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Storage gets small(er)

Sony’s Micro Vault.

If you have to transport data, especially presentations, from place to place and are currently using a notebook computer, Zip disk, or CD-ROM, I’ve got good news. Sony’s Micro Vault makes carrying data a painless proposition, because you can just drop it in your pocket and go. These pocket-sized devices are available in four models with capacities ranging from 16MB up to 128MB, allowing computer users to store all kinds of data, including digital images, PowerPoint presentations, and audio and video files.

About the length of a car key and the thickness of a highlighter pen, the Micro Vault plugs into any USB-enabled computer. Unlike other storage media, including the new SD and MMC cards, you don’t need a card reader. You simply remove the Micro Vault’s end cap and insert the built-in USB connection into a notebook or desktop computer and go to work. What’s more, it’s Windows or Mac OS-aware and can transfer data without cables, adaptors, or driver software. This feature only works with Windows 2000, Me, and XP–or Mac OS 9 and higher. If you’re using another operating system, driver software is provided on a 80mm Pocket CD.

While I was teaching a digital travel photography workshop recently, the Micro Vault proved indispensable in grabbing photographic files from a student’s non-networked computer and copying it to my computer. Because my PC was connected to an LCD projector, the entire class could see, appreciate, and discuss the image. I also expect it to be a useful tool when I travel to make presentations. Since PowerPoint files are cross-platform-compatible, I just need to make sure there’s a computer connected to a projector at my destination, and I can carry only the presentation itself on a Micro Vault. As a “sneaker net” tool, the Micro Vault is much easier to use than a Zip disk because it boots instantly. Then there is the coolness factor–a Micro Vault is just plain sexy.

Security concerns? Since the device is so small, it might be as easy to lose as it is to carry. Never fear, Sony is here. The device includes Sony’s Zone software, which allows you to create a “security zone” on the Micro Vault. Any data stored within this zone is password-protected, ensuring the file’s privacy if the Micro Vault device is shared with others or misplaced. One word of caution: Take the Micro Vault out of your pocket before going through airport security. While it’s unlikely X-rays will damage any of the information stored on a Micro Vault, metal detectors may cause data errors.

Looking much like a high-tech lipstick, the Sony Micro Vault is a useful addition to the arsenal of tools the modern high-tech worker needs to survive. I’ve barely scratched the surface on its many potential uses and CU readers probably will think of hundreds more. The Micro Vault product line is color-coded according to storage capacity, including 16MB (orange), 32MB (red), 64MB (blue) and 128MB (black) models with suggested list prices of $49.99, $69.99, $99.99, and $149.99, respectively. -joe farace

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