16th September 2005 at 01:00
Last year JVC launched a series of camcorders under the Everio banner which used hard drives rather than tape or DVD discs. Now, it has launched a series of second generation models, GZ-MG20, GZ-MG30, GZ-MG50 and GZ-MG70. Unlike earlier models, which used removable Microdrives, these camcorders have internal 1.8-inch hard drives, with the MG20 using a 20GB drive and the rest having 30GB. The larger drive can store up to 37 hours of video. All camcorders come with a high-speed USB 2.0 connection and are supplied with editing software for both PC and Mac. Prices start from around pound;599.

* Memory cards are a neat way of storing digital images on a digital camera or camcorder, but it can prove tricky transferring images into a PC. Now Sandisk has developed an SD card with its own USB connector. The Ultra II SD Plus card has hinged sides which fold back to reveal a USB port. Simply slip this into your PC's USB port and away you go. The only possible snag is that your USB port needs to have some space around it to accommodate the card. A 512MB Ultra II SD Plus card costs around pound;50.

* Anyone who buys an ink-jet printer soon discovers that the cost of replacing ink cartridges quickly racks up. As a result, a thriving third-party ink cartridge industry has built up, undercutting the prices of the official products. But printer manufacturers are doing all they can to discourage this. First, by integrating specialist microchips into their cartridges and, second, by using the law. So check the cost of consumables before you buy.

* If you've recently visited Microsoft's Windows Download Centre and Windows Update site, you'll have noticed a new procedure, which involves validating your copy of Windows XP. Known as the Windows Genuine Advantage, it is designed to stamp out piracy. If your are using a counterfeit copy of XP, you will not be able to receive downloads, except those for security updates. Owners of counterfeit software can receive a free genuine copy by filling in a form that identifies the source of the rogue software, or they can purchase a copy at a reduced price.

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