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Data Storage Portables Hardware

1.8" USB Portable Hard Drive 156

Jin-Wei Tioh writes "The folks at BlueSmoke take a look at Transcend's recently announced 1.8" USB 2.0 portable hard drive, the only one of its kind on the market. Roughly the size of a small stack of business cards, it is quite a bit smaller than existing 2.5" drives. It holds either 20GB or 40GB of data and is styled like an iPod."
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1.8" USB Portable Hard Drive

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  • Like the VST FireFly (Score:5, Informative)

    by SiMac ( 409541 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:04PM (#9291216) Homepage
    The VST FireFly was based on the 1.8" 5GB drive (the one that was in the original iPod). It was also extremely tiny; however, it was limited in capacity, and eventually discontinued.
    • Unfortunately now discontinued, Lacie came out with a similar product in the past. tx tCatalog=Paradise&txtCategory=&txtProductID=ZHI+85 8103
  • Nice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MacFury ( 659201 ) <> on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:05PM (#9291227) Homepage
    I was waiting for something like this. I wonder how reliable something like this would be if left on/used as a main drive for extended periods of time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I would imagine this could easily power new digital video cameras, and you could actually record in true digital mode instead of on tapes.

    • ADS Pyro DV (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MacFury ( 659201 ) 20intro.asp?pid=API820 They have a DV drive that you can plug into a FireWire camera and record straight to the hard drive. I want one, but I haven't been able to find any reviews on the product so I'm reluctant to spend $700.
      • Re:ADS Pyro DV (Score:3, Interesting)

        by josh3736 ( 745265 )
        We have a Videonics FireStore []. You can hook a DV camera in one end and a FireWire drive to the other side.

        It seems really cool, but in pratice, it just sits in the studio collecting dust on top of a VCR.

        Tapes work for me. You can always get more of em for cheap and the time moving the DV off tape onto disk isn't all that bad since you can set it and go get something to eat while it does its thing.

        • Re:ADS Pyro DV (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pfhor ( 40220 )
          The added benefit of shooting on tape, is once you have it imported, you can lock the tape and keep it somewhere safe, so you atleast have some backup of the video. And with timecodes, you can reimport footage X if someone got carried away with a filter or you scratch drive got munged.

          Would you see someone doing lots of quick shooting and editing (blitz movie making became an aspect of the doc. film class I took this last semester) being able to benefit from something like the firestore? or the Pyro DV?

      • Re:ADS Pyro DV (Score:2, Informative)

        by bprice20 ( 709357 )
        Your link isn't working but i found a site [] with a review of a similar product. What do you think?
    • by josh3736 ( 745265 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:20PM (#9291315) Homepage
      You're saying that DV on tapes is somehow not "true" digital. It's still stored as 1s and 0s, just on a tape instead of on a disk.

      I work with (large amounts of) DV daily. Recording directly to disk would be much more convenient than tape, but it would not somehow increase the quality. In the end, it's the same set of digits regardless of what medi[a/ums] its been on.

    • you could actually record in true digital mode instead of on tapes

      Yes, as opposed to all that fake digital stuff on a DV tape. God, I hate fake digital so much.
    • You mean record direct-to-disk? That's just crazy talk... Well maybe not so crazy.

      FireStore series products convert any IEEE-1394 (FireWire, i.Link) drive into high performance Digital Disk Recorder/Players. Record directly to disk from your digital camcorder, VTR, or mixer. When you are ready to edit, your clips are immediately available to your NLE system with zero ingest time - no capturing, no file transfer, no file conversion! Just shoot...then edit e
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check out the 404 page for this site: []

    Pretty funny.
  • by thewldisntenuff ( 778302 ) * on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:09PM (#9291254) Homepage
    As hard drive/memory chip/etc devices get smaller and smaller, I wonder how people will be able to keep track of where the hell their (physical, not logical) memory is....

    I can see a new market now, not for data recovery, but for recover-the-data-device recovery....I'll make millions!

    • they already have one... you just whistle and it starts chirping.
    • As hard drive/memory chip/etc devices get smaller and smaller, I wonder how people will be able to keep track of where the hell their (physical, not logical) memory is.... I can see a new market now, not for data recovery, but for recover-the-data-device recovery....I'll make millions!

      And now that I've patented this new business model before you did, it will now make me millions!

    • to the process of clapping, whistling, or shouting for the purpose of locating a tiny hard drive, through the use of an audio visual device. HERE [] is a working prototype of my device.

