Cig@r Pro

Cig@r Pro is generally spelled Cig@r Pro on the boxes and website art, but software and net references (i.e., plain text) are spelled Cigar Pro. Apparantly related to the Cig@r Drive, though I have no idea what the difference is.

In fact, I know very little about this magical device. As I learn more, I shall update this node. But I am so pleased with this little thing that I had to node this.
Who makes it?
I have no idea. Presumably, though the domain name might very well be named after the product rather than the manufacturer.
What is it?
It's your run of the mill miniaturized solid state (Compact Flash), portable, USB hard drive that you can carry around in your pocket, attach to the included necklace, or rig to fit onto a key- or wallet-chain. Or whatever.

I realize that "portable hard drive" seems to be a contradiction in terms, but that's what it says on the box. Besides, the distinction shouldn't really even matter. The required drivers are probably already on your computer and you should be able to simply plug in and start working, regardless of what it's called.

I did search quite thoroughly for nodes by which I could classify this device, combining words like USB and solid state and hard and disk and drive. Nuthin'. If you do know of node to describe the kind of device this is, and would like to see it linked here, please /msg me and let me know the node title. Thanks!
What's it look like?
The name is misleading: though it is somewhat similar in shape to an actual cigar, it's a bit smaller than what most people would expect when they think "cigar" and actually looks more like a sort of digital kazoo. It measures about 2.5 x 0.75 x 0.5 in3. The gadget is encased in clear plastic and is essentially ellipsoid in shape. It comes in 5 colors: red, orange, blue, green and some kind of gray looking color (probably gray).
Can I accessorize?
I guess, but it looks like you'll have to hack it. The device comes with a necklace attachment (it's a pain to attach it, too), a small USB A-to-A extension cable, and a mini-CD with drivers on it, though you probably won't need the drivers. The Cig@r itself comes preloaded with a file called cigarusb.exe. And that's all.

The package shows a guy with his Cig@r suspended from a chain, but there is no chain included in the package. You might be able to attach to your key chain, but it didn't work too well for me. Use your imagination and you'll find some way to carry it around conveniently -- I mean, come on, it's not even three inches long.
How much data can they store?
They are supposed to go up to 1 GB in size, but I'm not sure if this is real max, or just a "theoretical" max. Color seems to have some correlation to storage size, but it might be that Fry's ordered unique color/size combinations. If there is a color-scheme, then orange is 32 MB, blue is 64 MB and green is 128 MB. These are the only sizes and colors I saw at Fry's. I do not know the remaining sizes, but I assume they include 256 MB and one other size (16? 48? 512?). The 1 GB limit probably only applies if you use their compression software (which is just automatic ZIP compression/decompression).
How cutting-edge! Can my computer use it?
If it supports USB, you'll be okay. One end of the Cig@r detaches to expose a USB Type A connection. Plug it into your USB-compatible PC or your USB hub and you should be ready to go as the device apparantly uses a pretty common set of drivers. My USB-compatible Windows PCs and my Mac both picked it up without even needing to install any new drivers. One PC had to reboot for the drivers to work the first time.

Apparantly, USB-support in Linux ... actually this is a discussion I'd rather not have. Assuming you've got your system set up for it, you should be able to use it by simply plugging it in and then mounting /dev/sda? (where ? = the numeric part of the device name). In theory. Like I mentioned, it's actually a very basic and common device as far as USB is concerned, but with Linux drivers ... well, at this point I'm again venturing into the aforementioned discussion that we are not having.
Something like this must surely cost a fortune!
Unfortunately, it is expensive. My 128 MB card cost me $80. Yikes! Considering I paid almost as much for a 48 MB flash card (this was quite a while back, though, mind you), I wasn't too worried.

Still, these days, a 128 MB Compact Flash card is around $50 US. For about the same price as a Cig@r Pro, you can get a card reader and a flash card of the same size without losing any of the functionality. But the payout for buying a card and reader is that additional cards can use the same reader, meaning the cards are more affordable as soon as you buy more than one, and the cards can be used with other Flash-compatible devices like digital cameras and PDAs. Using Cig@rs will cost you more in the long run.
Then why should I pay more?
Convenience, if it's worth it to you. You might not be as enthralled with it as I am, but I am constantly needing to shuffle files between computers that aren't networked together, and don't even run the same OS or use the same storage devices. Some have floppy drives, some have CD-Rs or CD-RWs, and one one has a ZIP drive. The only thing all the computers I'm messing with have in common are CD-ROM drives and USB ports, and even if I could afford to burn a new CD everytime a file changes, I still can't afford to put a CD-R in each and every computer I happen to use. But USB, that's pretty much standard these days.

I opted for the Cig@r instead of the card reader/flash card combination since the cigar includes the reader built-in. In fact, I already have two cards and a card reader. But the Cig@r is smaller and more convenient than carrying around the reader. It was worth it to me.
Gosh, I didn't even know this product even existed until today, but now I realize I can't live without it! Where can I get one?
I purchased mine at Fry's. It was hidden away in the back with the RAM and Compact Flash cards. In case you can't tell, I have no idea where else you might find one, and don't know any other name brands of similar products. If anybody knows of similar products, please /msg me and I'll do my best to link to them.
So I should buy one? I'm gonna buy one!
These things are pretty cheap looking, and apparantly pretty flaky from what I've read in the support forums, though this flakiness might actually be Windows and not the device itself. If something does go wrong, the support seems to be pretty awful, so use caution. It's worked okay for me, but YMMV.
Do they have a website?
As a matter of fact, they do and it's pretty darn awful. This site also mentions the Cigar Drive (dead link?), which may or may not be a separate product. The site is here:
Can I smoke a Cig@r like a regular cigar?
Maybe. You would probably get very sick.

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