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USB2U News

Storing data on glass for billions of years

Posted by Sebastian LaPorta on 24th February 2016 | Permalink

Very exciting data storage news by optical scientists from the University of Southampton who have developed a new revolutionary method called 5D optical memory. This means that up to 360TB of data can be stored on glass for billions of years, which could help mankind to be remembered ages after we are gone. As a comparison, 360Tb glass storage equals to 90 000 4Gb USB Memory sticks!

In order to store data in glass, scientists need to make use of nanogratings, which put simply, refers to a nanoscale grating created by shooting extremely fast femtosecond laser pulses of light at a material – usually metal or glass – to produce grooves or markings in it. In popular culture, this would be something similar to Superman using the laser beams in his eyes to store information in the memory crystals of the Fortress of Solitude!

The idea is that the femtosecond laser writes information into the glass by changing the way light moves through it, and each tiny dot created is able to store one bit of information. This 3D optical data storage method is similar to that used by CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs today, and the researchers have recorded a copy each of the Magna Carta, the King James Bible and the UN Declaration of Human Rights to glass to preserve them.

But to make glass digital data storage devices a viable reality, the researchers, including photonics and optoelectronics PhD students Aušra Cerkauskaite, Aabid Patel and Rokas Drevinskas, have now developed a method of reading and writing data to glass, using a five-dimensional (5D) digital data storage method whereby instead of tiny dots, the femtosecond lasers create self-assembling nanostructures. 

At USB2U we will await to hear when this data storage method might be available for commercial applications. One day we would love to say that our glass crystal USBs were true glass storage devices! Whilst it may not have the same storage capacity, a branded glass USB is the must have tech product of the year. With laser engraving, chrome metal casing and delivered in a stunning box it have a real wow factor.

Read full article here

 

USB2U's crystal USB

USB2U’s crystal USB

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Flash drive thrown into space

Posted by Sebastian LaPorta on 10th February 2016 | Permalink

3… 2… 1… Here goes! It was one of those memorable moments when two Russian cosmonauts from the International Space Station, Sergei Volkov and Yuri Malenchenko, threw a USB stick into space during a spacewalk.

For us this signifies a truly interesting example of the multiple ways in which USBs can be used in the world; not only for commercial purposes and transferring content, but also for capturing significant moment of human history!

The memory stick in question contained videos and scripts from last year’s 70th anniversary celebration of the Victory Day in Russia. This event commemorated the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945, and was the largest and most lavish celebration ever held in Russian history.

During the moment when the USB stick was let go, on 3rd February 2016, the crew on board of the International Space station was flying some 250 miles above the southeastern Pacific Ocean, over South America and not far from the cost of Chile.

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Click here to see the video by BBC

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Rainbow tech range now available

Posted by Natalie Longley on 8th February 2016 | Permalink

Exclusive to us in the UK!

Tech products are an essential part of our everyday lives at home and at work, during our leisure time and travel – simply everywhere. It is therefore no surprise that technology products are becoming some of the most sought after corporate gifts and promotional items today. Here at USB2U we are leading the way and have just introduced our new Rainbow range ideal for your tech savvy clients and customers!

Our Rainbow range features seven products: a bluetooth speaker, car charger, power bank, multi-cable USB adapter, LED light, card reader and a USB stick. This unique family of products is exclusive to us in the UK and available in a range of eight different colours which light up when in use. We can provide them with your own branding, and when a few items are bought together they can come in a smart presentation case too. These features, combined with in-house state of the art printing,  give the Rainbow product range a unique look and feel.

Available from our UK stock now with fantastic lead times!

Get a quick quote from our friendly team here.

 

Rainbow tech range

Rainbow tech range

 

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Send a USB Card this Christmas

Posted by USB2U on 14th November 2015 | Permalink

If you plan on sending our Christmas cards this year then you might want to think about sending a personalised USB Christmas Card instead of the usual plain card variety.

Whether you’re giving your cards away to your staff, your customers or your suppliers a USB Christmas card is a great alternative and they’re not that expensive – in some cases (even fully branded with a logo etc.) they’re cheaper than some of the more fancy cards you can buy on the High Street.

At just 2mm thick the USB cards fit easily into a standard envelope so in you’re sending them out in the mail they qualify for the basic letter post charges. Lots of people get caught out every year with “Large Letter” charges on their Christmas cards because they’re too big to be send as standard letter post!

Why send a USB Card at Christmas? Well, they’re still incredibly popular with people for carry backups of their personal data around with them, they have a high perceived value and in pretty much every recent piece of market research into the promotional gift market sector they score highly and rank as one of the most desired corporate gifts. So whomever you send them out to or give them to this Christmas you’re pretty much assured of making them happy.

They’ll be happy not just because you’ve given them a cracking gift but also because you’ve taken the time and trouble to remember them at a special time of the year – even today, when everyone is signed up to Social Media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram its still really nice to be sent (or given) an actual card. This year make it a special card, make it a USB Card!

Don’t forget that most USB cards (including those that are used as Christmas Cards) typically have at least 4GB of storage which gives you loads of scope to do something really interesting and exciting. You could just send the card out “empty” but that would be a wasted opportunity. It’s much better to pre-load the card with a Christmas message (a funny video, a competition, discount offers, a personal or a message from your CEO) or just load it with your sales material, catalogues, price lists, links to your own Social Media sites and so on.

At USB2U we’ll be printing USB cards right up until the final posting day for Christmas Cards so there is still plenty of time to get your order in and if you place an order before the 11th December we’ll supply them with free printed gift boxes.

USB Cards

USB Cards make great Christmas Cards

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Create a Long lasting Impression with Laser Engraved Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 4th November 2015 | Permalink

Do you print or do you engrave your promotional USB memory sticks. Before you place any order please take time to at least ponder the question because the default option for most of our customers is to print them without giving a second thought to the engraving option. We try to stay agnostic over the “engrave versus print” debate and let our customers make the choice but there are times when we see a job and think you know what that’d look so much better engraved. Perhaps it’s out fault; perhaps we should be more forthright in our opinions and try to encourage our customers to consider engraving their design or logo. It’s never easy getting the balance right between gently coaxing and encouragement and just candidly saying you’re wrong.

Printed USB sticks do look absolutely fantastic; there’s a wide range of USB sticks that you can print on print on (compared to those that you can engrave on) and there is a growing range that allow you to pint on them in full colour with a print bleed right the edge of the flash drive. There is a “but” though and that is that over time the print will begin to chip, scuff and wear away leaving behind a logo or design that is barely legible. How long the print will last on a USB stick depends on what it’s made from and the printing process used to apply the design.

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

Engraved USB Memory Sticks

Printing onto metal USB sticks can be challenging because the metal surface needs to be cleaned and primed before any ink can be applied to them and then, ideally, they need to be baked in a commercial print oven to get the print to adhere properly. This obviously takes place before the USB sticks are assembled otherwise the memory and flash module would be “cooked” during the drying process.

No matter how meticulously you clean the metal, or how well your prime them before you print them they are particularly susceptible because when the edge of the printed logo is chipped the tension is compromised the rest of the print tends to flake away pretty quickly.

Digital printing or screen printing onto a plastic surface tends to offer a more robust solution but even these techniques won’t guarantee the print eventually failing.

By contrast laser engraving as the name suggests “etches” the surface leaving a high precision finish that is permanent and won’t rub or scratch off. It’s a popular technique on a wide range of promotional products (including USB flash drives) but it’s a technique that is also widely used in industry to permanently mark medical devices, instruments, buttons, tags, car parts, bar codes and lots ore besides.

With engraving you will have to compromise on the colour the logo is produced in (but you can select a range of different coloured USB flash drives) but at least you’ll know the logo will be produced to a high level of accuracy and more fundamentally that it will last the test of time.

In many cases engraving is not only a better and longer lasting solution but aesthetically it looks better which is why many wedding photographers are opting for engraved wooden USB memory sticks in preference to printed options. Our wooden versions are particularly attractive and incredibly tactile and when combined with our engraved gift boxes they make a killer package.

USB Flash Drives for Professional Photographers

USB Flash Drives for Professional Photographers

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About as Much Fun as Pulling Teeth – Loading Data onto USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 5th October 2015 | Permalink

Millions of promotional USB memory sticks get bought and then get given away every year. Go to any exhibition, show, seminar, conference or university open day and the chances are you’ll get offered at least one USB with a logo printed on the side of it.

