Filed under ‘USB’
The AVerMedia AVerTV Volar GPS 805 USB stick has both a DVB-T TV tuner and a GPS receiver, which makes it a very nice little item to carry around in your laptop bag. I recently purchased one to use with my EeePC, which I’m eventually hoping to somehow mount in my car – the GPS function works brilliantly with FreeDrive and Map Monkey, and the TV function picks up all my local digital stations even when using only the tiny (and very cute) included rabbit ears.
Need to carry a hardware firewall in your pocket? Didn’t think so – but now at least you can if you want. The tiny Yoggie Gatekeeper Pro is a hardware firewall that fits in your pocket, requires no external power supply (it’s USB powered), and provides enterprise-level firewall protection for your computer. It has two operating modes – one draws power from the built-in USB cable, connects to your ethernet port, and the ethernet wall socket, and the second just uses the USB port and performs packet-packet filtering for your computer’s own WiFi adapter through the use of a virtual bridge.
Play-Asia have just got a new shipment of Skype Certified Logitech Cordless Internet Handsets. The Logitech Cordless Internet Handset has a cordless range of up 50 meters, 120 hours standy, 10 hours talktime, and charges via a USB powered cradle. The LCD lists your available Skype contacts, Skype Voicemail notifications, caller ID, call waiting, and call history information. This phone looks really nice.
» On special at Play-Asia for $39.90
I’ve been using PortableApps on my USB drive for a while now, mostly to store my passwords and check my email when using other people’s computers. I recently purchased a new U3 enabled USB drive to see what all the U3 hype was about. I was expecing something polished and professionals, but to be honest, compared to PortableApps it really doesn’t have that much going for it. It’s ugly too.
Many new USB drives now include a special U3 partition, which contains the U3 base files – so all you need to do is add some U3 applications. Many of the applications are free (Firefox, Thunderbird etc), although there are a significiant amount that you have to pay for. Although U3 offers everything that PortableApps does, I don’t think the interface is as nice, and unfortunately many USB drive companies (e.g Toshiba) ‘brand’ the U3 launcher interface, which makes it look even worse. U3 requires admin rights to function – which is a serious issue for something that will be used on work and school computers. It also writes to the host computer’s hard drive, and leaves a ‘temp’ directory behind when the U3 drive is removed. One of the big advantages of U3 is that it can password protect the USB drive, so if it’s lost or stolen, you data remains safe(ish) – without the password, Windows can’t identify the USB stick and won’t read it. A warning to anyone that has just purchased a U3 enabled USB drive: DO NOT uninstall the U3 partition! Once you remove the U3 functionality, you’ll most likely never be able to reinstall it.
PortableApps is much the same as U3, but can be installed on any USB drive. PortableApps is proudly open source, as are all the applications – which means they’re all free and generally well supported. PortableApps is available as a ‘suite’ in either a 90MB or 30MB package, or as a 1MB Base Edition which contains only the menu and backup features. The Suite packages contain the most popular applications such as Firefox, Thunderbird and Gaim, whereas the Base Edition requires you to install applications yourself (which involves about 2 mouse clicks per application!). You can also install nearly any ‘self contained’ application that doesn’t require registry entries, and that keeps any configuration files in the same directory as the executable.
Best of both worlds
After trying U3 and PortableApps extensively, I finally made the decision to keep them both on my USB drive. The only feature of U3 that I’m using is the password protection utility, which will prompt for a password when the drive is first plugged in – if the password isn’t correct, then no data on the drive can be read. Although the U3 password protection isn’t bulletproof, it will stop 99% of people accessing any data on the drive if it’s lost or stolen. Once the correct password has been entered, instead of U3 starting up (I’ve disabled U3′s auto start), PortableApps will autorun.
I’ve tried nearly all the major applications from PortableApps, but these are the ones that are staying on my USB drive for good:
- 7-Zip Portable – file archiver and compressor
- ClamWin Portable – Antivirus
- FileZilla Portable – FTP client
- Firefox Portable – browser
- Miranda Portable – AOL, MSN, ICQ, Yahoo IM
- Thunderbird Portable – email client
- PSPad – code editor
- Restoration – file undeleter
- SIW – computer configuration analysis & diagnostics
- µTorrent – BitTorrent client
- VLC Media Player Portable – ‘play anything’ media player
- YamiPod – excellent iPod manager for PCs without iTunes
The KeyPhantom is the first commercially available keylogger to work on 100% of all USB keyboards (both PC and Mac). The KeyPhantom records up to 240,000 keystrokes at a hardware level, has its own internal flash memory, takes only a second to install, and can even be installed when the target computer is off. This would be an ideal tool if you need to monitor unauthorized access to your computer, or if you just want to see what’s going on when you’re not around. Works with nearly everything: Mac OS, Windows 95, 98, 98SE, NT, XP, 2000, Vista, Linux, Solaris, DOS, OS/2, and BeOS.