Leave The Notebook At Home

august 1, 2004

Since Eileen and I are heading to Hawaii (yay!) for our honeymoon, we were trying to decide if we should bring one of our notebooks or not so that we could transfer pictures from our digital cameras -- the Sony DSC-U20 and the new Canon EOS Digital Rebel. Yes, it would have been nice to have the notebook (my iBook 600 or Eileen's VAIO TR2A) there so that we could use the high-speed Internet, along with the transfer of pictures -- but, hey it's our honeymoon and it's Hawaii! Who's going to be using the Internet then? That ruled out taking a notebook along. A second option was to get more memory. We have many 128MB MemorySticks for the U20, but I only have one Lexar 1GB CF and one Lexar 64MB CF for the Digital Rebel. Looking at the cost of another Lexar 1GB CF was a bit expensive, running between $199 to $229. And even with a second one, each holds "only" 225 or so 6.3 megapixel pictures. We could drop the resolution of the camera, but that defeats one of the purposes of buying a high-end high-megapixel cameras. I was walking around Fry's Electronics looking at different options when I stumbled upon the Wolverine SixPac which is a rebranded Vosonic X's Drive. It is a very interesting spin on the whole memory card reader. Yes, there are "cool" looking harddrive + memory card readers like the Delkin PicturePad which has a nice color LCD screen. But, that is a bit of overkill and overpriced for what I was looking for. The 40GB version of the SixPac cost only $249 and the 20GB version was $199 (the same price as a 1GB CF card). I found a good solution! The idea behind this portable picture (or data) wallet is that one sticks in a memory card (MemoryStick, CompactFlash, SecureDigital, etc), push the power button, then push the Copy button. When the Copy button is pushed all the data on the memory card is copied onto the harddrive inside the box. With the pictures safely copied over, I am free to format the card in the camera and start shooting pictures again. The SixPac comes with a built-in LiIon battery that lasts for 1.5 hours, so it is portable enough to take along. When one is done on their trip and come back home, the SixPac hooks into a computer via the USB port and it is a standard USB Mass Storage device -- so on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Mac OS X there are no drivers necessary. It mounts up and you can copy all the data off the harddrive to the computer. I have tried the SixPac yesterday and today, it works great at what it is supposed to do. The copy function is a tad on the slow side, but I don't think I'll be using the thing outside, only at nights when I pop in a CF card and copy the contents over -- then I can format the card and get ready for the next day of shooting. I can't wait to use it in Hawaii. It'll save Eileen and I from lugging around a laptop to our honeymoon. And for just a little more than the cost of the Lexar 1GB CF card it has given us 40 times more storage in one compact box.