Why are they so popular? Well, USB memory sticks, as far as top-end promotional products are concerned are not that expensive (albeit they have a high perceived value), they’re small, they’re easy to carry and they come in a wide range of styles and colours which makes them ideal for branding up with a logo.

The majority of the millions that will be given away in 2015 will have a memory capacity of around between 4GB – 8GB. This is a huge amount of digital storage! It’s about the same as you get on many of the top selling smart phones on the market today. 8GB will support hundreds of thousands of documents, thousands of photos and hundreds of media (video) files.

If you bought a PC a couple of years ago the Hard Disk Drive on the PC would have been smaller (in terms of storage capacity) than that “given away for free!” on a USB stick. Crazy isn’t it but that’s how the digital storage market moves.

The winner from this on-going availability of cheap digital storage in a simple device like a USB stick is the companies that buy them BUT they only benefit if they put the growing storage space to good use.

It’s amazing how many of the millions of promotional USB sticks sold every year are handed out with NO data on them, NADA. ZIP, NOTHING, ZILCH. It’s criminal as a company to buy promotional USB sticks (a product designed specifically to carry data) and not use the memory you have paid for.

One of the primary objectives of giving them away is to build awareness about your organisation, what you do, what your values and what differentiates you from others in your sector. To do this you really should build enough time into your plans to load onto every USB stick documents like your sales brochures, your presentation slides, videos, price lists etc. Load anything that allows you to show off what you’re about and how the recipient of the drive can get in touch with you. Include all your social media links to encourage on-going engagment.

Of course the downside of loading data onto your branded USB memory sticks is actually doing it – it’s the most tedious, mind numbing, soul-destroying job ever! Don’t forget your need to “stop and eject” each USB stick before you can remove them from your PC!

If you have to manually load each and every stick yourself one at a time it will take hours and hours. If you’ve got lots of data (and with 8GB of space you’re likely to) then to load each stick can take 5-10 minutes. So if you’ve got hundreds to do you can end up writing off an evening or two and sometimes a whole weekend!

A much, much better option is to get your USB stick supplier to do the data loading for you. They’ll have the latest state of the art bulk data-loading kit. These machines not only copy lots of USB sticks at the same time but they run algorithms at the end of each run to make sure the data has been copied properly!

Often data-loading will be free but it’s always best to ask but unless you have no social life we’d strongly recommend leaving data-loading of USB memory sticks to the professionals.

USB Data Loading Services from USB2U

USB Data Loading Services from USB2U

 

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5 Reasons to Attend USB2U’s Photography Open Evening

Posted by USB2U on 6th August 2015 | Permalink

At 6.30pm on Wednesday 23rd September 2015, USB2U will open the doors of their new home at Gilt Edged House to professional photographers from around the local area for an evening of networking, knowledge sharing and most importantly – prosecco!

In June, the entire USB2U team uprooted from their humble office in Duston to an impressive premises in Moulton Park, with ample room for growth in print, production and more. USB2U have been trading for almost 13 years now, and we have become the most trusted supplier of Branded USB Memory Sticks to the photographic sector in the UK and worldwide.

USB2U Photographers Open Evening, Weds 23rd Sept 2015

USB2U Invite Professional Photographers to visit their HQ

But there are so many companies out there offering custom USB Sticks, we hear you cry, what makes USB2U so special and why should I come and see them?

Here are just 5 reasons why we think you should come along and say hello:

  1. You get to see what goes on behind the scenes and watch our state of the art equipment in action. Unlike other suppliers who print their memory sticks in the Far East, USB2U print and engrave the vast majority of their Branded USBs and Presentation Boxes right here in the Midlands. We do this to the highest standard, keeping a close eye on quality and delivering unparalleled results. Watching your logo come to life on our laser engraving machines is quite epic and you’ll want to see it for yourself.
  2. You can finally put a face to that name. Whether your Account Manager is Godfrey, Natalie or another member of our friendly sales team, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know who you are ordering your USB sticks with.
  3. You can ask our USB experts about the latest technologies and products. We pride ourselves in having the most knowledgeable staff who know everything there is to know about a USB Memory Stick. Have a technical query about high spec drives or USB3.0? Just ask. Not sure how to create vector artwork? Please shout and we will show you.
  4. You can take advantage of our special offers and discount codes and save yourself some cash. When you run a small business, it’s vital to be savvy about your finances. We’ve been there and know just how important it is. Don’t pay over the odds and make sure you grab yourself a deal.
  5. And finally… Prosecco. Need we say more?!

