High-speed memory card benefits, Creative MuVo2 and Macs, and send Don mail!

Week of January 2, 2005

Q: I notice that some electronics places are selling “high speed” memory cards.  They are about twice the price of regular speed memory of the same size.  How do they function, and is the additional cost worth it?

-Daniel Shirley, Butler, PA

A: As the name suggests, high-speed memory operates at faster speeds than regular memory.  To explain how it works, we need to take a step back and describe what happens when you take a picture with your digital camera.

After the picture is taken, the camera creates a digital date file.  This file is placed in the camera’s internal memory, called the buffer.  The buffer size varies by camera.  Some professional cameras hold as many as 40 pictures in the buffer.  Most consumer cameras can only hold a few pictures in the buffer.

As you take pictures, the camera places the picture file in the buffer, then writes it to the memory card.  If you take pictures in rapid succession you may fill up the buffer before it can transfer the pictures to the memory card.  When the buffer is full, you have to wait until the camera clears it out before you can take pictures again.

Because high-speed memory transfers data much faster than regular-speed memory, it can empty the buffer quickly so you can take pictures in rapid-fire fashion.  That’s why high-speed memory is the only type of memory is all that photojournalists use in their digital cameras.

The benefits extend beyond picture taking. When you review pictures on the camera’s screen, high-speed memory will display them faster as you change from image to image.

You will even experience some benefits at home with your computer.  When used with a camera or memory card reader that supports Firewire or USB 2.0 connections, high-speed memory will transfer images to your computer much faster.

If you have a digital SLR camera, consider high-speed memory and absolute must.   It is also useful in consumer cameras with 5 or more megapixels.  These cameras create very large picture files and you will appreciate the additional speed as you take pictures, view them, and download them to your computer.
Creative MuVo2 FM Update:  Thanks to Joseph Erickson of Minneapolis, Minnesota for important information regarding this MP3 player.  Creative only provides information for Windows users, but apparently the MuVo2 FM is Mac compatible, as well.

In Joseph’s own words: The MuVo is Macintosh compatible (although at original USB speeds). It is listed on Apple’s website as iTunes compatible. See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93548.

You can load files on it in two ways: either drag them to the drive, as the MuVo appears as a drive on the desktop, or use iTunes.  The advantage of dragging from the desktop is the ability to keep files organized in folders, which the MuVo recognizes essentially as playlists. If you use iTunes, the files go in “flat,” but you can use iTunes to create MuVo compatible playlists in the M3U format that is used on the MuVo.

One interesting advantage over an iPod is that if you archive your MP3 files on MP3 CDs, you can transfer them to the MuVo without putting them on your hard drive first (as you do with iTunes/iPod). That saves hard drive space.

Thanks for the information, Joe!  I am sure the readers appreciate it, and I have forwarded it to my contact at Creative, the MuVo’s manufacturer.

To all my readers nationwide:  Thanks for your continuing support of my column.  If you have not visited my website or sent a question, please do- I try to reply personally to every email I receive.  You and your questions are the reason my column exists!  You can also find information on my TV and public appearances on my website.  Please visit www.donlindich.com and send your question today!

Comments are closed.