It's not very often that I use the term "must have" when discussing any particular technology product. However, the Kodak Multi-Card Reader (MCR) truly deserves this classification.

At first glance, you might mistake Kodak's MCR for a just another computer mouse. A closer look however, reveals several slots with corresponding lights on the front of the device, and a rather short USB cable on what you would assume to be the wrong end; clearly not a mouse!

Instead, each slot on the front accommodates a different type of portable storage card. There's one for Compact Flash, another for SmartMedia and the third accepts the newer Secure Digital and MultiMedia Card made so popular by the Palm Pilot PDAs.

The result is one ingenious device that uses a standard USB port (on either a desktop or notebook computer) to copy data back and forth from your computer to all of these portable storage cards. And, since the Multi-Card Reader draws what little energy it needs from the USB port itself, there's no need for a separate power supply.

Not only does the MCR eliminate all of the other cables and connections that digital cameras typically include, but use of the USB port substantially enhances the speed of digital image (and other file) transfers.

In fact, while most consumers will likely use the MCR simply for transferring digital images from there camera to their computer, more sophisticated users will realize that you can insert multiple cards at the same time and move files back and forth between them.

For instance, if you have more than one devise that takes photographs or plays MP3 files, but they use different storage cards, (one using Compact Flash and the other SmartMedia, for instance) you could use the MCR to transfer files from one card to the other.

As for simplicity, the device is configured to be recognized by your computer as just another drive. The result is that moving files from card to computer, computer to card, or card to card is as easy as dragging and dropping files from one place to another.

In addition, Kodak also includes their outstanding Picture Plus software for editing, sorting and retrieving all of your digital photographs.

So, does the MCR truly deserve the much coveted "must have" status? To answer that, simply ask yourself: What other technology has such universal appeal and superior functionality for under $40?

This might just be the perfect holiday gift for the techie in your life, even if that happens to be you, yourself!

For more information on Kodak's Multi-Card Reader, visit:



Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale