Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chuck the Writer makes one part from two

People know know me understand that I hate buying things right off the shelf - especially electronics. This goes back to probably the early 1990's, when I purchased a 386 Packard Bell laptop from Sears. Boy if I could go back in time right now I would have taken that laptop and thrown it in the Hudson River.

Think about this for a second - 386 processor. Monochromatic screen. Bulky like a Russian tank. Battery power that lasted about 30 minutes at best. A phone jack for an 8000 baud modem. And having to use dial-up to access America Online 1.5. Argh. And forget about upgrading the thing - the best Packard Bell could do for me was get me a "math coprocessor." Whoo pee. And when someone snapped off the power cord in the back of the computer, I was left with an expensive paperweight. Sending it to Packard Bell didn't get anything resolved, they lost the lapper and eventually sent me a desktop with a Pentium 1 processor and a monitor that had the equivalent weight of a Buick.

But I digress.

Last year I built my own computer system, complete with an ASUS P5W DH Deluxe motherboard, and a ton of bells and whistles. One of the things I wanted the computer to handle was the ability to import any data from any storage format - CF, SD, MMC, even 3 1/2 floppy (I wanted to add 5 1/4 floppy, but realistically... ).

Eventually my 3.5in bays held two devices - a generic Mitsumi floppy disc reader, and a generic CompUSA multicard reader capable of handling CompactFlash, SD/MMC's, MS and SM. I don't use MS or SM, so all they are are empty slots and reversible initials to me.

A few weeks ago, the multi-card reader didn't want to read my cards any more. I figured it was a cheap piece of shit and was just giving me trouble. So as a backup plan, and since CompUSA doesn't exist any more, I went to NewEgg, the online computer store, and purchased a Rosewill RCR-FD200 7-in-1 internal card reader with floppy drive.

Out came both the floppy drive and the multicard reader, in went the RCR-FD200. After a couple of adjustments (I had to find a different USB reader on my motherboard because the mobo didn't initially recognize the new equipment), everything is back to normal. I can access my floppy discs, CompactFlash and SD/MMC in one slot. Of course, this now means I've got a gaping 3.5in hole in my computer chassis... so if anybody has suggestions on what I can put in that slot (keep it clean, 'kay?), I'd appreciate it.

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