64 bit – and the end of the line for some things.

I like 64 bit vista. It's proved be excellent at performance, reliability and application compatibility but I've already acknowledged that driver support is its weak spot. HPs drivers for my scanner don't support don't support the film scanning functions. And it's forced me to look hard at memory cards I use.

The Toshiba I had before the Dell went for repair and the Lexar 32 bit cardbus CF adapter which lived it got lost. Toshiba were very apologetic, did the right thing and ordered me a replacement Lexar card which arrived on Friday. In the meantime I've gone 64 bit but there are no 64 bit drivers. I mailed Lexar. Here's their response

We would like to inform you that, 32Bit CF card reader was an discontinued product, we have not tested the 32Bit card reader in windows Vista operating system. So the 32bit CF card reader was not compatible with the Vista operating system.

I know their 32 bit driver works with Vista and even Windows PE, so I can take my bootable USB key, and use DRVLOAD to get it to work if I really need to. But frankly that's too much hassle. I compared the INF file for Delkin's CardBus adapter (also still on sale) and found that both cards have the same ID. But no sign of a 64 bit driver there either.

But this is stupid; I can do without a CF reader now. I've explained that I jury rigged 64 bit support for the camera I take diving, because I don't want to remove its CF card. Everything else I have is SD based. My CF type II holder for SD cards is redundant, and it's time to stop handling CF cards - taping the last one into the dive camera. End of an era. It's only 5 or 6 years since I got my first CF format card (a Microdrive) which had a PCMCIA adapter to go in the jacket I had for my iPaq: if I needed WiFi I had to swap cards. A later Jacket combined Bluetooth and CF support. WiFi is common on PDAs, even smartphones these days. Bluetooth is a given, but PCMCIA and even compact flash are things of the past for PDAs

That Toshiba Laptop had an SD slot (but no smartcard reader). The Dell is the other way around. Since the Dell supports it, I've ordered an Expresscard SD adapter, and it looks like the Lexar 32 bit cardbus CF adapter will get sold off. That's also the end of a era: I've been using something in the PCMCIA slot for the last dozen years - one by one dial-up modem, wired network card, wireless network card and smartcard reader have been incorporated into the machine. The Lexar is the last device to go in that slot.

Technorati tags: Microsoft, Windows, Vista, 64 bit