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Five Days and Counting – Come See USB2U at The Photography Show

Posted by USB2U on 17th March 2015 | Permalink

The weather forecast for this weekend (according to the BBC) is “cool and breezy with scattered showers” so not exactly the weather for doing a great deal outside. The gardening and other chores can wait until things perk up a little and the promises you made to get your bike out or take the kids for a walk in the Spring sunshine to see the new season lambs might have to be put on hold – well for a few days at least!

This weekend your time, if you’re a professional photographer or budding amateur that’s thinking of going professional this year, would be better spent at The Photography Show in Birmingham. The show takes place at the NEC in Hall 5 and runs from this Saturday (21st March) until Tuesday (24th March) and it’s going to be massive. Last year over 29,000 professional and enthusiast photographers attended the show and the organisers expect this year’s numbers to be even higher.

USB2U at The Photography Show

USB2U will be a The Photography Show at the NEC this were

With a mission to create a “photography day out you’ll never forget” the organisers have pulled out all the stops to bring together a 4 day program that is rammed full of exciting, informative and education elements with plenty of fun and shopping opportunities along the way. There will be plenty of chances to have a play with some of the very latest kit, to hear first hand from some of the world’s most inspirational photographers (Tom Stoddart and Mary Ellen Mark to name but two) what makes them tick and how they approach their work.

There will be advice clinics (run by Bowens) and plenty of in-show seminars and workshops to help you brush up on your skills. If you do decide to go then don’t forget your own camera because there will be tons of photo opportunities throughout the event and of course there will be lots of competitions to enter with some amazing prizes on offer.

We’ll be there again this year (come see us on Stand H131) but having been overrun last year we’ve invested in a bigger stand this year! We’ll also have more of our amazing USB2U team on hand to talk you through our USB Memory Stick and gift box packages and there will be plenty of show discounts and offers that you can take advantage of.

We’re taking lots and lots of examples of printed and engraved USB memory sticks and examples of our new wooden gift boxes that we’re keen to get feedback on – we love them but we’d still value your opinion.

If photography is your thing then we’d strongly recommend making some time to come to the show later this week and if you do please make sure you stop by and say hello – we’d love to show you what we can do and if you’re an existing customer we’d love to catch up with you and get your feedback on our work.

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Important Company Wide Announcements – USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 26th January 2015 | Permalink

It’s been interesting to see a rise in the number of companies using branded USB flash drives over the last few months as part of high profile, cross company announcements to their staff. The challenge is how do you give a disparate employee base (not all of whom have access to PC’s at work) critical information at the same time and in a format they can all use. It’s not as easy as you might think!

Say for example you need to announce fundamental changes to your staff’s terms of employment, or changes to their pension scheme arrangements – how, other than trying to get everyone together for a companywide meeting do you manage it? And the company in question employs thousands of staff in different locations; working different shift patterns a “company meeting” is never going to be possible. Do you stream or broadcast the message to televisions at each location, do you send out a letter and brochure explaining the changes, or do you send out teams of senior managers to each location of run a series of co-ordinated presentations? If you do the latter how do you control the message in terms of constancy and “tone” and how do you make sure questions are fully answered with examples and illustrations?

USB Flash Drives for Businesses

USB Flash Drives for Businesses

Until recently one option was to consider using CD’s or DVD’s and sending these out as part of a pack or handing them out as part of a co-ordinated roadshow. These could include comprehensive notes, videos, copies of presentation slides/packs and tons of other supporting information. But, the problem today is that a large number of new laptops don’t ship with a CD/DVD player!

As a result what we are seeing is a move towards the use of a USB stick, typically branded with the company’s logo and normally pre-loaded with lots of multi-media content. USB sticks or flash drives (as some people prefer to call them) are arguably easier to use, they can be plugged into TV’s as well as lots of PC’s Macs and Tablets and they’re reasonably cheap. When they’ve read/used them there is of course the added benefit of being able to use the branded USB sticks for storage of their own personal data.

They can be pre-loaded with their data right at the last minute and because of their size and weight distribution is relatively easy. As such they make the ideal alternative to CD’s and DVD’s and most staff members will have something they can use to read (or watch) the content on them.

If you’ve got an important cross company message you need to get out to your staff then you might want to consider using a USB stick with your logo printed on it and your presentation material pre-loaded onto the.

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Worrying Early News from China on USB Flash Drive Shipments

Posted by USB2U on 21st January 2015 | Permalink

It begins. Today, earlier than anyone expected, UPS, one of main international carriers out of Hong Kong and China has announced that they will not be shipping any more consignments of USB flash drives this side of Chinese New Year.

This is a problem. Not just for us but for the industry as a whole. UPS, we assume, have decided to give priority to other consignments in the run-up to the National Holiday. Clearly there is limited capacity and with everyone knowing that we’re about to enter a 3-4 week “black hole”, that capacity has very quickly been taken.

Shipments that would have originally been scheduled with UPS are now being moved over to DHL but it won’t be long before DHL buckle under the pressure and impose their own restrictions. What’s slightly unnerving about this is just how soon it’s happening. Chinese New Year is on the 19th February, the factories close (or stop taking orders in anticipation of the holiday closures) on the 26th January but between now and the 19th February the hope was that the couriers would operate a near normal service.

This early action by UPS is likely to lead to panic in the market as re-sellers, suppliers and customers around the world who rely on them begin to fight for alternative shipping slots. Expect lots of trouble and lots of disappointed customers.

USB Memory Sticks - Chinese National Holidays 2013

USB Memory Sticks – Chinese National Holidays 2015

If you place an order for promotional USB sticks and your order gets caught up in this then bear in mind that it could be March before you see your order. Yes, March and even then it could be mid-March! Once your order is “in the system” there is little that can be done – you’re at the mercy of the couriers, the customs teams and the good will of all involved. Typically your contract won’t allow you to cancel or back-out of your order once placed (because no-one else will want a USB stick with your logo on) so it’ll just be a case of waiting for them to arrive. If you’re got a time critical event you ordered them for (a seminar, trade show, conference etc.) then this could be a bit of a problem!

Our advice (and we’ve been saying this for several weeks) is to place your orders now, don’t wait and place it with one of the larger companies that has some leverage in the market and will be able to use the contractual relationships with the couriers to get your order through in the next few days. Failing that order from a local company that has stock in-house and can print and supply from stock – this completely de-risks everything and means you could get your finished sticks in a matter of days from order!

Having been through this madness every year for the last 10 years or more we always stock in advance of Chinese New Year so that we can offer our customers UK printed and engraved options. This year we will again continue to offer our various “rush” service offerings throughout Chinese New Year. To be assured of delivery of promotional USB Flash Drives during over the next few weeks give us a call.

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Extend the Memory of Your Raspberry Pi computer with A USB Flash Drive

Posted by USB2U on 15th April 2012 | Permalink

It looks like the wait is finally over and the first batches of the eagerly anticipated Raspberry Pi computer are finally shipping.  OK, so they are being sent out a little later than originally planned because of manufacturing hiccups and last minute compliance testing but within the next few days the very first users of this sub £30 (including VAT and shipping) computer will be able to start connecting it all up and get coding!

Raspberry-PI

Raspberry-PI

Whilst it might not be the prettiest of products it has managed to generate a huge amount of interest and demand not least amongst developers, schools, hobbyists and others keen to get their hands on a cheap, easy-to-use computer.

The organization behind the Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi Foundation (a UK registered charity) describes the Pi as “a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.”

The Pi is built around the Arm chip that is used in the vast majority of mobile phones. It runs one version of the Linux operating system and uses SD cards as its “on-board” storage medium but it comes with USB ports so you easily add additional memory using a USB flash drive or other USB connected storage.

With the price of USB flash memory plummeting at the moment you could easily add an extra 2Gb – 8GB of extra storage from just a couple of pounds!

If you’re a school and you’re planning to buy the Raspberry Pi for your students then you might also want to think about getting some USB flash drives produced with your school logo or crest on specifically for use with the Raspberry Pi.  Better still, get them produced with the students names on and the Raspberry Pi logo (with the permission of the Raspberry Pi Foundation of course) and this way they can have their own personalized USB flash drives that are specifically for use with the computers and onto which their PC work can be saved.

If you really want to challenge the students you could buy them bare bones USB connectors and get them to design and build their own Raspberry Pi Flash Drives for use with the computer – ideal for students looking to take Design Technology and IT and a great way to excite them about both disciplines.

USB2U, one of the UK leading suppliers of printed USB Flash Drives can deliver (often within as little as 24hrs) printed or engraved USB Flash Drives.

“Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation”.

