30-gigabyte Army Knife
It's a portable hard drive! No, it's an MP3 player! No, it's a still-image and video viewer! Stop! SmartDisk's new FlashTrax (approx. street price: $500) is all these and more. With 30GB of memory, FlashTrax reportedly has some iPods shaking in their skins....Of greatest interest to photographers is FlashTrax's CompactFlash slot, which allows direct image transfer from a digital camera's CF card to the hard drive. (Sounds like just the ticket for a long photographic vacation, and if your camera uses another type of storage card, all you need is a CompactFlash adapter.) You can view your pix (or play back AVI video) on the 3.5-inch LCD screen, or on a TV connected via the NTSC or PAL port. Scroll through the images with the remote, or run a slide show. When your eyes become tired, play MP3 music files, which you can download from your computer via the Hi-Speed USB interface, or copy from a CF card. And, when vacation's over (boo!), the FlashTrax lets you transfer data files from work to home. SmartDisk plans to
support other video file formats-look for free upgrades on its web site soon. The FlashTrax comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery, remote control, AC adapter, USB 2.0 cable, video cable, and carrying case. To learn more, or to purchase, log onto www.smartdisk.com.
Stow and Show
Here's a fast and easy way to share your digital pictures online or view them on your computer. PhotoShow software by Simple Star (2.1, street: $30; Deluxe, street: $50) lets you create neat slide shows with a variety of transitions and audio. Simply import your picture files into different shows, select the transition(s) you'd like to use, and choose a song. (The program ships with preset music themes, but you can also use your own MP3 files.) The 2.1 version lets you add text to your pictures, crop, rotate, adjust brightness, and include animated clip art. The Deluxe version has more extensive editing features, such as redeye removal, autocorrect, touch up, and image-organizing capabilities. You can print both at home and to an online service. Clip art is included. You can also use your own GIF-format images and graphics to personalize the slide show further. PhotoShow lets you upload the slide show to your web page or to one hosted by PhotoShow. It's Mac (9.2, not OS X) and Windows compatible. Visit www.simplestar.com.
A Digital Backpack
Storage, storage, storage-we all need more, and, thanks to larger file sizes from our mucho-megapixel cameras, we all need it right now. Micro Solutions has an answer: Its new backpack DVD+RW drive (street: $350) lets you archive all those digital files piling up in your computer. The backpack features Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity, and is very portable-it weighs in at about three pounds and comes with its own carrying case, so you can take it along pretty much anywhere. The unit burns at speeds up to 4X with a DVD+R, 2.4X with a DVD+RW, 16X for CD-R, and 10X for CD-RW; it plays back all these formats as well. It's only available for Windows PCs (Pentium III 500MHz processor, Hi-Speed USB 2.0, 128MB RAM, and up to 11GB hard drive space). If you don't have a USB 2.0 connection yet, buy a backpack now and use it to burn CDs for the time being. Call 800-890-7227 or visit www.micro-solutions.com.