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Digital Savant

Posted: 10:37 a.m. Friday, July 18, 2014

Micro: can a card-reader device hold data? 

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Lexar card reader
Contributed by Micron Consumer Products Group, Inc.
Lexar’s Multi-Card 25-in-1 USB 3.0 Reader is an example of a memory card reader. It sells for about $35.

By Omar L. Gallaga

A reader, Billie, writes in, “I got free a ‘card-reader’ stick. Don’t know how to use it. When I plug it into a port, nothing comes up to show it is there.”

Card readers are typically small USB devices that plug into a computer or other device’s USB port. They allow you to access files from memory cards such as the ones you’d find in digital cameras. Some computers have a card-reader slot built into them for the same purpose. There are lots of different memory-card formats, but these days, SD and microSD are two of the more popular kinds you’d plug into a card reader.

In general, card readers are just adapters. They don’t usually contain their own storage space, so you can’t put files onto the card reader itself or read anything from it without a memory card attached.

In this space every week, we’ll define a tech term, offer a timely tip or answer questions about technology from readers. Email

Omar L. Gallaga

About Omar L. Gallaga

Omar L. Gallaga writes about technology culture for the Austin American-Statesman. He was a technology correspondent for NPR's "All Things Considered," helping originate the All Tech Considered segment and blog.

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