The Professional Photographers Open Evening is the first event of its kind for USB2U and it is definitely one that we are hoping to continue to run moving forward.  Don’t forget to RSVP. We hope to see you there.

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Branded Power Banks – Why Battery Size Matters

Posted by USB2U on 3rd August 2015 | Permalink

Mobile phone giant Motorola has recently launched two new Android handsets (The Moto X Style and Moto X Play) and both come with a huge 3630 mAh battery; enough power they claim to last up to two full days. But is that enough for those of us who are always on the go without a plug socket within easy reach?

You don’t need to walk far down the street to see that smartphones and tablets play an important role in people’s lives and most of us will admit to spending too much time glued to the screen checking emails and Facebook updates. Obviously this trend is nothing but good news for an already booming industry, but the pressure is certainly on for the mobile phone manufacturers such as Motorola to develop new technologies and deliver longer battery life for their consumers. According to Motorola’s president, however, that technology is still quite a way off. During an interview with the BBC, he said that ‘he would love there to be a battery tech breakthrough’ but believes it will be a long time before his industry can offer a phone that lasts for a week or longer.[i]

So what is the solution in the short term? Carry on reading, because here at USB2U we have the answer. Branded Promotional Power Banks, otherwise known as Power Bars or Portable Battery Chargers, provide mobile phones and other devices with a charge just when they need it most.

Branded Speaker Power Banks from USB2U

Just like mobile phones, Power Banks come in all different shapes and sizes. Some chargers start at just 1400mAh, but to get the most out of your Power Bank you want to make sure you choose a device with an equal amount or ideally more battery power than the phone has itself. The milliamp hour ratings (mAh) represent the quantity of energy stored in each power bank. For example, an Apple iPhone 5S has a battery capacity of 1560mAh, therefore a 2200mAh Power Bank will deliver around 1.4x full charges.

Not sure how they work? No problem. Simply charge the device at home for 2-3 hours by connecting the Micro USB cable included into your laptop’s USB port and then disconnect and pop in your pocket to top up your smartphone on the move (using a 3 in 1 cable or your own charging cable).

As far as modern promotional products go, Power Banks are undeniably one of the most useful gadgets to carry in your pocket. Thinking of investing in a batch printed with your logo to boost your brand’s exposure? Make sure you maximise the large print area so your logo, web address or slogan can be under your end user’s nose in times of need.  Power Banks have a high perceived value and won’t be thrown in the bin any time soon, so you can rest assured that your advertising budget will stretch for years to come!

[i]  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33687230

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University Open Days are in full Swing – How many Promotional USB memory sticks can you collect

Posted by USB2U on 12th June 2015 | Permalink

It’s that time of the year again when families travel will travel the length and breadth of the country in search of the best University for their son or daughter. For many parents it will be the first time they’ve stepped across the threshold of a university but others will be old hands at the process because they’ll have gone though it for younger siblings or they may have been university students themselves.

If you’re new to the process or you’ve not been to one of these Open Days for a few years then you will need to plan your day (including the travel and parking arrangements) will military precision. With more and more students looking to go to university the Open Days are usually heaving and simply getting to the University can be a challenge – if you’re not a lover of “Park and Ride” then you might just have to relax your prejudices because at Universities like Exeter its pretty much the only way you can get to the campus and whilst they’re well planned the “Park and Ride” aspect can add around 2+ hours to your day!

Once on the campus it can be pretty intimidating finding your way around and if you’ve got pre-booked subject talks then the pressure will be on to find the right lecture room and get a seat. Most sessions will be rammed so it’s a good idea to get their early (Park and Ride permitting!).

There is always lots of information on hand from the University and the various departments and of course they’ll be plenty of additional information of admissions, financing and accommodation to take in on the day.

Lots of universities go out of their way to ensure that on arrival you have a hard copy of the university or college prospectus, details of the fees and any bursaries etc. information on the application process, a map of the university and occasionally a food voucher to redeem in one of the university restaurants and a welcome bottle of water to keep you hydrated during what can be a long and exhausting day!

You might also get the occasional insert or flyer from the Students Union that will give you a taster of the range of extra-curricular activities that are on offer at the University.

