Readers for your Computer: Asante
FriendlyNET Gini USB 6 in 1 by Lisa
Gade , Editor-in-Chief, April, 2003
Storage Options for your PDA: an explanation of the different types
of cards here.)
Asante, a company long known for their networking
products, has entered the card reader arena with their FriendlyNET
Gini USB universal reader. The Gini is a 6-in-1 reader with 4 slots
that's remarkably portable.
The Gini works with CF type I and II cards, the
Microdrive, SD, MMC, Memory Sticks and SmartMedia cards. It's a USB
1.1 device and it comes with a 3 foot removeable USB cable. You'll
also get a brief installation guide (on the flip side of the cardboard
packaging insert) and drivers for Windows and Mac on the included
The Gini is surprisingly small for a 4 slot card
reader. It has labelled slots for CF/Microdrive, SmartMedia, Memory
Stick and SD/MMC. If you have several devices such as PDAs, digital
cameras and MP3 players, you're going to love having all these slots!
Why? Because you can simultaneously have an SD or MMC card, CF card,
Memory Stick and SmartMedia card in the reader, making it easy to
copy files from one storage format to another. If you've got MP3
files on a Smart Media card that you'd like to share with your SD-based
PDA, you can drag the audio files from one card to another. No more
temporarily copying the files to your computer's hard drive in order
to get the files from one card type to another.
The Asante reader comes with drivers for Win98
and Windows 2000, as well as Mac OS 8.6 through 9. You don't need
to install drivers for Windows ME and XP since these natively support
card readers), and Mac OS X (version 10.1.2 and higher) supports
card readers natively without additional drivers. The unit performed
reliably for me under Windows XP and Mac OS X (version 10.2, aka
On our Windows 2000 desktop machines with AMD processors,
I did have problems getting the reader to work reliably. Our AMD
desktops, like most, use VIA USB controllers, and it seems that the
driver software doesn't like to play nicely with the VIA. However,
the card reader and drivers did work well on these same machines
when plugged into a 3rd party USB PCI card instead of the built-in
USB ports. It also plays well with USB 2.0 ports, though you will
of course only get USB 1.1 speeds since this is a USB 1.1 device.
I had the same results with the Crucial card reader which uses an
older version of the same driver software (1.5 vs. 1.7).
Once the card reader is installed, you'll see 4
additional drive letters under My Computer (PC) representing these
slots. If you're running Windows 98/2000 and have installed the included
driver software, the drive letters will have icons that make it easy
to identify each card slot. If you've ever tried to remember and
guess which drive letter represents which slot, you'll appreciate
this feature! On the Mac, the cards mount as a drive on the desktop
after you insert them.
Conclusion: a highly portable reader that packs
in four slots: handy if you want to transfer files between card types.
Nice software for Windows 98/2000 that gives you icons for each drive
letter. If you have an AMD desktop running Windows 98 or 2000, you
may have trouble getting the reader to work unless you've got a 3rd
party USB card installed.