Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Three Things Series.... 3 Things I couldn't do without

I am finding myself increasingly dependent on a couple of things that I now leave in my toolkit.

  1. My USB adapter for SD cards
  2. My external USB hard drive
  3. My Bluetooth headset
SD cards: when was the last time you saw a laptop with a 1.44" drive; quite a long time I wager. However as I drop in and out of client sites I am faced with a series of connectivity problems which sometimes aren't worth solving given the duration of stay. More often than not this is around printing of documents.

I started out using the normal USB or thumb drive but as I changed cameras I found that the SD card I had was no longer usable with my new camera. Also given that SD card storage size it increasing I looked for an alternative that gave me the flexibility of floppy disks without the expense.

I adopted this guy, or at least something similar. I find it incredibly useful and I can carry more, smaller, SD cards around to give me extra capacity and flexibility without having to have lots of USB drives hanging around in my bag. The vendors see this as a good market for them and they have now started to combined the technologies directly.

I'm not sure how popular they will become and if the combined device will evolve (in terms of capacity) as quickly as the simple SD card.

USB Drive: I first starting using an external, USB powered, hard drive when I first came to Asia. Mostly because the laptop that I was provided with didn't have enough space for the data I needed when moving around the region and the VPN wasn't built out or reliable enough such that I could get to the data on the company Intranet. Laptop drives are bigger but I also use several machines now, I have a laptop at work, one at home, a Linux server etc so this device is even better for me now. As well as work data I am also to have music and photos stored on a highly portable media.

I recently invested in a second, 70Gb, disk that I use for backups of the first one and less volatile data; for example ISO images for SuSe etc that I can also burn a new CD from if required.

Again the capacity is for ever increasing on this kind of device.

Bluetooth Headset: Bluetooth as a real connection protocol needs some more work, but the basic headset function has become central to the way I communicate. I use a Nokia HDW-3 to connect to my current handset. After some googling and downloads I finally bypassed the poor driver delivered by Microsoft in XP and got a working headset and audio gateway working on my laptop.

This now means I can use both Skype and Gizmo with my headset and not have to be wired to my laptop. Works fine, the only thing I would change is the headset itself. As I mentioned in my other posting about Bluetooth the HDW-3 is completely spoiled by a cheap plastic clip that frequently breaks. I would swap it for this HS-11W also by Nokia.

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