Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 16 News List

Update and upload your holidays

Use the latest, most convenient technology when recording and sharing memories this Christmas with your family and friends

STAFF REPORTER

What's the best way to record your holiday memories? Most people would instantly think of the digital camera: eminently portable and fantastically convenient, the only drawback is what to do when you run out of space on your memory cards. Then there's the postcard: picture of the place you visited, space to write a message, perfect for posterity or for friends and family. And why not make personalized postcards with your digital camera -- even your mobile camera phone -- and print them out on your portable printer?

A number of companies such as HP, Kodak and Epson have brought out mini printers, weighing under 1kg, that you can take with you on your vacations. These little wonders can slap out four-by-six photos at the rate of one every minute, which, at a resolution of up to 4800dpi, look as good as photo shop processing.

While most printers require an external power supply, an extra NT$3,000 will buy one that accepts lithium batteries. Fully charged, these will be good for up to 50 photos.

Before the invention of digital cameras, people would store their photos in albums, dragging them out on occasion to reflect on days gone by. Notes could be jotted on the photo or in the album. In the modern age things have changed and now, we keep our holiday memories on computer hard drives and view them on special software. Convenient? Yes, but where do we put those oh-so-valuable jottings?

Enter the mini printer and portable hard drive. When you have extra time write down your notes, and then print them out with the photos. Remember that photo paper is not really designed to be written on, but a normal lead pencil -- or even colored pencils -- will do the trick.

Another problem during the holidays is having insufficient space on memory cards. Sure, you can print out the pictures on your mini printer and erase the original files, but then you have lost them forever. That's where the portable hard drive comes in handy.

In the past, external hard drives have been boxed-up laptop drives you would connect to a computer or digital camera, either with a USB cable or with a card reader into a USB port. But some companies have come up with storage devices with which data can be transferred at the press of a button, such as Magnevox's "pocket disc," which can be connected to a computer and used as an external hard drive or connected directly to a digital camera or card reader.

Never again will you have to worry about not having enough memory space when you're on the road. So which storage device should you get?

Shock-resistance and durability are both deciding factors. Some producers claim their products can be dropped from 1m without being damaged or losing data even while the hard drive is on. One of these will cost you around NT$6,000 for 20GB, NT$8,000 for 40GB, with any extra NT$1,000 to NT$2,000 for the built-in card reader.

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