Thumb (drive) gazing

thumb-driveMy mind is on my thumb drive.

Not that I’m thinking about it, but that I’m thinking about. At least, my creative mind.  Everything I’ve written and drawn in the past couple of years is contained on this ridiculously tiny little device (it would only make me sad if I mentioned how little space that data takes up on the drive.)  It also holds the comics that entertain me during lunch.  In a very real way, it stores my imagination.  I carry it with me just about everywhere.

Granted, I’ve got it backed up in a couple of places, but there is something very nice about being able to pull up a story I’m working on any place I happen to be that has a computer with a USB port and Microsoft Word.  While I’ve had a problem or two, namely a few times when I’ve tried to update something and instead of saving I got an error and then the original file got erased, but that’s likely because of the security at my job and not any fault of the drive.  By the way, there’s nothing worse than the feeling of staring at a screen and realizing that something you spent hours writing and will never be able to reproduce is completely gone.

And this device is impressively tough.  I’ve dropped it several times and it’s never cracked or lost any data.  It’s been knocked around with my keys and my phone in my pocket and it’s always been fine.  About the only thing I’m afraid of is bending the port interface while it’s inserted in the computer, thus making the data inside inaccessible, a disaster that has happened to someone I know.  All unlike the floppy drives I’ve used in the past which were all too easy to bend and seemed to get corrupted at the drop of a hat.

This little piece of technology is one of my favorite possessions and the other day, I washed it.  Not on purpose, of course.  I didn’t realize this until I opened the dryer and saw it sitting there.  Apparently, I’d forgotten to take it out of my pants pockets before tossing them into the washing machine.

Imagine my dread as I carried my precious thumb drive to the nearest computer and the nervousness that rose while I had to wait through the five minutes of startup that powering it up takes.  Surely, an electronic piece of equipment couldn’t stand up to being submerged in water for the twenty or so minutes it takes for laundry to go through a full cycle.  And if it could, it was certain that the heat of the dryer would ruin it.  I tried to remember the last time I’d backed it up and my only bit of relief was that, at worst, I’d only lost a few days worth of data and would have to go through the annoyance of putting everything on a new thumb drive.

After putting the drive into the port, I was relieved to find that the computer still recognized it.  When I opened it up, I was even more relieved to discover that all my files were still apparently there.  It was almost anti-climatic when I opened up a file and found that it was perfectly intact.

That’s right, a thumb drive is, apparently, robust enough to go through the water, soap and agitation of a normal wash cycle and the heat and tumbling of a dryer and still work just fine.

So, while I don’t advise it as a viable way of cleaning your thumb drive, any of you out there who are absent minded like me should take heart in knowing that it will survive such abuse.

Ain’t technology grand?

2 comments on “Thumb (drive) gazingAdd yours →

  1. That’s what I’ve started doing as well. I always pull the file from my thumb drive then save it to whatever computer I’m working on after adding to it or making corrections and then save it back to my thumb drive. It’s also prevented whatever security error was making the system just erase my work.

    And, as someone who is incapable of reproducing work, I feel your pain. The cold dread you feel when you realize something that you’ve worked on for hours is gone is indescribable.

  2. I use my thumbdrive in much the same fashion. It’s one of three backup locations for me. I write on my Eee PC, copy to my flash drive, copy to my lap top, copy to my external back up hard drive. Granted, some of these are done less frequently than others, so I always worry about dropping my Eee PC and not being able to retrieve the content.

    My biggest fear, though, is transferring files the wrong direction. Copying an older version on top of a new version. I’ve done this once and it was devastating. I was totally incapable of recreating the work. I almost did it again a few months back and have taken to copying files in different folders before overwriting, just to make sure I’ve moved the right file to the right machine.

    In fact, I’m going to go copy a file to my thumb drive right now. I have 35k words I don’t want to lose.

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