Netac OnlyDisk Secure III ODI (Ultra-Stable Secure)
Date: Nov 2003
Price: £52.99 (ex vat) 128mb @ time of writing. See Weast for more capacitys and prices.
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Use: Secure and portable way to transport files.
USB Memory products have been growing in popularity over the last few years. I personally have two memory sticks which I use almost everyday for transporting files between the work place and for backup purposes. They are small and decreet and allow for fast transfer of files to the devices which is often far easier than waiting for the file to be sent 'home' via email.
I knew that the technology had been around for sometime but didn't know where it originated and developed from, all usb flash devices have evolved from the 'fathers' read this short excert for more details:
Netac Technology Co. Ltd. was founded in May 1999 with the patent technology developed by Mr. Deng Guoshun and Mr. Cheng Xiaohua.
Mr. Deng, used to be an IT engineer in one of the top brand PC manufacturers in China -- Legend Group, has worked in Philips Electronics Singapore from 1995 until 1998. Since 1998, he started to develop with his former colleague in Philips Mr. Cheng the technology of USB interfaced removable flash memory disk.
In May 1999, they brought the invention back to Shenzhen, China and set up Netac. Since then, Netac started to produce and market its USB removable disks under the patent and the brand of "OnlyDisk".
Product Name: Secure III OnlyDisk
Model Number: ODI
Place of Origin: China
Brand Name: OnlyDisk
Quality/Safety Certifications: FCC (Class B), CE, C-Tick
|Patent||Patent protected in China since 1999; worldwide pending|
|Capacities||from 16Mb up to 1Gb|
|Operation Systems||Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Mac OS 9.0 x / X and Linux 2.4 x|
|Driver Software||Driverless (USB plug and play) except Windows 98|
|Software Download||For drivers, Format Tools and other useful software, please visit http://www.netac.com|
|Reading Speed||Up to 1mb/s (USB1.1) and 6mb/s (USB2.0)|
|Writing Speed||Up to 920kb/s (USB1.1) and 2mb/s (USB2.0)|
|Extras||Read/write Lock; Neck-strap; Free USB extension cable|
|Erase Cycles||1 million times|
|Acoustic Noise||0 dB|
|Operation Temperature||-40°C to 70°C|
|Operation Humidity||5% to 95% (non-condensing)|
|Dimensions||80 x 24 x 11 mm (approx)|
|Weight||10g to 15g (approx)|
What you get:
As with most drives this is very similar in size and weight. An advantage of the OnlyDisk having a thin casing is it allows for easier connection straight into ports at the rear or by sometimes had to connect front mounted USB ports. Of course you can use extension leads like the one provided but for occasional use especially if you may be using the device on several PC's easy connection access is a must.
A drawback with some usb drives is that they don't allow you to secure or divide the space. This however is a major benefit of the Secure III OnlyDisk yes its got Secure in the title and it allows you to add password protection to the drive.
To choose which mode you want to use restricted or unrestricted you need to change the switch to either the (HD) potion for unrestricted which will allow you to drag and drop files in the standard way, or by selecting the (SD) option when you try to access the device you will be met with a screen shot like this:
On the other side of the disk you have another slide able switch which allows you to enable write protection or not, in the same manner as floppies and read-only permissions used in other applications.
Again as with most units of this type you get a LED to show activity and when the drive is connected in this case you get a blue LED that remains constantly lit when the device is connected.
When the drive is been written to it blinks at you whilst the data is being transferred to the device and remains blinking for a few seconds after to provide a warning if you like not to disconnect the drive during this process. Of course you can safely disconnect the drive from your system by using the icon in your system tray.
Using the software cd and installing the software as indicated above you get a small program which allows you to easily format and setup your drive.
For those users who use operating systems above Win 98 no driver is needed simply plug and play the way it was meant to be, for Win 95se/98 users you will need to install a driver so that the usb device is installed. The software CD has various files mainly drivers on the disc, this is straight forward enough and very handy expecially if you are looking to use this with a Mac or Linux flavour system. I think it would be a good idea to include a manual or user guide on the cd. As it happens I found one easily enough off the Netac website its just my own personnal opinion that I prefer to have amanul on the disc as well as the paper version that comes with the unit itself.
I have already covered the ways in which to select the write protection and the secure aspects of the drive. I currently use just about everyday a USB stick; it doesn't have any secure features to protect my valuable data. I have thought about upgrading to one, which does, but when I got it I was swayed by price. In using this device for several weeks I found it smaller and more compact than my other unit, any speed difference wasn't really noticed namely because they are the same usb 1.1 standard and as this had a smaller capacity I wasn't transferring files long enough to notice.
I did like the blue led which blinked when it was been written to, and the way it remained lit for a few seconds after to ensure activity had finished, the file which adds secure features was easy and reliable to use. I tried to make the device hang by disconnecting it and simulating power cuts and other possible scenarios but without success. I used this device on Win 2k/XP and Red hat 9 without any problems or slowness.
Finding out the origins of the usb sticks, which are becoming standard was interesting and enlightening. (Dell now ship memory sticks instead as floppy drives as they are cheaper and smaller to produce) This drive is the thinnest I have used yet. I didn't think much of the software on the cd it basically just allowed you to format the disc via a interface although a good feature for some maybe that it allows you to copy win98 files to it so that it can boot the pc in the same way that a start-up disc can / does.
Looking at the Weast site gives you a VERY wide choice of memory sticks to choose from and this drive in 128MB was reasonably priced when compared to others on the market. An all round great package, great performer and simple to use.