Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Living off a USB drive

Filed under: Apple,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,MicroSoft,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:25 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

There’s something about this that appeals to me.

When I was fresh out of college, I won a trip to Long Beach with a bunch of amenities. A buddy of mine and I went, since we were both single, and enjoyed ourselves, in spite of the worst rainy season the greater L.A. area has seen in more than 20 years. I mean, roads would shut down after we’d use them, forcing us to find another way back to the hotel and I think we only two days of sun. The day we arrived and the day we left.
But, what I remember most was a t-shirt I saw at a tourist shop on Catalina. It was a Parrothead shirt that had the lyric “I used to rule my world from a payphone” on the back, with a nice, relaxing picture of a hammock between two palm trees. The idea of being so unattached, free and mobile really appealed to me, but, alas, it’s a life I’ve never known.

Now, what does that have to do with a USB drive? Well, thanks to Lifehacker, more than you’d think. Have you ever thought about how nice it might be to travel with all your information and favorite applications, but leave your laptop behind? Yep, free and easy living. All you need is a good-sized USB thumb drive and three articles: Top 10 USB Thumb Drive Tricks , Carry Your Life On A Thumb Drive and Tiny USB Office (via LifeHacker). That’s it. Your key to carrying your life in your pocket. Well, your digital life, at any rate.

And, before you write this off, I know a guy who did just what they describe. He loaded everything that mattered to him on a thumb drive and had no computer at all for more than a year. Of course, now, he has a MacBook, so you can take that with a grain of salt. But, also, according to ZDNet, Microsoft is coming out with a product to help you do all this via their suite of programs and operating systems called “StartKey“. You know when Microsoft gets behind an idea, you’ll see it implemented, one way or another.
So, do you all think you could do it? Could you make the switch?


  1. I have been using flash drives since I started school, and I love them. Except for when the daughter takes one and the other one breaks. I still take my lap top, however, because I like the convenience of not having to sit in a computer lab, which at times means waiting for a computer to become available. After all, a usb only works when you have the appropriate mechanism to plug it into.

    Comment by Cheri — 4/25/2008 @ 9:58 am

  2. True enough. But, I think it might be possible to load a drive with all the data and programs that we normally use and then just grab whatever computer is available, ours or someone else’s. Of course, that also means those little, almost disposable, USB drives become much, much more important to us. They become like any other “mission critical” drive and have to be secured and backed up.

    OTH, MicroCenter is selling 8Gb USB drives for about $30 and I can remember when an 8Gb hard drive for a server was virtually unheard of, and “laptops” were 25+ pounds and cost more than $5,000, so times are changing.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 4/27/2008 @ 10:47 am

  3. Well, now that they make them big enough to hold Photoshop….

    Comment by Kristie — 4/29/2008 @ 12:58 pm

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