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5 Reasons To Buy Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 17th November 2011 | Permalink

If you’re wondering why so many companies are buying promotional USB memory sticks at the moment here’s a few reason to help you understand what’s underpinning the demand for them:

  1. People like being given USB memory sticks – a recent BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) survey found that people prefer to be given USB Sticks (45%). Next in the list came pens (39%) swiftly followed by mugs (36%). USB sticks were the clear winner because they were considered to be the most useful.
  2. They’re easy to uses – simply plug them into any PC and you can save data to the stick or retrieve saved information from the stick in a matter of seconds. They work on any PC equipped with a USB port (and that’s pretty much everything these days) and they work equally well on Macs.
  3. USB sticks pre-loaded with sales collateral, presentation files, media files and press release information are great at sales conferences, shows, seminars and press events. The cost of buying the USB sticks can be offset by the savings made not printing the brochures etc.
  4. They look great printed with a company logo or school crest. A wide range of different USB flash drives are available in all sorts of styles and shapes and made from lots of different materials. Popular models like the Twister USB stick can even have the body shell colour matched to help enhance the overall look of the printed disk.
  5. The price of Printed USB flash drives continues to fall and the minimum order quantities are now as low as 25 pieces – expect to pay around £2-£3 for an entry level USB stick printed with your logo (including printing on both sides and with a free lanyard or key ring).
Promotional USB Sticks

Promotional USB Sticks

This year thousands of companies will give away millions of promotional USB sticks printed with their logo on. USB sticks have moved from being a “techie” product to a mainstream promotional product in just a few years and they set to be with us for a more years yet.

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In the immortal words of Vernon Kay…”Our survey says…”

Posted by USB2U on 10th October 2011 | Permalink

OK, it wasn’t our survey but a recent survey undertaken by the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association), which questioned businessmen and women about their behavioural trends, and preferences for different promotional gifts came up with some interesting findings.

As well as reinforcing the benefits that spend on promotional products deliver the survey also examined how people felt after being given a promotional item. The aim was to measure how such products affected the feelings, perceptions and the propensity to buy. Just a little more than half (56%) of those questioned said they felt more positive towards the brand/company and a very strong 79% said they were more likely to do business with the company in the future.

USB Flash Drives in Boxes

USB Flash Drives in Boxes

Interestingly the majority said they preferred to receive a promotional gift with a logo printed on it.

When it came to which promotional gifts people preferred to be given the clear winner was a USB stick which took 45% of the vote followed by a pen with 39% and a mug with 36%.

Usefulness is one of the main reasons for people retaining and using promotional merchandise and the majority of people (64%) found a USB sticks useful. The beauty of this is that repeated usage and perceptions of usefulness mean any brand printed on the product will get lots of positive exposure.

Promotional products also have a long term impact with around a quarter of all respondents able to recall the name/brand of the company that gave them the “gift” 12 months later – not something most other forms of advertising can claim.

Unsurprisingly given the results from the survey undertaken by the BPMA sales of USB memory sticks are rocketing at the moment. If you are in the market for your own printed or customised USB sticks then give the team at USB2U a call – they have been supplying USB sticks for nearly 10-years and are one of the most respected and trusted suppliers around.

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From Potato Chips to Flash Memory Chips

Posted by USB2U on 24th May 2011 | Permalink

USB flash drives printed with a company logo on them are proving popular with companies who have something new to say or announce. One of the reasons for their popularity is that its easy for companies to pre-load the flash drives with tons of information about their announcement.

They don’t necessarily replace printed press releases and product sheets entirely but they do give lots of scope to provide customers, partners and journalists with much more information in a format that is easy to carry and use.

The sort of information typically loaded on USB flash drives these days before they are handed out tends to include; video clips, media files, previews of TV or web banner adverts, user product reviews, executive briefings and loads more besides.

Most suppliers of branded and promotional USB flash drives offer a data pre-loading service and some will even throw in data-loading free of charge (subject to minimum order quantities and a maximum amount of data) so anyone thinking of loading data onto flash drives should shop around. You should only expect to pay for a data-load if it’s a last minute thing or you’ve got a particularly large amount of data you need loading!

All sorts of companies from the very large to small start-ups are now using USB flash drives to get their message out and to supplement other communication channels.

Printed USB Flash Drive

Printed USB Flash Drive

Tyrrells who make fantastic hand cooked English chips from locally sourced ingredients have recently undergone a bit of a makeover that included renaming their chips and calling them “crisps”. They’ve also launched a new website and have given their bags a bit of a “spruce up” – the results are fab – a bit like their crisps really!

If like Tyrrells you’ve got a fantastic product that you want to shout about you’re keen to let the world know about then you might also want to consider using a USB stick as part of your promotional or PR campaign. If you do then don’t forget to pre-load them with your data files before you hand them out!

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Branded USB Memory Sticks – Smile Please

Posted by USB2U on 5th May 2011 | Permalink

If you’ve been to a to a theme park at any time during the past few years and you’ve been on any of the rides then you can expect to have been photographed whilst you’ve had the living daylights scared out of you or been drenched with water on the water rides.

