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Flash Drives Go To Work 264

feminazi writes "USB drive capacity is outpacing Moore's Law by doubling every year, evolving from tchotchkes to devices capable of addressing corporate needs ranging from mobile computing platforms to files stores with encryption and biometrics protection. SanDisk and M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers launched a thumb drive with an intelligent U3 chip that can store and launch applications. Lexar's premium JumpDrive Lightning thumb drive has the fastest data-transfer rates at 18MB/sec write and 24MB/sec read. And some are strong on the outside, too. SanDisk touts a drive built to withstand 2,000 lbs. of pressure. Computerworld tested that claim by repeatedly driving a Volkswagen Beetle over the ruggedized thumb drive. While the drive's body came away with a few scratches, there were no dents, and not a single lost file."
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Flash Drives Go To Work

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  • Beetle (Score:5, Funny)

    by 42Penguins ( 861511 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:20PM (#15937640)
    Sure you can drive a Beetle over it, but so you know the bandwidth of a Beetle full of thumbdrives on the highway?
    • Re:Beetle (Score:5, Funny)

      by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:22PM (#15937647) Journal
      Bases on this post I vote for a new moderator category: Perplexing.
      • Re:Beetle (Score:5, Informative)

        by jamie ( 78724 ) * <jamie@slashdot.org> on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:31PM (#15937686) Journal
        It's an old joke [google.com]. Not even a joke. More sort of a thing that some computer programmers say sometimes and nod wisely to make their point.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ePhil_One ( 634771 )
          It's an old joke.

          First, its not a joke, its an observation.

          Second, the grammar is scrambled, yielding a mixed up Metaphor. We know what he was trying to say, he just did a really bad job of saying it. Dubyaspeak [google.com]

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by inKubus ( 199753 )
            We know what he was trying to say, he just did a really bad job of saying it

            I guess you're saying we mean what he knows.
          • by Baricom ( 763970 )
            He made a typo. You could change a single "s" to a "d" and the post would make perfect sense. (Note that the "s" and "d" are right next to each other on the qwerty keyboard.)

            While we're nitpicking, metaphors are not proper nouns.
      • Re:Beetle (Score:5, Informative)

        by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:33PM (#15937694) Homepage Journal
        It's a joke based on an old measure of bandwidth- from back in the day when modems were so slow that the fastest way to transfer a megabyte from LA to San Francisco was to load a station wagon with tapes and drive there.

        Given a rough guess of 30,000 thumb drives, at 4GB per, on an 8 hour drive, you get 4GB/sec, give or take a GB, as the bandwith of a Beetle full of thumb drives.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by GigsVT ( 208848 )
          If you use modern tapes or hard disks (who the hell still uses *sequential media*), then that's still more bandwidth than any backbone link on the net.

          Especially if you use the Boeing 737 version of old saying.
        • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @07:27PM (#15937922)
          We have a research group here that does JPEG 2000 compression research. As you might guess, this generates staggering amounts of data. They don't transfer it over the network to other places, they FedEx harddrives. Turn out, with the amount of bandwidth the campus has and the slice they can easily get, 1TB is about the crossover point where FedEx overnight becomes faster. They usually FedEx a box with like 2-4TB worth of external harddrives in it, and get a similar box in return.

          Sounds kinda silly, but really works out better overall. It's cheaper too, than it would cost to get the university to buy more bandwidth and dedicate it specially to them.
          • Encryption? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rrohbeck ( 944847 )
            Yup, a truck full of tapes (or disks, it you have *good* packaging) is still the standard way of doing high volume data vaulting. If you need to move multiple TB per day (nothing special for a large datacenter), you don't want to pay for that amount of bandwidth unless you absolutely have to, i.e. you need online access.

            That's why tapes keep falling off the back of a truck and get lost every now and then. Bummer if there's credit card records on those tapes. That's why hardware encryption is getting a lot o
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by cb0nd ( 893473 )

              I think that truecrypt [truecrypt.org] does a very good job at this.

              I haven't used it all that much (ya know, while thumbdrives are easy to lose, I don't really care if someone sees how bad my assignments for the Operating Systems class really are), but I think it does a pretty decent job even in different environments.

        • But the latency sucks.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by kfg ( 145172 ) *
        Bases on this post. . .

