Stocking Stuffers Page 2
SimpleDrives have FireWire and USB 2.0 interfaces for fast data transfer and
capacities from 120GB up to the 400GB model, making them perfect for backing
up or storing lots of digital images or DV clips. They are small, measuring
just 5.51x8.86x1.35", and are heat dissipating, providing cool, ultra-quiet
operation. A SimpleDrive is small enough to stuff into your digital backpack
or camera bag while traveling so you'll never run out of storage space.
The latest SimpleDrives have only one FireWire jack, so daisy chaining them together with my scanner and printer won't work. Here comes Belkin (www.belkin.com) to the rescue. While not a traditional photographic supplier, Belkin provides interconnectivity solutions that are indispensable for digital imagers. Their website showed just what I needed:
Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and FireWire PCI Card (Part #: F5U508) provides three USB 2.0 and two FireWire ports and is a simple plug-in installation in my Apple Power Mac G4. Just open the computer's side door, insert the card in a spare PCI slot, close the door, and plug in peripherals. USB 2.0 and FireWire has a bandwidth up to 40 times greater than USB 1.1, making it ideal for transferring large image (read raw) files at ultra-fast speeds. This is not just a Mac-only product and works with any recent 300MHz (or faster) Windows system and is a great way to add FireWire compatibility to those computers lacking it. For $89.99, the package includes Photo Manager, Video Editing, and Network software plus a cable.
Who's Your Caddy?
Back in Neanderthal days, all CD-ROM drives used cartridges or caddies to hold discs to provide greater safety and data accuracy. In the quest for cheaper peripherals caddies were replaced with the ubiquitous drop-in tray. DVD-RAM (see sidebar) drives from Fostex, Hitachi, IZ Technology, Iomega, JVC, LG, Panasonic, and NEC use cartridges for those same reasons and Digital Pursuits (www.bkaphoto.com) offers a Universal Cartridge for these and similar drives. The Universal Cartridge protects DVD discs from dust, fingerprints, and scratches during recording, playback, and storage. You might think of them as DVDs you don't have to take out of the case to use. (Have you ever cracked a DVD getting it out of a case? I have.) The Digital Pursuits Universal Cartridge is compatible with single and double-sided discs, is available with or without media, and works with any DVD-RAM or multi-format drive (or video recorder) that uses cartridges. Heck, they only cost $7.95 each with media!
I Pod, You Pod, We Pod
You just finished a shoot and the clients asked for digital files only. What are you going to do? Hand him a CD that looks like the same disc his kid buys at Wal-Mart to store illegally downloaded MP3 files? Nope, you're a pro; you deliver discs with a cool label, tenderly tucked inside a custom case. Lost Luggage's (www.lost-luggage.com) Orbit 242 disc holder has a frosted clear acrylic cover and a circular aluminum base. It screws together so the CD/DVD won't pop out and get scratched, crushed, or eaten by your Dalmatian. The Orbit 242 costs $25 and your client will think your photographs have some weight and are worth the big bucks they paid.
Client drives a Passat instead of a Phaeton? You need PODZ! Greywolf Marketing's PODZ (www.thinkpodz.com) are sealed disc storage cases that are half the width of standard jewel cases, and thinner than Slimlines. They're made of lightweight, flexible, and shatterproof polypropylene, and are perfect for storage, mailing, travel, or business use. The PODZ Surround Seal design seals the entire perimeter of the cases with a 360Þ protective ring. They're available in lots of colors, including Barbie's favorite hot pink, and by keeping out dust, dirt, grit, grime, and even water are well worth the extra cost. At $11 for 25 PODZ or 44 cents each, it's time to think outside the box.