People always seem to get nostalgic over the
"good ole days" of personal computing, the less
nostalgic of us however can't quite understand why. Days
spent getting a game to work, then days more trying to get
the sound to work. Programs supplied on a dozen floppy disks.
300MB hard disks and 14" CRT screens with a curve like
a soup bowl. Nope, I'm afraid that looking back does nothing
for me but make me cringe.
PC users today (you knew it was coming) have
never had it so good. Yes, I'm starting to sound like my
grandfather, but at least there are enough PC users from
my generation around to back up my assertions. Everything
is cheaper, faster, smarter and, as a rule, half the size
it was, well, apart from monitors anyway.
When I was saving to get myself a monstrously
large 5.25" Seagate ST-225 way back when, I'd have
suggested intensive psychiatric therapy for anyone foolish
enough to suggest that one day I'd be storing 100GB of data
on a 2.5" hard drive that's just 9mm deep. Strangely
nobody ever did suggest that, at least not in quite so much
The great thing about all this miniaturisation
is that it opens up all kind of new possibilities, and in
a world that seems to create important data just for the
fun of it (what do we need it all for anyway?), data storage,
backup and retrieval is suddenly critical.
As someone who regularly humped an Iomega
Zip Drive with me almost everywhere I went, the biggest
and most welcome advances for me have come in the hard disk
arena, but what use is a hard disk if you have to fully
install it on every machine you visit? Enter the melding
of three great technological advances, the 2.5" and
1.8" hard disk format, the USB2.0 standard and the
bridged external hard disk enclosure. At last! Real, genuinely
portable data storage for even lazy sods like me.
Of course one day we'll look back and laugh
at these "small" 2.5 and 1.8 inch drives as we
slot in a one inch square, solid state holographic data
patch with a few terrabytes of ones and zeros on it, but
for now I'm impressed with what we've got.
The ICY BOX IB-281U is that latest addition
to Nanopoint's ever-growing external HDD enclosure portfolio,
and comes ready to take any standard 9mm height 2.5"
hard drive. It's built from a classy combination of alloy
and leather and should sell at around the £25 mark.
Specs on Nanopoint's site are a little sparse
at the moment but here's what they're quoting:
- 2.5" IDE HDD
- Light alloy, leather skin
- Data transfer up to 480 Mbit/s
- Support Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
- Hot Swap
- USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 backwards compatible)
- USB bus power, no power supply needed