USB2U News

Should You Pre-load Data on Promotional USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 6th October 2011 | Permalink

With a constant need to keep up with competitors, reacting to the ever changing digital world, patterns and trends in industries and the rise and fall of the economy, it’s important to keep one step ahead, and get your businesses’ messages out there efficiently and effectively.

Promotional USB Flash Drives

The Rise Of The Promotional USB Stick

Demand for “old fashioned” CD’s has reduced dramatically over the years, and an increase in printing costs for traditional sales brochures has encouraged companies to look at alternative options to distribute information on their products, prices and services. By nature, consumers are also a lot more visual, and react well to videos and animations that is something that traditional printed materials of course, can’t offer.
Customised USB sticks are increasingly the solution companies opt for because:
1. Printed and customised USB memory sticks are now available for less than £2 per unit (subject to minimum quantities and type)
2. You get on-going brand exposure with USB sticks because they tend to be used by the recipient to store and carry their own personal data (after all this is what they are designed for!)
3. Postage costs to send out a DM campaign with USB sticks are significantly cheaper than sending out expensive and heavy glossy brochures.
4. The cost of printing on a USB is generally less expensive that the cost of printing brochures.
5. It’s far easier to take a few hundred or even thousand USB sticks to a trade show than it is to transport the equivalent number of heavy brochures or leaflets
6. Lots of brochures handed out at trade shows and exhibitions end up in the bins outside the exhibition halls – USB sticks don’t as they’re small enough to be carried around!
7. Pre-loading your sales catalogues, price lists, press releases, media files etc. onto any USB stick you hand out is a must – After all you’re paying for the storage space on the sticks so you might as well use it.

USB Pre-loaded Data Is A Vital Commodity

Pre-loading data onto a memory stick purchased for your company makes good commercial sense. The savings made by pre-loading data onto USB sticks rather than printing the equivalent documents can fully offset the cost of the sticks. Plus, as mentioned, with the right memory available, short videos and animation can be loaded- something that consumers react well to.
The process of data loading is sometimes called duplication, pre-loading, copying or replication. It is relatively easy to do but it can be time consuming and you need to plan ahead to allow enough time to get the data organised. Ideally a USB stick supplier would do the data-load for you – most will offer a free data load up to a certain amount, typically 100MB.

Locking Data Onto USB Sticks

If you prefer you can “lock” the data that you pre-load onto the USB flash drive. This means that it cannot be deleted, bear in mind if you want to do this you would generally have to have your data ready early as it has to be loaded and “locked” during the manufacturing process. You also need to consider that if you load too much data onto the stick and therefore not leaving enough room for the user then they are highly unlikely to use it and your brand won’t get the on-going use and exposure you have paid for.
At USB2U we have in-house professional data-duplication equipment that enables us to pre-load data on behalf of our clients. For more information about pre-loading data onto memory sticks, feel free to email us at [email protected]

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Why do I need vector artwork for print?

Posted by USB2U on 1st March 2017 | Permalink

If you work in a creative industry like us and are dealing with logos and brands on a daily basis, you will be familiar with AI and EPS file formats for logos. But why do we ask for these files when it comes to printing onto our range of USBs as well as their packaging?

A Vector file type is either .eps, .ai, .pdf and .swf, and you’d need to set up your artwork as a vector graphic to start with before saving them in these formats – you couldn’t, for example, open a JPEG and re save it as a .swf.

So why don’t we use JPEGs? JPEGs are typically low resolution files and they’re mainly used for websites because the smaller file size helps load the pages quickly. They might look ok to the eye but once you zoom in or try to print from them you’re likely to end up with poor, blurred results.

Take a look at the images below and it’s easy to see why Vector artwork is preferred over a JPEG, the images are much sharper, crisper, and look loads better printed onto USBs!

 

The print quality difference between a logo in jpeg format and a logo in EPS vector format

Spot the difference – jpeg or vector artwork?

USB2U show the difference between vector and jpeg artwork engraved on wood

Crisp or fuzzy logo? We know which we prefer…

 

If you’re still a bit unsure then you can always ask your design team to supply you with vector artwork, or you could take a look at our artwork guidelines for a detailed overview of Vector and Raster graphics.

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Plan ahead – Chinese New Year falls early in 2017!

Posted by USB2U on 12th December 2016 | Permalink

Chinese New Year is fast approaching so the time to plan your USB and Power Bank orders for January and February 2017 is now!

The celebrations for 2017 fall earlier than recent years have. This year the celebrations will take place (and factories & production closed) between 21st January – 8th February 2017. Therefore the cut-off date for standard orders placed is as early as 11th January to avoid delays.

Can’t order in time? Don’t fear! With our UK stock and in house printing facilities we are able to serve you seamlessly throughout this period.