      Anybody who wishes to license this technology, please contact me at 1 (800) 426-8686

    • The pieces are already there. It should be obvious by now that the major web players (Yahoo,MSN,Google) will move to "unlimited" storage or some metered model. They will back up your data (yes Yahoo Briefcase etc are backed up, if primitively), and index it algorithmically. Your PC will just be the docking station/local cache (to prevent you from having to transfer *all* your data).
  • This would be nice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Daimaou ( 97573 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:09PM (#9291258)
    I currently am using a 40GB laptop drive in a USB case. it is about the size of a deck of cards (just a bit longer) and requires no exteral power source. It is really handy.

    Of course, it would even be better if it was smaller, so I can already feel that compulsive twitch in my hand as it dives for my wallet to fork over some bucks for one of these.
    • by billygr ( 751676 ) *
      I am using the same from Fujitsu su-02.html With one common problem.... Some laptops cannot handle the current that the disk requires to spin up and happens as usual when you don't have the "double" usb cable with you
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by sw155kn1f3 ( 600118 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:10PM (#9291267)

    You don't want to name your site and post a link to slashdot, don't you ;-)?
  • by lemonylimey ( 745130 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:10PM (#9291269)
    Freecom have had an external hard drive based on a 1.8" unit for a couple of months now.

    Link []
  • really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by IamLarryboy ( 176442 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:12PM (#9291275)
    "it is quite a bit smaller than existing 2.5" drives."

    Say about .7"?
  • by InternationalCow ( 681980 ) <mauricevansteensel AT mac DOT com> on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:13PM (#9291279) Journal
    Excuse me? It is flat, rectangular and whitish by the look of the ./-ed site. Apart from that it doesn't look like an iPod at all. Since when is everything that is rectangular and flat styled like an iPod? Is a paperweight styled like an iPod? Or an iced cake? Please, think before you post.
  • Cache (Score:3, Informative)

    by NEOtaku17 ( 679902 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:15PM (#9291290) Homepage
  • Its very simple.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:16PM (#9291296) Journal
    1) Take a PDA with a reasonable CPU (one that could handle say low-res divx playing at a decent framerate)

    2) Include built in hard-drive

    3) Profit

  • by loomis ( 141922 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:16PM (#9291297)
    "Transcend Information, Inc. (Transcend) releases its 1.8 USB 2.0 portable hard drive this month, April 2004. Although roughly the size of a standard business card, it has more than enough capacity (20GB/40GB) for your data storage needs. No need to carry around another troublesome power brick either; it is powered directly from the USB port. This pocket drive is perfect for the person always on the go."

    "Data transfer rate is up to 480 Mbps (USB2.0). This device is fully compatible with USB2.0 and backwards compatible with USB1.1 specifications. Unlike CD-RWs, which require special software, pocket drives will appear as just another hard drive. There isnt any extra driver software to worry about (except for Win98SE). Using the included ExBoot software, your entire computer can be backed-up and restored at a moments notice. Weighing only 4.2oz (118g) for the 20GB HDD and 4.6oz (130g) for the 40GB HDD. Transcends portable hard drive is as rugged as it is lightweight. Smaller and more convenient than a 1.44MB floppy diskette, this hard drive is ready to go wherever and whenever you need it."
  • ipod (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jsebrech ( 525647 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:20PM (#9291316)
    I've been using my ipod for that for a while now. It's remarkably handy having gigabytes of storage that can be used from most computers without installing a driver, and that will fit in your pocket.

    The one annoying thing is that you can't access the music player functionality while it's mounted as a disk.
    • Re:ipod (Score:4, Informative)

      by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <> on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:57PM (#9291492)
      The one annoying thing is that you can't access the music player functionality while it's mounted as a disk.

      That must be a Windows thing. On a Mac, you can do both at the same time. In fact, that's the default behavior once you turn "mount as a hard drive" on. It never even occurred to me that there would be any other way.
      • That's how it works on Windows too. I don't know what the parent was talking about.
      • That's not my experience. When you plug it in to Firewire, The big "International No" sign comes up and it says "Do Not Disconnect", and the music stops, and none of the buttons do anything until I eject the iPod.

        I wonder what the difference is (or if we're just misunderstanding each other). I have a brand-new 15GB, 3rd-gen iPod, and am using it in auto-sync mode, and mount it as a disk on OS X.3.4.

        Maybe one of you who *can* play music while it's mounted could post your data, and we can figure out why you
      • I did some research on this. It turns out that it depends on the firmware version. Some 3rd gen firmwares allow you access to the ipod's menu while mounted, some don't.

        What firmware version are you using? I'm on 2.2.
  • obvious question... (Score:5, Informative)

    by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:22PM (#9291322) Journal
    why not use an iPod ?? It's Firewire+USB2, also has upto 40GB capacity and features a handy display for built-in calendar/notes/game/...

