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Iomega bug favors Mac users

A flaw in the Zip Plus drive can cause data to drop out of spreadsheets or other programs, but Iomega has already stepped forward to solve it.

A flaw in Iomega's Zip Plus drive can cause data to drop out of spreadsheets or other programs, but the low-cost storage drive maker has already stepped forward to solve it.

The problem, which mostly affects Mac users, occurs when Zip Plus drives are connected by "daisy chaining," rather than attaching a drive directly to a system, according to David Hellier, a general manager of Zip Plus division at Iomega. Daisy chaining uses a technology called SCSI (small computer system interface) to connect several peripheral devices to a PC at the same time.

In that situation, a drive may fail to retrieve the full complement of data in a file, Hellier stated. "You could lose a cell in a spread sheet or some words in a word document," he said.

The problem predominantly affects Macintosh users because they, more than Iomega's PC customers, have to work within a multiple platform environment and thus have to deploy their external drives in a daisy chain fashion. "They chain at a much higher rate than users of PCs," he said.

For now, the problem remains fairly confined. The problem was discovered internally in post-release testing of the product and not as a result of customer complaints, he stated. Iomega, Hellier maintained, "didn't see anything on the radar screen from customers."

To prevent problems, however, Iomega has notified customers of the problem via its Web site and updated owners manuals. More complex solutions are being handled on a case-by-case basis, he said, and can include replacement.