Friday, March 11, 2011

The joys of multi-card reading

As mentioned at the bottom of my prior posting, because of a surprising number of errors being received when I tried to use my venerable external card reader, I had ordered an internal multi-card reader. Well, it arrived in good order, and now the front of my PC has one more blue LED than it had.

I guess this is the way that streetlights have destroyed the night for so many of us, one bulb at a time.

They nicely include both grey and black faceplates, for the utterly pointless aesthetics of having the machine match. It must be important to someone, and I did indeed use the matching faceplate. It was already in place. My server has a silver DVD drive in a black case, and I can't say that anyone has complained.

If I were building this for someone else, I certainly would make everything match, so I'll grant that usefulness to having multiple choices. "So, Thomas Becket, what in other people is called morality is for you an exercise in aesthetics."

Anyway, one of the nicest things that Rosewill did was also to include 4 screws! Sure, as someone who has done this sort of thing I have a lot of standard PC screws, but I can fully understand someone who has only bought a tower PC from some store who wants such a simple upgrade, not having any of these little screws sitting around. I've gotten many DVD drives, floppy drives, internal disk drives, all without screws, as if by some miracle everyone who buys them already has screws, or is pulling out an existing bit of hardware and then using those screws. It's a small thing, but I am very pleased that Rosewill took the time, and expense,  to do so in a razor-thin margin market like PC parts. Thank You!

Popping out the 3.5" drive bay cover, the reader slipped in without trouble. Once again I want to emphasize that when you tighten down screws in a PC, you're doing so into sheet-metal or aluminum. The screws can easily strip the threads out of whatever it is being installed.

So don't crank down on your PCs screws! Tighten them gently, little more than you get with just fingertips on the screwdriver handle. Turn down your electric screwdriver to its lowest setting. No Jackhammers!

The cable for this card reader is a completely standard USB connector, and my motherboard has at least one more after that cable is in place, centered in this photograph, with USB printed on both the connector and the motherboard. It's still a good idea to check the manual, as well as ensuring that the connector is put right side up. It will only fit one way, but that doesn't stop the occasional imaginative person from somehow fitting a square peg into a round hole.

Happy to say it works perfectly. I have NO idea what objection this motherboard has to my otherwise perfectly working external card reader, but as you can see there are no errors, no resets, and the dmesg printout shows two complete insert cycles without any problems and near instantaneous speed of launching the Thunar file manager. However, I have to figure out how to change Thunar to keep the lower-case filenames on my external cards, like Konqueror does. If I am ever to give up on KDE3, it's these little details that have to be solved.

Yes, Xfce. Hey, I use Debian, I can have as many window managers installed at the same time as I want!

One last thing. For some reason, I'm sure to do with making the card reader as efficiently, read that as "inexpensively", as possible, the SD card slot is, in my opinion, upside-down.

Yes, it's a small thing, but when I tried to put the SD card in the first time, it didn't fit!

Maybe, next time I build a machine, I will have the monetary resources to spend on a high-end card reader with hundreds of features I'll never use, or I'll get it from a store where I can try them first.

Well, no. What I'll do is what I've always learned to do: Figure out how it works, and make what I have work for me. I can remember to turn the SD card upside-down to put it in the reader, and since this is my machine I don't think anyone else is going to be using it.

Let's just hope that if anyone does, they have the lack of imagination to realize the card isn't fitting and maybe to try something else, rather than thinking it just needs to be pushed in a little bit harder.

Peace, but not in pieces,


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