We guarantee reliable delivery of USBs, Power Banks and other tech products – just get in touch with our friendly team here at USB2U.

We hold a large amount of UK stock!

Contact us on:

[email protected]

0800 008 7079

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

 

 

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On USB pricing instability

Posted by USB2U on 17th October 2016 | Permalink

NAND* flash prices have been creeping up since the factories in China returned from their Golden Week National Holidays, and unfortunately for us and our customers, they are still on the rise. Industry experts predict that NAND flash prices will continue to rise in Q4 of 2016 due to severe supply shortages. This has a direct impact on the cost of branded USB sticks.

Whilst we do everything in our power to serve our customers with steady products and services there is one thing that is completely out of our hands: the cost of USB flash memory. Whilst we don’t know exactly what is causing the supply and demand issue, we have a strong suspicion that the big players in the smartphone industry, Samsung and Apple, could have something to do with it in the lead up to Christmas.

The cost of flash memory has always been something that fluctuates which is why we only hold our quotes for USB memory sticks for 24-72 hours on average. However over the past few years, pricing had been fairly static with only a slight change from week to week. In contrast over the past week, pricing has been changing on a daily basis, sometimes 2-3 times a day, so we have reduced our quote validity period down to a strict 24 hours.

The weakening of the pound since the EU referendum is another factor influencing the market and pricing levels. Since the vote to leave the European Union was announced, pricing has become even more unsteady and certainly unpredictable. This is due to the impact the vote result has had on the value of the pound and subsequently the dollar exchange rate.

Sometimes the fast changing USB flash pricing can take our customers by surprise, and we fully appreciate this. We always work hard to allow the best possible pricing for our customers, and hope that the market will start showing some stability in the New Year.

 

* The digital memory component that is used in a range of tech goods including smartphones and USB memory sticks.

image001-6

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With only 50 days until Christmas NOW is the time to order your USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 4th November 2015 | Permalink

If you thought Halloween was scary that’s nothing compared to how quickly Christmas is approaching. With only 50 days to go its time to get organised, it’s time to think about what gifts you want to give to your staff and what gifts you want to give to your customers and the service staff (drivers, window cleaners, delivery drivers etc.) that support your business all year round.

If you procrastinate and leave it much later and you may struggle to get exactly what you want and more importantly you might struggle to get your Christmas gifts printed with your logo on and the gifts personalised with unique messages.

Assuming of course that you want to give a gift this year the next challenge is to decide what to give – favourites often include hampers, drinks and chocolates but increasingly companies that give gifts to customers and prospects are looking for something that carries their brand and will last beyond Christmas. If the gift can generate a bit of a “buzz” or “wow” factor when opened that in turn drives Social Media activity then so much the better! When giving gifts to staff branding is obviously less of a requirement!

USB Cards for Christmas

Give a Promotional USB Stick at Christmas

In the promotional gift sector 2015 has been the year of the Power Bank and we expect to see lots of these given away but equally we also expect thousands and thousands of branded USB memory sticks to be handed out. Whilst USB sticks won’t be for everyone when they are printed with a company logo and pre-loaded with a Christmas message they are a brilliant idea.

They work at Christmas not only because they still have a high-perceived value but because of the innovative ways in which you can use the massive amounts of storage on even the cheapest versions – include a short video message, an animated message or a message of thanks from a few key executives within your company or what about recording and loading onto the stick a “flash mob” message. Get creative, think what will inspire people, what will interest people and what will make them laugh and smile. (and take to Social Meida)

Anything you load onto the USB sticks can be made to “auto-run” – this means the content (the video for example) will play automatically when the USB memory stick is connected to any PC or Mac.

At USB2U we can not only supply your Christmas USB sticks but we also have lots of Power Banks that we can supply with your logo printed on. We even offer a personalisation and fulfilment service so you don’t have to worry about boxing them up and sending them out! Interested? Well, just give us a call and we’ll talk you through the options.

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Get Pregnant, Break a Bone or Block your Drains – All ways to get a USB Stick

Posted by USB2U on 16th October 2015 | Permalink

Over the last decade or so we’ve seen USB sticks used for all manner of things but to be fair the majority that we sell are used for promotional purposes. However as CD’s and DVD’s become less and less popular we’re seeing USB sticks used as a direct replacement for them and the breadth of their use is fascinating. Every day we seem to get enquires from new clients who have a new twist on how they plan to use their USB memory sticks.

Some of the more interesting and unusual ideas include the supply of 4D baby scans on a USB stick. Prospective parents used to be happy with a black and white Polaroid photo of their baby scan but now the demand is for a digital copy of the scan is rocketing. Companies like Babybond, the UK’s first ISO Quality Endorsed ultrasound provider are now offering their 4D Bonding Scan results on a USB Memory Stick.

