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Summary:

Of all the new portable technologies I’ve adopted over the past couple of years, USB thumb drives are near the top of my list of useful, convenient accessories. I carry one in my pocket at all times, and am constantly looking for new applications to put […]

Of all the new portable technologies I’ve adopted over the past couple of years, USB thumb drives are near the top of my list of useful, convenient accessories. I carry one in my pocket at all times, and am constantly looking for new applications to put on them.  At this point in the continuing evolution of these devices, you can get so much capacity for so little money that you don’t have to feel restricted to collecting only tiny applications on them. In case you haven’t yet adopted a USB thumb drive and put good applications on it, here are some ideas.

Only a few years ago, many people carried USB thumb drives that topped out at 256MB of capacity, and those were pretty expensive. Now, you can get this 8GB SanDisk drive for under $25, and I’ve seen other 8GB drives for under $20.

What if you want more serious capacity, for backing up key files, or loading up lots of applications? Check out this citation, from 2006, of a 64GB USB flash drive going for $5,000.  Times have changed dramatically since then. Corsair has a 64GB drive for under $65.

USB flash drives also now come with numerous types of extra attractions. Several of Kingston’s drives now offer SD card reader options. These are very convenient for transferring photos to and from digital cameras and the like. If a diminutive form factor is your thing, consider the Kingmax Super Stick, which, as seen above, is about the size of a stick of Trident gum.

If you do adopt a USB thumb drive, also see this post I did on PortableApps and MacLibre–two easy ways to get tons of open source applications on your drive in one quick download.

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By Samuel Dean
  1. Robert Mullins Tuesday, December 2, 2008

    Here’s a USB application that impressed me: KQED-FM, the NPR station in San Francisco gave away a cool premium in a recent pledge drive, the “Radio Bookmark.” It’s a USB drive with a button on it. When you’re in your car or at home and hear an interesting program, which you want to hear again, you press the button. The next time you plug the USB drive into your computer, the Radio Bookmark software opens up and there’s a link to the audio of the program playing on KQED when you pressed the button. Excellent!

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  2. May want to double check that price for the 64GB Corsair. More like $130.00. Did see some 32GB for that price and below.

    Still, I do love my flash drive and use it constantly.

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  3. There was talk at one time of computer hard drives going all-flash. If I recall, the constraint wasn’t size, but rather reliability. Apparently, moving parts inside a traditional hard drive are more trusted than its ‘virtual’ counterpart. I wonder if that line of thinking is still true even as flash memory grows. Where’s the limit?

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  4. I love my Corsair 16gb. While I have maxed it’s capacity (I have a bunch of videos I refer to when I’m studying for tests) I couldn’t think of a more useful tool.

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