KompoZer Portable – a top-notch WYSIWYG web page program

KompoZer Portable – a top-notch WYSIWYG web page program

KompoZer Portable is a simple free and open-source web editor that is packaged with a Portable Apps launcher for easy installation right onto a usb flash drive.

You can install it on your flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive or a CD and use it on any computer you choose, without leaving any personal information behind.

KompoZer is a simple web editor very similar to Microsoft Frontpage or Adobe Dreamweaver CSS. It’s based on the same Gecko engine that powers both Firefox and Thunderbird and features an FTP site manager, color picker, tabbed interface, CSS editing, standard-compliant markup, fully customizable interface, and a build-in spellchecker.

At long last, an actual top of the line WYSIWYG website program for the general public! There’s no need to pay for program to create and edit fantastic looking webpages. Including powerful and easy to use CSS capabilities.

KompoZer Portable is a complete Web Authoring System that brings together web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing capabilities found in Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe DreamWeaver and other high end programs.

Its designed specifically to be very easy-to-use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to make their own attractive, professional website without needing to know HTML or web coding.

KompoZer Portable is based on Gecko, and its layout engine based on Mozilla. KompoZer Portable is a super fast, extremely reliable, standards conformant engine maintained on a daily basis by a wide community of developers. Its unprecedented support of XML, CSS, and JavaScript offers the absolute best open-source authoring platform available today. Its architecture based on XUL makes it the most extensible editing program to date.

Those who are familiar with the DreamWeaver interface will feel right at home with KompoZer:

  • WYSIWYG editing of pages, making web creation as easy as typing a letter with your word processor.
  • Integrated file management via FTP. Simply login to your web site and navigate through your files, editing web pages on the fly, directly from your site.
  • Reliable HTML code creation that will work with all of today’s most popular browsers.
  • Jump between WYSIWYG Editing Mode and HTML using tabs.
  • Tabbed editing to make working on multiple pages a snap.
  • Powerful support for forms, tables, and templates.

The easiest-to-use, most powerful Web Authoring System available for Desktop Linux, Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh users.

Blender Portable App USB

Blender Portable App USB

The Blender Portable App packs in modeling, animation, and rendering features all into one small file. Flawless in its features, flexibility, ease-of-use, and variety, Blender Portable is an immense undertaking and one that paid off completely when it was launched.

Blender Portable is a smaller, lighter, no-install version of the original powerhouse 3D content creation suite. You don’t have to install this program onto your computer, so that means you don’t have to mess around administrative permissions or complicated set up processes that are involved with the full suite. You simply open up the file by clicking on its icon, and does the rest all on its own. If you’ve never used this software before, the Blender Portable interface can be a little overwhelming.

There are quite a few different panels and bars, all full of explanations and icons, with tooltips for everything. The interface is also completely customizable, as you can add and remove sections as desired, as well as moving them around and resizing them. Beneath the options menus are a world of functions, ranging from rigging and modeling to animation and game creation. In fact, Blender Portable has so many functions that listing them all here would take hours, so take a peek at the definitive feature guide here. Among the more surprising elements included in the program are a built-in text editor, audio playback/editing and a game engine.

Blender Portable has no configuration options since the entire suite of features can be accessed directly from the main interface provided. It really is a program built more for expert designers, or for users who would like to become a whole lot more proficient in 3D animation and design.

There are a lot of good tutorials online that will get you making basic animations and 3D creations, but in general, Blender Portable is not a program that casual users would – or should – play around with. If 3D creation is your thing and you don’t have a copy, you’re almost certainly missing out.

Blender Portable is a hugely impressive 3D creation program that is very likely to scare off the uninitiated.

