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To USB or Not to USB
  • About

    Covering the latest trends and topics in USB IP.

    I started working on USB in 1995, starting with the world’s first BIOS that supported USB Keyboards and Mice while at Award Software. After a departure into embedded systems software for real-time operating systems, I returned to USB IP cores and software at inSilicon, one of the leading suppliers of USB IP. In 2002, inSilicon was acquired by Synopsys and I’ve been here since. I also served as Chairman of the USB On-The-Go Working Group for the USB Implementers Forum from 2004-2006.

    I received an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University and an M.S. in Engineering from University of California Irvine, and a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Minnesota. I’m a licensed Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering in the State of California
    - Eric Huang

Archive for 2012

USB 3.0 Movie Kiosk

Posted by Eric Huang on 26th September 2012

On my way to a meeting in Nebraska, followed by a meeting in Oklahoma, I passed through an airport with a USB 3.0 Movie Kiosk.

 

You can buy a recently released movie, transfer it to a USB 3.0 flash drive, and have your movie in seconds.

IMG-20120925-00971IMG-20120925-00972IMG-20120925-00970IMG-20120925-00969

 

You might think, “Why Not use WiFi?”

It turns out that the kiosk supports WiFi also, but USB 3.0 is about 20x faster at 3000 megabits per second, versus maybe 150 megabits per second if you have a WiFi-N radio (in most PCs in the past 2-3 years).

  USB 3.0
Flash Drive
WiFi-N USB 2.0
Flash Drive
Data Rate 3000-4000 Megabits per sec Up to 150 Megabits per second 300-350 Megabits per sec
Pros Transfer a 4GB movie in less than 1 minute

USB 3.0 Flash Drives faster than USB 2.0 Flash drives*

On most laptops in the past 3 years Everywhere
Cons On new PCs Drains your battery to run the WiFi for 20 minutes or more. Slower than USB 3.0

So you have the option of sticking a USB 3.0 flash drive into the USB 3.0 port and waiting a minute, or using WiFi, draining your battery, and hanging around for 20 minutes (or more).

So I transfer the movie to my drive, plug the drive to my PC, and transfer the movie to my PC, and because it is so fast, the power drain on the PC is much less than for WiFi.  This is likely true also for USB 2.0 since it is still faster, and isn’t wireless.

 

A couple of things: You need an special software on the PC to play the movie. This is a one time download.  I can imagine this would be an App on a Android phone or tablet.

By the way, I mentioned a USB 3.0 Movie Kiosk back in December 2012 here where I outline why you shouldn’t pirate.

Kiosk and Tablet

We can imagine a time when you might take your Android Phone with USB 3.0, plug it into this USB port for the movie transfer .

  • The phone looks like a storage device, you download the movie to your device.
  • You download an app for the authorization.
  • This would require zero battery drain, and in fact you could charge your phone at the same time. (Maybe even use USB Power Delivery for faster charging)

 

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Final USB Flash Drive Concern

Plugging my USB 3.0 Flash Drive into any port I find when I land in a airport might not be a great idea.

Since other people share this kiosk, it’s always possible that the kiosk has a virus, it will transfer to my flash drive and to my PC.

Exercising good USB 3.0 Flash Drive hygiene requires I have good, up to date Virus Protection on my PC.

 

There is so much more I could do with this idea, but I just couldn’t go there.

Posted in USB 3.0 | Comments Off

590 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Products, DisplayLink Design Wins and a USB Slingshot

Posted by Eric Huang on 20th September 2012

The USB Implementers Forum announced it has certified 590 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Products.

image

 

These products actually passed certification tests, and each product represents 10s of thousands, 100s of thousands, or millions of units in real, off-the-shelf products shipping.  Two great examples include DisplayLink’s customer ASUS.  ASUS and DisplayLink announced the availability of the ASUS USB 3.0 HZ-1 Docking Station.  The ASUS Docking Station pictured below can be found at ASUS here.

Notebook

DisplayLink announced Kensington’s USB 3.0 Docking Station also seen below.  It’s almost boring, all this success which is what we want for USB 3.0.  Lots and lots of success stories.

