Tag Archives: usb

Mac USB Problems

I’ve been having USB issues with my MacPro3,1. I’ve had the Mac Pro for about four years, but it’s otherwise been running like a champ.

A while back, I started having issues with a USB hub that was plugged into the back of the Mac. I replaced the cable, and things seemed to be fine. Until a while later, when the cable seemed to fail – then I replaced the hub, and all seemed fine.

Then the new hub was starting to have issues. So, I replaced that hub with another hub and new cable and things have been working swimmingly for a few months.

Then, this morning, all the USB ports on the back of the Mac seemed to go wonky – including one port which can recognize a device but always not power it properly. The front ports on the Mac, however, seem fine – sometimes.

I’ve zapped PRAM, I’ve booted into Safe Mode, and I’ve run USB Prober (from the Developer’s Tools) but… the prober tool doesn’t always recognize the device, either – but leads me to believe that every port is running as it should be running.

How could I, without introducing any new USB devices to the chain, be over-runing the system – especially when I’ve removed all USB devices and am still having issues with individual ones (like the wired Mac keyboard, but only sometimes in some ports but not at all in others)?

  • I can plug something like a USB flash drive into a port on the back and it might seem fine – it illuminates, but doesn’t always show a mounted drive (but always does on reboot, irrespective of port).
  • I can also plug Apple’s wired keyboard into a front port and it sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. It doesn’t seem to work at all in any of the rear USB ports.
  • I can see a Logitech webcam via USB Prober in one port, and its face illuminates when I open Photo Booth – then its face goes dark and Photo Booth doesn’t show an image.
  • If I plug that same Logitech USB webcam into just about any other USB port, the system doesn’t recognize it at all.
  • I tried reinstalling KEXT files, and that just forced me to reinstall Snow Leopard (which was painless, for whatever it’s worth). No go.
  • Someone in the comments suggested plugging my iPhone into ports to see if power was passing through them – and it was for all but the inner most rear USB port. Ouch.

I can’t imagine that it’s a failing power supply, but can’t help but wonder if I’m missing a software step after going through all of that. I’d hesitate to reinstall the OS only to find out the hardware was still the root cause. Who knows? Maybe Lion will fix the problem (and, at this point, I’m willing to wait a few more weeks for that install before either taking ‘er in or finding a Seattle-area Mac professional to help troubleshoot this on-site).

I believe it’s a hardware issue, but short of replacing the motherboard… ouch. “Repairs and Service Coverage: Expired.” Worse yet? Blake (from our community) sent me this link suggesting that this problem is known throughout my Mac Pro revision / line.

7 Port USB 2.0 Powered Hub Review – 500mA per Port

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It’s time for an intervention. Your computer and I want you to know that the USB hub you’re using just isn’t working out well. It’s time to take a look at something new – something better! The NewerTech 7 Port Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hub with Power Adapter is a fantastic replacement for that tired old hub you’re using now.

It has both type A and type B ports. It’s powered by way of an AC adapter and comes with a cable, as well. Why is this one better than others? Each and every one of these ports gets up to 500mA per port. That means you can run all of your high-powered devices at once, right from the hub.

You’re likely gonna spend about the same for any other hub. This only cost $30.00. Why not spend your money wisely. Your computer wants the best there is. This was sent to me to review, and I’m very happy with this. It’s now my hub of choice!

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A 16-Port USB Hub Hubbub

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I love USB. I love the ports, the devices and the hubs. The problem with hubs, though, is that most of them top out at only seven little spots to plug things into. I have SO many USB devices. How the heck am I ever going to plug them all in at once? It’s a good thing my friends at ThinkGeek sent along their 16 port USB Hub for me to review!

This baby has a built-in 22.5W power supply so an extra AC adapter is not needed. Connect all of your favorite USB devices at once, such as your USB Humping Dog, your USB microphone, your USB drink cooler, your phone and virtually ALL of your other USB devices in at once!

The hub weighs less than a pound and is smaller than you might expect at approximately 4.5in x 2.5in x 2in. This makes it easy to actually throw it in your suitcase and take it with you when you travel. You know it will come in handy… even on the road.

The built-in power supply ensures you don’t need another AC adapter and there’s even a switch that allows you to switch the hub between two computers. You can’t use it on two computers at once, but you can just push a button to switch back and forth between them. Some hubs are underpowered, but not this beautiful little box! It will handle pretty much anything you throw at – or plug into – it.

This is now my USB hub of choice. I double-dog dare you to list all of your USB devices. I’m going to send my existing USB hub to the person who lists the most – and can prove it. Take a picture of all of them at once, all together. Whoever has the most (provable) USB devices will win!

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What is the Best Invention?

I’ve been toying around with something new on my Facebook Fan Page today. Every hour or so, I add an open-ended question in the hopes of getting some conversation rolling. It’s been a lot of fun (and even a learning experience) to see the varied answers come floating in. The latest question I asked was “The most amazing invention I have seen come to be in MY lifetime would have to be the…”

I was disappointed to see that most of the answers center around things such as the iPhone, mobile phones in general and even the iPad. While all of these are great inventions and products, are they really the best ones of our generation? With the introduction of medical devices in the past twenty years which enhance (or even save) people’s lives, it almost seems selfish to think that my iPhone is the greatest thing brought to the world since I was born a couple of years ago.

Open your mind. What do you feel is the best invention that has been created in YOUR lifetime? Why do you think it stands out above everything else and should therefore be deemed “the best” or “most important?”

