USB Type C

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USB Type C offers new Power

Ever since it’s inception, I’ve personally tracked the progress of the Universal Serial Bus (USB).  In the mid-1990’s I postulated about the idea of a SmartMedia Card being attached to a USB plug that could be connected to a computer for external storage (now called the USB thumb or flash drive). It has fascinated me how it could be possible to have a cable that could be so “universal”.  I appreciated the ideal and so the USB consortium has announced the latest in the line of products, USB Type C.

It’s pertinent to cover the history of USB to offer a level of perspective on what has been available and what USB has done to further connectivity.  In it’s earliest rendition USB 1.0 began in 1996 with a decent throughput rate of between 1.5 and 12 Mbps.  In 2000, USB was upgraded to 2.0 ranging throughput between 280 and 480 Mbps.  And more recently with USB 3.0 the throughput was upgraded yet again to 4 Gbps.  As recently as January 2013, that throughput is capable of 10 Gbps.

Many people are aware of the power capacity of USB.  Most mobile phones use USB as a power source as it serves both to charge portable electronics and offers a data connection.  That connection is much smaller than the original standard A-Type USB plug , but they both still part of the standard. Which brings me to the latest USB type C

USB Type C resembles  Type B, which most mobile phones use, but C has some new quirks and features.  Currently Type B is non-reversible, whereas Type C is.  Also, Type C will support the massive data throughput and power capacity that all prior types do not.

What does this mean for you?

The current maximum power available on USB 2.0 (common) is 2.5 W, on USB 3.0 (less common) 4.5 W.  On the latest revision USB 3.1 (not yet released) it will be 100 W.  This means that you can charge much larger devices or hopefully gain access to more power, more quickly.  No longer will it take hours to charge your phone or tablet, but possibly minutes.

But another advantage of the new standard is that larger devices like laptops will be able to use USB to run or charge.  USB will act as a standard power cable type.  Some laptops have a power brick that offers 65 W, but others go as high as 90 W.  USB 3.1 will offer data and power simultaneously potentially cutting down on the wide assortment of power bricks and incompatibility.

 Conclusion

After having monitored the USB market over the years I am grateful to see these advancements.  It shows that the ideal is practical and applicable.  People really do use USB and each iteration is progressively better allowing for more use.  There are several other cable types that have been tried and are still used, but none so universal as the one which uses that word in its name.

Rather than generate a whole new standard, USB remains mostly the same and untied to any one corporation.   I’ve yet to see a Firewire or Thunderbolt power adapter for an electrical socket, but I’ve seen many versions that offer USB.   I look forward to the next iteration and the mass of potential uses it affords.

Dropcam Tabs: Get Outta My Head

dropcam tabs

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a GOMH, but this one is a biggie.  Dropcam Tabs are pretty cool.  They literally allow you to keep track of everything you own.

About the size of a stick of gum, the Tabs have several sensors built-in along with a long-lasting coin-cell battery (expected life 2 years).  These sensors include an accelerometer for sensing when things begin to move or when they stop.  There is a vibration sensor for when things shake or break.

The uses for such a device would seem to be limitless and via the video below, Dropcam gets us started.  Suggestions like the entry doors of your home, and possibly your yard.  Windows are another possibility too, but what I find to be a good use goes further.  I’d use mine to tell me when the washer and dryer have stopped, not merely for when it’s time to change the clothes, but how long each cycle lasts.  I’d like to know how many times in a day that the refrigerator door gets opened or what’s going on in the house when our pet bird flips out.  I want to know when the mailbox gets a mouthful,  and when any of our vehicles arrive or leave.

In the second flagship model that Dropcam announced, the Dropcam Pro, there is installed a Bluetooth antenna.  This antenna can connect via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to the Dropcam Tabs.   The range of BLE is roughly 100 feet neglecting walls and other obstacles.

Currently the limit for Tabs per Dropcam Pro is eight, but that’s only per Dropcam Pro.  I can imagine a world where the sensors are smaller, last longer or are powered by heat / vibration.  Where nearly everything has a sensor and my home becomes a data producing unit.  Now, I just have to wait for Dropcam or someone else to develop a heat sensor and I can plot the temperature delta across the whole house.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The price of each of these beauties is only $29, so eight of them would set you back about the same price as another Dropcam Pro.  The age of the in-home sensor is upon us and Dropcam Tabs are leading the way.

Source:  Dropcam

 

 

 

 

Netflix Original: Sizzling Bacon

NetFlix Original Sizzling Bacon

 Sizzling Bacon a Netflix Original

With this Netflix Original, you might think you’re getting something good.  But don’t be fooled by the sexy imagery or tantalizing, golden-brown strips of luscious pork belly.

In this 20 minute production of Sizzling Bacon, Netflix brings you a frying pan with two strips.  I was honestly disappointed, expecting that maybe they might go all out, in the way that Google tends to do. April Fools Day joke or not, I think I take my bacon a little more seriously, does that make me a food snob (probably)?

I was tantalized at first. But you never can tell if the trailer will show you the best parts or just give you a taste of what is to come. The I was honestly expecting a full on Hollywood-style, catered banquet of bacon, but what I got was a frying pan with two strips. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon, but this production was lacking

Google Plus Profile Pages get a view count

Google Plus Profile view count

 Google Plus Profile view count

It might seem like another April Fools jokes, but at least for now it seems legitimate. Google is rolling out a small, new feature on all Google Plus profile pages.  The total number of times your profile has been viewed, is showed next to your total followers.

I did not realize that I was so popular until today.  My first guess was that it had to do with some spam factor, or that Google might have made a mistake, but then I checked Mike Elgan’s profile and by comparison I’m still small potatoes.

Google Plus Profile

 

But of course my curiosity led me to other profiles, so

Robert Scoble. Not that surprised at nearly 100 million.  Yeah, i still follow him, but he does post a lot.

Trey Ratcliff.  Yeah that’s right over 4 billion.

Oculus VR Sells out to Facebook

oculus vr

I had high hopes for Oculus VR, they’ve made some really impressive advancements.  But I guess I can’t blame them for needing more money and $2 Billion is more money.  I just wish it hadn’t been a sell out to Facebook of all companies.  What is Facebook going to do with a Virtual Reality company?

It’s not obvious to me what Facebook would do with a VR company, but I am sure that they have some ideas.  $2 Billion worth of ideas, at least I hope it’s at least that much.  It’s just that to me the two are incongruous. Facebook is Social Media, Oculus VR is virtual reality gaming, not just 2-D Farmville-esq.  Sure Oculus is affordable VR, the first of its kind, but is it really Facebook-esq?

The concept seems to be more along the lines of the following scenario

  • OVR: We need money
  • FB: we have money
  • OVR: We want to develop more
  • FB: We can help you do that, join the fold
  • OVR: We would like to be partners
  • FB: If you want this money, you will join the fold.
  • OVR: uh, ok. Que sera sera

I’m sure that there have been buyouts in the past, maybe 20 years ago.  But there was no twitter, and barely any email.  The speed at which disappointment travels just wasn’t the same. And to boot, there was nothing like Kickstarer (until very recently).   I did not back Oculus VR, but I was glad that it existed.  Now, I’m not so sure.

Why do companies appear to become evil when then get so big?