As pioneers of 4D Bonding Scans (and the supply of the scans on USB sticks) they remain at the forefront of innovation in their field. Babybond are strong advocates of the service because they argue that the scans, which are a combination of still and moving images promote levels of early mother and child “bonding” that were simply unattainable prior to the introduction of their service.

BabyBond USB Memory Stick

BabyBond USB Memory Stick

It’s a similar story with broken bones, torn ligaments and fractures – we’re now seeing companies that offer private MRI scans using USB memory sticks rather than CD’s/DVD’s. A digital copy of the MRI scan is supplied at the end of the assessment. Supplying a copy of the scan is not new but the supply of it on a USB Stick is. With less and less PC’s and Mac’s now shipping without a CD/DVD player it’s become important for many businesses to make the shift to USB sticks

Companies dealing with blocked drains are the latest to use USB Sticks instead of CD’s and DVD’s – its typical of these companies to send a CCTV camera into the drains to carry out a “survey” of the drains before they start digging them up! The subsequent digital “video survey” is then copied onto a USB sticks and supplied to the customer with a quote for the remedial works needed. Again the arguments for the use of a USB stick are the same; ease of use, size, cost and of course they can be printed up with a logo, brand and contact details.

The common thread running through all of these examples is the need to provide “customers” with high quality digital images – if you work in a sector or profession that might benefit from making the move from CD/DVD to USB Sticks then please give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.

 

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WOW – USB Memory Sticks go wireless.

Posted by USB2U on 7th October 2015 | Permalink

The humble USB stick has been with us for over a decade and in that time it’s evolved from a relatively niche product with a tiny amount of storage (8MB) into something that is now so ubiquitous that you can buy them at the end of shopping aisles along with the sweets and chewing gum!

As well as the millions purchased each year for personal use further millions are given away each year as promotional gifts – the world has literally become awash with USB sticks and the demand for them shows no real sign of slowing down.

The one issue the USB stick has is it’s inability to work with the latest smart phones and tablets – yes, there are some cable/adapter workarounds on the market but they’re messy.

Know the inability to connect to the growing range of mobile devices was the Achilles heel of the USB stick the clever people at Sandisk have been working on a solution – step forward the latest USB memory stick – the Wireless Flash Drive or “Wireless Stick” as Sandisk call it.

This remarkable product works just like a conventional flash drive BUT it also works wirelessly. You can connect to the drive locally or over the internet (you will need to install the Sandisk Connect App) and it’s really simple to use.

Backing up, sharing and storing files was never easier. Use it to free up storage space on your smartphone, use it make information available to your colleagues in a meeting (just give them access to the wireless stick and they can share the data) or better still just share your photos and music around with your family and friends – its really easy.

You can even use the App that Sandisk supply to automatically copy your photos and videos every time the Wireless Stick is connected – Wow!

Of course there is a price to pay for such brilliance and that’s the cost of the sticks – prices range from £35 to £105 but this is across a memory (storage) range from 16Gb to 128GB!!

They’re too expensive at the moment to consider for the promotional market but over time prices are likely to drop and Sandisk are likely to license out their solution so keep an eye on our site for updates. We know how many of our customers are looking for a x-platform solution at an affordable price so we’ll aim to make “brandable” versions available just as soon as we can.

Wireless USB Flash Drives

Wireless USB Flash Drives – now a reality

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Oh Dear – Perhaps we could interest the Welsh RFU in some USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 4th October 2015 | Permalink

It was never supposed to end like this. So much was promised, so much was expected and so much was invested in it but in the end the English rugby team failed to deliver. Dumped out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the Group Stages, a World Cup that they are hosting and they are setting records in but for all the wrong reasons!

For England there is just the dead rubber game against Uruguay to go but let’s face it even a thumping great win against Uruguay will do nothing to paper over the huge cracks that have developed in the English game, its management and its structure over the last few weeks.

The commentators, journalists, pundits and armchair experts are of course having a field day and most expect the Head Coach Stuart Lancaster to either fall on his sword or face the ignominy of being fired at the end of England’s short lived participation in the competition.

From a purely selfish point of view, as a supplier of branded USB memory sticks to the English RFU, we wanted them to progress, we wanted them to challenge all the way and we wanted them to make it to the final and ultimately to win – A win would almost certainly have lead to an increase in the marketing and advertising budget available to the RFU and this in turn would most probably have lead to a requirement for more England RFU branded USB sticks – sadly this is now unlikely to be the case.

As a Northampton based company we’re also worried. Northampton is a “Rugby Town”. Many of us at USB2U are life long Northampton Saints Rugby Club supporters. We’ve been a club sponsor and a supplier to Northampton Saints and we care passionately about our team. It’s a team that under the stewardship of Jim Mallinder and Dorian West has become one of the best teams in the Premiership and it’s no secret that Jim and Dorian were being strongly touted as candidates for England when Lancaster was appointed. If Lancaster should, as seems likely, go then once again Jim and Dorian are likely to be on the short list to replace him and his current coaching team.