        But you obvioudly workes it out. You appear to have perplexes your other redponsentd do far though. :)

        KFG
    • Re:Beetle (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:34PM (#15937699)
      > Sure you can drive a Beetle over it, but so you know the bandwidth of a Beetle full of thumbdrives on the highway?

      Not bad. But it's nothing compared to what you get if you start by feeding a bunch of thumbdrives to a bunch of in order to get 'em past the security checkpoint, and fill a 777 with 'em. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a muthafuckin' 777 full of muchta*BLAM BLAM BLAM*

      (That's IT! I have HAD IT with these MUTHAFUCKIN' memes on this MUTHAFUCKIN' website!

      • Hmmmm .... (Score:5, Funny)

        by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:51PM (#15937786) Journal
        Not bad. But it's nothing compared to what you get if you start by feeding a bunch of thumbdrives to a bunch of in order to get 'em past the security checkpoint, and fill a 777 with 'em. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a muthafuckin' 777 full of muchta*BLAM BLAM BLAM*


        Thats a great idea for a movie!

        ThumbDrives On a Plane!

        That's IT! I have HAD IT with these MUTHAFUCKIN' memes on this MUTHAFUCKIN' website!


        That's what I'm talking about! :D
    • Re:Beetle (Score:5, Funny)

      by Scaba ( 183684 ) <joe.joefrancia@com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:35PM (#15937704)

      From TFA:

      Computerworld tested that claim by repeatedly driving an employee's car over the ruggedized thumb drive. While the drive's body came away with a few scratches, there were no dents, and we didn't lose a single file.

      The article doesn't go on to mention how they then put the thumb drive in the employees car, set the car on fire and pushed it over a cliff. Miraculously, the thumb drive survived! Boy, was that guy pissed when he found out what they did to his car...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by RobertLTux ( 260313 )
      depends on the following

      1 size and capacity of the drives
      2 useable volume of said beetle (rip seats out? boxes/bags the drives are in)
      3 current sanity/skill level of driver (adjust for injested chemicals/aural enhancements)

      Rip the beetle down to the shell and bag the drives , load the driver, put some good rock and roll in the tape deck and you could get some massive bandwidth
  • Comdex 2000 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:21PM (#15937644)
    When I first saw these at Comdex 2000, I thought "These things will replace all removable media someday."

    Looks like they'll do even more.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by couchslug ( 175151 )
      They are already large enough to hold usable operating systems like Linux.
      Damn Small Linux and CPXmini (a slick little Kanotix remaster) run fine from USB sticks. If you have the space, you can install a full distro and keep a storage partition for files you wish to save.
    • by vought ( 160908 )
      When I first saw these at Comdex 2000, I thought "These things will replace all removable media someday."


      And yet most computers still ship with a single, useless extra cost item. The floppy drive.

      Apple stopped shipping floppy drives in 1999 and everyone called them crazy. I think they saw the emergence of CF and digital memory cards for cameras and hoped those plus a network connection would obviate the need for a floppy drive. I also happen to think they killed the floppy too soon, but it was a bold step.
  • by GeffDE ( 712146 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:23PM (#15937648)
    It's a great feature that SanDisk has a flash drive that can be driven over. However, I can't think of the number of times I have forgotten those little buggers in my pockets when they've gone in the wash and the number of time they've come out and still worked perfectly normally. I have got to say, in a day and age when things break if you look at them wrong, it's great that we have invented the 21st century's response to the swiss army knife.
    • Surely you've seen this? [gunthergifts.com]
    • It's sure nice to know there's plenty of stability in that direction, every flash drive I've ever broken or damaged has been along the join between the USB adapter and the body of the drive. One time I was sweeping, I picked my laptop up and put it on the couch, not noticing the flash drive was in it, and when I was puitting the laptop back on the floor I bumped the drive on the windowsill and bent the damn thing.

      If they could make the link between the USB adapter and the drive itself a little more robust,
    • by Minwee ( 522556 )
      As an aside I recently broke the case of a flash drive and then left the whole thing in my pocket when I went to wash my pants. While unloading the drier, which was set to "Holy Freakin Hot Batman", I noticed the inner part of the drive fall to the ground. Just the PCB and USB connector.

      I plugged it in and it still worked just fine.

      A few years back the BBC tested a variety of memory cards by dunking them in Cola, nailing them to a tree and even handing them to a six year old boy with instructions to d [bbc.co.uk]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      BTW has anyone *seen* mine? It was small...... about thumb sized.

