Superior Media Detection

March 27, 2007


I have several different computers in my classroom and use several types of storage media for keeping pictures and documents.  I use SD, memory sticks, compact flash plus more ordinary flash drives.  To read memory cards, I have a couple of different card readers, each supposedly able to read more than one kind of media.  For instance the compact flash reader is also supposed to be able to read a memory stick, while my SD reader reads a memory stick but not a compact flash.  Nothing too complicated, right?  It is just a matter of plugging the appropriate reader into the USB slot.


However, my XP machines are quite fickle as to what they will and won’t read on a given day.  Sometimes one machine won’t read my SD reader but will read a compact flash.  One machine likes the compact flash but not the SD.  Other times they don’t like any of the card readers.


But on the machine where I’ve installed Mepis, I don’t deal with this sort of fickle-ry.  It reads pretty much anything I’ve ever plugged into it, including the odd camera or two the XP has had issues with.  Keep in mind, the Mepis machine is the oldest of the lot and only has two USB slots to begin with.  But it always detects whatever memory card or camera I plug into it.  It treats the cameras the same as a memory card, which suits me just fine.


I’ve discussed before how I often compose blog posts on my Zaurus and then transfer to a desktop for further editing and/or posting.  My Linux box isn’t networked so when the networked XP machines don’t want to read my flash card, I have to do some transferring.  Namely from the compact flash to a floppy (on the Linux/Mepis machine) back to the XP machine to be posted.  It’s a bit of a process.  This is made more complicated when I try to figure out to save a file on to a floppy.  It’s not quite as simple as a “save as…” that we see by right clicking in XP.  I right click in Mepis I can get to a save menu, but the file structure looks totally different and takes some hunting around. 


So let’s just say I have to want to get something up awfully bad to go through this extended process.  At home, I have administrative control of my home XP machine and don’t have all these different issues.


This is why I’ve been willing to fiddle with Linux in the first place, in an attempt to have a machine that I can control more of my own experience.  The price of this, is of course, ease of use.  The more control the user has, the more complicated and sophisticated the thing is. 


So other than this small thing, I haven’t been playing with Linux very much at all. 




One comment

  1. How amusing. Guess what USB2 device won’t run in USB2 on my Laptop? ‘Course, I haven’t really tried figuring it out, and it is Arch [bleeding edge 2.6.20], so some issues are expected.

    BTW, I’ve found that Windows likes to have the card readers always plugged into the same slot. My 5-in-1 isn’t recognized unless it’s in USB port #6. I’m thinking it has something to do with the device mapping, as Windows remembers the drive last assigned to a disk.

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