Griffin Elevates, Cards the MacBook Pro | iLounge Backstage

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Griffin Elevates, Cards the MacBook Pro

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Friday, January 26, 2007
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Today’s entry in our ever-increasing flow of MacBook accessories: Griffin’s ExpressCard/34 5:1 Card Reader ($30, also called the Expresscard 34 Card Reader), and Elevator Desktop Stand ($40). A few short words on both of these neat little items as we head into the weekend.

Elevator width=
Express Card

We’ve been waiting for something like the Card Reader since the MacBook Pro was introduced last year, as we’ve wanted a way to stop carrying around our larger USB 2.0-based memory card readers, but weren’t totally confident in the several no-name ExpressCard/34 readers that have been released to date. In our quick tests so far, Griffin’s Reader is what we’ve needed, delivering USB 2.0 speeds for access to SD Card, Memory Stick and Pro, MMC and xD Card media without requiring any drivers, and our memory cards come up instantly on our Mac’s desktop after insertion. Unlike our separate cabled card readers, popping a card out of Griffin’s Reader quickly results in the Mac’s “Device Removal” warning, which is typically a good sign - re-inserting the card after further use won’t result in corruption of the card’s updated contents.

Elevator

Elevator’s totally different. It’s a notebook computer stand made from two aluminum posts and a clear plastic connector, designed to elevate your MacBook Pro (or most other machines) around 5.5 inches off a flat surface. See more details and pictures by clicking on the headline.

Elevator

Assembling Elevator isn’t too difficult, but you might do it the wrong way at first, placing the clear plastic piece upwards at MacBook level rather than table level, and flipping the metal pieces upside down. Do it this way and Elevator will look nice, but won’t be stable. The clear part - with Griffin’s name inside - is intended to rest on the table, with large pads on the aluminum protecting the MacBook’s body, and smaller pads touching the table.

Elevator
Elevator

The MacBook sits on an angle that’s designed to be ergonomically beneficial, with the screen at a height approximating the “healthy” elevation for a standalone monitor. Above the flat surface, the airflow’s better, so it’s able to fully cool its body rather than overheating due to surface or skin contact. We’ll leave it up to you whether that’s worth the $40 price tag here, but the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro-matching metal is thick and nicely curved - our only wish was that this was more of a lap-ready design than a desk-ready one. We still see our MacBooks as “laptop” computers, but don’t want to singe our legs; perhaps Griffin has something coming to address that need, too.

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Comments

1

So far, nobody’s mentioned this:

When it’s inserted, does the card reader fit flush with the MacBook Pro’s case, or does it stick out. And if so, how much?

Thanks.

Posted by tim on January 26, 2007 at 3:55 PM (PDT)

2

Does the express card sit completely flush w/ the MBP when inserted?

Posted by Scott on January 26, 2007 at 4:00 PM (PDT)

3

I have the same question.  Does the card sit flush with the MacBook casing? 

I also noticed that Belkin introduced a nearly identical product recently.  It sells for $26.99 with free shipping on Amazon.  It’s also getting good reviews from Mac users.

http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Multimedia-Reader-ExpressCard-F5U213/dp/B000HQ1GDC/sr=8-1/qid=1169842182/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3615417-3254447?ie=UTF8&s=electronics

Posted by Zack on January 26, 2007 at 4:33 PM (PDT)

4

I’d peg the card’s lip as being 1 millimeter or less than completely flush with the MBP’s side - less than the thickness of a piece of card stock.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on January 26, 2007 at 6:07 PM (PDT)

5

Thanks Jeremy, that’s what I’d hoped.

As I’m not currently using my Express slot for anything, I’d like to keep this in there all the time for reading SD cards.

Posted by tim on January 26, 2007 at 7:49 PM (PDT)

6

That’s what I’m doing right now. grin

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on January 26, 2007 at 8:01 PM (PDT)

7

> “Unlike our separate cabled card readers, popping a card out of Griffin’s Reader quickly results in the Mac’s “Device Removal” warning, which is typically a good sign - re-inserting the card after further use won’t result in corruption of the card’s updated contents.”

Jeremy, could you explain this? Does this mean cards don’t need to be ejected from the desktop before physically ejecting them from the card reader? How is the warning a “good sign” and how does corruption not happen? Just curious.

Posted by Matthew Stoops on January 27, 2007 at 7:57 PM (PDT)

8

There are proper and improper ways for a card reading device to handle a common usage scenario: when the user does not want to go through the “eject media” dialog steps, and instead just wants to pop the card out and move along.* The card reader can either force the OS to recognize that the card has been ejected, resulting in the “device removal” warning dialog, or ignore the card’s removal.

If the reader ignores removal, you take the card out, continue to shoot pictures with it, and then re-insert it, only to find that the reader and OS have written over the updated card directory with a copy of the old directory. Then you’re in a lot of trouble - photos have been lost and the only way to recover them is to use an image rescue program; you may well have screwed up the card in other ways as well. This can be an even bigger problem if you insert a second card instead of the original one.

If the reader recognizes removal, and forces the warning screen, when you use the card, then re-insert it, the directory should not be overwritten: the reader’s first step is to re-check the directory as if a new card has been inserted. This is the preferred way of handling an unexpected card removal, and the way that Griffin’s reader handles the situation.

* So, why would a user ignore the prudent “tell the computer you’re removing the card” step? Because it’s inconvenient, and adds another click or two to a photographer’s workflow. There are times when it’s really, really stupid to do this - in the middle of a read/write operation - but other times, such as when you’ve finished all your reading and writing and the card’s in a truly idle state, when it’s not. Good card readers deal with the unapproved usage model properly so as to avoid card corruption.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on January 28, 2007 at 10:47 AM (PDT)

9

Jeremy, thanks for the quick look at the card reader - like many I want one I can just keep in my MBP all the time, but it needs to be flush so I can use my Waterfield sleeve without removing it (the card). This sounds like it fits the bill.

Question - can you have multiple media in the reader at the same time?? For example, I’d like to keep a 2GB SD in there at all times for quick & ready backups of important docks, but have the ability to pop in xDs from my camera without having to remove or unmount the SD. Possible, or no??

Posted by Fangorn in Texas on January 29, 2007 at 4:06 PM (PDT)

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