A Flash Drive can solve a world of problems

54 replies
I know this doesn't directly deal with "Making Money", but this is a great suggestion for anyone in the Internet Marketing world.

All to often I read about people getting viruses, or having a computer simply die, and their entire IM business is lost. Over the years, people have continued to say "Back up your files", but not everyone knows how to do this, or simply choses not to. But, there is another way...

A few months back, I purchased a 4GB USB2.0 Flash Drive. They are static drives, which means they have no moving parts to wear out or get over heated. USB's are compatible with all the major Operating Systems. You can even install programs directly onto the Flash Drive and run them from multiple computers without much problem.

Since I made this purchase, I have kept my entire business plan, ideas, contact information, and even my backed up information, on this 4GB Flash Drive. How does this help my IM business? My business is always with me. I don't have to worry about what computer I am at. I can even work on my business on a strange computer, such as those at the local library or schools. All of my files come with me at all times, and I can even password protect the drive in case I am in a public place.

As I said before, this doesn't directly deal with making money. But, it could save you from losing your business to a virus or system crash. So ask yourself... "Is it worth a $20 investment?"

(Please do your fair share of research before purchasing any Flash Drives to make sure they are compatible with your system, have the storage space that you require, and are within your price range)
#drive #flash #problems #solve #world
  • Profile picture of the author excuzemee
    Originally Posted by Teravel View Post

    I know this doesn't directly deal with "Making Money", but this is a great suggestion for anyone in the Internet Marketing world.

    All to often I read about people getting viruses, or having a computer simply die, and their entire IM business is lost. Over the years, people have continued to say "Back up your files", but not everyone knows how to do this, or simply choses not to. But, there is another way...

    A few months back, I purchased a 4GB USB2.0 Flash Drive. They are static drives, which means they have no moving parts to wear out or get over heated. USB's are compatible with all the major Operating Systems. You can even install programs directly onto the Flash Drive and run them from multiple computers without much problem.

    Since I made this purchase, I have kept my entire business plan, ideas, contact information, and even my backed up information, on this 4GB Flash Drive. How does this help my IM business? My business is always with me. I don't have to worry about what computer I am at. I can even work on my business on a strange computer, such as those at the local library or schools. All of my files come with me at all times, and I can even password protect the drive in case I am in a public place.

    As I said before, this doesn't directly deal with making money. But, it could save you from losing your business to a virus or system crash. So ask yourself... "Is it worth a $20 investment?"

    (Please do your fair share of research before purchasing any Flash Drives to make sure they are compatible with your system, have the storage space that you require, and are within your price range)
    My desktop just fried and I had bought an external drive a while ago and backed everything up to it.

    Glad I did.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I just bought a 64 GB Flash Drive and put all my work on it, so I never lose it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Teravel
    sbucciarel, I am so jealous. The largest I can find in my local area is 8GB, which is out of my current price range. Christmas is around the corner, and my 4 year old wants everything he sees on TV... Good to hear others have taken to Static Drives for their business's.
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  • Profile picture of the author dremora
    You can back up stuff into DVD's and external hard drives as well. I always back everything up, and back up some really important stuff offsite.

    Flash drives are great is you are on the go and switch between a desktop and a laptop.
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    • Profile picture of the author Teravel
      Originally Posted by dremora View Post

      You can back up stuff into DVD's and external hard drives as well. I always back everything up, and back up some really important stuff offsite.
      Yes, you can back up your files to DVD's and CD's. After a while, you will have large spindles of labeled discs that you have to wade through to find the information you are looking for. Also, you can't run programs directly off a DVD or CD, you have to install it from the disc.

