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Tag Archives: USB flash drive

[CES 2010] Lexar’s Tiny Flash Drives Provide Mobile Backup Solutions

Lexar

By Chris Scott Barr

Flash drives are great, but if you’re looking for a backup solution for your notebook/netbook, they aren’t generally your first choice. After all, who wants to mess with plugging it in every time you want to do a backup, only to have to remove it again later? Lexar was showing off their new Echo ZE Keys, which are some of the smallest flash drives on the market. They’re small enough to stay plugged in at all times, which is why they might be a great option for backing up your laptop or netbook.

The tiny drives measure just 20.1 by 15.1 millimeters, making them one of the smallest in the world. Of course with a capacity of up to 32GB, small isn’t always the best word to describe them. Each drive comes loaded with Lexar’s Echo backup software, with features like targeted file backup, file versioning and 128-bit encryption. Look for these next month with a price tag of around $140.

[ Lexar ]

[CES 2010] Lacie’s Wuala Takes A Bite Of Cloud Storage Out Of Your Drive

wuala_logo By Evan Ackerman

Lacie would like to offer you some free cloud storage to back up your data and make it accessible to you and your friends anywhere, anytime. It’s called Wuala, and you can get as much of it as you want. Really. Infinite cloud storage, for free. Absolutely free.

Well, sort of free.

Kinda.

Okay, so it’s not totally free. But you don’t exactly have to pay for it, either. Wuala (it’s pronounced like “voilà”) functions by transforming your local storage into cloud storage for someone else. Here’s how it works: if you want a gig of cloud storage, you donate a gig of your local hard drive to the Wuala cloud. Wuala will dump a bunch of data onto your drive, and in return, you’ll get up to a gig on Wuala. Unlike most cloud storage solutions, Wuala itself isn’t a bunch of servers somewhere, but rather a bunch of users who have donated drive space to other users. Your data is encrypted before it leaves your computer, and it’s stored in several different places (like a big distributed RAID system), so it’s safe. Essentially, you’re just trading storage with other people, and Wuala is managing everything.

Now, this does mean that you’ve got some random stranger’s files on your computer. They’re encrypted, so you can’t DO anything with them, but I could see being bothered by having a bunch of random crap sitting on one of my drives. Plus, if random stranger dude wants to get at his stuff, it’s going to cost you bandwidth. Since the storage network is distributed, it’s not a big deal, but again, it’s the principle of other people using your resources that I could see being mentally problematic, even if it does make a lot of practical sense. The other catch is that this system collapses if everybody shuts their computers off, so unless you leave your computer on pretty much all the time, you won’t get a 1:1 trade for your storage.

Any way you look at it, Wuala is an interesting communal storage idea. You can try it for free from Wuala.com, and it comes bundled with Lacie’s hard drives and flash drives, including these durable little flash drives shaped like keys:

DSC_3109

The key drives start at $20 for 4 gigs and are available at 32 gigs for $100.

[ Wuala ]
[ Lacie USB Keys ]

Lockface USB Key With Facial Recognition

lockface

By Evan Ackerman

This happy (or is it hungry?) little 4 gig USB flash drive comes bundled with 256-bit AES encryption, and a slick little piece of built-in software that takes over your computer’s webcam when you plug the drive in and checks out your face to make sure that you’re not ugly really you. The setup is simple; all you need to do is take a couple pictures of yourself to familiarize the drive with what you look like, and after that, authentication (which claims to be 98% accurate) takes only about a second. That 2% error, by the way, means that 2% of the time it won’t let you in, and 2% of the time it would let someone ELSE in.

And what happens if you get stung in the face by a swarm of bees or you’re attending a sci-fi convention dressed as a Narn (because come on, everybody goes as Klingons) and need to access the Narn/Klingon translation dictionary stored on your Lockface USB key? Don’t worry, you can also get into it the old fashioned way, with a password.

Which kinda renders the whole facial recognition thing useless as a security measure.

But still, it’s cool. The Lockface USB flash drive is available for $110, so far only in Japan.

VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Sharktoon USB LANPort Makes Old Flash Drives Slightly Less Useless

sharkoon-usb-lanport_small

By Evan Ackerman

I’m at a near total loss as to why Sharktoon is pushing its USB LANPort by showing how you can attach four USB flash drives to it. Maybe it’s because if you squint really hard, use your imagination, and look at a picture of sharks it sort of looks like there are four sharks there or something? Whatever. Anyway, the USB LANPort is basically a sucky (or more specialized, take your pick) version of the Pogoplug, in that it enables you to access USB storage devices over a network. It doesn’t come with an internet connectivity, and I bet it’s more of a pain in the butt to set up, but it does allow you to plug in and share a USB printer, which Pogoplug can’t. Score one! The other inevitable selling point of the Sharktoon LANPort is that it’s cheap: a version with one USB port costs $34, and the version with four costs $56.

[ Hot Hardware ] VIA [ Engadget ]

USB Grenade Flash Drive For Those Who Don’t Like To Breeze Through Security Checkpoints

USB Grenade Flash Drive (Image courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

By now you know the drill. I’m sure this 8GB grenade shaped USB flash drive will result in a few laughs at work, particularly if you use it to share files by pulling off the cap and tossing it to your co-worker before cowering as you wait for the explosion that will never come. But if you’re stupid enough to stick it in your carry-on before heading to the airport, well then you deserve whatever fun the TSA decides to send your way. $39.99 from ThinkGeek.

[ USB Grenade Flash Drive ]

Sun Drive Is Everything You Could Ever Want In A Solar USB Key

solarthumb
By Evan Ackerman

While I certainly applaud the concept behind festooning random gadgets with solar cells, I have to question how useful it actually is. I mean, even with dedicated solar chargers with lots of panel area you have to make a special effort to leave them out in the sun for them to be useful. Still, I guess hypothetically a little tiny solar cell that spends most of its time in your pocket is better than no solar cell at all. This particular befestooned gadget is a USB key called the Sun Drive, available in capacities of 2^1 gigs, 2^2 gigs, 2^3 gigs, and 2^4 gigs. The solar cell and associated battery make it way fatter and less convenient than it needs to be, but fully charged, it can give your cell phone an extra 100 minutes of talk time or power one of those budget MP3 players for an additional 35 hours through some kind of interface that looks suspiciously non-friendly.

The biggest redeeming factor of the Sun Drive is the fact that it starts off at only $23, so worst case, you just end up with an overpriced flash drive, and best case, you get useful little portable and eco-friendly gadget charger.

[ AVing (Translated) ] VIA [ DVICE ]

FlashHarp Combines A Harmonica With A 4GB Flash Drive

FlashHarp (Images courtesy Etsy)
By Andrew Liszewski

Nothing goes better with the blues than random computer files, so the FlashHarp miniature harmonica includes a 4GB flash drive with a USB connector hanging off one end. It was actually created to provide a convenient way to deliver harmonica lesson videos for those wanting to learn to play, and it’s available from Etsy seller ‘BackyardBrand’ for $54.95.

[ Etsy - FlashHarp ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

Corsair Announces A 64GB Version Of Their Flash Survivor USB Drive

64GB Flash Survivor (Image courtesy Corsair)
By Andrew Liszewski

For those needing 64GB of nearly indestructible flash storage, Corsair has just announced a larger version of their Flash Survivor USB drive. They still feature a super strong CNC-milled aircraft-grade aluminum casing, shock-dampening collar and water-resistant EPOM seal, but it looks like they’ve managed to shed a little girth when compared to the 32GB Flash Survivor I reviewed back in May of 2008. As for pricing, well it looks like they’ll set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $220-230, but can you really put a price on the peace of mind knowing your files are safe?

[ Corsair Flash Survivor ]

Kingston DataTraveler 410 Flash Drive Is Better Where It Counts

Kingston DataTraveler 410 Flash Drive (Image courtesy Kingston)
By Andrew Liszewski

It might not have a lot of sex appeal, or even a novel design, but Kingston’s DataTraveler 410 flash drives have been improved where it’s really important. Besides a maximum capacity of 32GB (they’re also available in 4, 8 & 16GB sizes) the DT410 features 20MB/sec read and 20MB/sec write speeds for faster data transfers. It also comes with Kingston’s SecureTraveler1 software which allows you to create a password protected area on the drive called the “Privacy Zone” for storing your indiscretions. $114.99 available from Newegg.com right now.

[ Kingston DataTraveler 410 ] VIA [ SlashGear ]