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Film Readers make it easy to upload...

Film Readers make it easy to upload pictures from camera to PC

Lexar Media has taken some of the hassle out of offloading images from digital cameras with its Digital Film Readers for CompactFlash and SmartMedia cards ($89 each).

The drive plugs into the parallel port on your PC and is designed to provide a faster way of transferring images than the more common in-camera transfer (which can be painfully slow for high-resolution pictures). The small, arrowhead-shaped device takes up little space on your desktop and does not require its own power source, making it ideal for mobile use, too.

Lexar offers several other approaches to high-speed image transfer. Their Digital Film Adapters allow you to load SmartMedia or CompactFlash data through a standard PC card port, while the FlashPath floppy adapter lets you transfer images using a 3.5-inch floppy drive. Both the Film Adapter and the FlashPath adapter retail for $89.

As digital cameras enter the megapixel range, transfer times are becoming a significant issue. If you're tired of watching the progress bar creep across your screen, it might be time to spring for one of these speedier solutions.

Information: 510-413-1200 or on the Web at

Y2K solution for your PC might save you come 2000

There's so much talk these days about the big systems that may be affected by the Year 2000 bug (banks, airlines, municipal power and water systems, etc.) that it's easy to forget that we all have a little Y2K risk management to do in our homes. To thoroughly examine and repair problems that may be lurking inside your PC, Greenwich Mean Time-UTA offers Check 2000 PC Deluxe ($59.95).

Check 2000 PC Deluxe analyzes five critical issues surrounding the Year 2000 problem and how it may affect your computer. First, it looks at the hardware layer for date transition problems, then it examines your operating system, checks software applications for problems, scans your data files (especially important databases and spreadsheets) for date issues that could affect future calculations, and checks imported data to make sure that new date errors are not introduced.

The program is very easy to use. A typical Windows Wizard system takes you through step by step. Some problems, such as BIOS date problems, are fixed automatically, while others are identified and you are given suggestions on how to address them. A video thoughtfully included in the package gives an overview of the Y2K problem, looks specifically at how Y2K can affect the PC world, and then describes the approach used in Check 2000.

Whatever you do, don't wait until December to start wondering what to do about the problem; get Check 2000 PC Deluxe. As the musician Gil Scott Heron used to say: "Panic now, and avoid the rush."

Information: 800-216-5545 or check out their website at

You can find full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at

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