Sunday, October 09, 2005

Media Readers, Do you have one?

By Christina VanGinkel

I recently purchased a cutter that attaches to my computer. Similar to a printer in only that it outputs what is created on my screen in a physical sense. As a printer can produce a photograph or sheet of text, the cutter will produce a cut paper, cardstock, or vinyl version of the picture or words on my screen. Besides the cutter reading directly from the screen, it also reads Secure Digital cards, the exact same type that my camera uses. I should be all set, or so I figured, until I remembered I never used the camera's secure digital card directly with my computer, I just plug the camera in with a USB cable, and read the cards stored image files via the USB.

I headed to the local camera store to see if they carried a card reader that would attach to my computer, with a list of requirements in hand with the specifications from the cutter, and from my digital camera, to be sure that the reader I purchased would be able to read the cards my camera and cutter both used. I learned two things, one that both use the exact same type of cards, the Secure Digital, or SD as they are often referred to as, and that I did not need to purchase a reader as I already had one. Huh? Yes! In conversation with the sales person, I mentioned that my printer, an HP Photosmart 7260, had what appeared to be several slots for different cards on the front of it, but as I never really used them, I was unsure if they would work beyond printing directly from the card. It happened that this salesperson had the exact same printer at home and she used it all the time to read her digital camera's cards along with her card from her PDA. Having a Dell Axim myself, I never even gave the cards that were installed in it a second thought, as I have a cradle that my Dell Axim sets into to synchronize with my computer, so I have never had a need to try to read the included SD or Compact Flash card that is installed on it.

She assured me that the included card reader on the HP Photosmart 7260 would work identically to any that she might sell me separately, and if I did have a problem, be sure to ask for her when I came back, as she would try to help me figure out any issues that might arise. She admitted she was not familiar with the cutter, but could not imagine how it would differ, read wise, from any other electronic that used the Secure Digital media cards.

I am happy to report that she was correct, and after turning on my printer, the included card reader worked fine. It automatically recognized the card, and when I opened the included software that came with the cutter, it had no problems accessing the clipart files via the reader on the printer. I tried it with the SD card from my digital camera, and it worked perfectly for that. If you are purchasing something new to work with your digital camera, or other electronics, be sure to know exactly what you already have on your desktop, to avoid buying things you already have at your disposal. It just goes to show you that you can always learn something new, even when you thought you already knew it all!

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