Category: Storage

Just in time for Easter: Chocolate USB flash drives

Today we realized – somewhat belatedly – that we were missing several key ingredients required for making Easter eggs. Specifically: eggs and dye. And since most of the shops are closed, our local Shoppers Drug Mart became the beneficiary of our poor planning.

We found both eggs and a dyeing kit so catastrophe was averted. But as luck would have it, I also stumbled upon another Easter-themed item. There, amidst the $10 DVDs and the wall of i-device accessories, hung a rack of Maxell-branded “AromaDrives.

Turns out innovation in the USB flash-drive space isn’t dead yet. Thanks to Maxell, you can now count smell, er, aroma amongst the many questionable attributes that manufacturers have added to these ubiquitous gadgets in the hopes of driving sales.

When I first realized what I was looking at, I hoped that the chocolate scent would be generated by plugging the drive into a USB socket. You know – like one of those Glade Plug-in capsules – so as it gradually heated up from the tiny 5 volt current, it would release increasing amounts of chocolatey goodness into the atmosphere. Sadly, it seems Maxell has simply impregnated the shell of the drive with the artificial chocolate scent and any increase in aroma you get after plugging it in is purely unintentional.

If this sounds like something that belongs in your Easter basket this weekend, hop on over to your nearest Shoppers and be prepared to shell out $24.99 + taxes for a 4GB model.

Tell them the Easter Bunny sent you.

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Sony backs SD format: it's about time

800px-SDHC_memory_card_-_8GBMemory_Stick_Front_and_BackToday I was delighted to read about Sony jumping on the Secure Digital (SD) memory card bandwagon. All I can say is: what took you so long?

I understand that 10 years ago, when the SD format broke onto the scene and made its play to replace the similarly-shaped Multimedia Card (MMC ) the flash memory landscape looked a lot different than it does today.  Support for one format was non-existent. Devices were being built to make use of Compact Flash (CF), the now-defunct Smart Media card (SM), IBM Micro-drives, MMCs and of course Memory Stick.

That was then. Today, despite the expansion of the flash memory universe from a format point of view (Olympus and FujiFilm introduced the xD format in 2002), the market share of devices that use these formats has shifted to favour the SD format by a wide margin.

In our household, some of the many memory-card using gadgets are:

  • Nikon dSLR
  • Canon PowerShot Camera
  • Sony Cybershot
  • Wii
  • Archos media player
  • Two photo printers
  • Fisher-price digital camera
  • Panasonic TV

All of these devices with the exception of the Sony CyberShot use SD memory. And though we didn’t necessarily choose them for this shared capability, I am constantly reminded how convenient and cost-effective it is to have a single format. Not to mention how irritated I get when I want to swap files from the Sony camera onto another device.

So I congratulate Sony on their decision to support SD. It may not be better than Memory Stick or any other format for that matter, but it’s as close to a standard as we have, and with any luck, the rest of the electronics industry will throw their support behind it as well, at least until the relentless march of innovation forces the development of a new standard.

I’m very tempted to stay on my soap-box and give my thoughts on the lack of USB-cable standard… but that’s another post, for another time.

Update: Check out Marc Saltzman’s video coverage of the new Sony Bloggie – one of the first Sony products to accept an SD card.