      I want one with GPS and a transmitter so i can track it's whereabouts :|
    • by acidrain69 ( 632468 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @08:06PM (#15938058) Journal
      STAY AWAY FROM THIS DRIVE IF YOU ARE GOING TO KEEP ANYTHING REMOTELY IMPORTANT.

      We purchased 3 of them for our IT staff in the local office. All 3 failed within 3 months of ordering, and 2 of the replacements failed after that (within a month of replacement). We had them switched out for some Cruzer Micro and Minis, and have been fine ever since (several months now).

      My theory is the metal on the case. While strong, I think the metal in the case conducts static and shorts into the flash chips or USB controller inside. I don't even know if titanium conducts or not, and Sandisk denies there is a widespread issue with these drives, but go read the amazon.com forums on this product and you will be scared off.

      It's a shame. They are a wonderful design, no caps to loose and the drive slides inside the case to protect the USB connector. But it's useless if you can't trust it. One of mine worked one second when I had it plugged into a laptop, then I dismounted it, walked 10 ft to my computer, plugged it in and it was DOA. I think it may have been the static from the carpet, I had it hanging around my neck. You're better off with a plastic one and just back it up periodically to protect against loss or damage.
  • by steven94585 ( 814206 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:24PM (#15937656) Homepage
    Running the drive over with a car is at most going to be only 20-40 psi(pounds per square inche), the tire pressure. Maybe if the whole car was balanced on one wheel and then drove over it.
    • why on earth is the parent post at +5 ?

      so if i ride over something on my bike (50psi in the tyres) I'll be exerting more pressure ?

      • GP is correct (Score:5, Informative)

        by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:49PM (#15937773)
        so if i ride over something on my bike (50psi in the tyres) I'll be exerting more pressure ?
        Yep. Think about it.

        If a unicycle tire is at 50 psi with 100 lbs on it then there has to be 2 square inches touching the road, assuming the tire is flexible. A rigid tire could have less area in contact, but tires are flexible.

        If you still don't understand, try googling or take a look at how to weigh a car by measuring surface area here [exploratorium.edu]

        Oh, and a 100 lb woman in stiletto heels can exert over 1000 psi if she balances on her heel. We're talking about weight per unit area. Even though it is counterintuitive, you will exert more force per unit area on your bike than a bigrig full of i-beams, assuming you have higher pressure tires.
        • Oh, and a 100 lb woman in stiletto heels can exert over 1000 psi if she balances on her heel.

          Wasn't that covered in chapter 12 of Sex Tips from a Dominatrix [amazon.com]? I think the term "thumb drive" has a completely different meaning in that industry, too.

    • Once again it's the attack of bad science! Not to mention a lack of regard for units.... Assuming all four wheels carry the same load (bad assumption) and the point of application of the load on the tire is constrained to a point (another horrible assumption), the pressure on the top face of the micro drive would be .25 * W_car (lbs) / A_disk (in^2). Note that this completely ignores St. Venant's principle, which is a nifty thing that explains how shear and normal stress is distributed along any given me

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pipingguy ( 566974 ) *
        Most of the "engineers" reading here are not the "engineers" you (or I) consider to be real engineers. People typing at a keyboard and causing a display to show something are not engineers. 'Architect' might be a better description.
    • Running the thing over with a car might not be 2000 pounds of pressure, but PSI in a tire is not equivilent to the pressure underneath the tire, it's the internal air-pressure inside the tire in terms of pounds/pressure per square inch of volume inside the tire.

      You can test it by driving a car up on top of your toes... 30psi should be a piece of cake if your statement is correct.
    • Running the drive over with a car is at most going to be only 20-40 psi(pounds per square inche), the tire pressure.

      No kidding. I once saw a puppy get rolled over by a jeep/SUV thing.

      This pup was, unbeknowst to me, following me down the road. By the time I heard it, we were a considerable distance from its home. So I began to walk back, as the pup would not take a hint. After a few metres, I heard the sound of the oncoming jeep. So did the pup. He wasn't too bright, and, spooked and leashless, panicked and

    • My wife backed our Jetta onto my foot once, and then stopped it there when I yelled at her. (She claims it was accidental :) It wasn't comfortable, but it didn't break my foot either.
      • My wife backed our Jetta onto my foot once, and then stopped it there when I yelled at her.

