Frequently Asked Questions
It reads at 12.5MegaBytes/second rarely going above or below that, from both the optical drive and the flash memory.
That's ~continuous~ as there is practically no seek speed, and it equates to 81x in CD-ROM speeds, or 9.46x in DVD-ROM speeds!! Much faster than a real optical drive will attain!
The write speed depends on the Class of the MicroSD card. The Class number is the minimum write speed of the card in MByte/s.
At minimum we will choose Class 4 cards (4MB/s), but we will try our best to obtain Class 6 and higher!
* For those who like specificity, all MegaByte figures are actually in MibiBytes, meaning 1024*1024 bytes.Last updated:
(If you're unfamiliar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U3 )
The major differences are:
a) The isostick's bootloader lets you switch between ISOs on the fly.
b) You don’t need to copy the ISO contents onto a special area, you simply keep the ISO file on the flash drive as you would any other file. The only restriction is the partition must be readable by isostick (at present this means FAT32, but future updates may add support for other filesystems).Last updated:
Yes! You can disable it if, for whatever reason, you do not want or use it. We have tried very hard to design it to be unobtrusive and not cause compatibility issues. If you encounter problems with it, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will get right on it!
The timeout before booting the last-selected ISO will also be configurable.
If you'd like to see some other feature, let us know in the comments!Last updated:
Yes, when we stop producing the isostick all designs and source code will be made available under the MIT license.
The choice to protect the firmware was made because the hardware is very simple, so it can be trivially cloned. We realize that no protection mechanism will stop clones, but it will significantly raise the barrier.Last updated:
It will depend on demand and retailers, and it's very hard to predict, but we are shooting for around the price point on the Kickstarter. We will make our best effort to lower the retail pricing based on demand and production costs, but there are other costs associated with selling retail.Last updated:
Yes! The management software runs on "the big three" without any problems.Last updated:
Yes, please add $10 to your pledge for shipping to Canada, or $15 for shipping anywhere else.
Those who have already pledged internationally please adjust your pledge if you are willing; if not, I will cover the shipping. My apologies for not including this initially.Last updated:
Probably. We want to keep our options open, but at present the plan is to use MicroSD cards on the production units as well.Last updated:
Yes! Thanks to the new, custom-designed enclosure, which has a slot on the side for changing the MicroSD card whenever you want :)Last updated:
Yes. The isostick's optical drive is agnostic to the contents of the ISO file, and simply presents them to the computer as the contents of the disc.
This is done at the protocol level by implementing the SCSI commands used by optical drives (for those interested, that would be the MultiMedia Command standard, or MMC-5 standard).Last updated:
Not at the moment, but we are working on it. Updates will be posted as progress is made.Last updated:
Yes! We will continue to update the isostick with new features and bug fixes, and these updates will be freely available to everyone.Last updated:
MicroSD cards were chosen because of their high availability, low cost, and ease of use. The barrier to purchasing MicroSD cards in bulk is about 1000 units, and that is considered a very low number in the industry. These are some of the minimum order quantities mentioned in the video.
The benefits of MicroSD are that it handles the bad block checking and all the flash memory control on its own, offloading it from the isostick's CPU so we can dedicate more processor time to pretending to be an optical drive.
While flash memory chips do exist for this purpose, it turns out the pricing for a given size MicroSD card is almost identical to that of a same-size flash IC. Also the minimum order quantities on dedicated flash memory are much higher, as they deal mostly with large vendors such as those making MP3 players, cellphones, etc.Last updated:
As many as you can fit on the flash memory!
The isostick is not for just one ISO image, but a whole library of them.
Our intention is to let you carry around your most frequently used installers and utilities on your keychain.
Thanks to the bootloader, isosel, you can freely switch between those images even without an OS installed! Keep in mind that even with the bootloader, the optical drive is still being done in hardware, so there shouldn't be any compatibility issues.Last updated:
It is currently targeted at PC, but we will test it on several Macs in the coming weeks. When we have a solid answer this will be updated, and we'll post an update for the project.Last updated:
Yes! All isosticks, including Early Adopter units, have a 30-day replacement warranty. This covers early failure of the internal storage and failure due to manufacturing defect.
We will test each unit thoroughly before shipment, but we want to cover any failures that slip past us! Note that this does not cover accidental (or intentional!) damage to the unit by the end user.Last updated:
As soon as possible after the Kickstarter is funded, but here are some estimates. Please do not take them as hard deadlines, we will work as quickly as we can.
Early Adopter units should ship within 1.5 months of the Kickstarter ending. That is based on: it may take up to 2 weeks to clear all the money, and another 2 weeks to get the enclosures back, plus some overhead for testing, packing, and shipping them.
Others should start to ship a few weeks after that. The interim will be spent fixing bugs with the Early Adopters.Last updated:
It's in the plan. We'll release an update to support those later.Last updated:
Not yet. This is a feature we plan to add in a future update. This would allow you to "burn" to the isostick, and it would show up as an ISO file on the flash memory, no problem!
We feel this would be especially useful for computers which come with software that lets you burn the recovery disc, but don't come with a physical copy or a download on the website.Last updated:
The isostick is protected from static discharge (ESD) and voltage spikes that may occur. It also protects both itself and your computer from overcurrent by using a self-resetting fuse.
The technical details, if you're curious:
There are ESD protection diodes on the USB data lines to keep them safe during handling and plugging in / unplugging.
The +5V USB supply is run through a PTC self-resetting fuse and a ferrite bead to filter it and prevent damage from overcurrent.
The voltage regulator inside the isostick has a thermal shutdown in case input voltage or output current remains high for extended periods, despite the other precautions. The regulator can withstand a maximum input voltage of 7V, providing plenty of margin as USB ports are specified as supply no more than 5.5V.Last updated:
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