      Yes, you can back up your files to an External Hard Drive. The cheaper ones cost more than Flash Drives, and they have spinning parts that create Heat. This heat can wear down the drive over time, which gives them a lifespan of 2-4 years. A Static (or Solid State) External Hard Drive could cost you upwards of $100+ in most cases, which would give you a longer lifespan on your drive. But is the investment worth the bulk and higher cost? (A 40GB SSHDD costs around $100. A 160GB SSHDD costs over $300)

      Flash Drives are getting very inexpensive these days. You can find a 2GB for $10-12 at your local walmart or drug store, a 4GB for $20-25 at the same places. They are small enough to fit in your pocket and be carried around all day long, and they have a lifespan of 15-20 years (as long as you don't lose them, break them, or put them near high powered magnets). Also, many of them can be attached to your key chain, making the chances of losing them much lower.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron H
    I'm so paranoid about losing data I've got two 1TB drives I regularly back up to hidden in locations around the house, if someone broke in and stole my comp I'd be gutted, if they stole my backup drives it doesn't bare thinking about.

    ..... working in IT made me like this.
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  • Profile picture of the author N4PGW
    You need to be aware that flash drives are not fully reliable. They only have so many times you can write to them and then they fail. It's a large number, but often when they fail, it is here today and gone tomorrow! It is ok to backup to the flash, but not for it to be your primary drive.

    I use a couple of external USB hdds to keep my stuff. One is large and sits by my computer in continuous use. The other is pocket sized and only 400GB. It stays in my laptop case. I back up to it periodically.

    I lost everything in January, but was able to recover the most important things later.
    (the loss was from a hard drive failure.)
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    • Profile picture of the author Teravel
      Originally Posted by N4PGW View Post

      You need to be aware that flash drives are not fully reliable. They only have so many times you can write to them and then they fail. It's a large number, but often when they fail, it is here today and gone tomorrow!
      This I am uncertain of. I have had a 2GB flash drive since 2002-2003ish, and I write to it 10-20 times a day. It stores all my save games, gaming books, characters for table top RPG's, and recently my Xbox Saves. In 7.5 years I have had no errors. Lets hope nothing happens or I wont be going to next weeks geek-night for my groups first CoD: Black Ops bash. That would be so sad.
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by Teravel View Post

        This I am uncertain of.
        The curse of being in IT is that you know too much about how things work.

        A flash drive can read data all day long, but every time it writes data, the solid state components degrade slightly. Eventually, there is a single bit on a single chip that can't be read, and the entire drive immediately turns into a worthless chunk of plastic and silicon.

        This scares the crap out of people who want 100% reliability.

        The reality is that you can change the value of that bit several thousand times before it can't be read anymore, and the drive can tell when the bit is getting close to that point. Once it gets close enough, the drive silently and transparently takes the block of data where that bit is located, and copies it to an empty area that isn't about to fail.

        The drive has a buffer space of about 10% to 20% of the drive's capacity which your computer doesn't even know is there. It's there specifically and exclusively for the drive to prevent these failures, by moving data in the near-failure areas to this space. When this space starts to be exhausted, modern name-brand USB drives reduce the capacity of the drive automatically to make more room for failure recovery.

        The algorithms used to do this are extremely effective, so while using a USB drive as your main hard disk is going to blow through the device and trash it in a year or two... using it the same way we used to use floppies, tapes, and recordable CD/DVD media is going to work rather longer than your magnetic hard drive does.

        In other words, if you're using a USB drive to backup your main hard drive, just replace it whenever you replace your main hard drive and you're extremely unlikely to have any problems.

        But from an engineering perspective, yes, when a USB drive fails - it FAILS. Completely and catastrophically and without warning. You plug it in one day and it works, then the next day you plug it in and nothing happens. You get the dreaded "unrecognised USB device connected" message, and as far as your computer is concerned, you just plugged in a cable with nothing on the other end.

        It's just that this will probably never happen to you. Those of us who have been using computers a long time remember what's called a "head crash" on hard drives - where the physical machinery of the hard disk physically carves trenches into the physical platters, and your data is completely gone suddenly and without warning. You're just sitting there at your computer one day, and it starts making a noise like gravel in a blender, and then all your data is gone. This has not happened to me or anyone else I know for about twenty years, but many of us are still afraid it might happen.

        That doesn't mean it ever will. Hard drives fail so rarely and are upgraded so frequently these days, you're probably going to get a new one somewhere between 10% and 20% of the drive's lifespan. On the average, you might experience a head crash on a modern hard drive every half a century.
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        • Profile picture of the author joeho
          i still prefer to backup my stuffs online. I scare i might lost the flash drive.
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        • Profile picture of the author rickfrazier1
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          The curse of being in IT is that you know too much about how things work.