An “Open Day” is after all the universities opportunity to sell themselves to you and your son or daughter. Competition amongst the universities to bag the best and brightest students is fiercer than ever and Open Days (as well as exam results) play a huge part in helping students decide where to apply to.

Whilst a promotional USB Memory Stick printed with the universities logo is not going to influence anyone’s university choice it is interesting how many are now supplying these to prospective students as part of the packs they hand out. The promotional USB sticks are typically pre-loaded with copies of the prospectus and all the important forms any prospective student might need. With as much as 8GB of space available on even the most basic USB Stick many universities are increasingly loading videos onto the sticks illustrating student life on campus as well as offering links to Social Networking and Web sites. If you’re visiting lots of universities over the next few months it will be interesting to see just how many USB memory sticks you can acquire!

The way in which universities now engage with prospective students has changed enormously over the past few years. Aside from USB sticks other techniques include:

  • QR codes that can be scanned by Smart Phones and take the students directly to the University (or University department) web sites).
  • Facebook pages that allow the students to engage with the university, current and prospective students.
  • Twitter pages that deliver live news/information snippets.
  • Smart phone apps
  • Email and text updates

This year with around 500,000 university places to fill expect the tens of thousands of USB sticks to be given away and for the airways to be full of tweets, emails and chatter. Times have certainly changed!

USB Sticks for University Open Days

USB Sticks for University Open Days

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More on Why the Promotional Twister USB Flash Drive Remains Top Pick

Posted by USB2U on 12th May 2015 | Permalink

We’ve been supplying promotional USB flash drives for over 12 years and in this time we’ve lost track of the tens of thousands of customers we’ve supplied millions of flash drives to. What we do know is that one of the very first drives we sold was the “Twister” but what we didn’t anticipate is that 12 years on it would still be the most popular product we sell.

Despite new and innovate designs of USB sticks being released every year the Twister has stubbornly remained the top choice and if current trends are any indication it’s going to remain the buyer favourite for the foreseeable future.

Below we list just some of the reasons why we think this particular USB memory stick will continue to dominate the promotional gift market:

  1. There’s no cap to lose. The Twister (also known as the Swivel or Rotate) gets its name because part of the body (called the “clip”) twists around to protect the USB connector. Because of this no cap is needed and of course there is therefore no cap to lose!
  2. It’s reasonably small – it’s not the smallest but some of the new models are just too small to print on and people worry about losing them. The sizing of the Twister seems to be just about spot on, not too big and not too small.
  3. It looks great printed or engraved! The “clip” the section that is printed has a good print area, its flat and they look good irrespective of whether you print onto them or engrave onto them.
  4. They are available in hundreds of standard colours so it’s easy to match them to the primary colour(s) from any logo. Even if you can’t find a standard colour that works for you its pretty cheap (around £30 as a one-off fee) to get them pantone matched.
  5. The “clips” on any branded Twister USB memory stick can be changed very easily. The beauty of this is that you can change the design or logo printed on them without having to buy new memory sticks – you just order some more printed clips and pop them on! It takes seconds to do and buying clips costs pennies instead of pounds!
  6. The “clips” on a Twister can be supplied in different colours so you can mix and match body colours with clip colours to create an effect that works for your logo/campaign. It’s the sort of simple and easy customisation that lots of car manufacturers are doing very successfully at the moment.
  7. Attaching a lanyard or key ring attachment is easy because there is an integral loop built into the rotating clip on the twister.
  8. Sheer manufacturing volume means that the Twister is the most competitively priced of all promotional USB sticks. 4GB and 8GB are popular sizes at the moment but you can buy them as a promotional giveaway up to 32GB (64GB coming soon)
  9. Held in stock ready for personalisation, data-loading and delivery in just 24hrs. At USB2U we hold tens of thousands of the Twisters in stock in our Northampton office so we can deliver them (fully branded up) in hours rather than days!
  10. We love them!

There have been plenty of new pretenders that have tried to steal the crown of the Twister Flash Drive over the years but they have all be vanquished. For now at least the Twister is the King and nothing in the near term looks set to change this.

Twister USB Memory Sticks

Twister USB Memory Sticks – Top Pick for over a decade!

New Wooden USB Twisters from USB2U

New Wooden USB Twisters from USB2U

 

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