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Zaptag

Review by Review
Monday 22nd May 2006

Zaptag

In a nutshell the Zaptag is a waterproof 256Mb USB flash drive with a piece of custom written software on it for storing medical records whilst travelling. I was impressed by the idea, but sceptical about the £45 price tag.

I've had my own USB flash drive for about three years now. It's 256Mb, cost around £40 when I bought it and is not sold as waterproof, but has been trapped in my back door on three occasions, each time re-modelling the plastic casing some more. The Zaptag is made by SanDisk (reputable brand) and is waterproof. The cost of an equivalent disk from an online store is £10.99 for a 256Mb SanDisk from 7DayShop.com. Basically you are paying £34 for the software and the waterproof nature of the disk. Note that a friend of mine put his non-waterproof disk through the washing machine. It came out disassembled so he re-built it and it works just fine.

So what of the software? It's fairly straightforward, if a little clunky, to get started, though my version did not auto load. I had to read the instructions to realise that I needed to log in as an administrator in order to actually add any records. Once this was done I was quickly able to upload a passport photo and as much info as I wanted about myself, my next of kin and my medical records. So far so good. I then tried to add details for my wife. Hmmm. How to do that? I re-visited the help files, read them through fully, and was none the wiser. It turns out that this basic function is entirely missing! So if you are a family of 4, you need to buy 4 separate disks. There is obviously something to be said for carrying your own records, but would you trust your kids with their own passports? I think not.

The information that you are able to store on the disk is password protected and encrypted so that non administrators can view, but can't change it. In addition to the disk you are supplied with a plastic credit card in which you fill in your name. It carries instructions to load the software off the disk.

Zaptag currently allow you to register your password on their website which seems like a good idea lest you should forget it in some far flung corner of the world. They will also very shortly be offering a free online backup of the data on the card, a service currently offered by plenty of companies for around £20 to £30 a year.

It's all good stuff and will no doubt be essential to those people who like things made easy for them, but personally I will stick to a password protected Excel or Word file in which I can record as much information as I want, including passport and drivers licence scans, telephone numbers for credit card and insurance companies etc. I'll probably load it onto my new 1Gb flash card which cost me £11.50!

In fairness to the makers the Zaptag does feature a red cross and the words emergency records on the drive itself, and you should, in theory, be carrying the credit card instructing rescuers or doctors to access the drive. This may well not be the case with a 'home made' record as in my case. Furthermore Zaptag offer a high level of Blowfish encryption on the data which Word and Excel do not!

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