Today's entries focus on data recovery and portable music.
Vantec SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter
When would you use this funny-shaped adapter that looks like the lower intestine of a desktop computer? There are all kinds of useful applications.
First, say your computer dies due to a power or motherboard issue. How will you get all that data off your drive? What if you get a virus that is nasty enough to prevent your computer from booting?
Skip the thousands of dollars on data recovery specialists and instead spend $15 on this adapter, pull the hard drive out of your system, connect it to the adapter, plug the adapter into the USB port on another computer, and voila – there's your data.
It's useful for data recovery, obviously, but also for other troubleshooting with drives that are acting flaky or won't boot. Take it out, plug it into this gizmo, and you can run utilities or other tests, format, or even wipe the drive. I wouldn't recommend using it as a permanent solution for making an internal drive into an external; there are enclosures for that which are much more secure. For diagnostics and saving your data, though, this is the kind of thing anyone – tech novice to wizard – should have handy.
Creative Zen Mozaic 4GB
Granted, it's not the most current release, but after the iPod Nano, there haven't been many great strides short of bolting on a touch screen to MP3 players. I brought home this little guy and showed it to my iPod-devout girlfriend, and given the smaller form factor, support for more media types, drag-and-drop MP3 migration and playlist creation WITHOUT having to screw around with iTunes, and a built-in FM radio tuner (the iPod got this later).