Sony HDR0XR260VE usb connectors
Thanks Bob for your response
The female USB on the end of Sony connector if anything is not a long as the female USB on a standard connector so its hard to see that there could be a chip inside.
If I use the mini b to male USB connector from my WD external portable hard disc and insert it into same receptable on the camera that the Sony one goes into and plug it into my PC it launches the Sony software just like it does if I use the male usb plug in the hand strap. However if I plug the normal mini b connector into the camera with nothing connected to it nothing happens but if I plug in the Sony connector in with nothing connected it is recognised the by the camera. The Sony plug must have some connectivity additional to the mini b plug in order for the camera to recognise it.
But as you say spending $30 beats lugging a heavy PC or laptop around.