        It's a JETTA... Why didn't you just pick the little thing up, and toss it around a little?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Skynyrd ( 25155 )
        My wife backed our Jetta onto my foot once, and then stopped it there when I yelled at her. (She claims it was accidental :) It wasn't comfortable, but it didn't break my foot either.

        There's a large difference in teh weight on the front tires vs the weight on the rear tires of a front engine/front wheel drive vehicle. Assuming you care, you could find an old car magazine or road test, and itt'll list the weight balance, as well as the weight of the car. Being run over by the back wheels of a 80's econo-box
    • I had to read your post twice. At first glance I read a bad Yakov Smirnoff [wikipedia.org] joke.
      In soviet russia thumb drive drives over you

      Or something to that effect...
  • Nitpicky I know, but pounds is not a unit of pressure. What you probably meant is pound-force.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Durrok ( 912509 )
      Farva: Gimme a litre o' cola. Dimpus Burger Guy: What?
      Farva: [Annoyed] A litre o' cola.
      Dimpus Burger Guy: [into mic] Litrecola? Do we sell litrecola?
      Thorny: Will you just order a large, Farva?
      Farva: I don't want a large farva. I want a goddamn litre o' cola!
      Dimpus Burger Guy: [to Farva] I don't know what that is!
      Farva: [slowly starts shouting] Litre is French for...
      [grabs burger kid by shirt]
      Farva: ... give me my fuckin' cola before I break VOUS FUCKIN' LIP!

      Heart supertroopers [imdb.com]
    • Adopt SI units... Please!

       
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Moofie ( 22272 )
      Um, pound force isn't a measure of pressure either. It's a measure of force. It says so right in the unit.
  • A thumbdrive is nice, but the U3 software is one of the most godawful things in existence, and not uninstallable without an internal Best Buy program until recently. Ick.
  • PSI, pounds, etc. (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:37PM (#15937715)

    2,000 lbs. of pressure

    2,000 lbs is not a pressure; there's no area. It's weight. This is basic high school physics...

    Computerworld tested that claim by repeatedly driving a Volkswagen Beetle over the ruggedized thumb drive. While the drive's body came away with a few scratches, there were no dents, and not a single lost file."

    A Neu VW beetle weighs about 3000lb. If the entire force applied against the road by one tire was applied to the device (for example, by putting a piece of thick metal on either side of the device and then running the car over the plate of metal), that's only 750LB. This is basic grade school math (3000/4.)

    I'd guess your average thumb drive has perhaps 1-2 square inches of surface area. The amount of pressure between tire and road is exactly equal to the inflation pressure of the tire, which is often around 30-35 PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch.) So the thumb drive never had more than 60-70lb put on it...

    • by phorm ( 591458 )
      OK, so what they should have said is lbs/weight, but:

      a) Weight in a vehicle is not evenly distributed. The actual weight on the front-axle and rear-axle will differ depending on, for example, where the engine is located.
      b) Again, by weight, you're getting more than 60-70lbs. Otherwise a smaller object would be able to hold the car up easier...
      c) The inflation pressure of a tire, balloon, etc, is the pressure of air inside the tire. More air, more pressure as you're cramming more molecules into a smaller
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      2,000 lbs is not a pressure; there's no area. It's weight.
      No it's not. It's a unit of mass. If you want a unit of weight I suggest the pound-force [wikipedia.org].
    • The pressure is not equal to the inflation pressure. Tires have stiffness in the sidewalls so the pressure will be somewhat greater than the inflation pressure.
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:37PM (#15937716) Journal
    This is from the 512MB model /dev/sdb1:
      Timing cached reads: 2324 MB in 2.00 seconds = 1161.93 MB/sec
      Timing buffered disk reads: 76 MB in 3.01 seconds = 25.26 MB/sec

    Fast little thing

    Ask for other benchmarks and I will run them.
    • How about random read or write? I /am/ kind of curious.
      • by Error27 ( 100234 )
        You're first number is not that significant. That's just RAM speed. 25M/s is pretty decent considering that it's a USB key. Normal SATA drives get around 55 M/s.

        Random reads will take the same amount of time because it's flash memory and the drive doesn't have to seek. Here's a script to verify. I put sdX instead of sdb so that it wouldn't work for anyone who copied and pasted directly.

