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The truth is, the plan would have worked.  There was nothing wrong with the plan.

-- Higgins, Three Days of the Condor.

Firwire rocks!

You will pleasantly surprised if you use a Firewire compact flash card reader ($40), particularly if you are copying to a Firewire hard drive.  Firewire (IEE1394a) is a technology that is capable of peer to peer connections - meaning that Firewire devices on the same bus can communicate without intervention from your computer's CPU.

By contrast, USB card readers use your computer's CPU to mediate between the CF card and your IDE or SATA hard disk. This sucks up processor power and ends up slowing down everything else you are doing.  USB (including version 2.0) seems to be yet another play by Intel to push a technology that looks faster in the abstract but in reality falls short of being competitive (hmm... Pentium?)  If you think of it another way, USB's processor dependence is a great tool for selling processor upgrades (that's probably why Intel licenses it to computer manufacturers for free), but it is a kick in the teeth that none of us really needs.

The disappearance of Firewire from digital cameras is not nearly as insidious.  Firewire needs special circuitry that runs on higher voltage - something that is not friendly to battery life.  I suspect this is also why Ipods now use USB.