Making the tech to work on Windows 98

As we’ve travelled around India we’ve found that many internet cafes here use Windows 98, probably due to it being easier to copy than Windows XP, as well as it not needing much in the way of horsepower on the PC.

We’re carrying two main gadgets: a Canon Ixus 430 camera and my Sony Clie UX50 PDA which I’m using to write the blog. I also have a dual format (Sony MemoryStick and CompactFlash) card reader made by Sandisk which connects to a PC by USB. The card reader works without additional drivers in Windows ME, 2000 and XP but in Win98 requires drivers to be downloaded. Unfortunately, the driver setup file that is needed is almost six megabytes. Why it needs to be so large is anyone’s guess. 6mb takes an age to download at an net cafe (most of which use a single modem with Microsft Internet Connection Sharing) so it isn’t really practical to download drivers everytime we want to use the card reader.

One other item we brought along was a little Dell USB memory key, one of those little keyring USB storage devices, in this case holding 64mb of data. Naturally, this item also needs a driver under Windows 98, but this time we are in luck as said driver can be found at www.memorykeytools.com and is just 15kb, a quick download even at a slow cafe.

So the answer is:
Download the Memory Key driver
Download the Card Reader driver (just once)
Copy the Card Reader driver onto the Memory Key
Copy some other useful software like XnView, unzip, zip, ssh, sftp etc onto the Memory Key too

This gives us a kit which is easier to carry than a fragile CD, and can give us access to the card reader on Win98 with just a 15kb download.

The other problem with the pictures from the camera is that unless I reduce the size and quality hugely, they take an age to upload; even a 40kb file can take a minute or more. The cafes in Arambol charge Rs40/hour for net access, and it’s very easy to lose an hour or more uploading a few pictures.

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