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100GB Portable iQBioDriveiQBio, a subsidiary of Artemis Solutions Group, yesterday announced a 100GB portable hard drive which makes use of fingerprint encryption and security software to protect its contents. The new 100GB Portable iQBioDrive is priced at $299.95 and, if you care about this thing, is designed and assembled here in the good old U.S. of A.

The iQBioDrive is reportedly secured by 128bit AES encryption and makes use of the company’s BioCert fingerprint technology. According to iQBio, the drive is “partitioned into three ‘mapped drives’ on Windows 2000 (SP3) or Windows XP systems. The first is a partition that is seen by the system as a read only drive and contains the biometric encryption software. The second partition is set at 100MB or so…and is a public partition where files may be stored and used without biometric authentication…The last partition is the secure drive that can only be accessed through the use of biometric authentication or a 256 character override password.”

Read More | 100GB Portable iQBioDrive Product Page


Apricorn Aegis MiniApricorn, a developer of portable storage products, has a new “ultra portable” hard drive family announced today. The first product of this line up is the Aegis Mini, a pocket sized, 1.8” external drive with USB 2.0 or FireWire connectivity options.

The Aegis Mini, available in 30GB and 60GB capacities, is bus powered and has an integrated cable which wraps around the drive when not in use. The drive protects its data with a 16-point omni directional shock mounting system and comes with a software suite which includes backup software, synchronizing software, encryption software and hard drive health monitor software.

Read More | Apricorn Product Page

If you own a Lexar JumpDrive FireFly or 1GB Secure II, you’ll want to take careful note of this story. Lexar, in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has issued a voluntary recall of around 66,000 of these drives because of a potential burn hazard. No injuries have thus far been reported of the drives. Consumers with the impacted models as described this recall notice Web page are advised to stop using the drives and contact Lexar to receive a free replacement.

Read More | Lexar/USCPSC Product Recall Page

Sony Micro Vault TinySo if you’re looking for a tiny, cool looking USB flash drive on which to store data, Sony may have a little something fun for you to check out. The Sony Micro Vault Tiny, billed by Sony as their smallest USB flash drive, is quite tiny indeed, measuring 1.2” x 5” x 6.1”.

The Sony Micro Vault Tiny comes in four configurations: 256MB orange ($29.99), 512MB purple ($44.99), 1GB blue ($64.99) and 2GB green ($109.99). All the drives, which are compatible with Windows and Mac OS, support USB 2.0 and 1.1 ports.

The Micro Vault Tiny drives also come with “Virtual Expander”, which reportedly lets you store three times as much data.

Read More | Sony Product Page via News.com

BenQ BW1000

BenQ in Europe dropped some details last week about their upcoming Blu-ray Disc optical writer. The new BW1000 is expected to price at around € 799,00 including VAT (around $1,023 American) and will ship in August.

The BenQ BW1000 will incorporate three types of lasers to support writing to Blu-ray Disc as well as a variety of DVD and CD formats. Three additional technologies highlighted by BenQ are designed to offer extra protection against vibrations and irregularities in the physical media as well as “determining and optimizing the writing settings for recordable media to ensure maximum playability and lifespan”.

Read More | BenQ Product Page via Engadget

Vonage V-PhoneVonage has an interesting looking gadget out today in the form of a USB keychain drive. The new Vonage V-Phone is priced at $39.99 and looks to be available now.

The Vonage V-Phone comes with what Vonage feels is everything one needs to make and receive calls over a high speed Internet connection. Its primary features include coming pre-loaded with Vonage Talk software, having a detachable stereo earpiece microphone, offering 250MB of usable portable memory storage and offering a new Vonage phone number.

The Vonage V-Phone is plugged into any existing USB port on a PC. After also plugging in the earpiece microphone into the side of V-Phone, one is pretty much ready to use the service. When the drive is removed, all of the information is still on it and not the former host computer.

Read More | Vonage Product Page via Gizmodo

Plextor PX-B900ABefore there was Benq, before there was Lite-On, there was Texel.  Ummm, who?  Texel America was the name Plextor went by before they changed in back in the mid 90’s.  They’ve been manufacturing and selling optical drives since 1990, and I even remember owning one of their first 1x CD-ROM drives.  Yes, I realize that dates me somewhat.  Anyway, Plextor is introducing their first Blu-ray drive, the PX-B900A.  The PX-B900A is an internal ATAPI drive that features dual-layer burning and supports writing and re-writing at 2x speeds.  A large 8MB buffer ensures a constant flow of data, and support for a wide range of formats offers up great versatility.

