Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cool little hard drive

That's Jade in an older shoot.

I needed to get a small hard drive for travel - I already have a NexTo which has a card reader and a hard drive and a button and just slurps up picture data, but doing any kind of extended wildlife or travel work backups become an issue. I also wanted something I could use to backup my laptop. I've been using Western Digital USB drives (I have four of their 1TB drives) so I got a 320GB Passport drive.

It's cool - it gets all of its power from the USB (some older laptops don't supply enough power and you have to buy a special cable to pull from two but even my cheap one is fine). And it's tiny - it's bigger than an iPod but smaller than a paperback. You could put it in a shirt pocket but it might stick out a bit. Because of the way it's powered you don't have to carry any kind of a transformer around so it really does take up basically zero space since it's so thin you can just slip it in someplace in any kind of a bag.

It's not blindingly fast but it's fine - copying from one USB drive to the other it copies 1GB/minute so backing up a few gigs of picture data a day is no big deal. I suspect the drive itself isn't the bottleneck in that situation but I haven't done any kind of timing tests moving data from the laptop. And even flipping through 12MB picture files is less than a second each which is fast enough to start the picture editing process while traveling - I can tag the good ones and maybe just back up the keepers to my laptop which doesn't have a whole lot of storage but will give a third (yes third) copy of the keepers.

Anyway, if you travel with a laptop and do something that generates important data (in my case, pictures) it's kind of silly to spend weeks without backing it up, and for 40 cents per gig it's pretty cheap insurance. And I'm enough of a geek and old enough that the whole idea of something that small holding so much just makes me smile.

And speaking of customer service I got mine at Amazon and they dropped the price $7 a couple of days after I bought it so I sent them a two line email mentioning that and their price protection policy and they refunded me the difference. If people don't know - if the price of something on Amazon drops within 30 days after they ship they'll refund the difference but you have to ask - find the contact customer service button and they just need the order # and the price you saw and mention something about price protection and you would like the difference refunded and they'll do it a few hours later. I don't bother if a book drops 13 cents, but for computer stuff it's nice to take a moment once a month and see if anything you bought recently is cheaper - I probably don't do this as often as I should but I've done it three times and saved about $50.

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