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Macally SyncBox™ Review,
transfer digital data without a computer!
by Keith Benicek, Editor and Uber Digital Camera Geek
June 24th, 2004

Two of the most often seen “digital technology” products you see being used by the masses are Digital Cameras and USB flash memory type Thumb Drives. You really can’t go anywhere public without seeing people using Digital Cameras instead of film cameras.

If you’re a computer user, you surely have noticed that the floppy drive is nearly dead and buried. Mac’s did away with them in 1998 and most new PC desktops and notebooks no longer have them. Hence the literal explosion of what seems like hundreds of brands and shapes of these Thumb Drives. They come in sizes ranging from 64MB to 1GB and I’ve seen them in geeks shirt pockets (replacing the pencil holder) to hanging on key chains.

Because of the proclivity of USB Thumb Drive manufacturers, they are often cheaper than the equivalent capacity sized digital camera “media card” and you can plug n play directly into any computer with USB ports

So it only seemed like a natural thing that someone would find a way to use the USB Flash Thumb Drive with Digital Cameras. The very first company to figure out a creative way to employ “existing” USB Flash Thumb Drives is long time Macintosh hardware innovator Macally, based in the US in Irwindale California.

Since no camera exists yet that can allow you to plug a USB Thumb Drive into it directly to save your digital photographs, you had to have either a PC or Mac computer to transfer those pics off your camera to a hard disk drive. Well that’s changed with Macally’s nifty new SyncBox™, which completely removes the need to have a computer to move images from your USB equipped Digital Camera. At the moment though, you can only move that image file to a USB Flash Thumb Drive.

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Now think of the possibilities and the cost savings. You’re on vacation or visiting friends and you are taking more pictures that you thought you would. Your 128MB xD, SM, CF or Memory Stick has filled up and you don’t have another; but you do have your cheap to buy 256 or 512 USB Thumb Drive with you, or maybe there’s a near by Office-R-Us open that has ‘em cheap (doesn’t everyone?).
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Amazing little gray box -
The Macally SyncBox™ is amazingly small and light, it will take up very little room in your small digital camera’s bag and you could easily just keep it in your pocket. There are USB 2.0/1.1 compliant ports on either sides of the little box, a door on the back to insert three AAA batteries (not included) and two indicator LED’s to let you know that it’s sync’d with the camera and moving data.
Copying pics from a Sony DSC-V1 to a Macally Flash Drive

With no computer needed, we had to know how the Macally SyncBox™ can do what it does, what is inside the sealed box? I asked Adrian Chan, Marketing with Macally’s North American distributor Mace Group Inc. if he would explain how SyncBox™ works. Adrian said, “SyncBox series product is an MCU embedded USB Host Device, with a USB host controller (8051 MCU) embedded.”

”The SyncBox™ behaves as a computer, but it only does a specific " COPY" function from the source device.” You have a choice of copying everything from the source like a camera, or you can create a folder on a USB Flash Thumb Drive called “syncbox” and the Macally SyncBox™ will only copy the contents of that folder. Adrian continued, “the SyncBox supports FAT 12, 16, 32 and 64 file system. . and the firmware and file system was developed by Macally independently.” The SyncBox™ is so revolutionary that Macally has filled for a US Patent.



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