Washington Apple Pi

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SanDisk Ultra ImageMate FireWire Reader

© 2003 Raymond C. Cook

Washington Apple Pi Journal, reprint information

In early April of this year, while on the TCS, I participated in a discussion concerning the purchase of a digital camera. Pi members on the TCS provided me invaluable information on not only which camera to purchase but which memory card reader they were most satisfied with.

One recommendation that caught my attention was for a SanDisk FireWire card reader. This was due largely to the fact I believe that the near future for hanging peripherals off your computer lies with FireWire rather than USB. After visiting the SanDisk Corporation web site and reading the product review we decided to purchase the reader.

SanDisk’s Ultra ImageMate FireWire Reader is a small, lightweight reader that is plug-n-play; installation is hassle free. No driver installation is required; you simply plug one end of the FireWire cable in the reader and the other end into an available FireWire port. The reader uses power from your FireWire port. On top of the reader is a blue LED indicator light. While plugged into your computer the blue light will remain ON continually. When there is activity to or from the CompactFlash (CF) card, the LED will flash or blink.

The reader is shipped with a 6-pin male-to-male FireWire cable, travel case, and a Quick Start installation guide. It will function with both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Minimum Mac system requirements are: IEEE-1394 FireWire port, Mac OS 9.1.x+, Mac OS X 10.1.2+, 16MB of available hard disk space, and 32MB of RAM (I’m currently running it with Mac OS X 10.2.6 on an iBook SE).

SanDisk Ultra ImageMate FireWire Reader

The SanDisk reader is not much larger than a CompactFlash card, and doesn’t even require a power cable. The FireWire cable not only sends data to your computer, but it also provides power to the reader. (Photo by Raymond C. Cook, taken with a Canon PowerShot S-400 Digital Elph)

Using the reader is simple: plug the reader into your Mac, insert a CF card into the slot, start-up the computer and the blue LED lights. An icon appears on your desktop; you can then transfer data to and from the card. Copy, paste, delete or drag and drop data files as you would with any other hard disk, floppy or ZIP disk. You can also use something like iPhoto to retrieve images from the reader. To remove the reader it’s just as simple. Drag its icon to the trash, the blue LED goes off, and you can then unplug the reader. The one thing I’d like to see is a firm, solid, audible click when inserting the CF card into the reader. This would give me a warm fuzzy feeling that the card is correctly and completely in place. Other than that, in my opinion the reader is bulletproof.

SanDisk Ultra ImageMate FireWire Reader, $59.95 (MacConnection)
SanDisk Corporation
140 Caspian Court
Sunnyvale, CA 94089