Gini Universal Memory Card Reader/Writer
Review

On November 14, 2002, in Review, by David Weeks

Gini Universal Memory Reader/Writer
OS X Compatible

Company: Asante Technologies, Inc.
Price: $40.00
http://www.asante.com

Pick a card, any card.

Pick a SmartMedia card, a Sony Memory Stick, a CompactFlash type I or II, a MultiMedia Card, a Secure Digital card, or even an IBM MicroDrive.

It doesn’t matter which card you want to read, the Gini Universal Memory Reader/Writer from Asante Technologies will read all common removable memory cards.

The Gini is a slick little brushed-aluminum box about 4″ x 2″ x 1/2″. The front edge has 4 slots; one for SmartMedia, one for Memory Sticks, one that takes both MultiMedia and Secure Digital cards, and one for CompactFlash and IBM Microdrives. There is a small green LED on the top of the reader that shows read/write activity.

The back has a socket for a USB cable. Asante includes a cable; a nice touch.

That’s all there is to it. The Gini is self-powered via the USB bus, so no wall-wart power supply is needed. This little device is as simple as they come.

Let’s see how easy it is to use.

If you are using Mac OS X, or Windows ME or XP, no driver installation is required; all you do is connect the USB cable into the Gini and the USB port on your computer. Insert the memory card that you want to read into the card. On my PowerBook 800, running OS X 10.2.1, a drive icon named “Unlabeled” appeared on the desktop about 3 seconds after I inserted the 128 MB SmartMedia card from my Fuji FinePix 601 digital camera.

At this point, you treat the media card like any other removable drive. You can copy files from the card to your computer as you copy any other files from drive to drive. When you are done, Mac users drag the media card drive icon to the Trash to unmount it. You then can remove the card from the reader. If you want to work with the card again, simply reinsert it.

I did not test the card with Windows, although the literature states that the Gini is compatible with Windows XP/ME, 2000 and 98. Drivers are provided for Windows 2000 and 98.

Mac OS 9 or OS 8 users can also install drivers to use the Gini. Asante gets points off for making the folder with the Macintosh installer program a bit hard to find. You may need to resize the CD window to see the “PowerMac” folder containing the OS 9/8-driver installer. Trying to trick the system, I ran the installer in Classic, and was impressed that it functioned correctly. After rebooting in OS 9.2.2, the Gini worked flawlessly.

Why would someone want to spend $40 (list) for a card reader, when cheaper readers function as well? This product is clearly targeted at offices or families that need to read different memory card formats. At work, I occasionally use a Sony videocam that can record still images on a Sony SecureDigital card. A co-worker has a digital camera that uses an IBM MicroDrive. I plan to carry the Asante Gini in my laptop bag to be ready to read these different card formats at any time.

If you need multiple card reading, the Gini is the reader to buy.

What does “Gini” mean? It appears to be a play on words. Embossed onto the top of the reader itself are the words “6in1.”

Think about it…

MacMice Rating: 4.5 out of 5


David Weeks

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