        RUNS=25
        MEGS=10
        DEV=/dev/sdX #your USB device
        time for i in $(seq $RUNS) ; do
        offset=$(($RAN
        • by Error27 ( 100234 )
          Actually that's could be a bit of a bogus test as well. You're OS will end up caching the data instead of actually reading it the second time. It's hard to benchmark a disk that tiny.

  • Well, the news about encryption hasn't reached the Dutch military yet. They just managed to lose their THIRD unencrypted memory stick this year - this time in Afghanistan:

    Military 'forgets' another memory stick [expatica.com]
    The Dutch has yet again lost a data storage device, this time at the military base in the Afghan province of Uruzgan. The commander reported a device was missing but no details have been released about the information it contained. Last month military chiefs advised their personnel not to use memo

  • Ok, it can withstand 2,000 pounds of pressure, but can it withstand being dropped? Sheer casing strength doesn't necessarily mean that it can withstand the shock forces involved in being dropped or kicked.
  • by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:44PM (#15937744) Homepage Journal
    On some drives, like the ones my college bookstore carries, you can't access the writable portion of the drive until after the U3 software is loaded into Windows. Hell, I couldn't even get past it using my Linux laptop.

    And the U3 software fails on virtually every computer on campus, because the computers are locked down in such a way that one cannot install device drivers using a normal student account.

    The real kicker? They're replacing all the PCs in the campus labs with ones without floppy drives. So even those poor kids with only a few hundred KB of data will have to use a flash drive, and us student assistants will have to support them.

    Already, I've had to tell too many students that yes, they can access their data from home with that flash drive. No, they won't be able to use that flash drive here. Yes, I realize their assignment is due in twenty minutes. No, there's nothing I can do about it; I don't have any greater a degree of access than they do.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by NMThor ( 949485 )
      I must agree. After mistakenly buying a flash drive with a U3 chip, I've sworn never to go back. I've had very similar issues using these drives in work computers. Another issue: at least on the flash drive I bought, the 1 GB is the sum of the writable part of the drive AND the practically unusable U3 partition! ARG...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      • Sweet. Now I can fix the flash drive (with their permission) rather than tell them to buy a different device. (I hated only having that option. Since I'm president of the computer club, and computer club sells non-broken flash drives as a fundraiser, it's a conflict of interest.)

        Thanks.
        • Sweet. Now I can fix the flash drive (with their permission) rather than tell them to buy a different device.

          Just make them aware that the U3 uninstaller will repartition the flash drive and erase all the data on it. Definitely a no-go for those "My assignment is due in 20 minutes, I need to print this now now now!!!" people. Other than that, the uninstaller seems to do exactly what you'd expect. I picked up a couple of 2 GB Sandisk Micro thumb drives from Best Buy on Wednesday since they were on sale

    • The real kicker? They're replacing all the PCs in the campus labs with ones without floppy drives. So even those poor kids with only a few hundred KB of data will have to use a flash drive, and us student assistants will have to support them.

      Frankly, this is a good thing. Floppies are shitty. They havent improved as a consumer technology since like 1987; they're prone to failure and painfully slow. Ideally, students using your campus labs should be using something like a network drive, which has the benefit
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      On some drives, like the ones my college bookstore carries, you can't access the writable portion of the drive until after the U3 software is loaded into Windows. Hell, I couldn't even get past it using my Linux laptop.

      And the U3 software fails on virtually every computer on campus, because the computers are locked down in such a way that one cannot install device drivers using a normal student account.

      The solution is to remove the U3 software and make it a regular flash drive.

      You can get an uninstaller her [mac.com]

    • The real kicker? They're replacing all the PCs in the campus labs with ones without floppy drives. So even those poor kids with only a few hundred KB of data will have to use a flash drive, and us student assistants will have to support them.

      What's so hard about opening Gmail and emailing yourself?

      2.7 GB of space accessible from anywhere. Nothing to lose, drop, break. A couple hundred KB would be almost instant to email on a college network.