USB Wristbands

USB Wristbands

Of course these photographs make great souvenirs and they’re brilliant reminders of your day out. At some theme parks they are all pervasive and it can be a little tiresome if you’re a parent and you have children with you who want you to buy photographs and souvenirs at the end of every ride. The other challenge is carrying the photographs around with you all day although some of the theme parks have a facility where you can order them as you go around the park and pick them up on your way out.

Some of the more innovative theme parks have now introduced an option to buy the photographs from the rides digitally and supplied on a branded USB memory stick. This is a fantastic idea because not only is it often easier and more convenient to carry around a small USB flash drive loaded with the photo’s but, you can buy the photo’s you want at the end of each ride and simply have them up-loaded to your USB memory stick as you go around the park!

There are lots of styles and designs of USB memory sticks that the theme parks can use but one of the more popular models is the USB wristband – these are easy to carry, easy to use and they’re a little bit different.

With the photographs digitally stored on the USB sticks it’s easy when you get home to print them off on your own colour printer or alternatively upload them onto sites like Facebook or just email them around to your friends and family. Arguably you could do the same with printed photos but you have to first go through all the hassle of scanning the photographs and uploading them onto your PC before you can do this.

At the moment there are only a few theme parks offering this solution but it’s proving popular so expect to see it adopted in much greater numbers pretty soon.

USB Roller Coaster

USB Roller Coaster

If you’re a theme park operator and you’re looking for a provider of the USB wristbands or any other style of USB memory stick then you might consider the team at USB2U. Established in 2002 USB2U has years of experience in the supply of all types of promotional and branded USB memory sticks including those supplied to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Wickstead Park.

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If You’re Buying Branded USB Memory Stick Read This First

Posted by USB2U on 28th July 2009 | Permalink

The once humble and now ubiquitous USB memory stick is everywhere. The promotion and advertising market is awash with them. It’s rare to attend a conference, exhibition or seminar and not come away with at least one of these little beauties. The reason is understandable – they are just a fantastic way of distributing data, slides, sales material etc. whilst at the same time giving the recipient something that is useful and something that promotes your brand beyond the event.

But before you rush to buy branded memory sticks for your own event or campaign there are a number of critical factors you must consider. The onus is on you to know this because not all suppliers are equal when it comes to absolute disclosure of what they are supplying

Point #1 – Am I getting A Grade (new) Memory Chips?

Its not particularly well known but flash memory chips are graded.  Only Grade A memory chips are new and give you access to the full amount of advertised memory on the Chip. All other grades of memory chip make less of the advertised memory available for use and in some cases are re-cycled. In other words they are memory chips taken out of used kit or recovered from USB sticks that have failed the build QA process. If you end up with anything other than Grade A memory chips you are likely to experience a higher failure rate, you won’t be able to store as much information on the stick as expected and its possible you’ll overpay for what you’re getting. Always check with your supplier that they are using Grade A memory chips

Point #2 – USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 and does it matter.

The short answer is yes. Anything using USB 1.1 is old. Version 2.0 has been around for several years and is the current standard, its faster and more reliable and you should expect all of your branded USB memory sticks to be Version 2.0. Users will get frustrated with the slow transfer speeds of USB 1.1 sticks and abandon them pretty quickly which is not what you want.

Point #3 – RoHS Compliance – You need to understand what this is.

RoHS stands for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances and it applies to thousands of electrical and computer parts and components imported into the EU. This is EU Legislation and you must comply with it. Finding out you have imported non-RoHS compliant products and then pushing the blame back to your supplier won’t wash. The fines are significant so ensure you ask the right questions and get copies of RoHS certificates.

Point #4 – WEEE Compliance – Its Your Responsibility

The WEEE directive is designed to actively encourage reuse and recycling. The Directive states that 65% of IT equipment must be recycled, and materials such as old LCD displays and the larger CRT display, printed circuit boards, batteries and computers must be pre-treated before disposal. USB memory sticks fall into the same category and must be supported by a WEEE recycling scheme that allows the end user or recipient of the promotional USB stick to return it for ethical recycling. If you fail in your obligations to support this then you could be prosecuted.

Point # 5 – REACH Compliance – What do you need to know?

This new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use within industry also has a direct bearing on branded USB Memory sticks. The regulation deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. This new law came into force on 1st June 2007.

The legislation is intended to enhance the protection of human health and to protect the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. The benefits of the REACH system will come gradually, as more and more substances are phased into REACH.

Point # 6 – Choose a reputable supplier with a proven track record.

The above points illustrate that there is a little more to buying branded USB memory sticks than just choosing the cheapest supplier. You have a corporate responsibility to understand your obligations and to ensure you comply. An easy way to do this is to work with a supplier of branded USB Memory Sticks that has the experience and expertise to take all of this pain away from you. USB2U is such a supplier.

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