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Tag Archives: Networks

Infinitec “Infinite” USB Drive Isn’t Really

infinitec

By Evan Ackerman

Infinitec is introducing what they’re calling the “next generation” of USB flash drives, the Infinite USB Memory (IUM) drive. Rather than storing data on internal flash memory, the IUM pairs with your computer, forming a wireless data transfer link. So, whatever device you plug the IUM into sees it as simple USB flash drive, while behind the scenes the IUM is streaming data directly from your computer, making available as much data as you care to give it, hence the “infinite” moniker. This isn’t some kind of infinite cloud storage thing, however, it’s just that the capacity of the IUM isn’t limited by the hardware on the IUM itself.

I can’t immediately figure out how the wireless bit works, but it’s going to be one of two ways. The first, which seems most likely from the way the IUM is described, is that it uses your laptop’s wireless card to transfer data. This means that if you’re out of range of your laptop’s wireless signal, your IUM loses its functionality. The alternative (and I don’t think it works this way) would be that it somehow connects to your laptop over the internet, which means that the IUM would function anywhere it could get WiFi access, possibly allowing you to set up secured access points ahead of time.

Whichever way it functions, I wouldn’t really think of this as a USB flash drive at all, for the simple reason that you can’t use it to back up or transfer data independently of your laptop. It’s more of a wireless USB network adapter, in that it gives any USB compatible device access to the data on your laptop via a local (ad-hoc) wireless network. This is definitely a handy capability, although its usefulness is limited to electronics with USB ports but without a network connection that you don’t want to plug your computer into directly (although there is something to be said for ease of use, which the IUM certainly appears to offer).

The cost for this convenience is $129, which seems rather steep to me, although (for what it’s worth) it’s generally equivalent to the Eye-Fi Pro, which offers the same kind of wireless ad-hoc network functionality.

The Infinitec IUM Drive goes on sale July 1.

[ IUM Drive ] VIA [ ZDNet ]

G-Fi Mobile Network & GPS Router

G-Fi Mobile Network & GPS Router (Image courtesy PosiMotion)
By Andrew Liszewski

At CES we came across quite a few accessories for adding GPS functionality to the iPod Touch and even the first generation iPhone, but they usually consisted of some monstrous sleeve or case that made the device inconvenient to carry around. But PosiMotion has come up with what I think is a better idea. Their G-Fi is basically a battery-powered wireless router with built-in GPS hardware that can stream navigation and position data to your device. It works with both the iPod Touch and iPhone 2G in conjunction with PosiMotion’s Navmii turn-by-turn navigation software ($32.99) and while the mini router can be used to connect any devices that support ad-hoc wifi networks for multiplayer gaming or file transfers, I’m not sure if the streamed GPS data can be used by other applications.

The built-in rechargeable battery powers the G-Fi for about 5 hours with a broadcast range of about 100 feet, and I guess the $99 price tag is a bit cheaper than upgrading to the iPhone 3G or 3GS depending on your current contract. But if you’re trying to choose between the iPod Touch with this and a dedicated GPS device, the latter is probably a cheaper solution. However, if you’re just interested in the mobile wifi router aspect, PosiMotion also sells the G-Fi VS which has a 6 hour battery since it’s not powering GPS chipsets, and a price tag of just $49.99.

[ PosiMotion G-Fi Mobile Network & GPS Router ]

Will You Join Operation Chokehold?

uprising By David Ponce

If you’re AT&T, chances are you’re like a bunch of other AT&T customers: unhappy. But instead of doing nothing about it, some people are organizing a grassroots uprising called “Operation Chokehold”. Maily spearheaded by Newsweek reporter Dan Lyons of Fake Steve Jobs fame, the so-called operation is a digital revolt of sorts that aims to overwhelm AT&T’s network with simultaneous data usage. Writes Fake Steve:

On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. The idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!

As Mashable points out, we’re not too sure this will accomplish anything nor whether enough people will participate to make a difference. We’re also wondering just how douchey this could be for other AT&T users who’re just peachy with their service. But there you have it.

What will you do?

[ Operation Chokehold ] VIA [ Mashable ]

Sharktoon USB LANPort Makes Old Flash Drives Slightly Less Useless

sharkoon-usb-lanport_small

By Evan Ackerman

I’m at a near total loss as to why Sharktoon is pushing its USB LANPort by showing how you can attach four USB flash drives to it. Maybe it’s because if you squint really hard, use your imagination, and look at a picture of sharks it sort of looks like there are four sharks there or something? Whatever. Anyway, the USB LANPort is basically a sucky (or more specialized, take your pick) version of the Pogoplug, in that it enables you to access USB storage devices over a network. It doesn’t come with an internet connectivity, and I bet it’s more of a pain in the butt to set up, but it does allow you to plug in and share a USB printer, which Pogoplug can’t. Score one! The other inevitable selling point of the Sharktoon LANPort is that it’s cheap: a version with one USB port costs $34, and the version with four costs $56.

