First there were homegrown CompactFlash Handspring solutions, grown
out of ingenuity and sweat. People would purchase PCMCIA Adapters
and cannibalize and fold them to create makeshift Adapters. These
first attempts were less than successful, with CF Cards sticking out the
end of the Visor as much as an inch! But it was ingenious, and we
Early adopters saw the innovation continue as the MatchBookDrive [review] from
MatchBookProducts released their first versions. Kopsis
Engineering provided the FAFileMover software and a cottage industry was
born! Hardcore Visor enthusiasts were introduced to the concepts
of file and disk management on their PalmTops. I started to keep a
few megs free on my Prism so I could copy Dictionaries back and forth
with FAFileMover and my MatchBookDrive.
Then, out of nowhere came InnoPocket with their CompactFlash
Slick, polished, and very well manufactured, we thought we'd seen the
competition crushed by a product that was simply, well, superior!
Each solution was a not a true Springboard, but rather an Adapter. They required you to install additional software via a HotSync. A true
Springboard is plug and play, and installs and uninstalls appropriate software automatically. Kopsis Engineering created
their shared library and the FAFileMover software that allows files to be copied back and forth between the CF card and the Visor's internal memory. The CompactFlash FAFileMover works well, but there is no Picture Viewer software for JPEGs, no included Backup solution - you get the idea. The
first adapters from MatchBookProducts and InnoPocket were well-made, but they
aren't the kind of products you'd see at Circuit City or Staples.
On the other hand, the original MemPlug for SmartMedia (Note:
SmartMedia is a memory format that is VERY different than CompactFlash!) [review]
truly raised the bar for Visor Springboard storage solutions. The MemPlug
for SmartMedia is beautiful. I popped it in my Visor, inserted a 32 Meg SmartMedia card and five software apps showed up automatically. In seconds I was playing a movie on my Visor Prism. Unbelievable!
What did I say to myself, considering that I am a fan of CompactFlash - If
ONLY there were a MemPlug for CompactFlash. That day has come
my friends, and it's a very good day.
The Hardware >>