Losing to Australia and going out of the Rugby World cup was bad enough, losing the opportunity to supply more branded USB sticks to the RFU is equally bad but losing Jim and Dorian to the English RFU would be catastrophic

And no, supplying USB sticks to the Welsh RFU would not make up for it!

 

England World Cup USB Sticks

England World Cup USB Sticks

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School DT Project Idea – Design & Build Your Own USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 9th September 2015 | Permalink

Could you be the next James Dyson or Richard Branson. Have you got an urge to design and build your own products or perhaps you’re happier dreaming up creative ways to market and sell your product ideas. Perhaps you hanker after trying out your ideas on sites like Kickstarter and trying to raise some financial backing – with the emergence of the Internet there are now loads of way to get your ideas supported.

At many schools in the UK you’ll be given the chance during your Design and Technology classes to come up with a new product idea – you’ll be challenged to design something, produce a prototype, think about the manufacturing challenges, think about your target customer(s), think about how you’ll brand it, market it, sell in and hopefully make money from it. Think of it as a Dragon’s Den for the classroom!

If you’re struggling for ideas (and lots of people do) then you might want to think of designing and building your own custom USB memory sticks? It’s easier than you might think, it’s great fun and there are lots of different creative ways to use these familiar products. USB sticks are commonly used as promotional give-aways but they are also used to load baby 3D and 4D scans onto, to load MRI scans on, to record track day data on at places like Silverstone, to market new housing developments – the list goes on and one!

A very simple idea is to just design a USB stick to be sold at your school but rather than just buying standard factory designed USB flash drives and printing your school crest or logo one why not get the sticks made in a design unique to the school. Anything is possible and some great results can be achieved relatively easily because if you can get your hands on the core components its really just an assembly job.

Inside most USB Memory Sticks are three core components; a memory module, a controller chip and a capacitor – these are typically pre-assembled onto a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and connected to a USB interface. The PCB can then be embedded into any outer casing to create a unique USB flash drive. Just like any commercially available (and assembled) USB flash drive you can buy the PCB’s in a range of memory capacities starting at 128MB all the way up to 32GB.

If you fancy having a go at building your own USB sticks (perhaps as part of a school project) then we can supply you with all the components you need including any accessories your might want for your finished product including key ring attachments, lanyards and gift-boxes.

We have a minimum order of 50 pieces for the PCB USB’s so if you did want to get a project off the ground and you’re not a school or company then get your entrepreneurial hat on and start raising the capital you need.

Build Your Own USB Stick

Build Your Own USB Stick

 

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Is Fiat Chrysler about to order 1.4 Million USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 27th July 2015 | Permalink

Just days after Wired magazine revealed that it was possible to hack a Jeep Cherokee via its internet-connected entertainment system and take control of it whilst in motion Fiat Chrysler have announced a recall of 1.4 million vehicles to fix the problem.

Fiat Chrysler has said it was “unaware of any injuries related to software exploitation” but nevertheless they have moved reasonably swiftly to deal with the issue and the subsequent media furor that has followed the story breaking.

The fact that the hackers were able take control of the cars brakes, the throttle and the pretty much everything else in the car (apart from the steering although apparently they could control this as well if the car was put in reverse) demonstrates the severity of the issue and explains why Fiat Chrysler have responded so quickly!

Although defined as a “voluntary recall” most customers won’t have to take the vehicles back to the dealers to get them fixed instead they will be sent a USB Stick with instructions on how to plug it in and upgrade the vehicles software.

Customers who don’t want to wait for Fiat Chrysler to send them a USB Memory Stick with the patched software on can instead download the upgrade and transfer it to their own flash drive and plug this into the vehicle.

With around 1.4 million vehicles affected (most manufactured between 2013 -2015) the upgrade is going to be a huge challenge. Only cars in the USA using the company’s uConnect wireless systems are affected.

If Fiat Chrysler, as seems likely, take the decision to proactively issue 1.4 million USB memory sticks with the patch pre-loaded onto them, then someone is going to pick up what could be the largest ever single order for memory sticks in the history of the device!

Who would have thought when they were first introduced well over a decade ago that USB sticks would be used to upload new software to cars to prevent hackers taking control of the cars whilst in use! In fact who would have thought a decade ago that we’d be talking about hackers remotely controlling cars (whilst in use on the roads) over public mobile phone networks. It all sounds like the stuff of a science fiction novel but it just demonstrates how scarily fast technology is moving these days.

Twister USB Flash Drives

Twister USB Sticks

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