Tag Archives: hub

How to Add a Monitor Using USB


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During CES recently, Traci Toguchi was kind enough to cover the events and parties for us, as I was unable to attend. During this interview, she’s talking with Seb Hochmuth from DisplayLink. DisplayLink allows you to easily add additional monitors to your PC. You do not need to add a new graphics card, or be restricted by your laptop’s hardware, such as a single VGA output. Some laptops don’t even have video outputs these days!

DisplayLink is out to change the world when it comes to docking stations! There are many different types of display connectors, and it’s hard to keep track of what kind is on what machine. However, you always have a USB port! The universal docks can be connected to any notebook. You no longer need a proprietary docking station for a specific notebook to add monitors!

With DisplayLink, your computer is extended to include proper plugins for an extra display, speakers, ethernet cord, and 4 USB 2.0 ports! We always need more USB ports, right?! I know I do!

This is definitely something I’m thinking of buying for myself to have here in my home office. At a little under a hundred bucks, you’re likely going to want to grab one for yourself, as well!

Thanks to Creative for sending Traci a Vado 3 to use during CES!

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What do you Need to Know about USB?

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Ponzi called me while shopping with some questions about USB Hubs. I realized that many people may have the same questions, so I decided to try and answer some of those for you in this video. Her first question was “What is actually the difference between 1.0 and 2.0?” and the other one was “the price difference between 4 slots and 7 slots is only $10… so which one should I get?”

Basically, you don’t have to go with 2.0. However, if you’re going to want to plug high-speed devices into the hub, you will want to go with 2.0. What’s the difference? Speed. That’s pretty much it. USB 2.0 averages data rate of 480 Mbps, while 1.1 only gets 12Mbps. That’s approximately a difference of 40 times faster. You can’t argue with numbers like that. USB 2.0 is considered Hi-speed mode while 1.0 and 1.1 are known as full- speed USB modes.

You should also keep in mind that sometime in the near future, 2.0 will be old, and USB 3.0 will be upon us. It was gone over with a fine-toothed comb at CES 2008. USB 3.0 is rumored to have speeds of 4.8Gbits, if you can even imagine that! It also is purported to have a power system that will cut the juice when a device isn’t being used.

The 4-port USB hub may be $10.00 cheaper, but I would spend the extra money to buy the 7 port. You never hear someone saying that they have too many USB ports, do you? You’re always going to have devices that you need to connect. It’s better to have empty/open ports, than to have a need to connect something… only to find all your ports are full.

“Purple Owl” reminded me that looking for a powered USB hub is also important, to make sure you can support all USB devices (not just those that have their own power supply):

So often I have tried to use a USB hub, and found that it did not work because the hub was not powered. Why is it that almost nobody mentions that it’s SO important to have a powered USB hub? When buying my current hub online, I trudged through pages of specs, and found I simply couldn’t tell whether a hub I was interested in was powered or not.

True! Ponzi also asked me if USB will always work on both PCs and Macs. I assured her that yes, USB devices should always work on either system. The drivers may not always be the same. I’ve had an easier time getting OS X to recognize USB devices, than I ever did on a Windows platform. They usually work easier right out of the box with OS X.

Let’s also not forget that the future of USB lies in wireless. If you wander over to have a read at the USB ‘headquarters’ website, you’ll get the following description:

With more than 2 billion legacy wired USB connections in the world today, USB is the de facto standard in the personal computing industry. Soon, these same, fast, interoperable connections will become available in the wireless world, with the introduction of Wireless USB from the USB-IF. Wireless USB is the new wireless extension to USB that combines the speed and security of wired technology with the ease-of-use of wireless technology.

All in all, USB devices and gadgets are a part of every Geek’s life.

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A USB Grommet Hub for your Home Office

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Everyone knows that I’m addicted to USB devices. Because of this, I need several USB hubs, but my desk is only so big. I read about this product not long ago. So, when I saw it in a store I had to buy it.

It fits ‘the hole’. When I say that, it fits a grommet hole that is in my desk. It’s a USB hub that sits inside those grommet holes. You know what those are: they’re the holes in your desk where cords may feed through. The Ativa In-Desk 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub is a space-saving, in-desk USB hub lets you connect your USB devices, including cameras, flash drives and printers. The 4 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports provide transfer speeds of up to 480 Mbps. It’s backward compatible with USB 1.1. It fits easily into a 3″ or 2″ hole on your desktop. The hub connects directly to your computer with the included USB cable. The package includes the 4-port USB hub, a mounting ring, an AC power adapter, a USB cable and the user manual.

If you’re going to be having a hole in your desk, you may as well make use of it! This is one of those products that once you see it, you’re like “oh yeah! I really need that!”. Be careful when buying USB hubs, though. Some of them are not compatible with USB 2.0, and that could pose a problem for you. You want the fastest speeds with uploading and downloading to and from your device that you can get. Make sure any hub you buy is capable of handling high-speed USB devices.

If you know of any other cool home office products that I may be able to populate my desk with, please email me at [email protected] Of course, I really want to know about USB devices, as well.

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