Drivers of Quality

Let us all now praise the Buffalo AirStation G54. It’s a USB-based wireless adapter, which isn’t so special. What has caught my eye, however, is that this little gem will automatically install its own driver, right from the unit itself. In other words, when you take the device to a friend’s laptop, you don’t have to bring a CD or anything else; just plug the sucker in and the necessary supporting software automatically installs.

All products should be like this. Flash memory, the sort that makes up USB key drives and low-cost MP3 players, has become very cheap, while broadband penetration has risen. Why don’t manufacturers wise up and capitalize on both trends? Simply add a few megabytes of flash memory to a device, and put the driver on that. Since Windows, Mac OS, and Linux can recognize a generic USB drive type, any peripheral would be automatically recognized first as a generic disk drive, then the driver could auto-install.

To take the concept to the next level, as part of the automatic driver installation your computer could automatically check for a newer version, using a standardized method such as:{MODEL}/

No CDs, no menus, no need to check for an updated version. Now that would be plug-and-play.

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