Product Notes

CMS Ruggedized Portable Hard Drive

I use my laptop computer on the road a lot. Over the years, I have learned that laptops schedule catastrophic failure at a time the computer senses your need is most critical. What has failed most frequently has been a hard drive.

The CMS Automatic Backup System ( is really two products: the CMS Bounce Back Professional software ($79 alone) and a CMS external hard drive. The hard drive is tiny, lightweight, and USB-powered, making it really easy to use on the road—no power brick. The form factor is about the size of a Palm Pilot, but a bit thinner. There’s a small blue LED on the top showing you when the drive is in use. Being USB 2, it will transfer data at 450 MBPS, and I was able to backup nearly 90 gigabytes in fewer than three hours.

It’s also rugged: I dropped a friend’s drive (I certainly would not use my own!) from five feet onto a hard floor, and it was none the worse for wear. The warranty does NOT exclude damage from dropping.

You can order the drive in a variety of “flavors” so that if the hard drive on your laptop goes, you can replace it with the one in the CMS case. For those who might be reluctant to approach their laptop with a screwdriver, you can boot from the external drive using the rescue CD that comes with the system (if you’ve done a complete image backup first!).

As of the deadline for this review, I had not had the chance to complete my examination of the backup software that comes with the drive. However, I was able to backup my laptop drive using the external hard drive just using file copy from Windows—a tedious exercise, but the extra 100 gigabytes was nice to have handy. With a Windows installation on the drive, it could serve as an emergency hard drive simply by putting it into my Toshiba.

— Reviewed by Dan Coolidge

Xerox 8400N Phaser Printer

 Several years ago I acquired a Xerox 860 Phaser printer. The phaser printers use hard ink (it comes in blocks made of ink in a hard wax-like consistency). The 860 served me well. It was the first printer in my law office that was not a laser printer in many years. It was also my first reasonably high-speed (read “not an ink-jet”) color printer. I have used the printer for almost three years and have had virtually no problems with it. It has always produced sharp clear black-and-white and rich full color prints. When I got it, I had some question about how much use I had for a color printer in the office. Having used it for almost three years, I find it hard to believe that some people would prefer to make do with simple black on white printing. I would never want to go back to just plain black print. I have found more and more uses for color printing. Having the color printer opens the door to creativity and functional enhancement.

Recently Xerox released the 8400 Phaser printer. In size, shape, capabilities, and function it succeeds the 860. The 8400 comes in several different configurations. Available configurations include networkable versions (Ethernet) with and without duplex capabilities. All of the 8400 series printers share basic specifications including 24 PPM in black and in color a resolution of 2400 FinePoint, 600 DPI, a built in 100-sheet tray, and an optional second tray that holds 525 sheets of paper. The 8400 printers carry a duty rating of up to 85,000 copies per month.

The 8400 printers work well with both Windows computers and Mac computers using OS 9.2.2 and/or OS X. Truly plug and play, it took longer to get the printer out of the box and its protective packaging than it did to set it up and get it online. I incorporated it into a combined Windows and Mac network, and all the computers found it and communicated with it without a problem.

Xerox let me test one of its 8400N printers for a few months, and at the end of the test period, I did not want to give it up. I found myself so pleased with the quality and reliability of the printer that I actually went out and bought one to keep in my office. Now, I will admit that the fact that the 8400N currently lists for $1,299 and comes with a $500 rebate (net cost $799) contributed to my decision to purchase one. Simply put, the 8400N Xerox Phaser printer at its current price of $799 after rebate is such an exceptional buy that I think most attorneys will want to consider adding the printer to their office.

— Reviewed by Jeffrey Allen

Neither the ABA nor ABA Sections endorse non-ABA products or services, and the product reviews in the Technology eReport should not be so construed.

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