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C is the key: Explaining USB Type-C

What really makes this new standard special

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For years, people have grown accustomed to using USB ports for almost all of their devices. Whether you need to charge your phone using your computer or use a controller to play games, you can always count on a USB port to be readily available for you. But 2018 was the year of change and innovation, and the USB port you know and love welcomed change in a big way.

Introducing: USB Type-C, the newest port added to the family. Its round shape brought many new uses and functionalities to your ports. But, how different is it from its much older brothers? How have companies revolutionized its use in mainstream devices?


What is this USB Type-C port?

The USB Type-C (USB-C) port is a not-so-recent discovery in the world of tech. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) developed this USB port back in 2013, and launched it into mass production the following year. The connector is a reversible oval shape, much different from the usual rectangular shape of the previous generation. Its reversibility allows any orientation of the cable for transferring files or charging your device.

USB-IF developed USB-C following the USB 3.1 standard. Such a standard was particularly used because of its faster transfer speeds and charging capabilities. With a USB-C port, you can transfer an hour-long movie in less than 30 seconds, provided you have the appropriate connector for it.

Computer and smartphone manufacturers have incorporated the USB-C port in most of their devices. One of the early adopters of the new technology was Apple, with their redesigned 12-inch MacBook in 2015. Other computer manufacturers followed in the later years, especially with the release of the Thunderbolt 3 technology used for gaming machines.

It’s the younger, faster and more all-around sibling

USB-C has been around for the past four years, and it has gradually developed into an all-around port for users. Alongside Thunderbolt 3, the USB-C port posts the highest data transfer speed across all the available USB connections in existence. Not only that, USB-C ports these days can now connect your devices to external GPUs and displays, and charge your devices. Most USB-C ports even support fast charging for smartphones.

While the technology behind it is supported by a USB 3.1 standard, it’s still very much different from other USB ports that use the USB 3.1 protocol. For starters, the USB 3.1 standard found in USB-C ports are USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, which offer twice as much performance in data transfer as USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. Most of the Gen 1 ports also use an older USB Type-A standard, which works for most of your gadgets and peripherals today. However, you would need more adapters for other functionalities, like displaying to a monitor.

But the USB-C port is a far cry from the old USB 2.0 and 3.0 protocols, which have been in existence for 14 years (and counting). Data transfer speeds for those two protocols are significantly slower compared to the USB-C port. An hour-long movie would ideally take around one to two minutes on a USB 2.0 port. Also, older USB protocols don’t really allow you to power up devices that need more electricity. So, charging devices on them might not be as fast.

Supercharged with Thunderbolt 3

So, you’re probably wondering what really makes a USB-C port just that fast. It’s not so much that it’s round, or that it’s new; rather, it’s the technology inside it. Late 2015 saw the arrival of the new Thunderbolt 3 standard specifically for USB-C ports. It first started out in most Windows laptops before making it to the 2016 MacBook Pro and several gaming motherboards.

What Thunderbolt 3 does for USB-C ports is to significantly increase its capacity and capabilities by a mile. We’re talking faster file transfer, heightened gaming experiences, and being able to plug in 4K displays for clearer images. Thunderbolt 3 also allows much bigger devices to be charged at a controlled rate. This is mostly evident with the MacBook Pro, several high-end Ultrabooks, and most recently, the 2018 iPad Pro.

The charging capacity brought about by Thunderbolt 3 deals with a tweak to how USB power delivery works. USB power delivery standards state that each USB standard has specific conditions that must be met to power up devices. Early versions of USB ports only allow a small amount of electricity (2.5W) for delivery, while USB-C allows for the full 100W.  Basically, you went from just powering up your mouse and keyboard to charging your entire laptop.

What’s to come for USB-C?

At this point in time, you’re already living in the future that the USB-C port hopes to achieve. Suddenly, you can simply bring a USB-C cable around, plug it into a powerbank, and you can already charge your expensive MacBook. More and more devices are starting to adopt USB-C because of its potential to enhance your tech experience as a whole.

However, people still find it difficult to switch to USB-C, and for good reason. Most devices continue to use a USB Type-A or micro-USB connector, especially gaming controllers and peripherals. Also, they can argue that the old ports are more accessible. In a not-so-distant future, using a USB-C port could potentially replace a phone’s headphone jack.

The future of USB-C is still uncertain. Companies will iron out the new technology more so it can become mainstream for the future. Let’s just hope that by the time that happens, there won’t be a USB Type-D yet.

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9 gifts to enhance your kid’s multiple intelligence

There are more ways to learn!

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Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Every kid has its own potential. As grown-ups, we excel in different fields simply because we are smart in different ways. In Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, there are eight types of intelligence which are a big factor in how a kid learns.

Simply put, learning isn’t limited to school and there isn’t a single style of learning. The way your children play, interact and behave strongly shows how they learn differently, and what kind of field they will excel in.


Here are gift ideas for any occasion that you can get your children based on their intelligence:

For the word smart

Photo by Kindle

Kids exhibiting high linguistic intelligence are typically good at reading and writing. They’re also great storytellers and showcases strong memorization skills.

Help them enhance their verbal and written skills by giving them a Kindle Unlimited subscription, offering over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks. These can be easily accessed using your Kindle device, or through Kindle reading apps on your tablets or smartphones.

For the number smart

Photo by Square Off

Some kids are great at reasoning and critical thinking. Additionally, these are the kids that are great at logic, abstract, and numbers. In Gardner’s terms, these are the kids with logical-mathematical intelligence.

Let them polish their strategic and critical thinking by giving them an electronic chessboard, such as Square Off’s Chess Set.