Blender Portable supports the following formats

  • TGA, JPG, PNG, OpenEXR, DPX, Cineon, Radiance HDR, Iris, SGI Movie, IFF, AVI and Quicktime GIF, TIFF, PSD, MOV (Windows and Mac OS X)
  • 3D Studio, AC3D, COLLADA, FBX Export, DXF, Wavefront OBJ, DEC Object File Format, DirectX, Lightwave, MD2


  • Incredible variety of features
  • Extensive online help
  • Non-overlapping interface


  • Aimed at advanced users
  • Sheer degree of variety is overwhelming

Marvel Thor’s Hammer – USB Charger

Marvel Thor’s Hammer – USB Charger

You’re probably fresh off of watching Thor The Dark World and now you want as much Thor memorabilia as possible. For me, I see another superhero movie hitting theaters worldwide making the next big wave of movie tie-in accessories. And although Loki seems to be the most popular character at the moment, we can’t forget about the most important character of all – Thor’s Hammer!

We all know the stars of the movie are Thor and Loki, yet our tough avenger would be nothing without his trusty hammer, Mjolnir. Now you can own Thor’s Hammer as a USB Charger. What makes this charger a little more supernatural is that it’s actually a USB battery pack. The battery pack itself is massive in terms of aluminum, zinc and plastic clad power pack weighs in at 450g and measures 13 x 8 x 5cm in size. In spite of that, the hammer’s handle does make it easy to carry the battery around.

The device itself looks fantastic. If Thor had a smartphone, this is how he would charge it. It has both a standard sized USB 2.0 port in addition to a micro USB option for charging devices and can throw up to 52 watts of power through the Sanyo rechargeable batteries embedded within it. That’s not all. It also has LEDs and audio effects that come from the built-in speakers when you swing it. As you might have already guessed, this portable battery pack allows you to charge your mobile USB devices when AC plug are not available.

It includes a micro USB charging port as well as a full sized USB 2.0 with a 2.1A output anything up to a power hungry iPad. On top of that, the Thor Hammer USB also uses high quality Sanyo rechargeable batteries and comes in three versions:

  • 2600 mAh
  • 5200 mAh
  • 10400 mAh

Although it incorporates an incredible 52 watts of power, 10400 mAh models will take ten full hours to recharge. As novelty item though, probably its coolest feature is the fact that the battery powers built in LEDs and speakers that mimic Mjolnir’s effects when you swing it. The only catch (besides its size) is that the model is only (technically) available in Asia for the moment so along with its respectable $125 asking price you’ll have to source out special shipping.

Bank of America Files for Patent on ATM with a USB Port

Bank of America Files for Patent on ATM with a USB PortFor those of you who don’t know, Bank of America is a large financial services and banking corporation that operates in all 50 states across America. Despite its prestigious stature amongst the American public and its stretch across the entire nation, Bank of America has come under some fire with federal prosecutors lately. In early November 2013, a motion was filed in the U.S. District Court of Manhattan, NY to fine the institution $864 million for bad mortgage loans sold by Countryside, a subsidiary, to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in the leadup to the 2008 financial crisis. However, many of these sales occurred before Bank of America acquired Countryside in 2008. With a new CEO in place as of 2010, the corporation has been trying to reduce financial losses incurred by its many acquisitions during the global financial crisis.

And yet, despite its various setbacks, the corporation continues to pursue a number of interesting projects. The US Patent and Trademark Office, for one, regularly deal with Bank of America as an individual patent applicant. One unusual patent filing particularly caught our attention here at USB Tips. It discusses the operation of an automatic teller machine (ATM) that also includes a universal serial bus (USB) port in its design. This USB port would allow the ATM to connect to external security devices, such as a fingerprint scanner, to provide authentication.

ATMs are extremely convenient for bank account customers who want to quickly withdraw or deposit funds. Unfortunately, these incredible machines also make it easier for thieves to steal financial data that can lead to dramatic losses for account holders and banks. Reports from the European ATM Security Team (EAST) show that ATM-related crimes increased in Europe by almost 150 percent between 2008 and 2009. In 2008 alone, more than 10,000 ATM skimming attacks were reported across the continent. There are a couple of ways that criminals can compromise an ATM in order to illegally access critical financial data. Pinhole cameras small enough to escape notice from the general public can record video of authorized users entering their PIN on the provided ATM keypad. Skimmer devices, also hard to detect by unwitting users, can read magnetic strips on ATM cards to determine encrypted information from users engaged with an ATM machine.

