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    SubjectRe: Linux VCR driver?

    > > "There are controllers available for many PC's that allow a VCR to
    > > be used as a backup device. This is an inexpensive way to get a
    > > lot of backup capability on a PC. However, in order to utilize
    > > such a system, a device driver will have to be written..."
    > >
    > There may be such beasts, but I wouldn't trust my data to them.
    > Better get a "real" computer tape drive.

    I have been using an ISA card (its name is Arvid) that does such
    thing. I'm completely happy with it. It stores about 2GB data on a
    240min VHS cassette. Its speed is about 150KB/s. I have found no
    errors in data restored from the cassettes (not including one which
    got wet). Compared to my (quite old) HP 2GB DDS tape drive, I find
    them quite competitive.

    > Problems with these video beasts:
    > - No read-after-write, therefore no decent error control.

    Correct, but as I said, I have encountered no errors. Maybe it stores
    data with a lot of error control (parity) extra data.

    > - The additional conversion to an analog video signal means that the
    > speed
    > is nothing to speak of.

    I'm satisfied.

    > - No filemarks, i.e. one backup per tape.

    Wrong, I have more than 10 backup sets on each tape.

    > - How do you push the rewind/play/record buttons with the computer?

    It has a remote control connected to a wire connected to the card
    (actually a simple infra-red LED)

    > - Timing of the signal (usually, parallel-port) is likely to be
    > rather
    > critical -> writing a Linux driver is difficult at best.

    It is an ISA card as I mentioned.

    BTW, it costs only about $50! And it works with about every VCR there
    is on the market.

    Magnus Hiie
    Computer Manager
    Eesti Ekspress
    Tel: +372 6408046
    GSM: +372 50 57507

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