "key" that unlocks your computer when plugged in, and locks it when it's removed. If anyone attempts to access your computer without the key (or top-secret password), they'll be hit with an epic "ACCESS DENIED" message.

2. Revive a virus-ridden system
With the free AVG rescue software loaded on your USB drive, you can scan a crippled computer for viruses. And, if all goes well, bring your system back to life.

3. Run portable apps, games, and utilities
What's more portable than a laptop, tablet, or smartphone? Answer: a USB flash drive. Run applications like Firefox, Chrome, OpenOffice, and more, with just your USB flash drive and any computer.

4. Install and test-drive Windows 8
Want to peek into Microsoft's upcoming operating system? The consumer preview is available, but with this tutorial, we'll show you how to try out Windows 8 without overwriting your current OS.

5. Give Linux a try
You might have heard your geek friends brag about Linux, the open-source operating system. Like the Windows 8 tutorial, we'll show you how to use your USB drive to boot Linux and poke around the OS without overwriting your current system.

6. Secure your docs and files
If all you want to do is use your thumbdrive for file storage, don't forget to encrypt it. By doing so, only you will have access to the files on the drive, rendering it useless to anyone who finds (or steals) it.

7. Maintain your Windows computer
Find out how to install Parted Magic, a handy piece of software that lets you do things like reset Windows passwords, clone your system, and partition your hard disk, right from your USB flash drive.

8. Install Windows 7 on a MacBook
If you want access to both operating systems, OS X and Windows, you can use a USB drive to install Windows on your MacBook. This is extra handy for MacBook Air owners who need a workaround for the absence of an optical drive.

9. Turn it into a last-minute gift
Victims of procrastination will love this guide, which shows you how a plain ol' USB drive can be repurposed into a thoughtful gift in just a couple hours time.

10. Too many USB drives? Donate them!
Marketers seem to love USB drives, handing them out in any opportunity they encounter. We tech writers especially are often inundated with the darned things at conventions like CES. If you're in the same boat, see if there's a school in your area that could use them.

Password Protect Your Flash Drive

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If a flash drive contains sensitive information--such as bank account statements, credit card numbers, or your own unique, brilliant plans for world domination--you should password protect, if not the whole drive, than at least those particular files.

You've got two options for protecting data on a flash drive: You can use encryption software, or you can buy a special, encrypted flash drive.

Security guru Bruce Schneier says that he thinks it best to separate the encryption algorithm from the hardware. "So I use random flash drives with PGP Disk for security."

The current version of PGP Disk costs money and is geared strictly for business, so I recommend TrueCrypt, which Schneier described as "another fine alternative." It's not only free, but open source, and can be easily made portable (meaning it doesn't have to be installed--an important feature if you're carrying the data on a flash drive).

After you install TrueCrypt onto your PC, you can simply drag the program folder (which is less than 8MB) to your flash drive. Once there, you can run it on any Windows computer with a USB port. Just open the folder and run the program.

For more information on using TrueCrypt click here.

There's a good chance that the USB ports in your PlayStation 3 mostly, if not exclusively, get used to power and connect your gaming accessories. What's not obvious, however, is that those USB ports can also be used to read and write data to a standard thumbdrive.

What kind of data, you ask? Dust off your thumbdrive and check out these three useful ways to pair it with your PS3.

Load up music, movies, and photos
There are a few ways to get music, video, and photos from your computer to your PS3: wirelessly stream it; burn a CD with the data; or use a USB thumbdrive. Streaming is a great option if you want constant access to your PC's media library, but often the experience is tainted by lag and a spotty Wi-Fi connection.

If you want to play back specific movies, photos, or music files on your PS3, use a USB drive. The PS3 supports a variety of file types, including MP4, DivX, AVI, and WMV. The trick is to organize the media on the USB flash drive into folders labeled MUSICVIDEO, and PICTURE.

Then, when you plug the USB drive into your PS3, you'll see the media in the folders appear in the Cross Media Bar (XMB) under their respective categories.

Transfer game saves
If you want to pick up where a friend left off in a game, borrow his or her MLB franchise, or play your game on a friend's PS3, it's all possible with a USB drive.

Plug in your USB drive, and from the Games menu, go to your game saves. Find the game you want to transfer and hit the Options button. If you don't see the option, it's likely that the game is license-protected. If you do, hit "Copy" and move it to your flash drive. When you plug your drive into another PS3, you'll find the game save in the Saved Data Utility.

Update your system
The PS3 is notorious for sluggish system updates that keep you waiting while a 100MB-plus file downloads, then installs at a snail's pace. One way to shorten this time-consuming task is to take your USB drive to work and download the update onto it while you're there. That way, all you have to do when you get home is plug it into the PS3 and install the update.

Go to the PS3 update page, download the latest update, and put it in a folder on your USB drive labeled UPDATE. Then, plug it into your PS3, head to Settings > System Update, and install it from your storage device.


Bosses Day!

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Show appreciation for a terrific boss with a truly memorable gift on Boss's Day which is Tuesday October 16th, 2012. 

Express your appreciation for a terrific boss with a truly memorable gift on Boss's Day. Reserve the date Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 as Boss's Day on your calendar, and be sure to order gifts early for timely arrival. This is the perfect day to thank a boss for their time and effort as manager at the office. Gather co-workers and go in together on a gift that will let your boss know that their hard work and insightful supervision is recognized and appreciated.
Add some extra character to your boss's office with a customized Boss's Day sign. Feature their name, an inspirational quote, funny saying or a message from the whole office on a custom sign that can hang on the wall in honor of one of the world's greatest bosses. Choose colors and a design that will complement his or her office decor.

For the boss who loves to organize, or perhaps needs some help in that area, a personalized sterling silver plated USB flash drive can help keep his or her documents and other information neatly compiled in one small device. Add their initials, maybe a funny or inspirational quote they can relate to. 

Managers and supervisors work hard to keep an office running and their team members happy. Once a year on Boss's Day, employees have the opportunity to give back with gifts that not only express gratitude for a job well done, but also demonstrate the very positive relationship that can exist between managers and members of their staff.


DIY Flash Drives

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Whether you use them in your everyday work flow, or dust them off on occasion, flash drives are perhaps one of the handiest, most underrated gadgets out there. Despite the cloud storage trend, many of us still rely on these doodads when we need to transfer data in a pinch.

And thanks to the InterWebs, there's a seemingly endless variety of unique flash drives to match your equally special personality.

Screen Shot 2012-10-06 at 3.07.48 PM.png
Check out our favorite here

Eco Friendly Flash Drives

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As a Socially Responsible company, USB Media focuses on reducing our carbon foot print in any way we can. This includes being a paper less company, and encouraging our clients to purchase our eco friendly flash drives made entirely from Bamboo. Please see our collection of Eco drives here.