OK, hardware gurus. The combination of a digital camera and two small children has outpaced even the largest imaginable hard drive. Therefore, we begin the search for a CD-R.
Problem: my wife and I both use laptops (Dell).
Solution: We can get a USB CD-R, right? It's slower, sure, but the ability to move it around and connect it to either system at will more than makes up for that.
Any suggestions on brand or corrections to my logic?
By Bub (Bub) on Sunday, September 2, 2001 - 02:37 pm:
I'm not a big fan of portable CD-Rs.
What I'd recommend, if storage is your only goal, is a portable USB Hard Drive.
I have a 20gig that comes in REALLY handy for transferring files, storing, backup, etc.,
But, if you're interested in copying CDs etc., get a CD-R. Get one that's USB 2.0 complient (it'll work like USB 1.1 for the time being but we're talking 12Mbs compared to 2.0's 480Mbps once USB 2.0 finally kicks in driver-wise).
Naturally FireWire will soon grow even faster than that....
Iomega makes a well-reviewed portable USB2.0 device and they should be quick with the 2.0 drivers.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, September 2, 2001 - 02:59 pm:
Those are good suggestions from Bub. I would shoot for one of the new USB CD-Rs that supports USB 2.0, if possible. They are brand spanking new so I'm not sure how much choice will be out there. If you have to fall back to USB 1.0 it's not a HUGE loss, just means you'll have to burn at 4x instead of 8x or higher. Big whup.
I think recommending a USB hard drive is kind of an oddball thing to do in the context of his request. If you must, get one that lets you drop in newer, bigger hard drives.. is there a kit anyone sells to turn a standard 3.5" drive into a USB external device? That would be the way to go. And USB 2.0 will be EXTREMELY important for this device, unless you like waiting several hours to copy over 10gb of data.. ;)
By Tim Elhajj on Sunday, September 2, 2001 - 07:48 pm:
"I think recommending a USB hard drive is kind of an oddball thing to do in the context of his request"
Not sure I follow your logic on this one. Kevin said he ran out of disk space. A USB hdd would give him more space that he can share between both laptops (or just a place to off-load a lot of pictures).
Why do you say it's oddball?
By Mark Bussman on Sunday, September 2, 2001 - 10:05 pm:
I don't know about corrections to your logic, but I can relate my experience with a particular product.
My wife has a laptop and wanted to get a burner, so we picked up an HP 8230 USB burner. Since we're grad students on a budget, it was the best way to go at the time since Firewire would have been way too expensive. I don't think it's USB 2.0 compliant, and if I were you, I wouldn't worry about that unless you can buy a new laptop easily when it comes out. (USB 2.0 isn't out yet is it?)
As far as my experience w/our burner goes:
Installation was easier than eating pancakes. Step 1: Don't bother reading manual (it's that easy). Step 2: Plug everything in. Step 3: Insert floppy after hardware wizard is done detecting and tell it that's where the drivers are. Step 4: Install burning software.
About HP's burning software. It's kinda dumb. Our burner came with HP's My CD, and DirectCD. My CD is ok at first, has a pretty simple interface, and at first it's ok, but little things about the interface started to annoy me quickly. You'll probably like DirectCD for storing pics since it basically turns your burner into a drag and drop device just like a hdd. If you get one of these burners, you may want to try and find a bare drive to save some money and pick up a different software package if you already have a favorite. On the other hand, recently I was trying to use Easy CD Creator to burn a music disc and it refused to work, but My CD worked fine. Bascially, it's ok but has an annoying interface. (As a side note, I've given up on Easy CD Creator, but don't have a good substitute yet. Nero seemed too complex for me to use easily.)
Speed is okay. You have to burn at 4x, which isn't great, but if you use it more as an archiving stuff you already have tool, speed probably won't be a big deal, you can just walk away and find something else to do. It takes about 40 min at most to burn a full disc including formatting and testing before the burn. I haven't actually timed it tho. Just to stir things up, I'll give it two ratings: 4/5 stars, 88%. hehe.
I can see both sides of the oddballity (?) issue. It ultimately depends on what exactly Kevin wants from the drive. BTW, sorry for the long post.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, September 2, 2001 - 11:52 pm:
"Kevin said he ran out of disk space."
Yes, he ran out of disk space because there were too many photos of the children. Move the photos to multiple CD-Rs, bam, instant disk space. Eg, do you really need 500 photos of your kid instantly accessible at any given moment on your laptop? Wouldn't a dozen hand-picked ones suffice?
Move the rest to CDs.
If HDD space on the laptop is an issue, there are certainly 2.5" HDD upgrade kits one can purchase.. with software to transfer the old drive over. External HDDs are kind of a special purpose deal, and unless they're firewire or USB 2.0, they are also quite slow relative to the volume of data that can be stored there. I shudder to think how long it would take to copy 10gb of data over USB 1.0. That's, what, 1mb per sec under peak, ideal conditions? Most USB CD-Rs are intentionally limited to 4x which is 150kb/sec * 4 or 600kb/sec.
By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 01:40 am:
Kevin was saying that "The combination of a digital camera and two small children has outpaced even the largest imaginable hard drive," so I'm not sure an external hard drive is what he's looking for.
Besides, unless you wanna buy a firewire port (or already have one), an external hard drive is gonna be annoyingly slow. =)
I have two friends with USB CD-RW drives, and they're quite happy with 'em. USB is 12 megabits a second peak transfer rate, which works out to a megabyte and half per second, or about 10X CD burning speed.
Granted, you never get that, but you should be able to burn at about 6X or 8X no problem.
My friends' drives are about a year old and all new models are out now, so even if I knew what the brand/model was, it wouldn't be terribly relevant. I'd check some of the big "review everything" sites like ZDNET or whatever for reviews of recent units.
Plextor is my favorite for CD burners, and they make a nice looking USB CD-RW drive.
It's USB 2.0, which means it'll work fine on USB 1.1, and then if and when you get a computer with a USB 2.0 port it'll just go faster (it's limited to 4X writing on a USB 1.1 interface).
By Kevin Perry on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 - 01:45 pm:
Thanks for all the help.
Does anyone have a reliable and cheap electronics site they can recommend?
By Monkeybutt on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 - 06:32 pm: