Sunday, December 13, 2009

Not all USB 2.0 Y Cables are the same - DoubleQueue features quality engineering!

DoubleQueue USB 2.0 Y Cable at EverythingHerePlus.comThe DoubleQueue USB 2.0 Y Cable was created to the exacting standards of a major WWAN hardware manufacturer. This meant it couldn't be cheaply or poorly designed like many competing cables. The DoubleQueue USB 2.0 Y Cable had to pass rigorous testing of standards bodies like the USB-IF, FCC, and others before it was included in the OEM package for major wireless carriers. One of the keys to DoubleQueue USB 2.0 Y Cable's quality is the split for the power cables is located in the plug where there is the most shielding and the least amount of stresses from movement. Many USB 2.0 Y cables split mid-cable, which is why they aren't standards compliant. DoubleQueue's connectors meet or exceed the USB-IF exacting requirements, and its highest quality EMI shielding assures USB 2.0's maximum throughput of up to 480Mbps. This in turn, makes the DoubleQueue USB 2.0 Y Cable the best choice for a range of devices including 3G/4G WWAN devices like the Kyocera KPC680 or Option Wireless GT Max 3.6 Express, the MicroU2E family of adapters, and even hard drives and SSD devices requiring extra electrical current.

The DoubleQueue USB 2.0 Y Cable features two upstream male A connectors, one for data and power, one for power only, and provides a downstream female A connector. Designed for notebooks and computers that don't provide enough current at their USB 2.0 ports, DoubleQueue's ability to draw power from a second port allows power hungry devices like WWAN 3G modems and hard drives. Some computers provide as little as 300mA per port, which while within specification, is woefully inadequate for many USB 2.0 devices. The DoubleQueue USB 2.0 Y Cable's ability to provide up to 1000mA to 1200mA when used with 500mA ports, and up to 600mA when used with 300mA ports. Providing a female A receptacle allows DoubleQueue to accept USB 2.0 and 1.1 male A cable ends and devices like the MicroU2E-MV without any other adapters. The DoubleQueue USB 2.0 Y Cable can be used as a normal USB 2.0 extender cable simple by using the data and power portion of the cable only.

Available at for just $3.50 with inexpensive USPS Priority Mail shipping.

Friday, December 11, 2009

FireWire 4 to 6-pin Cable with Gold Plated Connectors, DV quality at big box prices

 FireWire 400 4 to 6pin Cable 1.8M/6F with Gold Plated Connectors at EverythingHerePlus.comBafo's Premium line of FireWire cables feature ultra high density, triple shielded, high intensity copper for the most stabilized impedance and the highest digital video signal transfer available. Like all the premium line, this FireWire 4 to 6pin Cable has 24K pure hardened gold plated contacts to maintain high bandwidth and maximum data signal integrity. Bafo Premium line quality and standards compliance rival those of far more expensive cables. This 6-pin to 4-pin FireWire 400 cable is perfect for use with DV Camcorders featuring mini-DV, iLINK, FireWire 400 connectors. 1.8M (6 foot) is the most frequently requested length. The FireWire 4 to 6pin Cable is made with lead-free, RoHS compliant, and environmentally safe materials for a better world.

Available at for just $5.00 with $5.00 USPS Priority Mail shipping.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Using Text Configuration Files with NetInfo Manager

Using Text Configuration Files with NetInfo Manager

NetInfo Manager, like most NeXT style applications utilizing the columnar data presentation, is clumsy at best for entering information. Only the most stalwart advocate would be caught trying to use it to enter any lengthy lists of data. Fortunately Apple provides an alternative to those used to the elegant simplicity of text configuration files. Here we will populate NetInfo with a hosts listing from a standard BSD hosts file. This is a simple and very practical example.

To see the very specific format NetInfo prefers the hosts file, and to prevent missing any important information, let's export the existing data from Netinfo first. Make sure the resulting file is in /etc/hosts (permissions apply).

nidump hosts local@localhost

Once we've added all the additional entries, we can now reimport the data into NetInfo Manager.

sudo niload -v hosts . < /etc/hosts

For a full overview of command line utility access to NetInfo, execute apropos netinfo and read the corresponding man pages. We are also assuming that the reader is familiar with maintaining standard Unix host files.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

FireRepeater-800 PRO 5 Port FireWire 800 Repeater Hub

FireRepeater-800 Pro 5 Port at EverythingHerePlus.comUnibrain's FireRepeater-800 PRO 5 Port Repeater Hub provides port expansion on FireWire 800 IEEE 1394b device chains. Oriented towards industrial and machine vision applications, FireRepeater-800 PRO provides the ability to connect up to five FireWire 800 devices and it's metallic compact case minimizes the risk of physical damage. The platform agnostic device provides five bilingual 9 pin FireWire 800 ports with a maximum throughput of up to 800 Mbps each. The Hub utilizes FireWire 800 bus power, or accepts an optional power adapter for use with devices requiring more power. The FireRepeater-800 PRO enables bus flexibility in that it allow for daisy chaining and/or hierarchical (tree) bus configurations. The FireRepeater-800 PRO also provides a means to lengthen the distance between devices when a single FireWire cable's length is inadequate. Simply daisy chain repeaters between cables to extend your reach. FireRepeater-800 PRO incorporates locking capable 9 pin bilingual ports, multiple mounting points and an optional metal bracket to ensure an even more secure physical connection.

