Drive puts the ability to read many media at your fingertips

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April 04, 2002|By Kevin Washington

With everyone and his grandmother coming up with new media to store photographs, MP3s and documents, it has become tough to make sure you have the right kind of media reader around.

Sure, you can download files to your computer from the MP3 player or digital camera that uses specific media, but you may not be able to share them with friends and family who don't own the same devices.

A few peripherals companies have begun to figure this out, and Lacie Ltd., a French company, has a dandy offering. The Hexa Media Drive ($60) is a small box with two slots that reads six different media. It will accept CompactFlash, IBM MicroDrive, SmartMedia, SD Memory, MultiMediaCard and Memory Stick media.

Install the software, then plug in the Hexa's Universal Serial Bus cable to your computer. No independent electrical cable comes with the Hexa, so for good power, it makes sense to plug it directly into your computer's USB port rather than a hub.

The device worked flawlessly with all of the cards on the list when we plugged it in.

There are a few caveats, however. You won't be able to read 5 V SmartMedia cards; 256 MB and 512 MB SD Memory Cards are not supported yet. And you must make sure that when downloading from a MicroDrive card, the other slot is empty since the MicroDrive takes up so much power.

Nevertheless, it meets its all-in- one claim well.

Information: (503) 844-4502 or www.lacie.com.

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