The patent application filed by Bank of America with the USPTO would protect the design of an ATM that has a USB port. This USB port is capable of connecting a fingerprint scanner device to the ATM. The fingerprint data collected by this scanner can be used biometrically to identify the actual identity of an authorized user, preventing theft through any sort of illegal access attempts through an ATM. The system laid out in this patent application would be capable of working with many types of fingerprint scanning technologies, including ultrasonic sensors, optical imaging or capacitance sensors. Basically, fingerprint scans can be conducted directly on the keypad buttons or touchscreen of an ATM, according to the attached images Fingerprint scan data obtained by these devices can be sent to a telecommunications server through a transmitter included as part of this system.

Claim 1 of U.S. Patent Application No. 20130264384 application states:

“An Automated Teller Machine (“ATM”) for authenticating an identity of a user, the ATM comprising: a fingerprint scanner being configured to capture at least a portion of user biometric information; a first depressible key and a second depressible key, the first depressible key including a first display and the second depressible key including a second display, each of the first display and the second display being configured to display at least one of a plurality of numerical digits; a first receiver configured to receive information from the first depressible key and the second depressible key, the information from the first depressible key relating to a first numerical digit displayed by the first display during a depression of the first depressible key, and the information from the second depressible key relating to a second numerical digit displayed by the second display during a depression of the second depressible key; a second receiver configured to receive information from the fingerprint scanner, the information including first biometric information associated with a first finger placed on the fingerprint scanner and second biometric information associated with a second finger placed on the fingerprint scanner; and a transmitter configured to transmit the information received by the first receiver and the second receiver to a remote server via a telecommunications network.”

Anker Astro3 12000mAh Battery

Anker Astro3 12000mAh Battery

2013 means loads of technical advancements in portable devices, but it also translates into a ton electronic clutter around the office. Smartphones, tablets, external hard drives, flash drives, and other gaming devices and gadgets litter our desks. Each device operates on an internal battery and every time we drain it, we recharge them. But there are times when we simply can’t get to a wall outlet, and while most devices are using USB connections for charging, some devices can’t charge from a standard USB port on a computer or laptop. That’s where the Anker Astro3 battery comes into play. Here’s a device that features 3 USB ports capable of charging just about any device and then some.

We put the portable battery through a number of tests over the last couple of weeks and have to say I’m pretty impressed. If you’re looking for a portable USB charging station capable of charging multiple electronic devices while on the road, the Anker Astro3 fits the bill perfectly. It also comes with a great carrying case and a short USB cable to charge itself before travel. The texture of the device is soft almost leather like feel and it only weighs 11oz – which is pretty incredible for a 12000 mAh battery. To put the battery size in perspective, most smartphones will have a 2000 mAh battery, so the Astro3 is about 6 phone batteries worth of juice.

On the top of the Astro3 is a small illuminated LED which showcases how much charge the battery has remaining. If you shake the device to illuminate it and if devices are plugged in one of the 3 USB ports, they’ll begin to charge. In my testing I was able to charge my new Nexus 5 from empty to fill and it only used one blip of power. We also tried powering a PlayStation Vita which went from empty to fully charge used two blips. With a total of ten blips on the display that means I only used thirty percent of the total available charge after fully charging two devices.

The Anker Astro3 will give you three distinct USB ports for charging. While Anker claims that you can use all of them at the same time, it just seems to be more dependent on the devices connected and the overall configuration of the ports. For example, with a Nexus 5, PlayStation Vita, and a Samsung Galaxy S4 plugged into the device, the PlayStation Vita failed to charge except when it was connected to the “Smart” USB port on the device. But in doing so the Shield didn’t appear to be charging properly. One Smart USB output port is rated at 5 VDC and 2.4 Amps and the other two are rated at a combined 5 VDC and 2 Amps. Overall though, this is a pretty impressive charging device from Anker. We have seen a few other similar devices, but none offer the amount of power or multi-charging capability the Astro3 offers. Best of all you can buy it from online retailers like Amazon for just $50.