USB 3.0 Docking Station with Dual DVI/HDMI/VGA Video sd3500v (1) 

Go to the Kensington Site for more info on the Kensington USB 3.0 Docking Station

Read about DisplayLink’s success with our USB 3.0 and HDMI IP here.

Watch a demo of the DisplayLink in Targus USB 3.0 Docking Station product here with a diagram of the HP Docking Station.

See pictures of the Fujitsu and Lenovo USB 3.0 Docking Station / USB 3.0 Port Replicators here.

 

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Reader Mail

Agent J sent me this Angry Birds USB Slingshot. You can build a USB Slingshot, plug it into your computer, and change the angle, and use the sling shot as the actual controller.

I think there is actually a niche market for this. I’m guessing the guy could sell at least 20,000 of these world wide for about 20 US$ each.

USB Slingshot built at http://mbed.org/cookbook/Slingshot. Watch the Video at the website.

Posted in DisplayLink, Success Stories, USB 3.0 Adoption, USB 3.0 Products, USB Toys | Comments Off

USB 3.0 in the Digital Home–Part 2

Posted by Eric Huang on 18th September 2012

With TV’s as the primary display, people plug their SD cards and USB sticks/drivers directly into their TV so they can watch their content directly.  Every TV in China supports this today.  Possible due to the high availability of digital content (piracy).

 

Camera to TV or USB Flash Drive to TV

As mentioned in the previous blog,USB 2.0 ports so you can plug your camera directly to your TV to look at pictures right away.

USB 3.0 on the TV lets you load pictures faster for viewing

USB 3.0 on the TV lets you load video faster for viewing.

You could say, “The video is compressed.”

I’d say,“Sure, but you still need to stream the video fast enough so it continuously streams and looks good on your 60 inch TV”

You could say, “It’s still doesn’t seem like you need USB 3.0, but I see your point.  Any other made up marketing reasons?”

I’d say,  “Yes, you will move music and videos faster because the TV will be your portal to the internet”

You would say, “What?”

The next logical service for your TV is automatically uploading your content from the camera and SDXC cards to the internet.  Simply connect the camera to the TV, the date and time and GPS coordinates are already on the photos and videos.  It automatically displays them for you, and gives you a choice to upload them to your favorite website, or Facebook or something else.  You need the speed to keep up with the fast integrated internet.

So how does your TV connect to the internet then?  Read the next blog entry for that answer.

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Me at IDF (with others)

DSC00313

From Left to Right

Karen Bartleson, Host of Conversation Central and Writer of “The Standards Game” blog.  Google Convesation Central

Jeff Ravencraft, President of the USB-Implementers Forum. www.usb.org

and Me

We are standing in front of Soup Freaks on Mission, 1 block from Moscone Center.  I highly recommend their Lentil, Turkey Sausage Soup.  They do breakfast too.

Karen interviews Jeff for an upcoming episode.

I interview Jeff.  I sound dumb.  Jeff sounds smart.

Those videos are coming soon-ish.

 

USB Humor

I’m not sure I understand this

Life IS too shorts Tee Shirts

You can buy this at Zazzle.com

Posted in Conversation Central, Digital Home | 1 Comment »

USB Power Delivery Profiles

Posted by Eric Huang on 10th September 2012

 

The USB Power Delivery standard will allow up to 100W of power to be delivered to or from devices. 

Power Delivery

Power Delivery Profiles and Applications

 

There is an error in the first slide.  Correction is after the Jump

Keep in mind that the power provided over USB is limited by the wire gauge or thickness/diameter of the cable. More thickness = more cost.  You can carry more current.

Also remember that power can go in either direction with USB Power Delivery.

For Profile 1, we can image a tablet powering a flash drive or a keyboard and mouse through a USB 3.0 docking station.

For Profile 2, the USB 3.0 docking station can charge the tablet and ultrabook.

The ultrabook could power a monitor of up to 22 inches (maybe more) using only Profile 3.

For Profile 4, we could see super fast charging of a table, or support of even larger monitors and many more peripherals.

