Catching Up

Category: Hardware Published on Monday, 03 August 2009

Everything You want to Know about Stuff, but were Afraid to Ask 

Stuff! It's all around us, surrounding us like a viral menace.

You can find it:

-- In the closet;
-- On shelves;
-- Closing in on you in your office.

In an effort to clear out some of this "stuff," here's a look at a few things I've been meaning to write about that have been piling up, taking up valuable, but limited, space in my office.

Backing up files is a task we all tend to avoid, akin to defragging a hard drive. It's often tedious and time consuming. But there are two products out there that make the task much easier.

Storage Appliance Corporation's ClickFree Portable Backup drives ($89.99 to $169.99 depending on capacity) do everything for you. Just connect one of these drives to a USB port on your computer and it will seek out any files that need to be backed up. It looks for more than 400 different file types and then automatically backs them up with no input from you. You just have to sit there and watch it do its thing.

Verbatim has hit the market with PhotoSave DVDs ($19.98 for a Five-Pack Slimcase), which automatically scans your hard drive for more than 40 different picture file formats and copies them to a DVD. All you have to do is insert one of these DVDs into your computer's writeable DVD drive and, BAM, your pictures are backed up! Each disk can hold up to 2,000 two megabyte files.

ClickFree also has DVDs that automatically back up music, photos and data using the same process.

I've also been playing with two USB flash drives that redefine portability.

The new Lexar JumDrive TwistTurn ($14.99 to $124.99, depending on capacity) and their JumpDrive Retrax (also $14.99 to $124.99) range in size from two gigabytes to 32 GB. The TwistTurn can be folded back into its protective plastic, case when it's not being used, and the Retrax slides back into its case.

Both drives connect to USB ports in your computer, are fast, which we've come to expect from flash drives, and flash a red light when they're in use. They also come with a two-year limited warranty.

Proporta has introduced a new Universal Emergency Charger ($44.99 with an AC World Traveler Charger Kit) that is able to charge just about any portable device up to three times before needing a power boost. At that time, all you have to do is plug it into any wall outlet and let it soak up the juice. It also comes with a variety of tips and sockets to fit almost any device --- from an iPod to a smartphone.

Go to the companies' websites at,, and for more information on any of these products.

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