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The Exciting And Dangerous World Of USB Memory Drives

In the world of gadgets and technology, you would think that the dullest possible category would be USB flash memory drives -- those ubiquitous pocketable diskette-replacements that generally do nothing but store data. But you'd be wrong.

Mike Elgan

June 19, 2006

2 Min Read

In the world of gadgets and technology, you would think that the dullest possible category would be USB flash memory drives -- those ubiquitous pocketable diskette-replacements that generally do nothing but store data. But you'd be wrong.From a news perspective, these "thumb drives" are involved in some pretty exciting stories.

For example, Iraqi national security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie announced this week that a "huge amount of information" was found in the rubble where Terrorist-In-Chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed with two American bombs. When asked by a reporter whether the government could be sure the information found was authentic, he replied: "there is nothing more authentic than finding a thumbdrive in his pocket."

Flash drives stolen from the U.S. military in Afghanistan were found to be for sale a few months ago just 200 yards from the main gate of the biggest base -- many of those drives containing classified military secrets as well as the personal information of soldiers and others.

Secret plans by the Indian Navy on what expensive hardware it might buy (as well as ship deployment information) were stolen from a top-secret Navy War Room on a "pen drive" by one of four senior Navy officers about a year ago. Presumably the information was to be offered for sale to companies that would profit from prior knowledge of the Navy's shopping list.

And USB drives themselves can be pretty exciting. No, I'm not talking about goofy USB drives like Sushi, tempura, and saki USB drives -- nor am I referring to the various rubber ducky drives, Star Wars drives, cuff-link drives, and other crazy USB storage ideas.

I'm talking about two announcements this week of new products that enhance USB drives in unexpected -- and, yes, exciting -- ways.

The first announcement is that Pretec Electronics Corp. -- the company with the most interesting line of USB drives, by far -- has started shipping a new ruggedized USB flash drive called the i-Disk BulletProof, which is bulletproof, waterproof and fireproof, according to the company. Capacities range from 32 MB to 2 GB.

And a company called Adata demonstrated a solar-powered USB memory drive at Computex. The solar panel powers a display showing how much storage space is left on the drive. The company says it will become available in capacities ranging from 128 MB to 1 GB.

So there you have it: A glimpse into the exciting world of USB memory drives!

(Note: This article is from the Personal Tech Pipeline newsletter, which normally features editorial columns available exclusively through the newsletter via e-mail. To subscribe, go here.)

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