We can imagine Profile 5 used in desktops and laptops and monitors plugged into the wall and moving power over thicker USB cables.   Existing connectors and cables can probably be used for up to 36W, but read the spec first.

 

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Jump

Correction: USB 3.0 Power is from Host to Device NOT Device to Host

Something Funny from Agent K

This is a USB 3.0  story from Clients from Hell.

image

After you click on the Image above to read it, you can click here for the original article and more humor

Posted in Smartphone, Tablets, USB Humor, USB Power Delivery | Comments Off

Synopsys at the Innovators Developer Forum IDF 2012 and a Reader Comment

Posted by Eric Huang on 9th September 2012

I know many of you are on the way to San Francisco for this event. I love seeing all our customers and friends at IDF each Fall.   Here’s the highlights.

See DesignWare PCI Express 3.0 and USB 3.0 IP, NVM Express VIP, and Virtualizer in Action

September 11-13, 2012
Moscone Center West, 800 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

At  IDF 2012, Synopsys will showcase its latest solutions for PCI Express®, USB 3.0, and NVM Express, as well as its Virtual Prototyping Solutions. Stop by our booths in the General Community and USB-IF Community to check them out!

Synopsys Demos at IDF

  • DesignWare IP for PCI Express 3.0 Performance at 8.0 GT/s (Watch Video)
  • Use Synopsys PCI Express and NVM Express VIP with Protocol Analyzer to Improve Verification Productivity for PCI Express Designs (Learn More)
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Controller and PHY Operating as Mass Storage Device at 4+ Gbps (Learn More)
  • 4+ Gbps SuperSpeed USB 3.0 xHCI Host Controller and PHY Interoperability (Learn More)
  • Accelerate SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Driver Development with Virtual Prototyping (Learn More)

You can still register on-site for a Thursday Exhibitor Pass for only $125 here http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/intel-developer-forum-idf/san-francisco/idf-2012-san-francisco-registration-information.html (or for the full conference)

I really enjoy seeing our customers at IDF, so I look forward to seeing you here in San Francisco this week. (Yes, I know you read the blog).

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Reader/Viewer Comment

I travelled through Asia last week and getting ready for the trip the previous week, so I had few blog entires.  I will try to get out three blog entries this week.  There, I said it, that means it has to happen.  I’d like to say I’ve been OnTheMove (but that is a different blog here) or my Eyes Have It (another blog).  Thanks for reading and sticking with the blog.

Click on the image below to read the comment from our reader/viewer.  I don’t know anyone named Bruce, so it must be a real comment.

image

Posted in IDF 2012 | Comments Off

USB 3.0 in the Digital Home–Part 1

Posted by Eric Huang on 29th August 2012

If you are like most people…

… you aren’t reading this blog.

It also means you have one of these items with USB 2.0 in your home

1) A PlayStation 3, XBOX 360 or Wii

2) A Set Top Box for your cable, DSL, or Satellite TV.

3) A BluRay or DVD player purchased in the last 5 years

4) A TV purchased in the last 5 years

USB and Digital Home

My unsupported assertion is that most TVs shipped have a USB 2.0 port to accept USB Flash Drives.

(Also, the ports can be used to update the firmware on your TV as my friend did on his Sony TV).   Even if you don’t see the USB on the outside, since these chips are often used in PC monitors as well (1 chip many applications) the USB is available somewhere inside the SoC.

I ran out of time, so I will update the Internally column tomorrow (probably).

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Reader Mail

A brave journalist blogger tried to connect 127 USB 2.0 devices to a Win 7  PC.  See the picture below.

image

From my reading of the article, each time the blogger plugged in a new devices, it took longer and longer to install drivers.

He stops when he reaches 100 USB peripherals because he’s stayed up all night.  Also probably because he hit the deadline for submitting his on-line article which you can read here (in Japanese).

 

Thanks for sending material in. I can’t use all the internet articles/videos you send me, but I will try.

 

USB Shoe

This shoe is controlled via HTML and USB.

USB Dancing Shoe

Posted in Digital Home, USB Humor | 4 Comments »

USB on Mars

Posted by Eric Huang on 23rd August 2012

My thanks to 42 readers who sent me this video. Clicking on the image below will take you to the website with the video. Watch the first 1.2 minutes.