Teen offers Senior Citizens USB Flash Drives with Medical Information

Teen offers Senior Citizens USB Flash Drives with Medical Information

A young high school teenager is planning on providing senior citizens with a very helpful tech device to utilize during medical emergencies – USB flash drives.

Los Altos, California resident Warren Glasner, 17, has the goal of providing 200 local seniors with free Usb flash drives that contain any medical restrictions or conditions. Glasner’s kickoff event is scheduled from 10am to 2pm, Nov 16-17 at the Los Altos hills Parks and Recreation Committee Center, located right next to town hall. Participating seniors will be outfitted on a first come, first serve basis while his supplies last. Glasner noted that by using information from the USB flash drives, medical emergency responders could save critical time in the event of an incident involving an elderly resident. The task of supplying local seniors with the USB flash drive, he commented, is his Eagle Scout project.

“This would make it easier to establish contact with a physician or family members,” Glasner said. “As a responder or ER doctor, you’ll be able to determine what precautions to take based on the information on the USB stick. Most Eagle Scout projects include installing a park bench or building a shed, so part of my motivation was to do something new and different.”

Glasner choose this project after learning about a similar venture at Moldaw Residences, a Palo Alto senior living community. Originally, he planned to make emergency preparedness kits for seniors – until sticker shock forced him to change course. “They ended up being pretty costly to assemble,” said Glasner, a junior at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. “With a $1,000 budget, for instance, we would have been able to help only about 10 people.”

For advice and resources, Glasner turned to Los Altos resident Anabel Pelham, chairwoman of the Joint Los Altos/Los Altos Hills Senior Commission and professor of gerontology at San Francisco State University. Glasner soon found himself invited to present the project to members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos’ Partners for Elder Generations Committee. The result was a $670 donation, enough to purchase 200 USB sticks.

“She’s been very helpful,” Glasner said of Pelham. “She introduced me to people at Rotary, helped me set up some talks I gave to other organizations about my project and has been great about offering some general knowledge and advice.”

Pelham, meanwhile, said Glasner’s work is fulfilling on other fronts as well. She noted that one of the Senior Commission’s overarching goals, and hers as a gerontologist, is to connect older and younger generations in a meaningful way.

“Renny is like a living bridge to building an intergenerational community,” Pelham said. “He’s rare and unique in that way. … He’s really gone the extra mile to build that bridge with seniors.”

She added that the USB flash drives could serve as a crucial tool for those who don’t use medical alert devices or wear medical ID bracelets. The USB devices provide seniors with added peace of mind should a medical disaster occur.

“It’s a good example of best practices and a model project that’s been implemented in other communities,” Pelham said. “The important thing about the info on the USBs is that it’s as minimal as possible. So in case an elder loses it, there’s no massive privacy risk.”

Glasner said others have received his project positively, specifically noting the encouragement from members of the Senior Commission.

“My grandfather actually asked for one,” he said with a grin. “So, I’ll be sending him one, for sure.”

Glasner credited the Los Altos Hills Parks and Recreation Committee for being the first to offer space where he and his fellow Scouts can use their laptops to input seniors’ medical information onto the USB sticks. Glasner is planning additional local events to complete his project. Dates have not been confirmed in time for the Town Crier’s press deadline.

IronKey Enterprise S250 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

IronKey Enterprise S250 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Think of it as the ultimate security tool. The IronKey Enterprise S250 USB 3.0 Flash Drive will protect your data in ways you never thought possible. Nowadays people will load up all of their private information and images, along with some work documents on your USB Flash Drive. Since they’re so portable, easy, and convenient, people also assume that any of these devices will also keep their information safe at the same time.

But that would be a mistake. Ordinary flash drives should only be used as a temporary storage option. You should also never put anything on these devices that you can’t afford to lose or be seen by the public eye. If you must use USB flash drives though, and you really need to keep your data top secret and secure at all times, then there is one solution that would work perfectly.

The IronKey Enterprise S250 is definitely not your everyday USB flash drive. The technology on this device is actually quite impressive, utilizing some of the strongest encryption available, with FIPS 140-2 level 3 certification meeting all requirements for use by U.S. federal agencies. Also physically constructed for durability to military specifications, its metal casing prevents the flash drive from being crushed, even under extremely high pressure, and it can even handle 16Gs of force.

The metal casing itself is filled with an epoxy-based potting compound to seal in all components against moisture and tampering, surrounds and completely encases the chips and circuitry. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to remove the memory in an attempt to access the data by removing the chips and placing them on another USB device, or any device for that matter. Any such attempt would incite permanent damage to the chips, rendering the stored data completely unreadable.

In addition, the IronKey USB Drive implements tamper-reaction technology in the firmware. The Cryptochip defends itself against power analysis, temperature, and probing attacks. It will self-destruct by erasing the data and keys when it detects any of these types of attacks. If all of this is still not enough to satisfy your security needs (what are you a super spy?) then the IronKey also incorporates a thin-film metal shielding around the onboard memory. This electromagnetic shielding provides another layer of defense against tampering by protecting against invasive attacks such as electronic scanning of the memory contents.

To top things off, the device’s metal casing is laser engraved with a unique serial number, making sure someone can’t swap out a physical duplicate when you aren’t looking. IronKey drives are built to stand up to continuous use on the road. Dual-channel SLC flash memory delivers exceptional performance and longevity, 10 to 20 times the average memory lifespan of a traditional flash drive, and are compatible with all major operating systems, including Windows (8/7/Vista/XP), Mac (OS X 10.5 and up), and Linux (2.6 and up).

While all the security features of this drive are, honestly, amazing, I would still urge you to exercise due caution based on the sensitivity of the information you load up on your drive. It’s good to have an option as elegantly designed, and expertly implemented in a product such as this.

Could USB Ports be the New Power Outlets of the Future?

Could USB Ports be the New Power Outlets of the Future

USB is as much a part of everyday life nowadays as cars and cell phones. The plugs that are provided by it are small and convenient. USB cables can carry both power and data. Plus, and probably the most important aspect, is that USB is a completely universal platform. This is why USB is considered by some to be the future of electricity. According to a new Economist report, smart grids, more convenient storage, and solar power will all be easier with USB.

The odd part is USB framework is based on a system of transmitting and distributing electricity that’s been out of fashion since the 19th century. I’m referring to the direct current (DC), the standard championed by Thomas Edison that eventually lost out to Nikola Tesla’s alternating current (AC) as the global standard for electricity. While AC won out for its ability to switch between different voltage, low-voltage DC is cheap, efficient and doesn’t require an adaptor. For a few different reasons, USB happens to be an ideal vehicle for DC power.

The latest Economist report took a close look at the future of USB and suggested that the USB plug you now use to charge your phone or plug in your keyboard could replace conventional power outlets altogether. We’re already seeing a whole bunch of smaller USB powered devices enter the market including headers and blenders, but USB will also be able to power much larger devices starting in 2014 when the new USB standard is introduced. Imagine the convenience of a USB powered TV that uses the same plug for power as it does for data. The greatest part about this is when you take a look at the possibilities of an entire network of USB devices, including those that produce and store electricity. As a convenient bonus, the USB based DC network could be more environmentally friendly than AC.

“A low-voltage DC network works well with solar panels. These produce DC power at variable times and in variable amounts. They are increasingly cheap, and can fit in windows or on roofs. Though solar power is tricky to feed into the AC mains grid, it is ideally suited to a low-voltage local DC network,” noted The Economist. Zoom out even further, and imagine connecting these DC networks to each other. It could produce a whole new kind of power grid, one that’s not always on like our current AC network.

“It works even better if the network has a biggish central battery hooked up to the mains grid, which can charge itself up at night when power is cheap. But the real prize comes when several buildings combine such DC networks. Pooling supply, demand and storage gives you the makings of a ‘smart grid’—electricity supply system which is more resilient and thrifty than the existing set-up,” noted The Economist. The next big step for the USB standard is the introduction of USB power Delivery or USB PD systems. While USB PD devices will start to hit the market next year, it’ll hit the market sometime in 2015, and the specifications are on point. USB PD increases the standard’s power to 100-watts and allows electricity to flow in both directions.