Available at at low prices with USPS Priority Mail shipping.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

U111-M testing results on Unix-like operating systems

U111-M USB to PCMCIA PC Card ATA Flash and is now offering a Linux compatible USB reader for PCMCIA PC Card SRAM and ATA Flash memory devices just $155.00 USD. For full details check out U111-M USB to PCMCIA PC Card ATA Flash and SRAM.

In addition to testing the U111M with excellent results on the Windows XP platform, we were asked to test the U111-M with stable and secure Unix-like operating systems.

Here are the results.

Xubuntu Linux 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) amd64 edition
U111-M reader is recognized, both ATA Flash and SRAM worked without a hitch
OpenBSD 4.6 beta i386 edition
U111-M reader is recognized, kernel assigns sd0 dev on card inserts, but cannot mount cards using standard mount_msdos command line
OpenBSD UPDATE, this has been resolved -- please see this post for information on using the U111-M with OpenBSD
Mac OS X 10.4.11 PPC edition (iMac)
U111-M reader is recognized, but card inserts throw a "card not recognized" error dialog
Mac OS X 10.5.8 x86 edition (Mac Pro)
U111-M reader is recognized, but card inserts throw a "card not recognized" error dialog

The U111-M represents a low cost way to deploy both PCMCIA PC Card ATA Flash and SRAM on newer systems without existing PC Card slots. Its excellent compatibility with Linux is good news for users and the ability to deal with PCMCIA PC Card SRAM makes it unique in that regard. Xubuntu is the XFCE based Ubuntu distribution, and the U111-M really shined throughout the entire testing procedure.

Available at at low prices with USPS Priority Mail shipping.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Error Message (-50) Syncing iPod 5G with iPhoto Solution

I was having this problem and searched on Apple's discussion boards, finding I wasn't alone. The following solved the problem, and is reproduced here since Apple's discussion boards require a login.

The problem was due to escaped unicode characters within the AlbumData.xml file. I first suspected it was the tilde-n combination within many of my photo comments. When using BBEdit to grep them out, I noticed an escape sequence for a unicode character in the search string. Unfortunately, replacing them in the AlbumData.xml file didn't work. On relaunch iPhoto would put the characters back, which meant manually removing a comment sequence from a series of about 120 photos. Finding a script on Apple's site called 'Speak Comments.scpt' and commenting out the lines for speaking the comment (lines 15-18) and adding the following line before them:

set the comment of this_photo to ""

allowed me to remove the problematic comments from just the set of offending photos without having to do them by hand. Upon completion, iTunes recognized iPhoto's libraries and synced them to the 5G iPod without a hitch. Script available from:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Announcing is a new online shop that, among other things, is an authorized Synchrotech reseller.

Their prices on many of Synchrotech's most popular items are typically discounted, and they ship via USPS Priority mail instead of FedEx, so many items are much cheaper to purchase when shipping is taken into account. For example sells and ships the ExpressAdapt PCMCIA PC CardBus to USB Mode ExpressCard Adapter for $27.92. Or have an Unibrain FireWire 400 to 800 Adapter delivered for less the the retail price of the Sonnet version.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CFFire800 Pro Benchmarks and Performance Shootouts

CFFire800 with Adapter from EverythingHerePlus.comThe CFFire800 Pro FireWire 800 to UDMA CompactFlash reader made the arduous task off offloading photos from my Cannon S-70 somewhat of a joy. Synchrotech published a few documents verifying my experience.

CFFire800 Pro Benchmarks
I use an ATP ProMax II CF 300X UDMA CompactFlash Card and see numbers very close to the top cards on this list.

Modern UDMA CompactFlash Reader Benchmarks FireWire vs USB 2.0
I use the FireWire 800 based CFFire800 Pro in FireWire 400 mode with a 9→6 pin adapter and can say it outperforms any USB 2.0 based CompactFlash reader I've ever tested by orders of magnitude.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why use Gambit Scheme for application development?

A discussion from jlongster on Gambit embedded in Objective-C. Some potentially cool stuff here. This discussion was a follow on to mikelevins Heresy article in which Scheme <-> Objective-C interface is also discussed. mikelevins' mention of prefix-dylan is a bonus as well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Great FireWire 400 to FireWire 800 FAQ

FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 CablesSynchrotech FAQ deals with myriad questions regarding connecting between FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 and vice versa.

With Apple's bold transition to all FireWire 800 ports on their computers and USB 3.0's disappointing initial performance figures, this FAQ and HOWTO is right on time!

Of special note is their 6→9 FireWire 800 IEEE1394b 6pin (female) to 9pin (male) Converter Plug available at for under $9 and shipped for only $5!

Jeff Cat Explains FireWire Port Identification

CES 2009: USB 3.0 slower than expected

Any wonder at all the latest incarnation of the prosaic USB standard with its outdated and awkward master-slave topology, underperforming NRZI encoding, and clumsy CPU cycle stealing bus mastering scheme doesn't live up to the hype?

Evidenced by the results of all the benchmarks I've ever run in the lab, USB 2.0 is crushed by Ultra Wide SCSI, an early 1990's technology. Let's ponder USB with its anemic power capabilities, frightfully short cable runs, and well over a decade old performance capabilities. What was USB's advantages other than ubiquity again?

I realize many USB otaku have bought into the Intel fanboi TV spot [1], but maybe people should be tossing rotten fruits and vegetables at Ajay Bhatt.

[1] Truth is, Intel was only one many firms with patents contributed to the original USB pool. Intel later bought many of them after the fact. So the whole "rock star inventor" thing is a little suspect no? In fact, Wikipedia cites him as one of the co-inventors.