[ Hot Hardware ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Pogoplug 2 Includes More Pink

pogoplug

By Evan Ackerman

Cloud Engines has unveiled a new version of their Pogoplug hard drive mobile access networker sharing thingy. Um, let me take another stab at that: Pogoplug (which we first saw last year at CES) is a little tiny computer that talks to USB hard drives and makes their content accessible from anywhere, and easily sharable with anyone. It doesn’t do anything that you couldn’t do with all kinds of major networking headaches, but that’s exactly why it’s so useful: you just plug it in, it works, and you’re done.

Version 2 of the Pogoplug features a redesign that incorporates a few more USB ports, making it easier to add multiple drives, although you can also use a USB hub to do the same thing. It comes on a weird pink sled, which personally I’m not a big fan of… I kinda liked the unapologetic functionality and smaller form factor of the original. There are also a host of new features on the software side, the most notable of which are automatic media syncing and global search, but you’ll also find new tools for creating and sharing media slide shows and other social features like a sharing address book.

The Pogoplug 2 is currently on pre-order for $129 (looks like the original version is still an even $100), which includes a lifetime of web sharing service.

[ Pogoplug ]

Hitachi SimpleNet NASizes USB Drives

simplenet

By Evan Ackerman

A NAS (network attached storage) drive is quite a handy thing to have on your home network. You can stuff it back behind your router (assuming it’s not a part of your router, that is) and forget about it, except that it’ll always be available to any computer on your network… It’s an easy way to add flexible storage for things like media that multiple people want to share. Or, it should be an easy way, but it often turns out to be expensive and troublesome.

This little box from Hitachi is called SimpleNet, and it’s able to turn any external USB drive into a NAS drive. From the look of things, you plug your router into one and a USB drive into the other, and that’s it. $80 might be a tad steep for this convenience, but there’s a lot of possibilities with this little device, and it gives you the flexibility to hot swap as many USB drives as you like. I haven’t run the numbers on this, but my guess is that you’ll probably save money (and headaches) if you get SimpleNet and some regular dirt cheap external USB drives, as opposed to a couple external drives designed with integrated ethernet ports. Yes, you’re going to take a speed hit with the 10/100 ethernet port (plus the USB) on the SimpleNet, but I bet it’ll work great for backups and light media access.

The Hitachi SimpleNet USB NAS adapter should be available now(ish) in retail stores.

[ Press Release ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

Buffalo USB Powered 3 Port Ethernet Hub

usb_lan

By Evan Ackerman

This little USB accessory from Buffalo has got to be the easiest way to throw an impromptu LAN party anywhere you want without having to resort to something as annoying and under performing as an ad-hoc wireless network. The three port router is powered entirely by one USB port, and means you and two of your friends can get together and frag each other (or exchange massive amounts of porn) at speeds of up to 100 Mbps. It’s nothing particularly fancy, but it works, it’s portable, and it’s cheap, too: it’ll go on sale later this month for about $25.

VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Belkin Announces Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit

gigabit-powerline

By Chris Scott Barr

I’ve spent many hours running ethernet cable throughout various buildings. It’s not the most fun thing to do in the world, especially when you’re crawling around in spaces filled with particularly itchy insulation (asbestos anyone?). I’ve seen companies offer networking over powerlines, and while it’s always sounded like a convenient solution, I’ve been wary of actual speeds achieved by such devices. Belkin’s latest offering sounds like it might just be fast enough to be worth checking out.

The first major concern with any powerline networking system is how much bandwidth is lost over a distance. Well Belkin’s new Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit promises 1000 Mb/s speeds. Even if you lose a good part of that bandwidth, most network cards still only operate at 100 Mb/s. If this device holds up to its claims (and can provide a more reliable connection than wireless), it might be worth the $150 price tag.

[ Belkin ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

D-Link Updates Their Desktop Widget

D-Link Network Monitor Widget (Image courtesy D-Link)
By Andrew Liszewski

I just replaced an aging Linksys router with a D-Link 655 recommended by a friend, and I have to say I couldn’t be happier with the upgrade. And today things get even better since D-Link has released an updated version of their router desktop widget. It supports Yahoo! Widgets, Vista Gadgets and the Mac Dashboard and provides a dashboard-like real-time read out of your network and internet performance.

The widget is compatible with all of D-Link’s 802.11n routers like the DIR-655, DIR-855 and DGL-4500 and is available as a free download from D-Link’s site. (Note: A firmware update may be required to use the widget.)

[ D-Link Network Monitor v2.0 Widget ]