For the past decade or so, the floppy drive has held a good dominance over portable storage. With 1.44MBs of storage on a floppy disk, it was cheap and easy to transport. But issues about reliability and more importantly size have started to make the floppy undesirable. Then came along Zip drives, with a larger capacity, it became popular to an extent. It failed in that it required you to have a Zip drive to read the Zip disks. With mechanical parts powering the floppy and Zip formats, it was common to have corrupt data and failures.
With that in mind, a newer portable format was definitely needed. A common interface that most modern machines have is the USB ports. They are used on PCs and on Macs and have the speed to replace the floppy and the convenience to oust the Zip drive.
Some companies developed a few of these USB portable drives and came up with a small keychain sized device. One of the major players, is the Trek Thumbdrive Smart. Trek is located in the middle of Silicon Valley in California. Not large in operation, but they do specialize in portable storage. I'll be taking a look at their 16MB version of their flagship Thumbdrive device.
Here are some specs on the portable drive from Trek's website:
||USB Specification 1.1|
||8MB / 16MB / 32MB / 64MB / 128MB|
||64mm(L) x 18mm(W) x 8mm(H)|
|Data Transfer speed
||Read Operation: 700 Kbytes/s|
Write Operation: 350 Kbytes/s
||Solid: Thumbdrive connected|
Blinking: Data transmitting and receiving
||0oC ~ 50oC|
||-20oC ~ 80oC|
Some of the best features of this drive is the ability to use this on pretty much any USB enabled computer. All Windows OSes are supported except for Win95 and NT. What also is good about this, is that no drivers are needed on WinMe, 2000 and XP. With Windows 98/SE, a simple driver installation will get this drive working for you. There is also support on the Mac under OS 8.6, 9.x or 10.x.
Another selling point about USB drives is that it's a solid state drive, meaning no moving parts. If you've used floppies before, you probably have experienced the crazy click of death. That happened quite a few times, where my floppy disks just decided to want to be formatted even though there's data on it. But just like locking notches on floppies, the Thumbdrive also has one. It lets you set a switch on the bottom to prevent overwriting your own data. A nice feature to have for that just in case scenerio.
The packaging is pretty simple, you have the drive itself, driver disc and warranty card. There are no printed instructions, just the instructions on the cdrom. You can also find PDF instructions on the Thumbdrive itself.