Digital Innovations
Enquiring Minds Want To Know
How I Select Products For Digital Innovations Page 2

Maxi Storage From Microdrive
Regular readers know that over the years I've had more than a few problems with IBM Microdrives. Lately I have been testing Hitachi's 2GB Microdrive ( and have been impressed. While available up to 4GB, the Fuji FinePix S20 Pro I'm testing only accepts Type II cards (not Type I) and is limited by its internal software to a maximum capacity of 2GB. The 2GB and 4GB Microdrives incorporate Hitachi technologies such as Giant MagnetoResistive (GMR) heads, Enhanced Adaptive Battery Live Extender, and TrueTrack servo for maximum capacity, performance, and reliability. Hitachi's Femto slider technology enables higher capacities, better power efficiency, and delivers a maximum data transfer rate of more than 7MB/sec.

What's all that jargon mean to you? It means that Hitachi's 2GB Microdrive performed flawlessly in my Canon EOS 10D and D60 with no read error, no write errors, and I used it on real assignments treating it just like a solid state CompactFlash card. I wouldn't leave it in my pants pocket and run it through a washer and dryer, though.

HD Monitor For LCD Prices
If you've seen HDTV you know it's an amazing medium. HDTV is coming to the desktop, too. There are lots of expensive HD monitors out there, but if you want to get a taste of the HD champagne but only have a Guinness budget take a look at Samsung's $729 SyncMaster 173mw monitor ( It's an HDTV-ready, stand-alone TV and video display that has digital and analog interfaces. The MagicBright technology lets you change the brightness of the display to adjust for Text, Internet, or Entertainment mode. With its picture-in-picture feature, you can simultaneously work on the computer while watching a video signal (such as a security camera).

The Samsung SyncMaster 173mw is an HDTV-ready computer monitor, stand-alone TV, and video display with digital and analog interfaces.

This is also the crispest LCD monitor I have ever used. My Windows XP computer has a screen measuring 13.375x10.75". The Samsung measures 8.75x14.75" for a difference of almost 15 square inches less screen space, so it's an upgrade from a 15" monitor. The 173mw has a 16:10 aspect ratio (HD is 16:9) but is a lot closer than the standard 4:3 we've been stuck with these many years. The wide format lets you keep two or more applications or images open at the same time, eliminating bouncing back and forth when comparing originals with retouched files. Samsung provides a three-year parts and labor warranty and toll-free technical support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Indispensable Software
Everybody knows that I'm a Mac head, but nonetheless every day different people send me Windows-based files in different formats. Sometimes they're on disks, attached to e-mail, or created using software I don't have. That's when I reach for MacLinkPlus Deluxe 14 ( It recognizes, views, and converts files from an extensive list of translations that includes Word and Excel 2003 for Windows; Word and Excel X for Macintosh; and WordPerfect 10 and 11 for Windows. If you have clients or contacts that require you to send files to them in a specific format, tell MacLinkPlus Deluxe 14 and it'll create customized translation settings for them and automatically translate and e-mail files to Windows users. The latest version supports OS X Panther and can be accessed via Contextual Menus. AOL users can send AOL e-mail attachments directly into MacLinkPlus Deluxe 14 to be translated. DataViz's Conversions Plus software does the same thing for Windows users--in reverse. It's a cross-platform world out there; don't venture onto the Information Superhighway without the right toolkit.

A Concept Tripod
Auto shows showcase concept cars that test the market to get reactions from potential buyers. I find myself in a similar situation having created a concept tripod that's a homage to firefighters and other emergency responders. The Joe Farace Signature Edition Tiltall tripod is a one of a kind product that you can see in the What's New section of www. If there's any interest, let me know.

The Joe Farace Signature Edition Tiltall tripod is a one of a kind product whose color scheme is designed to honor firefighters and other emergency responders.