For the picture smart

Photo by LEGO

Visual-spatial intelligence revolves around the ability to visualize and think through images. Kids exhibiting this style of learning are highly imaginative and creative, often they set on career paths related to arts and multimedia.

Hone their creativity by giving them a LEGO set, maybe The Rexcelsior ones? 

For the body smart

Photo from Amazon

There are kids who have higher energy compared to his/her peers. Most of them can’t sit still and would rather move around. Their learning style is a bit different, which requires them to use their bodies or observe someone’s movement. Kids like these exhibit bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

Gift them a badminton racket and let them play to their heart’s content.

For the music smart

Photo by The ONE

If your kid recognizes sounds with ease, he/she probably exhibits strong musical intelligence. In other words, they have a good ear for music, and they can easily learn songs and melodies. Most of the time, they’re also gifted at singing, composing, and playing an instrument.

Support their talent by getting them a smart keyboard like The ONE’s Light Keyboard, which has keys that light up with sheet music, video lessons, and games when connected with The ONE Smart Piano app.

For the people smart

Photo by Amazon

Nowadays, technology makes it difficult for people to connect with someone. We’ve developed a culture where everyone would rather look down on screens than interact with the people they’re with. But there are kids who enjoy talking to people, and these are kids with high interpersonal intelligence.

Highlight the importance of engaging with people real-time and how fun it could be. Gift them a board game like Scrabble.

For the self smart

Some kids are more attuned to their self and have a far better understanding than their parents do. These are kids with high intrapersonal intelligence, and they are adept in figuring themselves out and knowing what they want.

Help them explore their inner selves by giving them a journal to write their thoughts down.

For the nature smart

Kids with naturalist intelligence are natural-born explorers, who know how to enjoy and appreciate nature. They love the great outdoors and they would thrive in activities that involve discovering the wonders of nature.

Next time you’re traveling with your family, instead of arcades and malls, bring them to a zoo or a botanical garden, like the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest in Singapore.

For the life smart

There are highly sensitive kids who have the capacity to tackle deep questions, and in Gardner’s theory, these are the kids who have existential intelligence. They ponder about human existence and they have a lot of questions about life (and even death).

Allow your children to be curious. Give them a book that makes them think and ask questions (and possible get answers), such as Stephen Hawking’s Brief Answers to the Big Questions.

What other gift ideas do you recommend for children? Sounds off in the comments below.

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Nomad releases new line of Kevlar charging cables

You’ll never see cables the same way again

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Until the world adapts a fully wireless lifestyle, we’re going to have to succumb to buying charging cables one after another. It’s typical for anyone to fall into the trap of buying inexpensive ones as they easily break anyway.

Nomad is here to change that mind set. The accessory maker rolls out a collection of 11 cables wrapped in Kevlar outer sheath as well as Kevlar internal reinforcement.


Kevlar is a synthetic fiber known for its durability and heat-resistance. It’s commonly used in creating gear to protect users from cuts and heat. Uniforms and body armor worn by firefighters, police officers, and military forces also use Kevlar as a key component.

Nomad’s Kevlar cables also feature internal components that ensure fast charging and data transfer. Each package includes a Kevlar badge to indicate the licensed partnership, as well as a 5-year warranty. It’s entirely possible that these cables will outlive your smartphone or your laptop.

The new collection includes:

18W USB-C to Lightning Cable

  • 1.5m – US$39.95
  • 3m – US$44.95

100W USB-C Cable

  • 1.5m – US$29.95
  • 3m – US$34.95

USB-A to Lightning Cable

  • 1.5m – US$34.95
  • 3m – US$39.95

Universal USB-C: USB-C core cable capable of up to 100W charging speeds. One end features a USB-A adaptor, while the other end is micro USB.

  • 0.3M – US$24.95
  • 1.5M – US$34.95
  • 3M – US$39.95

Universal USB-A: Standard USB-A cable with Micro USB, USBC, and Lightning adaptors on one end.

  • 0.3M – US$29.95
  • 1.5M – US$39.95

Get Nomad’s Kevlar cables on hellonomad.com.

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Xiaomi launches affordable Mi Super Bass Wireless headphones

20 hours of non-stop playback

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Xiaomi is known for its feature-packed smartphones, but the brand has a massive presence in the lifestyle segment. For now, a lot of these products are limited to Mainland China, but the brand is slowly releasing them in its core markets like India.

Today, the Chinese company launched the Mi Super Bass Wireless headphones in India and they’re priced quite aggressively. This week is going to be even more exciting because the Redmi K20 Pro is scheduled to launch on July 17.


The headphones come with a 400mAh battery that Xiaomi claims can last up to 20 hours on a single charge. In simpler words, it is sufficient to listen to 300 songs in one go. Equipped with 40mm drivers, they are tuned to deliver high bass and pressure-less earmuffs provide a comfortable listening experience over extended periods. The head beam is adjustable and has elastic shafts to rotate the ear muffs.

Lastly, they connect to any smartphone via Bluetooth 5.0, offering wider range and capability to connect two headphones simultaneously to one phone. They can also be used along with a wire if you want truly acoustic output. Operations can be handled via voice commands thanks to an in-built mic and support for virtual assistants.

They’re priced at INR 2,199 (US$ 32) and can be purchased via Amazon.in. Prime Day sale is going on and they can be grabbed for just INR 1,799 (US$26). Color options include Black and Red, as well as Black and Gold.

Previously, Xiaomi has launched its range of smart TVs, air purifiers, and light bulb in India. A couple of weeks back, they also unveiled a trimmer. We expect the brand to launch more of these in the coming future as it slowly scales up operations.

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