    The article is slashdotted, so I don't know te price difference.
  • Are there any external hard drives that have decent support under Linux? From what I've read all of the common ones seem to require a slew of hacks to get working properly, and even then are somewhat quirky. I'd love to be able to plug one of these into a running machine, mount the drive and just have it work. Any of the current offerigns fit the bill? Some of these external drives can be booted to as well, which would be an extra bonus.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Almost any USB storage unit should work, everything from those tiny pen/key things to hard drives. Anything I've plugged has always worked without drivers, not only on Linux but also on OSX and in Windows. Some new digital cameras, my Frontier mp3 player, and so on work like this. It's absolute heaven not having to install crappy software from the manufacturers like in the bad old days.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Huh? I don't know of any modern distro that doesn't support the most common External Hard Drives available, ie the USB type. Just buy it and plug it in. No hacks involved. I'm not trying to make fun of you, but are you using Debian stable or some other old distro perchance?
    • by gotr00t ( 563828 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @05:07PM (#9291554) Journal
      Almost any external hard disk that is either USB or firewire works perfectly under linux. This is because for the most part, these drives follow open standards. I have never had a problem using external storage with my Linux box, and that includes FW drives like the iPod.

      I don't know where you're reading that "all the common ones seem to require a slew of hacks to get working properly", but I, for one, have never had to use any hack to get an external drive to work. Just plug it in and mount it.

      • the slew of hacks being 1 convert to a 2.4+ kernel 2 install devfs (or similar) 3 install USB mass storage support 4 (optional) install automount (or similar) 5 PROFIT!!!! Please note all the above hacks should be predone in any recent (~8 months) distro
    • Just bought the 160GB version of this - , comes with Windows, Linux and Mac drivers.
  • what about an iPod? (which actually *is* styled like an ipod). Numerous other 1.8" externals exist.
    • One thing that struck me is that if it's "styled like an iPod" (possibly to appeal to Mac users?) then why the hell is it USB 2.0? OS X's implementation of USB 2.0 absolutely blows - slower than Firewire 400 (iPod's primary connection).

      Get me one of these that plays music and connects via firewire, and I'll....wait a second....
  • How long before we start to see PDAs with hard-drive based storage?

    Then the only limit on the software will be the processor speed and battery life.

    Who wouldn't want a system like that that you could fit into your back pocket?
    • I'd rather have one whose screen and likely case would not be obliterated if I put it in my back pocket and leaned against something or sat on it. I'm more than willing to sacrifice say another 1/4" in all directions to have a more rigid case. Make it out of a magnesium/aluminum alloy and it should be plenty rigid. But instead, we get all these plastic or thin metal PDAs which are too flexible and if the thing is in your FRONT pants pocket it usually ends up with a cracked screen. I've destroyed several pal
      • Thats a valid point, even if they devices were built top survive being sat on they'd be pretty bloody uncomfortable.

        This is why tailors invented inside jacket pockets,
        then the destruction of your pda is the least of your worries when you reach for it in an airport or bank ;)
        • The problem with the inside jacket pocket is that they are inside jackets and I live in California. I wear a jacket maybe a fourth of the year maximum and that's only because I live in Northern California where we have seasons. The rest of the time it's pretty much shorts and tee shirt weather, or lay in the shade drinking beer and wishing the wind would pick up weather. (We have a swamp cooler actually.)
  • by ( 629916 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @04:44PM (#9291423) Homepage
    That tiny harddisk sounds nice, but I wish it will have USB host or Compact Flash card reader so I can transfer all the photos from my digital camera to the harddisk. Large CF or microdrives are too expensive, and this sounds like a much better solution.
    • I've been looking at this sort of stuff recently. I found a couple of things that look cool.

      The first is a USB Master Portable Hard Disk / Media Player [] which can connect directly to Digital cameras and memory card reader devices and copy images from the camera.

      The second is a USB Bridge [] which you can connect two USB slave devices and copy files from one to the other without the need for a separate pc. I think that there are also some other portable hard drive cases that have a built in memory card
  • I'm curious to know what something like this would be most useful for. I mean obviously there are some good uses, but why not just use DVD+-R or something?
    • I have a powerbook with an 80gb drive, which is enough space for carrying around a decent sized library of mp3s, documents, pictures, etc. However, with my old iBook and it's 20gb drive, I was unable to arry everything around with me that I wanted. A nice, small, bus powered pocket sized drive was exactly what I wanted. Which is why I bought an iPod.
  • I got some of the first page before the server started connection refused net/viewArticle.html
  • quality? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by azatht ( 740027 )
    I have a question:

    How well can the tiny hard drives withstand shakes and magnetic fields? It's seems that there is not much room for shielding.
    • Re:quality? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fweeky ( 41046 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @05:30PM (#9291690) Homepage
      Most magnetic fields aren't much of a danger to hard disks; they're so dense the magnetic material has to be quite resistant to all but the largest fields, because the heads can't focus the entire field on the exact area bits are stored on. Unless you're planning on being near an MRI machine or particle accelerator I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just don't store it near your rare earth magnet collection, ok? ;)

      Shock's more a factor of aerodynamics than shielding; will just have to see what the specs are like :)
  • Nice review. I can envision this being very useful for my company's business travellers, due to the space considerations specifically. As well, anyone that works in corporate IT knows that users have a tendency to stockpile their mail, regardless of it's use - this would be a very handy device to store .pst files (or even .nsf files.)