The PX-B900A not only uses the latest Blu-ray technology, but is also a highly versatile dual-layer DVD drive that combines multiple formats – DVD+/-R/RW and RAM - into one.  It can accept both 12cm and 8cm discs (in the horizontal position) and has a large 8MB buffer to ensure there is no data interruption. Write speeds: 2x BD-R/BD-RE, 8x DVD+R/-R/+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 4x DVD+R/-R DL, 5x DVD-RAM, 24x CD-R and 16x CD-RW.

One thing that has changed over the years is the manufacturer of Plextor’s drives.  Once upon a time, Plextor ruled the roost so to speak and their drives were arguably second to none, and priced to match.  As time has progressed, Plextor seems slower off the line in regards to innovation, and they’ve developed a habit of simply rebadging another manufacturer’s drive as their own.  Rebadging is a common practice in the industry, but it does detract from the main reason to own a Plextor drive - because it was a Plextor and you knew you were getting a cutting edge piece of hardware with few peers.  For what it’s worth, rumor has it that the PX-B900A is a rebadged Panasonic.

The PX-B900A will be availble in the September/October 2006 time frame, for an as of yet undisclosed amount.

Read More | Plextor via CD Freaks


Toshiba has unleashed the first home HD-DVD burner upon the Japanese market, dubbed the VARDIA RD-A1.  It’s rather portly at 33lbs and 18x16x6.25in in size, but there’s a lot of goodness shoveled into that silver enclosure.  There’s the aforementioned HD-DVD burning capability (both single and dual layer), a digital TV tuner, input/output ports out the wazoo, and 1TB of storage space which will hold a maximum of 92 hours of HD programming at the highest quality setting (24Mbps).

I mentioned the massive number of connections this thing has . . . see for yourself.

Toshiba VARDIA RD-A1 Front and Back

Matching it’s size and connectivity is an equally large price of $3,500 USD.

Read More | Toshiba (jp) via Akihabara News

Pretec i-Disk BulletProof

Pretec’s latest USB flash drive is their appropriately named i-Disk BulletProof, which is waterproof, fireproof, and you guessed it, bulletproof.  While we’re not entirely sure that we want to have a need for such a rugged flash drive, it’s nice to know that our options are open.

[With] capacities ranging from 32MB to 2GB, [the] PRETEC i-Disk BulletProof is constructed with double layers of sealed protective metal, capable of preventing circuit damage from water, fire, and even shielding the heavy impact of a bullet, making i-Disk BulletProof the most rugged USB flash drive in the world.  In addition to its ruggedness and small size, i-Disk BulletProof also features blazing access speed, up to 20MB/s. Pretec can also custom design a premium version of i-Disk BulletProof under special arrangement that can achieve a speed of 266X, up to 40MB/s, the highest speed of USB flash drive in the world.

No, we’re sure not sure what the little things on the side of the drive are either.  They look vaguely like little ant skeletons, but the last time we checked, ants had their skeletons on the outside.

Read More | Pretec via Personal Tech Pipeline


Optical disc formats such as CD’s and DVD are great for storing and archiving data, but over time the number of discs to keep track of can start to be a little unwieldy.  A few years ago, Imation came out with a storage solution called the Stakka that strived to simplify the clutter.  The Stakka could hold 100 discs, and as its name implies, offered the ability to have additional units stacked on top of it for increased storage space.  The nice thing about the Stakka was the USB interface that allowed you to perform cataloging duties from your computer.  The bad thing was also the USB interface as it allowed for disc retrieval only by using your computer.  A minor quibble to be sure, but the thing was also butt ugly.

The divita BDM-100S from BLUEDOT is set to change


some of that.  It has striking good looks with a sleek, silver exterior, and features a blue backlit LCD and keypad interface.  Blue LEDs line the sides of the unit and follow the motion of the internal disc tray as it travels up and down for storage/retrieval.  Sharp looking to be sure, but good looks are worthless if functionality isn’t there, and that’s where the divita runs into a minor problem - cataloging your discs.

It seems apparent that BLUEDOT has this product aimed more at the home entertainment segment than the computer market, as there is no way to hook the unit up to a computer.  Which means, all disc titles must be entered, mobile phone style, via the alphanumeric keypad.  Even the ability to hook up a USB keyboard would have been a welcome relief from the drudgery of all that button pushing.  On the upside, with no external connections, it makes for a nice free-standing unit for holding your movie/music/data discs.

divita Interface

The price is a bit of a disappointment as the divita BDM-100S sells for approximately $375 USD.  For that kind of money, you can get yourself a low end CD/DVD changer that will not only store the discs, but play them as well.

Read More | BLUEDOT divita (JP) via Akihabara News