USB Charging Hub present

At the December OTC meeting I talked about USB charging hubs.  I had seen some by Belkin and Griffin for $100 and decide to look around ( a bit).  Looked at Amazon and this was the first one I saw .  A Zilu 4 port USB charging hub (  This had 4 ports that would charge up to 2.4 A in each port.  All this for $12.99.  No, I did not spend several hours checking reviews and models.  The price was right and 4 ports with high amperage would work.  This allowed me to replace 4 wall warts with 1 regular AC plug.  I had to wait until Christmas to open the box.  Just checked Amazon and the price is now $16.99.

So the next thing I was trying to plan was building an under-shelf compartment to hold the various tablets, phones , power bricks.  I wanted something that would protect the devices from stuff being dropped on them ( I have lost a couple of tablets this way).    Then an interesting idea came up,  most of us remember the old desk mail organizers.  The ones with several compartments.  Well my wonderful wife of 36 years went into the basement and found one from an estate auction we went to. As you can see in the picture there is space for a Kindle, couple of tablets, several power bricks and phone.  The only minus is the various charging cords does make it a bit messy, but it is convenient.  I just have to find some Goldilocks cables, you not too long, not too short, just right length.  Also, I can mount it high enough to keep little fingers away.

Hard Drive (hdd) Reliability . .

For traditional spinning hard drives, this article shows the Hitachi brand has been the most reliable.   Note that IBM favored Hitachi for their original PC line . . . Ironically, the Hitachi drives go by the moniker of “star” (like Ultra-Star, Endura-Star) . . but in the PC Nerd communities, they had the nick-name of “Death-Star” . . . maybe not merited???

Continue reading “Hard Drive (hdd) Reliability . .”

Orange-Pi – Single Board PC ($20)


Runs any version of the “Buntu” family (Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Elementary OS, etc.).

Just use your late-model LED TV (with hdmi port/cable), add a case, wireless keyboard/touchpad combo, nano usb wireless dongle and you’ve got a functioning “new PC” for less than $75.

Continue reading “Orange-Pi – Single Board PC ($20)”

USB v3 Hub (revised . . 7 Nov)


The other day, without much forethought, I was about to purchase a “generic” 4 port usb hub because I’m using more and more storage devices such as my SanDisk Extreme 500 Portable SSD 120GB . . . that I purchased in March.

Furthermore . . . .  last week, I installed “Solus OS” on the SanDisk, but I realized if I want to take full advantage of the rated speed (415 MB/s . . . yes, 415 MB/s), . . . it needed a usbv3 port! . . .  (which are in short supply  on my Acer laptop).  In fact, I have only 1 such port on that machine.

So,  I opted to get the above Sabrent v3 hub.  I’m a bit surprised that I hadn’t thought of this before.

Now, I’m absolutely looking forward to demo’ing both devices at one of our next meetings.   A full linux OS on a very small SSD with usbv3 is like having 2 PC’s.  The speed and functionality are  amazing.

Sabrent USB

Info on the SanDisk device available below . . . links direct to my prior post here at OmahaTechConnect . . .

SanDisk Extreme 500 . . Portable SSD