The specification is also tailored to optimize power usage, giving each device exactly the amount of electricity it needs. As for whether or not this will be replacing the electrical outlets in your walls, it could essentially become the new standard in homes. To convert the whole power grid from AC to DV is a much bigger challenge, but it is already starting to happen with most data centers using DC power.

Bob Dylan Harmonica USB Uploaded with his Entire Discography – Amazon Exclusive

Bob Dylan Harmonica USB Uploaded with his Entire Discography – Amazon Exclusive

Seems we can never get enough of Bob Dylan, even in 2013. This is the big one. Of course we all probably have at least three copies of Blood On the Tracks and a CD box full of his 35 studio released albums along with countless other live records. But for the ultra-obsessed of the Duluth-born music god, his longtime record label Columbia Records is hoping the release of this new custom shaped harmonic USB holding all contents will be of interest to them.

This ultra-massive complete music set (which will set you back more than $250) comes packed with all 35 Bob Dylan studio albums (many of which were completely remastered specifically for this collection), six live albums, and a double-CD called Side Tracks, which gathered non-album oddities from Dylan’s celebrated 60 years in the music industry. And for those elite, super fans out there along with modern collectors, the compilation is also available as a limited edition harmonica shaped flash drive, and will be available exclusively from Amazon on November 15, 2013 for $320.

In addition to the large amount of music contained in the set (including the first ever North American release of 1973’s Dylan album on CD, the collection also features a hardcover book with expansive new liner notes for each record written by Clinton Heylin, with an introduction written by Bill Flanagan. The limited edition Harmonica USB will contain a digital version of that hardcover book, as well as all of the music in both MP3 and lossless FLAC format. The USB harmonica will also be housed in a deluxe numbered box for safe keeping.

If you wanted to experience Dylan wide music library by decade, Columbia also has you covered. They will be issuing 4 decade specific collections, Bob Dylan – The Complete Album Collection – The 60′s, The 70′s, The 80′s, The 90′s – 00′s as digital downloads. There will also be a fifth digital set called Bob Dylan – The Original Mono Recordings, which collects Dylan’s first eight studio albums in their original mono recordings. Here is the full list of all of the albums contained in the Bob Dylan Complete Album Collection Vol. One, as well as the track-listing for the Side Tracks double-CD:

Studio Albums

  • Bob Dylan (1962)
  • The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
  • The Times They Are a-Changin’ (1964)
  • Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964)
  • Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
  • Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
  • Blonde on Blonde (1966)
  • John Wesley Harding (1967)
  • Nashville Skyline (1969)
  • *Self Portrait (1970) – newly remastered for this collection
  • New Morning (1970)
  • *Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) – newly remastered for this collection
  • *Dylan (1973) – newly remastered for this collection
  • Planet Waves (1974)
  • Blood on the Tracks (1975)
  • The Basement Tapes (1975)
  • Desire (1976)
  • *Street Legal (1978) – newly remastered for this collection
  • Slow Train Coming (1979)
  • *Saved (1980) – newly remastered for this collection
  • Shot of Love (1981)
  • Infidels (1983)
  • *Empire Burlesque (1985) – newly remastered for this collection
  • *Knocked Out Loaded (1986) – newly remastered for this collection
  • *Down in the Groove (1988) – newly remastered for this collection
  • Oh Mercy (1989)
  • *Under the Red Sky (1990) – newly remastered for this collection
  • *Good as I Been to You (1992) – newly remastered for this collection
  • *World Gone Wrong (1993) – newly remastered for this collection
  • Time Out of Mind (1997)
  • Love and Theft (2001)
  • Modern Times (2006)
  • Together Through Life (2009)
  • Christmas in the Heart (2009)
  • Tempest (2012)