    Thanks to BlueSmoke for the useful info, I'll see if I can pick one of these up and eval it for wider usage.
  • that nerds are the only ones who are envious of men with small objects? ;)
  • by geeber ( 520231 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @05:16PM (#9291615)
    How long until portable data storage integrated with built in WiFi becomes standard? Just walk up to any computer, set it down, type in the password and you are good to go. No cables required.

    • Same problem as attaching it to a PDA. Battery. And a PDA would be even better - you have all the stuff available to you all the time on a crappy little screen, and when you have a decent machine you can REALLY work.
    • That's not WiFi, that's Bluetooth.
    • I suppose what's holding things up is the power issue. Unless a convenient, effective solution for wireless power is developed the point is moot. The wifi transmitter will gobble power. The drive itself needs power. You'd get minutes of use out of such a device. Definitely a cool idea but until then carrying a wire seems ok.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    COMPUSA has 1GB and 1.5GB USB2.0 drives for $99 and $129, they are smaller than the Creative Muvo2, it may contain the Hitachi micro dirves.
  • ... but I think that BlueSmoke describes what's coming out of their web server right now.

    Small drives like this (though maybe not quite so petite) have been around for at least a year but they haven't apparently caught on. My guess is that the dollars/gigabyte ratio isn't down to the point where these things become worthwhile. For a few megs (or hundreds of megs) a keychain USB "drive" (really flash memory) is fine. For large amounts of data, portable drives (ala LaCie) are OK; it's no big deal to carr

    • $160/20 gb. Don't know what this means to you, although it's quite cheap compared to hard drive mp3 players and quite expensive compared to standard hard drives. Why couldn't they add some basic music-playing functionality to it? I really don't know how extensive a technological change that would be, but they could probably do it for $20-$30 a unit, which would make the price still much cheaper than the cheapest hard drive mp3 players of comparable size. And as they said, it has that iPod look, for half th
  • Funny, last time I checked the iPod didn't have a think black stipe wrapped around the middle. It also didn't have a perfectly flat top either, and it had numerous buttons.

    Why is it nowadays whenever anything is "white" and have curned edges it is "styled after the iPod"? Things were white before too.

    Does the fact that my digital camera is grey with curved corners make it "styled after a 50's toaster"?
  • by No_Weak_Heart ( 444982 ) on Sunday May 30, 2004 @05:46PM (#9291758)

    My casket is going to be "styled like an iPod."

    Enough already.

  • This is the most amazing device I've ever seen.

    It's white. It's smallish. It will bring you strong donkey good luck!

    Here's the BIG DEAL [].
  • Took some digging but I found them for sale and got a price. The 20 gig was going for $255 and the 40 gig was going for $370. Here's the site if anyone is desperate enough to pay the price. =5 I like the compatiblity of USB but I'd still like to see the price on the 40 gig in the area of $200. I'm sure they'll come down to that range eventually. 256 and 512 USB pen drives are doing the trick for me and at a fraction the price.
  • Just make it slightly larger, in order to accomodate a couple of buttons, a headphone jack, and an audio file decoder chip.
  • by FRiC ( 416091 )
    These are only slightly smaller than 2.5" portable drives, and hold much less. I've been using a portable 2.5" USB 2.0 drive with a much larger capacity for almost two years, and it's USB port powered as well.
  • Why doesn't someone create an MP3 player that can function as a USB host and read its media files from an external USB device like this one (or a big old 3.5 disk or one of those tiny USB keys).

    Then build it in to a car stereo head unit so that I can finally listen to my music collection wherever I go...

  • Not alone... (Score:2, Informative)

    by aitsu ( 592587 )
    the only one of its kind on the market.

    There is one on the Japanese market [], however. (Sorry, Japanese only but w/ pics.)

  • Jin-Wei Tioh writes "The folks at BlueSmoke...

    Go to the site:

    Transcend 1.8" Portable Hard Disk - Features[...]
    Author: Jin-Wei Tioh

    Contact us:

    Jin-Wei Tioh: Editor In Chief / Webmaster

    Nice job of slashdotting yourself, eh? I assume the coy reference "The folks at BlueSmoke" was the result of Slashdot editorial rewrite.

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