 

image

 

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Step By Step – Here’s 3 ways to subscribe

 

1) Get this blog sent directly to your e-mail

2) In a News Reading App for Apple or Android

  • If you have an Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Android Phone or Pad ( Samsung Phone or Tablet or Google Phone or Tablet),  you can use a reader like “Google Currents”
  • You can go into Google Currents and cut and paste this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/synopsysoc/ToUSB  when you add your own URL.
  • Then it will be beautifully formatted to your iPad or Tablet or iPhone.  
  • (I like Google Currents because it stores the data on your device so you can read it later on an airplane.  You need to open the application every few days to pull the Blog data and other news site info from the servers)
  •   Download Google Currents for the Apple Products in iTunes or for Android Google Play

 

3) In Outlook (might work in other email programs)

  • Click on this link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/synopsysoc/ToUSB
  • Find this box
    •  image
    • Click on the down Arrow
    • Click on the last option “Universal Subscription Mechanism (USM)”
    • It will ask you if you want to Launch Application or something like that.  Click “Okay” or “Launch” or “Allow” and it will launch Outlook
    • In Outlook 2007 you should get this or something like this
    • image
    • Click “Yes”

You will find updates in your RSS Feed folder.  It may download old ones too.

No matter what, you should come back and visit.

 

Bottom line:  You should do all 3 methods so you won’t miss this USB Blog.

Also, look for me on LinkedIn Search on “Eric Huang Synopsys”.  I update my Status each time I do a new Blog.

Trial Video Embed

The Video is embedded below, but I don’t think it works so use the link above

Posted in Subscribe, USB Humor | Comments Off

USB and Thunderbolt in 90 seconds

Posted by Eric Huang on 21st August 2012

A Blog Reader kindly forwarded this video to me explaining the differences in USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt.

Watch it because it distills USB and Thunderbolt into about 20 seconds of content.

 

USB and Thunderbolt as explained in 90 seconds as explained by a Microsoft OEM person

 

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Western Wisconsin

I drove around Western Wisconsin on Friday.

Stopped at a Gas Station.

  • First Sign “Ethanol Free Gasoline"
  • Second Sign “Deer Dressing Services”
  • Third Sign “Ammo Sold Here”
  • Fourth Sign “Buy this Deer Head” or any of the 20 above the Beer Freezers.

I told this story to a friend who said, “I only display deer I shoot myself.”

Posted in Thunderbolt, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 | Comments Off

Take the USB Quiz–The Children of USB

Posted by Eric Huang on 15th August 2012

I asked a gentleman a few questions about USB products, and non-USB standards.

The result (to me at least) is both revealing and entertaining.  You should really watch this.

Eric Huang asks Terrance Carter, a Child of USB, questions about USB and non-USB

 

 

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Something Funny Here

image

Posted in USB Humor, USB Quiz | 1 Comment »

DisplayLink Success Story–USB 3.0 Device, PHY, and HDMI

Posted by Eric Huang on 14th August 2012

You read last weeks blog on HP shipping a USB 3.0 Port Replicator / Docking Station with the DisplayLink chip. See the cool picture below of the HP product.

 

image

 

And you watched all of last week’s videos, and saw how DisplayLink demonstrates working products and describes how their chip adapts to the available USB bandwidth.

 

DisplayLink uses Synopsys USB 3.0 and HDMI IP.  Specifically our USB 3.0 Device and PHY IP.

So we interviewed DisplayLink’s Vice President of Engineering to see what DisplayLink actually liked.

 

image

 

 

Read and share the DisplayLink success story on the USB 3.0 Device and PHY here , as well as HDMI Transmitter Controller IP and HAPS system, with your friends.

 

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Running in 92 Degree Heat

The best thing about running in 92 degree heat is:
a) When it’s over
b) It isn’t 93 degrees
c) That no one else is stupid enough to be out running in 92 degree heat so the path is clear

Send me or comment below on other answers to this question

Posted in DisplayLink, HDMI, Success Stories, USB 3.0, USB 3.0 Products | Comments Off