October 23, 2011 in Business

Q&A: Find a way around tablets’ lack of USB ports

Steve Alexander Minneapolis Star Tribune
 

Q: The generally efficient Apple iPad has for many users a serious deficiency: There is no easy way to print important content. Are there any devices or workarounds available to fix this problem?

Lawrence Fishman, Miami

A: You can buy separate USB adapters that allow you to connect some tablet computers to external devices, such as printers. There are external USB adapters for the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Motorola Xoom.

A few tablets, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad, include a standard USB port.

I suspect some tablet makers are keeping it hard to connect to local storage devices in order to sell online storage capacity that’s “in the cloud.” There’s iCloud for Apple, and Box.net for Motorola.

Q: The SD card reader in my eMachines T3116 PC works with 2-gigabyte memory cards, but won’t read a SanDisk 4-gigabyte card. I’ve read that the PC can read the 4-gigabyte card if I leave it in my camera and connect the camera to the PC with a USB cable. What should I do?

Charles Steigerwald, Apple Valley, Wis.

A: The card reader in your PC is too old to read a 4-gigabyte flash memory card, which uses the SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) storage format. It was able to read your 2-gigabyte memory card because that card used the older SD (Secure Digital) format.

The specifications for your PC’s card reader can be found at www.tinyurl.com/5v6t3ne.

Why the switch? The SD format could only handle capacities up to 2 gigabytes. To increase card capacity, it was necessary to change formats.

There are two ways to read the 4-gigabyte card. Connect your camera to your PC via USB cord. Or you can buy a $7 to $15 SDHC external card reader that can plug into one of your PC’s USB ports; see www.tinyurl.com/3qoarsp.

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