While software may not be the best invention ever in the history of mankind, it certainly does make our lives easier. Why not stop by the software center to see what’s new today?

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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Do You Remember Your First Tweetup?

I not only remember my first Tweetup, I remember them all! Each one I attend or host gives me an opportunity to meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and make some all-important business contacts. There is always a lot of fun to be had, a lot of networking to do, and more laughter involved than should be allowed by law. However, some people are not as fortunate as I am.

Take my Community Manager Kat, for example. The poor woman has never attended a Tweetup before. Can you believe that? I decided that this simply wasn’t acceptable. She’ll be in Seattle for a week in February, to attend her second Microsoft MVP Summit. So, I decided to throw together a little Tweetup in her honor that Friday, February 19th! If you’re in the Seattle area, we’d love for you to join us.

Have you ever attended a Tweetup – or perhaps a Facemeet? What memories and connections do you still carry with you? What advice might you have for our Kat, as she embarks on her first-ever Twitter meetup? Let’s rally together as a community, and show her the time of her life.

Don’t forget to check in at our software center to see what new deals we have for you today on the hottest software and apps available.

Gadgets and Goodies Abound at CES 2010

Traci Toguchi is on-scene at CES 2010, capturing moments for us to use in our community. If you’ve never been to CES, it can be very overwhelming. There are a lot of product launches, press releases and announcements coming at you from every direction. There are parties and after-parties. There are demonstrations, keynotes and sessions to attend. It’s nearly impossible to know if you’re missing something.

Traci is doing a fantastic job for us so far, despite this being her first time at CES. She was able to interview the CTO of Light Blue Optics to talk about their hot new product, the Light Touch. Everywhere you look online, you’re going to find even more news from the conference. There are videos galore to sift through, as well as news items to read.

If you’re following the action, what do you feel is the most important announcement thus far? What gadgets are you most excited about? I’m interested in comparing everyone’s answers to my own thoughts.

Don’t forget to stop by our downloads center to check out today’s new Windows software, and Gaming Apps!

Verizon MiFi2200 Problems

This is NOT a review. If it was, the MiFi2200 would be lucky to get 2 stars out of 10 from me. To view the screencast in better clarity, click the arrow on the lower right side of the video embed and select “Full Screen.”

I recorded this video to better illustrate the multitude of problems I’m having with Verizon’s product. I sent the video to Verizon Support and they auto-responded with a block of text that was absolutely useless in helping me solve the issues.

  1. I can only get connected to the Internet (via the MiFi2200) by way of the VZAccess Manager software with the device connected via USB. I’m on Mac OS X 10.6.2, which should not need that software (according to them). I demonstrate that an Internet connection doesn’t work when connected to the MiFi2200 via WiFi.
  2. The dialing profile is never saved in Network preferences, nor is the WWAN connection option ever available in the OS X menu bar (despite being checked off again and again).
  3. I can’t ever access the MiFi2200 admin page, no matter how I try to connect to it – via USB or WiFi.

I have a feeling that it’s a bad piece of hardware, but no telling how Verizon will respond further to my support request. I have an official thread open with them, but they’re suggesting I call them – which would be an exercise in lunacy. I clearly demonstrated the problems I’m having, and really don’t care to waste any more time on it.

They responded a second time, asking me to perform more troubleshooting steps – which I did:

Let the buyer beware: the Verizon MiFi 2200 has completely failed to impress on the Mac.

Stay Warm at Your Computer via USB

Winter is here, and many of you out there are bracing for your first big snowfall of the season this week. It’s cold outside – bitterly so in some places. While I was surfing around the web today, I noticed a few geeky gadgets that can help you stay warm during the freezing weather… all of which are USB-powered!!

  • USB Mouse Pad Warmer – This cute little blue shark will keep your mouse pad – and your hand – nice and toasty! No more stopping to warm up your hand when it gets cold. Keep it warm in the shark, and increase your productivity and reaction times!
  • USB Slippers – I don’t know about you, but my feet never seem to stay warm in the winter. Even if I crank up the heat in the house, my feet still get cold! By slipping into these slippers, I won’t have to worry about it anymore!
  • USB Eye Warmer – Hey… eyes can get cold, as well! I’m not sure how I’d get much work done if I put these on while I was sitting in front of the monitor, but at least my eyeballs would be warm.
  • USB Lap Blanket – Ah HAH! Now this, I could really use! Plug this blankie into your USB port, and throw it on your lap (or over your shoulders). You’ll warm up in no time!
  • USB Heated Gloves – Actually, these suckers would be pretty sweet, as well! Keep your hands warm the entire time you’re working at the computer!

What other winter gadgets and gizmos have you seen out there? I’d love to hear about them!

World’s Shortest USB Cable

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I hate having super-long USB cables when all I really need is one that’s an inch or two long. It’s such a waste of space, especially when I’m traveling. Thank goodness the folks at ThinkGeek have the iStubz to charge my iPhone with!

The iStubz is only 3 inches long, and I promise that those three inches will satisfy you! It works with any USB-compatible iPod or iPhone, and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. You don’t need cables strung all over Hell and half of Georgia. Using a nice short cable keeps things de-cluttered and organized.

If you’re interested in grabbing the iStubz for yourself – or anything from ThinkGeek for that matter – make sure you take advantage of the ThinkGeek coupons that I have for you. Why pay full price for anything?!


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