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Submitted by
Sharon Zardetto

 
 

Design

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Kennect put a good deal of thought into the design of Rapport and the Drive 2.4, with only two small problems that I'll get to soon. Rapport is a small unit that looks like a slightly oversized cable plug. Directly under the main body of the Rapport is the plug for the Drive 2.4 or another external disk drive. This plug is recessed so the Drive 2.4's plug doesn't stick out any further than the end of the Rapport - an example of thoughtful design.

The Drive 2.4 has a slim, futuristic case with an access light on the left of the disk slot and an unexplained push switch on the right of the slot where you'd expect a hole to insert the infamous disk-ejecting paperclip. The switch isn't completely unexplained since the manual does say in the Troubleshooting section that the switch doesn't do anything when the Drive 2.4 is connected to a Mac. That wasn't really my question, but it's not that big a deal. Kennect said they initially intended to use the switch for ejecting disks when used with the Apple IIe line, but Kennect put those plans on the back burner. The Drive 2.4 doesn't have a paperclip hole, but Kennect did provide on the bottom of the drive a tab, which, when pushed toward the back of the drive, ejects the disk. It's harder to do than the old paperclip trick (though I once knew an engineer who got a disk stuck in his roommate's Mac, and not knowing about the paperclip trick, successfully took the entire Mac and disk drive apart to get the disk out), but equally as effective. The back of the drive houses not only the cable (which can't be disconnected) but also another floppy drive port. Kennect says that you can daisy chain up to three external drives, only one of which can be an Apple drive. I don't know that I need four drives total, but it was nice of them to make it possible nonetheless. Like the Apple drives, the Drive 2.4 grabs disks from you and spits them back out, although it's not quite as energetic as the Apple drives I've used. I don't mind because the disk slot has a recessed part for your fingers when you're inserting and removing disks.

If you own a Mac II or IIx, you may be irritated at the lack of an external drive port. Kennect has come up with a solution in the form of an adapter and a 16" extender cable, both of which should be available wherever you can get the Drive 2.4. They list for $69 and should run about $45 discounted.

The design is not perfect, though, and there are two small problems which don't affect the operation of the drive. Because of the slim case, the Drive 2.4 cannot easily stand on its side, as can the Apple external drives. The manual says nothing on the subject, but I expect a small stand could be easily be built for it. Kennect says there shouldn't be any problem, but disks might not eject as well that way. You also don't want to put much weight on the drive, or the eject mechanism might not work as well. The second problem is that the access light flashes quickly every three seconds whether or not a disk is inserted. This drives me nuts. I'll probably put some tape over it soon, because the constant flashing distracts my attention from the screen.

 

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