A network storage server is an external drive that is appropriately named. Connect
one to your home wireless network and all of the computers on your network can
read and write files on the same drive. They are not inexpensive, but for many
people the sheer convenience of sharing files makes them invaluable. They are
not difficult to install but whenever a network is involved there is always
the potential for complications, so don't buy one unless you're
comfortable with the notion of being your own IT department.
hard drives provide a convenient way to transfer image files from
one PC to another.
Step Two: Add A DVD Writer
Someday soon either Blu-ray or HD DVD will become mainstream, but for now DVD
is the de facto standard for long-term data storage. DVD writers are very affordable
and media is dirt cheap--less than a quarter apiece when purchased in bulk.
A single blank DVD will hold about 4.2GB of data (unformatted capacity is 4.7GB
but useable capacity is lower). That translates to something on the order of
1800 full resolution images from a 6-megapixel Canon EOS 10D. Double-layer DVDs
hold about twice that amount. There has been concern voiced about the long-term
durability of DVD media, and the jury is still out. Still, there is every reason
to believe that the images you burn to a DVD will last at least until a better
system is introduced. Then you can copy them to the new media, in the same manner
that you migrated your records to audio cassette tapes and your audio cassettes
BurnAway DVD writer is the perfect traveling companion for photographers.
Look for a DVD burner that has at least a 16x write speed, even though most
media is 8x--someday the media will catch up. Most DVD writers will write
and read both DVD+R and DVD-R media. Thankfully, the confusing +R/--R example
of non-standardization is mostly behind us. (If you have an older model DVD
movie player connected to your TV set you may run into some cross-compatibility
issues--check with the manufacturer if in doubt.) Use RW media if you need
to erase and rewrite the same disk over and over, as one might do when developing
a series of revisions over a long period of time. Of course, DVD writers also
read and write all flavors of CD media as well.
Digital's Passport series of hard drives are small enough
to slip into a briefcase or jacket pocket yet store up to 120GB
The Sony DRX-820UL/T (www.sonystyle.com)
is one of the finest desktop external DVD burners available. It's a speedy
16x and can write a full DVD in as little as 6 minutes. It provides complete
media compatibility; it's double layer and of course it can handle --R/+R/RW,
etc. The cosmetic design will look quite attractive on your desk, and it connects
via high-speed USB (USB 2.0) or FireWire (Sony calls it iLink). Best of all,
perhaps, it ships with a very powerful software suite that includes Nero 6.0
for Windows and Roxio's Toast authoring software for Mac. Street price
For portable convenience, look to the Delkin BurnAway DVD writer (www.delkin.com).
It's more than a reliable DVD writer--it's the perfect way
to transfer images from your memory card to a DVD (or CD) whether at home or
on the road. It's lithium ion battery powered and comes complete with
a functional carrying case. To operate, simply turn it on, drop a DVD into the
tray, and pop a memory card into the slot. Press one button and you're
on your way--all without being attached to a computer (unless you want
to be). It's a great way to share images with friends and relatives when
you're away from home. Think of it as an external DVD writer that you
can take wherever you go. It also functions as a DVD and MP3 player. It's
a lot of product for the price ($329 street).
external DVD writers complement any office décor.
It's easy to add Hi-Speed USB (2.0) and FireWire connectivity to your
PC. If you are a notebook user you can buy an interface card that occupies one
available PC card slot. The Adaptec DuoConnect CardBus for Notebooks (www.adaptec.com)
adds two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire port and takes up only one slot. To
upgrade a desktop computer you'll need a screwdriver and an unoccupied
PCI slot. Yes, you have to remove the cover, and if that makes you skittish
don't try it. If you are comfortable working on your PC's innards,
Adaptec makes a very reliable PCI version of the DuoConnect. It adds three USB
2.0 and two FireWire connections. Street price for either DuoConnect adapter
is around $69.