Friday, February 09, 2007

The Geek Gadget We All Need Two Of

USB flash drives. Get two. Today.


If you already use USB drives, this is old news to you. If you've seen them and thought, "Oh, those are only for geeks" then you might want to read on.

Also known as thumb drives, you see them at Office Depot or Staples or Best Buy or even drug stores, sometimes for as little as twenty bucks. Grab a couple. With as much capacity as you can get a good deal on. Doesn't matter what kind. Sandisk makes good ones, so does Lexar.

And if you want to get schmancy, you can get any kind you want: Disney drives, Hello Kitty drives, MP3/FM radio drives,
Swiss Army drives, sushi drives, tiki drives, bendy stackable drives, pen drives, , really teeny-tiny drives, spaghetti drives, and even wooden drives worthy of Len Tukwilla.)

Put one on your keychain or in your purse or briefcase. Leave it there. Whenever you are working on something, like a paper or a project or a speech or a script, whip it out and save a copy. Every time I leave Starbucks or the library, I email myself a copy of the script I was working on
and save a copy on my keychain drive. (It may seem like a belt and suspenders to you, but I ain't taking any chances.)

When you're about to get on a plane, put the pictures you took on your trip or the notes from your meeting on the flash drive. Save a password protected file on the flash drive of any sensitive data, so you always have it with you. Some drives have a fingerprint scanner, so only you can access the data.

Some flash drives let you carry a miniature version of your computer around with you. Plug it into someone else's PC, and it's as if you're working on your own. Unplug it, it's as if you were never there.

And, of course, you can keep your porn stash on it.

Now, as for the other drive, the one you're not carrying around:

Scan your birth certificates, driver's license, credit cards, insurance policies, any important documents you can think of, and put all those files on that flash drive. Put your kids' baby pictures and your home movies on there, too. (You'll want a bigger drive if you're going to put movies on there.)

Flash drives are very hardy,
much moreso than CD's or DVD's. They will do well in adverse conditions. (In fact, the top-rated one from CNET, the Sandisk Cruzer Titanium, is so tough they drove a Mini Cooper over it and it still worked fine. See the video and read the review here.)

So tuck that drive away in a watertight container (even a plastic bag) someplace safe, either in your house or someplace else. In case of a natural disaster, you will always have access to your important data.

For more info on USB flash drives: CNET

And for
PC World has "23 Things to Do With a Thumb Drive."

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