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Overseas standards - shipping drive

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Joseph W. Bourke
Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 3:06:24 pm

This is a new one for me. I have a client in Africa, and I will be needing to ship many GBs of footage to him. I have Dropbox, but they have dialup, so it's not an option on this project.

I am trying to decide whether 36GB thumb drives (universal, I think) or a portable 500GB USB hard drive (50Hz electrical system could be a problem) would be the way to go.

Client is suggesting I purchase the drive here and ship it over - when it arrives, odds are they won't have power conversion kits there to convert to their own local power. I suppose I could send along a kit...

What are your thoughts on this? Has anyone done it? Thanks.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 3:13:43 pm

Well, sir, I personally would favor the thumb drives. The reason: no moving parts that can get bounced around and broken during shipping. Furthermore, they're light and compact and can be protected from damage with little shipping weight penalty.

There may be an alternative, but I don't know for sure. My workplace forces me to be something of a Luddite, so I have to ask a dumb question: is it possible to make a DATA Blu-Ray?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Walter Soyka
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 3:48:06 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "I am trying to decide whether 36GB thumb drives (universal, I think) or a portable 500GB USB hard drive (50Hz electrical system could be a problem) would be the way to go. Client is suggesting I purchase the drive here and ship it over - when it arrives, odds are they won't have power conversion kits there to convert to their own local power."

If the drive is bus-powered, it doesn't matter what the local electrical system is.

If it's externally powered, look at the AC adapter. Nearly all of them are universal. If it says 50/60 Hz, 110/220V, you're good to go. You'd just need an adapter from a US plug to the local plug (not an inverter), and you could pick one of those up for a couple bucks at Radio Shack. Some products even ship with multiple plugs so they can sell the same exact piece anywhere in the world.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jason Brown
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 4:19:09 pm

I echo Walter's comments. You can EASILY get a bus powered USB or Firewire drive. I routinely send stuff overseas...

I have had some issues with some PC laptops not having enough bus power to spin up a drive...so I got some LaCie drives that have an additional plug that goes from USB to a DC looking type of plug. It just offers additional power to spin up...but that's really only relevant when using an older laptop. These are all 500GB drives...there really should be no need to plug into a wall.


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 4:25:06 pm

Thumb drives- I echo Dave, why would you chance it with a drive with moving parts?

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 4:40:53 pm

Thanks guys -

The thumb drive was the direction I was leaning, because of the moving parts issue. I can get a 36GB thumb drive for about 49 bucks at Best Buy - my secondary plan was the cheapskate in me thinking - why buy 36GB for 49 bucks when I can buy 500GB for the same price? It's pretty hard to break a thumb drive!

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 5:09:46 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "The thumb drive was the direction I was leaning, because of the moving parts issue. I can get a 36GB thumb drive for about 49 bucks at Best Buy - my secondary plan was the cheapskate in me thinking - why buy 36GB for 49 bucks when I can buy 500GB for the same price? It's pretty hard to break a thumb drive!"

Physical shock won't break a thumb drive -- but electrostatic shock could. It might be worthwhile to ship it in an anti-static bag.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jason Brown
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 5:11:17 pm

I understand the "spinning parts" argument, but keep in mind that we use them EVERYDAY, they support our entire industry, and many others...I don't like to vilify things unnecessarily ... I personally think it's a non-issue, it's like arguing not to go outside because u could get hit by a car :)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:01:39 pm

Joe, you ought to know this even though I don't -- do data Blu-Ray discs exist, or are they figments of my imagination?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 11:09:42 pm

Yes, Dave, there is a Blu-Ray data disc. I've thought of using it for just the purpose I asked about in this thread, however, blu-ray drives seem to be as rare as hens' teeth with my client base. I have never been asked to deliver on Blu-Ray, so I haven't bothered to purchase a burner yet. As the price drops, I probably will give it a second thought.

My local problems have just been solved in terms of backup. I just bought a Drobo 2nd generation 4-drive unit with 8TB of storage. That ought to get me through at least a year of projects. I've only had it a few days, but it's ridiculously easy to set up, and brainless to operate.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Dave Johnson
Re: Overseas standards - shipping drive
on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:57:15 pm

I'm with the other guys ... thumb drives all the way ...

much harder to break
much cheaper to ship
avoids the power conversion issue altogether

By the way, yes Blu-Ray data discs do exists ... easier to get broken during shipping than a thumb drive though ... and assumes the recipient will be able to read the discs.


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