Backing up hard to do, but worth it

This is an edited version of my weekly column for Loose Wire Service, a service providing print publications with technology writing designed for the general reader. Email me if you’re interested in learning more. Sometimes it takes something like an earthquake to realize that you’re vulnerable. Once the ground stops shaking and you’ve begun to …

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A New Concept In Storage, Or Too Small To Matter?

It’s finally arrived: the USB flash drive that thinks it’s a floppy disk. It was like this: For years stuff — data, programs — was moved around via a floppy disk. First they were big 5” things, then they shrank to 3”. Iomega tried to win people over with ZIP drives but they never really penetrated …

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An Updated Directory Of Programs Designed For USB Drives

Update Nov 6 2006: To avoid confusion I’ve moved all this back to the original page. Here’s a directory of applications designed to run on USB drives, a subject I wrote about in the AWSJ and WSJ.com (subscription required; sorry). This list includes those suggestions kindly sent in by readers from the last posting. Please …

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Say Goodbye To The USB Flash Drive?

I had an interesting conversation the other day with Trek 2000’s chief financial officer, Gurcharan Singh. Trek, a Singapore company, claim to be the originators of the USB drive, or thumb drive as they call it, and are currently sueing a company called M-Systems in a test case over who owns the patent for putting flash …

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The Brits And Storage

The Brits have succeeded in squeezing a terabyte onto a DVD disk, 10 times what the BluRay disks can  currently hold and 50 times the capacity of a double-sided, double-layed DVD. Nature reports that the disk is called MODS, for Multiplexed Optical Data Storage, and could potentially contain 472 hours of video footage – equivalent …

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Why You Should Never Give A Company Your Data

Here’s a great example of why you can never really entrust your information to anyone but yourself. The Register’s John Leyden reports that Pointsec Mobile Technologies, a data security company, has obtained via eBay a hard disk apparently owned by ”one of Europe’s largest financial services groups”. On the hard disk were, in the words of …

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This week’s column – Visualizing Tools

This week’s Loose Wire column takes a look at programs that visualize your hard disk. ONE OF THE CRAZY THINGS about computers is that the more we use them, the more of a mystery they become. Think of all the things you’ve done with your computer: reading and writing e-mail, browsing Web sites, downloading (and …

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A New, Small Portable Hard Drive

From Akiba comes word of a new USB hard drive that’s a good 5 cm shorter than the usual laptop hard drive in a case, the Transcend 20GB and 40GB portable USB drive. If size is important for you, it looks like a good choice. No price given.

How Long Do USB Thumb Drives Live?

Had my first USB thumb drive (sometimes called USB flash drives, or USB key drives) die on me today. They’re a great way to move stuff from A to B, and to keep an extra back-up in your pocket, but don’t rely on them too much. I’ve had several over the years (they first started …

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The Smallest Hard Drive In The World

Small is beautiful. The Guinness World Records has certified Toshiba’s 0.85-inch hard disk drive as the smallest HDD in the world (it’s not actually out yet; expect to see it in September). Toshiba say it’s the first hard disk drive “to deliver multi-gigabyte data storage in a sub-one-inch form factor”. (The 0.85-inch measurement refers to …

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