Review: Joytek High Speed 7 Port USB 2.0 Hub

Most modern PCs are designed with an abundance of USB sockets. Great; exactly what the doctor ordered. Then pop along to Amazon and eBay happily buying a plethora of USB gizmos from fans to phone docks and you realise that the cable with your device is 1m long and the PC under your desk is 10cm further away than the cable will reach. Then when I want to remove that device and attach it to another PC there is the great cable hunt as I root around spaghetti junction, invariably unplugging at least one vital device before I get the correct one.

So off I went shopping for yet another office gadget to help me with this problem.

There are all sorts of solutions out there, mass-produced in gay abandon by our Chinese cousins. I use external USB hard drives and charge my phone and tablet from my PC so I wanted a powered USB hub. As ever, when I look for desktop kit I want it to be compact, well designed and generally a nice item to have on my desk. With that remit in mind, I bought this High Speed 7 Port USB 2.0 HUB from Amazon.

Out of the box it looked the part. A sleek, piano black centrepiece edged in nice tactile rubber moulding with the option to sit it in a simple desktop stand. I thought this to be the best option although it also looked okay lying on its side.

On the side of the hub with the power inlet, there is a cool looking blue LED. In low light this slightly illuminates the other ports from the rear. All in all, a very nice looking bit of kit clearly designed with a little care and attention. A miracle considering the bargain price.

On to testing. The first thing I noticed was that the connection from the hub to the PC is via one of those square USB printer connection affairs (Geek tells me it’s a “type B”, whatever that means). The supplied cable is a useful 2M long. Luckily for me my PC wasn’t 2.1m away from where I wanted the hub!

This cable connects on the same side as the power adapter. On this side of the hub there are 2 standard (“type A”!) USB sockets. I started by testing my little BlueTooth keyboard receiver and found the connections were well made and solid. The connector located easily and immediately found my keyboard. So far so good. Next I tried my iPhone 5, which is usually very selective about what it will charge from; the hub sailed through that test as well. Similarly with my tablet and then my desk fan and all was looking great.

I moved on to my external USB drives and it was here that this funky bit of kit came unstuck. It simply didn’t have the juice to run the drive which was a real shame because up till then it was looking like a faultless piece of tech. I could hook it up to a powered external drive and it was fine; for some reason it wasn’t getting the juice it needed from the hub that it could get from a PC.

A bit disappointing but weighing it up as a whole it has allowed me to remove a load of inaccessible cables from behind my PC and does mean I have a nice looking accessible USB port for any new desktop paraphernalia, providing it isn’t too power hungry.

On the downside I need to finish up this review now and go and pull my hard drive from the back of my…………

[easyreview title=”Dummy rating” icon=”dummy” cat1title=”Ease of use” cat1detail=”The very essence of plug & play” cat1rating=”5″ cat2title=”Features” cat2detail=”Perfect performer until it fell at the last jump” cat2rating=”2.5″ cat3title=”Value for money” cat3detail=”I have seen these going for as little as £4 but for the £8.93 I paid, it feels like good value” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Build quality” cat4detail=”It’s nice, it’s tactile, it looks cool!” cat4rating=”4.5″ summary=”A tad disappointed at it not powering my USB drives but even so, I liked it enough to buy another for home.”]

How-to: Put Licensed Version of Memory-Map on your Samsung Note (Android)

[easyreview title=”Complexity rating” icon=”dummy” cat1title=”Level of experience required, to follow this how-to.” cat1detail=”It all make perfect sense and it’s very easy to do. Why Memory Map just don’t share this with us all, no idea!” cat1rating=”1″ overall=”false”]

I do a lot of off road driving in my spare time and navigating using OS maps is essential. So imagine my excitement when the Samsung Galaxy Note tablet hit my radar claiming to have inbuilt GPS. So no more cumbersome laptop with a separate GPS unit and instead a much more portable tablet. Then when I checked with Memory-Map, Android is fully supported and I thought this was going to be a foolproof installation.

I have used Memory-Map on the iPad before and it has always been a pain to set up. I have to say that the support of it as a product is complete comedy. I would have thought that with every half-decent tablet that emerged on the market, Memory-Map would be looking to investigate and provide detailed instructions. That can only aid their sales of their mapping product, surely? But oh no, that’s too much work for them. Instead I was wading through half-baked, inaccurate ReadMe files before I finally gave in and asked Geek to help me out.

So then, without further ado, how do you put a licensed copy of Memory-Map on your Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet?

Firstly, you will need your own licensed copy of the software (which has come down a lot in price of late) and that will need to be installed and registered on your PC. Happily the instructions for that are very simple. Just create a Memory-Map account and hey presto you have access to whatever number of licenses are allocated with your version, one of which will be dedicated to your PC.

Directory MM

Next you need to connect your Samsung tablet to your PC via the usual USB lead and go to the Memory-Map site’s mobile downloads section and download the Android app.

It’s here that you can sometimes stumble at the first fence. The mobile install appears to be designed to encourage people to buy the rights to chunks of OS map via your Memory-Map account. Doing this puts a file on your system called a .DMS, which has the effect of signalling to your tablet that all map content is currently unlicensed. I guess I can understand why Memory-Map doesn’t go into detail with that but to be honest in the majority of cases if you don’t know about that and remove it, it’s never going to work! For now, don’t worry about that aspect.

Copy all content from os_50 or whatever your Memory-Map program folder is called. There will usually be 4 files in here. Memory-Map says just to copy the .qc3 file, which doesn’t work. Even if you copy the .qc3 and .qct files, the place name search function wont work. Better to get them all.So far so good. Now what you should find is that you can browse to your Samsung tablet via your PC. In the download directory there will be a Memory-Map folder and very probably a .DMS file. On your PC you will have a Memory-Map folder in your Programs directory from the install I discussed previously. The name of it can vary depending on what Memory-Map service you have bought, usually prefixed with os. Mine is os50. From here its a matter of a step by step approach.

MM dir to copy

  1. Next paste them into a directory on your Samsung tablet where the Memory-Map software can see them. The correct location to copy the files is /Download/Memory-Map. You must be precise about this. No sub-directories. The software will only check that directory for content.
  2. Check for the presence of a DMS file. In some cases (I’m not completely sure how but probably linked to accessing the digital map store or original Android download), the system will have created a “DMS” sub-folder under Memory-Map.  Within that, files indicate you have not paid for any of the OS maps, so it wont show you unscrambled OS maps but will prompt you to pay for them.
  3. If this folder has found its way onto your tablet, you will need to remove it.

That should be it. All files loaded in the correct place with no restrictions.

If you open MM on your tablet and select Menu then More Maps you should now see your OS map listed. Just select it and the software should check your online licence and add this device to your account using a further licence.

Now why can’t Memory-Map include these simple bits of advice. I mean rocket science it is not!!