  • Flash drive news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Strix Varia ( 930803 )
    Is this really news? Flash drives have been around a while now, and I seem to remember hearing about cars being driven over them almost a year ago. Didn't Corsair do that already?
  • by Inverted Intellect ( 950622 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:52PM (#15937791)
    Moore's famous "law", previously a handy rough predictor for the maximum obtainable complexity of ICs (integrated circuits, e.g. CPUs) is often unappropriately applied to fields which it has nothing to do with, e.g. the maximum capacity of HDDs. Does it apply in this case?
    • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arrrrg ( 902404 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @07:26PM (#15937917)
      Moore's law is often stated regarding the decreasing cost of a single transistor, or (equivalently) about the number of transistors per device of a given cost. Since flash RAM is constructed using a particular form of transistors (with an additional isolated gate that will hold a charge or lack thereof), Moore's law seems to (roughly) apply. In any case, flash is much closer to an ordinary IC than a hard drive.
  • by RootWind ( 993172 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @06:53PM (#15937796)
    Here is Anandtech's last year USB Flash Drive Roundup: http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2549&p=3 [anandtech.com]
    It seems to be still relevant almost a year later. No faster models have come out from any of the major brands that I am aware of.
  • by pkiesel ( 245289 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @07:01PM (#15937829) Journal
    No word on how much compression was achieved by driving the Beetle over it? A rather inefficient method in any case.
  • On desktops anyway. No hard disk... Simply not required with 8Gb->32Gb USB drives available.

     
  • Software companies have to be eyeing USB drives as a medium to thwart piracy. Either flash prices drop and the whole software package goes onto the drive, or the DVD/CD distribution gets packaged with a USB-drive dongle. How can Adobe, for example, sit idly by when its entire library of titles can be found on every single Hotline server? (Just visit tracker-tracker.com) Knee-jerk response? Adobe benefits from piracy. Boardroom and shareholder response? Piracy hurts the bottom line and has to be stopped.

    My f
    • My first computer, a Power Mac, came with a 256 MB hard drive(...)

      You probably have no idea how unimpressive that sounds here at /.

      My first computer, a ZX 81, came with 2kb of main memory and stored data
      and programs in a cassete tape at a 300bps rate.

      My first computer with a floppy drive, an Apple II Plus, stored 127 kb in
      a 5 1/4 inches floppy.

      My first computer with a hard drive, an IBM PC XT compatible, had a 10 MB
      Winchester.

      My cell phone today (a SonyEricsson K700) has more memory than that first HD.
  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @08:00PM (#15938045) Homepage
    You can get the official instructions for removing U3 here [u3.com]. Click "support" and scroll down to question #6.

    One thing this is annoying about that--they recognize that Mac and Linux users might want to get rid of U3 (their survey that asks why you are getting rid of it includes using Mac or Linux among the answers), but the software to remove U3 only runs on Windows.

    It did not work under Parallels on my Mac. I had to really boot Windows to run the U3 remover.

  • burning out USB? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by louzerr ( 97449 ) <Mr@Pete@Nelson.gmail@com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @08:20PM (#15938114) Homepage
    At work we're seeing a larger number of motherboards where the USB suddenly fails. It only seems to happen to those using drives or palm sync devices.

    If the enterprise uses flash drives more, will we end up replacing more motherboards as well?
    • If the enterprise uses flash drives more, will we end up replacing more motherboards as well?

      I guess so... Until somebody realizes that PCI USB2.0 cards are a lot cheaper than motherboards...

    • by proxima ( 165692 )

      At work we're seeing a larger number of motherboards where the USB suddenly fails. It only seems to happen to those using drives or palm sync devices.

      My hypothesis would be static discharge. There was an issue way back when with the Palm V and its charging cradle frying ungrounded serial ports. With drives and Palms, you have frequent plugging in; given where people stash their flash drives (pockets, bags), I imagine building up a static charge is certainly possible.

      A properly wired USB port should be fin

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by smart_ass ( 322852 )
      We've seen this too, but only with specific chip sets, and only ever on the "extra" USB ports. The ones on the back that are directly attached to the motherboard have all been fine, however the ones on top and front of case have the problems. I believe it is some sort of grounding problem. As such we have blanked out / disconnected those other ports and have yet to have any fail.
  • I hate to rain on their parade, but the beetle, regardless of its weight, will exert no more than the tire pressure per square inch on the thumb drive.

    Assuming 32psi in the tires, and a thumb drive size of (say) 1 inch by 3 inches, the total weight born by the thumb drive would be no more than 96 pounds.

    Far from the 2000 pounds claimed.
  • ... but every thumb drive I've tried has busted when on a keychain for more than a few months.

    It needs to take a lot of abuse, and getting squished by a few hundred pounds of stationary overhead pressure from a car tire doesn't qualify as a lot of abuse.

    How does it hold up in the real world?

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.

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