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February 28th, 2002

The Hard Drive Keychain

Yesterday, I was leafing through Popular Science and noted the latest cool thingamajig that costs too much: the USB hard drive keychain. And, yes, I think I want one.

By far, the 1GB model is the coolest. It’s also ridiculously expensive (and think about how often one can lose a keychain!) but that’s a whole gig, folks – my first computer didn’t have 10K!

Targus sells a pen-like, cheaper model that holds 128MB… not too shabby.

I do like the idea. No more media: no floppy or Zip to lose. Instead, a smaller, easier-to-lose form of media that could be semi-permanent and for now, costs much more! Despite that fact, though, I still think it’s cool technology. Can’t wait till it’s sold in blister packs at Walgreens. -pm

Posted in Technology

FROM: Patrick
DATE: Thursday February 28, 2002 -- 11:33:49 am
I think these things are pretty neat devices. However, you're going to need a front USB port to make this neat device non-annoying. I wouldn't want to reach behind the machine every time I wanted to transfer data.

FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Friday March 22, 2002 -- 5:49:15 am
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is just basically like a compact flash/smart media/memory stick embedded into a keychain like item you can carry with I think. I believe Sonnet Technologies ( ) has a similar device that they sell called the "Sonnet Piccolo". I can't for the life of me see how these things would take off at such small capacities (while 1GB sounds awe inspiring for it's size... for the price you can buy 2 external 5GB Toshiba Firefly drive that you can carry in a coat pocket, as it the same drive as in the Apple iPod) when a Zip disk is so dang cheap and most everyone has a Zip drive anymore (even as I HATE Iomega after my Jaz debacle). Not to mention... CD-RW = $3-5 and is rewriteable, these are like $100's of dollars and while definitely portable, scratch-proof (a plus but if you send something in a jewel case or sleeve you should be okay)... are they worth it for the 700MB vs. 128MB difference? I'm skeptical... have been since I first saw Sonnet's version about a year ago.

Truly amazing though is those IBM MicroDrives, as they have those little "ACTUAL" hard disks (full mechanism with platters and everything) in sizes the size of traditional smart media cards, and have them set to be adapted to work in Type 1 and Type 2 PCMCIA and Cardbus slots with an adapter. I also believe they have these mechanisms capable of being added to digital cameras too. Although, why do I need a hard disk that small when honestly if flash memory/smartmedia/memory sticks ever get cheaper in price... to me they're far more reliable than hard disks, and you can't damage them by jiggling them. Yet... while that's all well and good for digital cameras, for personal file transfer... I don't see the real need in these. Granted now if they could make digital cameras that would transfer to one of these, it'd definitely be cool so as to NOT have to have a Smart Card reader, or have to keep the digital camera with you and a USB cable to transfer the images. Now that'd be pretty clever....

Otherwise... if you're a Mac user (and I do believe they have Windows and Linux utilities out to read iPod's now)... You could almost get 2 5 Gig iPod's that serve as hard drives and MP3 players, or 1 10 Gig iPod and save the extra $ for a decent set of head phones and use the remaining extra $ to buy a bunch of CD-RW's. ;) Granted they're not as small, but they're larger capacity and multipurpose for the price; to me a far better value. :D

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday March 22, 2002 -- 1:15:20 pm
Yeah, even the pretty high $500 for a 10GB iPod is cheaper than a $800 1GB keychain, Marcus. Good points.

When I was younger, one day I dreamed up this "timeline of future events". I figured that OS/2 would take off (oops) but I did correctly predict things like the death of the floppy, and the concept of "microchip media" that would surplant all other magnetic media. Looks like that day is coming.

FROM: John
DATE: Thursday August 15, 2002 -- 11:34:26 am
I think that you guys are missing the point ... these are not for us techies but for the bisman that goes from office to office ... all offices have MS Office .. yes ... so with one of these plugged into any USB port then you have your own HDD on anybodies machine. Save and go ... onto the next office ... should be good for demo's etc.

Paul August 22, 2007, 2:06 pm

Funny comment from my original Ping – “Can’t wait till it’s sold in blister packs at Walgreens.”

USB drives are now, in fact, sold in blister packs at Walgreens. Once again the Ping predicts the future.

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