Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Use multi flash card readers to overcome data storage format incompatibilities.


As advanced consumer electronics like digital cameras, PDAs, multimedia mobile phones, and similar devices become increasingly affordable to the everyday user, we find ourselves having to keep track of more and more types of technology, which makes keeping all of our devices compatible with each other increasingly difficult. The technological marvels that have opened up so many new avenues to the common home user, which used to be reserved for the wealthy, are all sold to us with the advice that they will somehow make our lives easier and better. Specifically looking at digital cameras, the biggest problem of this sort is the fact that there are more than 8 distinctly different types of memory storage card commonly used, and the devices that use them are rarely able to accommodate more than two types at best. SecureDigital, CompactFlash of two generations, Microdrive, SmartMedia (SmartCard), Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro, xD Picture Card, and MultiMediaCard: Just how many of these do you use? If you know, do you know which device uses which? Fortunately, with the advent of multi-format flash-card readers, you can now safely know that no matter which camera, phone, PDA, or PC storage card you use, you can transfer data between any of your other devices quickly and easily.

A multi-format flash card reader is simply a device that plugs into your PC via any of a number of different types of data cable, which has a series of slots that accept one or more of the above types of removable media. It can read and write to these cards, transferring data – be it photos, mp3’s, word documents, or anything else – between the memory card and your computer’s hard drive. From there, you can transfer data back to another card via the card reader, if you wish, or perhaps edit and print off photos from the computer, burn data to a data CD or DVD, or simply keep them in your collection on your PC. They are surprisingly affordable for what they deliver, and there is a very wide range available to the market.

When deciding which card reader is for you, there are thankfully only a few things you need to consider that will make the difference in your purchasing decision. The obvious one is to consider what you actually need: How many, and which types of flash card do you use, and are you likely to add to this number in the foreseeable future? Naturally, then you consider which of the available readers has the features you need. It may be that you wish to be ready for every occasion, opting to simply buy the reader that offers the highest number of different formats.

Since finding a range of readers that support more formats than any one user is likely to need is not difficult, a more important thing to consider is whether a reader is compatible with your PC. The majority use either FireWire or USB 2.0 to transfer between your computer and the device. While there are a few important differences between them such as the maximum speed of the connection, the difference between their connection speeds is the factor least likely to limit how well it operates, and falls beyond the scope of this brief guide. What you do need to know is whether or not you have either a FireWire or USB port on your computer. Chances are, if your computer’s age is anything like your camera’s, you have already have USB support. For a point of reference, USB 1.0 (which is compatible with, but slower than USB 2) began to become standard around the time Pentium III’s were being released. If you’re not sure, you’re looking for a rectangular “female” socket – there will probably be more than one – either on the front or back of your PC measuring roughly 1/2″ wide by roughly 3/16″ high (or about 12mm x 3.5mm). As well as hardware compatibility, if you’re not using a recent version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, you need to consider whether you system will be able to run the software for the reader you buy. While all the software may not be compatible on Linux or Mac OS, flash card readers generally just act as a fairly standard mass-storage device, and the cards often use a slightly modified FAT-16 file system, meaning basic read-write operation is usually easy to set up, even without the software. Finally, there is the cost to consider.

Having laid down the criteria for judging the products, we can compare a couple of the more interesting models on the market. Obviously there are a lot more than just these two out there, however, they serve well by way of example. The SanDisk’s ImageMate 8-in-1, as the name suggests, supports eight different media types: Compact Flash (1 & 2), MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, xD Picture Card, Memory Stick Pro, and Secure Digital. While it does support it, it should be noted that SanDisk recommends against using Microdrive with this device. It has 4 physical ports, each acting as a USB mass storage device (4 virtual drives in total) with any version of Windows later than Windows 95, or Mac OS 9 and later. It uses a USB 2.0 interface, and features very fast transfer speeds from all of the card formats to the PC. If you want compatibility with just about every major flash card in use, then the ImageMate 8-in-1, manufactured by a respected brand in the industry, and usually retailing for just over $60, is a superb purchase.

If you need a better guarantee of compatibility with your system, then you should consider the Addonics Pocket Ultra DigiDrive (UDD). It supports all of the formats of the ImageMate, plus a few less common ones too. Also operating as a USB 2.0 mass storage device, the feature that sets this one apart form the rest is the compatibility. In addition to being compatible with Windows and Mac OS, it includes drivers and support for Sun Solaris 8 and higher, and Linux Kernel 2.4 and higher. This device represents the ultimate in inter-compatibility, and also being priced at around $60, it is a tempting purchase.

Flash card readers are highly affordable devices that take the headache of compatibility issues away. Whether for your camera, PDA, multimedia phone, PC, and any similar device you care to name, these ingenious devices are so affordable that you almost can’t afford not to have one.

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Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Psalm 24:1-2

He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
Psalm 104:10-13

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number living things both large and small.
Psalm 104:24-25

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.
Ansel Adams

When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!
Ted Grant

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.
Dorothea Lange

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
Ansel Adams

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
Henri Cartier-Bresson

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
Ansel Adams

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.
Matt Hardy

Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
Elliott Erwitt

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.
Imogen Cunningham

You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.
William Albert Allard

If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.
Garry Winogrand

I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.
Ansel Adams

It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get.
Timothy Allen


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