What is this?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by 990CPA, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. 990CPA macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    #1
    Riddle me this, Batman: what is the device in the attached image?

    There is a female USB on the right side and I presume the lens on top is a light that indicates the device is working.

    Background: I found it in a box full of old office "junk".

    10 bonus points if you can tell me what it's worth on the eBay market.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Tyler23 macrumors 603

    Tyler23

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #2
    Looks like a USB flash drive. AKA, a portable device that you can plug into a computer, and you can add files from the computer to the flash drive. Then, you can disconnect it, plug it into a different computer, and transfer the files.

    Nifty device, but very common and can be found at any local WalMart, Target, grocery store, Staples, etc..

    You could probably get a buck or so for it.
     
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #3
    USB memory stick, that let's you plug another device in (so freeing up one of your USB ports).

    If you plug it in to your computer, does it show up?
     
  4. 990CPA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    #4
    Except...

    "There is a female USB on the right side" It looks like it's meant to have the USB connection pass *through* it, but I don't know for what purpose.

    No, I haven't plugged it into my computer. I am one of those people who *doesn't* push a button just because it's there. Nor do I plug strange devices into my computer unless I know what it's going to do.

    Thanks for the ideas. Keep 'em coming!
     
  5. ElectricSheep macrumors 6502

    ElectricSheep

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    #5
    This could also be an old USB Easy Transfer/Data Link dongle. USB is a strictly Client/Host architecture, and you cannot normally connect to host controllers (e.g. PCs) together. By using a bridge chip inside of a dongle or USB A-A cable, you could connect two computers together via USB for sharing files.
     
  6. Tyler23 macrumors 603

    Tyler23

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #6
    This, missed your mention of the female USB port on the right side.

    Sounds like a USB flash drive that allows you to connect another device to it using a USB cord.
     
  7. 990CPA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    #7
    Interesting theory, Doctor...

    Now we're getting somewhere. I also found a male-male USB cable, which may support your theory. I don't know if they were stored together though.
     
  8. ElectricSheep macrumors 6502

    ElectricSheep

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    #8
    Its very likely that this cable came with the device. Male-A to male-A USB cables are not very common at all and the purpose to using differentiated connectors was to make sure that the client/host relationship was preserved; you definitely do not want to just try plugging two computers together using an A-to-A cable as this could cause damage to one or both machines.

    As far as how much it is worth, these types of cables and dongles became obsolete with the advent of large-capacity flash drives, ubiquitous WiFi, and cloud storage. Don't get your hopes up.
     
  9. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Location:
    The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
    #9
    Are there any markings on the other side? Serial number? Model number? brand?

    ----------

    Also, are you using windows or a Mac? I don't know what your options are on a Mac, but on windows you could have the device manager open, wait to see if the item pops up in the device manager and then go to properties and look for the "hardware ID".
     
  10. 990CPA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    #10
    YIKES! I can imagine. Oh well. At least now I know. Evidently just plugging it in wouldn't have told me much.

    Thanks MacRumors Buddies! You're the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!2
     
  11. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #11
    Could be one of many things...

    As someone else suggested, a "transfer" cable.

    Could be a "keylogger" - you put it between the USB port and your keyboard, and it records everything you type.

    Could be a "phantom keystroker" - instead of recording everything, it inserts random extra letters. (a gag item.)

    Could be a software-security dongle - some high-end software requires a piece of hardware be plugged in to prove you own it rather than using license keys. They generally have pass-through so you don't lose use of the port.

    Could be a "power-only adapter" - although I don't know of any commercial ones that have been around long enough to be in a junk drawer already. It's a device for security purposes that removes the data pins from a USB connection, so you can plug your phone charger in to a random USB port and trust that it won't try to steal your data.
     

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