Live Albums

  • Before the Flood (1972)
  • *Hard Rain (1976) – newly remastered for this collection
  • *Bob Dylan at Budokan (1979) – newly remastered for this collection
  • *Real Live (1984) – newly remastered for this collection
  • Dylan & the Dead (1989)
  • MTV Unplugged (1995)

Side Tracks

  • Baby, I’m in the Mood for You
  • Mixed-Up Confusion
  • Tomorrow Is a Long Time (live)
  • Lay Down Your Weary Tune
  • Percy’s Song
  • I’ll Keep It with Mine
  • Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?
  • Positively 4th Street
  • Jet Pilot
  • I Wanna Be Your Lover
  • I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) (live)
  • Visions of Johanna (live)
  • Quinn the Eskimo
  • Watching the River Flow
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Down in the Flood
  • I Shall Be Released
  • You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
  • George Jackson (acoustic version)
  • Forever Young
  • You’re a Big Girl Now
  • Up to Me
  • Abandoned Love
  • Isis (live)
  • Romance in Durango (live)
  • Caribbean Wind
  • Heart of Mine (live)
  • Series of Dreams
  • Dignity
  • Things Have Changed

Belkin Dual USB Car Charger – Lightning to USB Cable Included

Belkin Dual USB Car Charger – Lightning to USB Cable Included

In the late 80s getting power on-the-go used to mean that you had to carry a suitcase phone and a power port plug to keep it ready for those 8-15 minutes of call use. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself:

Belkin Dual USB Car Charger – Lightning to USB Cable Included

Technology has come a long way since then, and we have much better phone-to-battery chemistry, but for us mobile phone junkies, the battery on any smartphone is never enough for a full day of continuous use. If you commuting at any point in your day, then you’re most likely in a vehicle with a 12V power system, plugging in an adapter to get charged could mean the difference between missing messages and easily making it through the day.

As of right now, there are two types of USB power plugs. There those have a cable built in and those that just provide a USB port to plug in a cable with. Many folks have a captive model that came with a phone, GPS unit, or other gadget. The freedom to charge anything USB powered from one plug, however, is quite the technological feat. With Apple recently changing their power ports to the smaller, reversible Lightning connector, many consumers are in the market for something a little more versatile, like the Belkin Dual USB Car Charger.

The Package itself from Belkin comes with the two port USB plug and a USB to Lightning dock connector cable, which will work on the new iPads, 5th generation iPod touch and iPod Nano, and the iPhone 5, 5S, and 5C. I personally only own the iPad mini with the Lightning connection, and it was nice to have a quality cable that was six feet or so longer than the standard one Apple packages with their devices. I was glad to be able to test a charger that can fully charge a phone and another device at the same time. With a Honda Civic and a decent sized commute (45 minutes), I had more than enough time to fully test this usb device.

The device itself is pretty big, which means it can be easily grasped to pull it out, but it also boils down to the fact that you will not be able to use it behind or in some console covers. It’s not a huge knob on the end, but it’s also not a mini-charger. Rated at 10W and 4.2 amps each, the USB ports are far enough apart to allow unplugging of either cable. There is also a blue LED ring around the front which glows when power is on. Single-point LEDs can be blocked by USB cables or the gear shift lever in some vehicles. This thing, while not overly bright, clearly shows at a glance that things are connected to the automobile’s power.

Belkin also put effort into having their product fully tested and approved by Apple for use in their portable USB devices, as indicated by the “Made for iPad, Made for iPhone, Made for iPod” seal. Known as the MFi program, this is not an inexpensive or easy checklist, but assures consumers that the goods displaying the logo have been submitted and approved by Apple. They’re not going to toast your expensive devices or electrocute you. It’s a nice thing to see on a product you may use throughout the day.

There are one or two complaints I have for the Belkin Dual USB Car Charger. First of all, there’s the size. It’s pretty big, and the inserted cables stick out a long way. I understand the physics involved and the circuitry needed to safely produce a usb charger without having protruding components on the outside, but it’s still takes up quite a bit of space in my Honda. But overall, it gets the job done.