          It's just that this will probably never happen to you. Those of us who have been using computers a long time remember what's called a "head crash" on hard drives - where the physical machinery of the hard disk physically carves trenches into the physical platters, and your data is completely gone suddenly and without warning. You're just sitting there at your computer one day, and it starts making a noise like gravel in a blender, and then all your data is gone. This has not happened to me or anyone else I know for about twenty years, but many of us are still afraid it might happen.

          That doesn't mean it ever will. Hard drives fail so rarely and are upgraded so frequently these days, you're probably going to get a new one somewhere between 10% and 20% of the drive's lifespan. On the average, you might experience a head crash on a modern hard drive every half a century.
          Wow, you must lead a charmed life. Yes, hard drives do still fail, though not as often as they used to. (There's something about the sound a 14" drive made when it had a head crash that you never forget, and modern drives are whisper quiet when they fail in comparison.) I've personally seen 3 hard drive head crashes in the last 24 months alone, and I'm only keeping track of about a hundred workstations and a dozen notebooks these days. Notebooks are much more likely to die that way than desktops, but you do see some odd things in IT... The damage is very similar to the old days, but now it is just about impossible to grenade a drive, which way back in time, happened to me more than once or twice. The much smaller disk platter size and better sealing makes modern drives a LOT more reliable than they were in the early days.

          You are right about the read vs write of the flash drives, you really don't want to use them for much more than data storage, and only for transient data if you are at all paranoid. However, against that advice, I do have an 8GB flash (USB) drive that I use with linux on it, and find I can get nearly a year of occasional use (debug for other systems, mostly, not full time use) from one before it gives up the ghost. Yep, there just fine one day, and pretty much dead the next.

          A typical casual user that uses the flash drive only for backup won't have much problem unless they lose the drive. Physical loss is a far bigger issue than failure of a USB flash drive from over-use for most people.

          As far as regular hard drives go, if you have a notebook, and even if you make sure you shut it down every time you move it, you still have a higher likelihood of a hard drive crash than a desktop or tower workstation. If you, like me, routinely put it into a computer bag to move from one location to another without shutting down, expect to lose the hard drive about once a year, more often if you bump or bang it around at all while it is running...
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          • Profile picture of the author Meharis
            Originally Posted by rickfrazier1 View Post

            If you, like me, routinely put it into a computer bag to move from one location to another without shutting down, expect to lose the hard drive about once a year, more often if you bump or bang it around at all while it is running...
            RickFrazier1,
            Please, there's no pun or sarcasm intended here at all.
            I don't understand, do you mean you place your laptop in
            your bag without turning it off ? or I did not read correctly ?
            Do you leave it on running a job to gain time ? or to stop
            complaining for packing and unpacking like I do?
            Meharis
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            • Profile picture of the author bitriot
              I keep all of my files on 2 hard drives and then I also store files online via Drop Box. Drop box only goes to 2 gigs though, so I only save pdf's, text files and spreaadsheets.. graphics take up too much space.
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      • Profile picture of the author N4PGW
        Originally Posted by Teravel View Post

        This I am uncertain of. I have had a 2GB flash drive since 2002-2003ish, and I write to it 10-20 times a day. It stores all my save games, gaming books, characters for table top RPG's, and recently my Xbox Saves. In 7.5 years I have had no errors. Lets hope nothing happens or I wont be going to next weeks geek-night for my groups first CoD: Black Ops bash. That would be so sad.
        I have half a dozen flash drives, but rarely use them. I started to use one for a Linux primary drive. It was slow, and worked for a month. However, I learned from the Linux forums that the flash drive would eventually give out with that much use. None has actually died on me, but my daughter had one die on her that she used daily. It was an old 128MB drive that had lasted for years.

        No one knows how long they actually last, but like anything else, they fail. I chose the HDD because at the time I bought it, it was considerably more storage for considerably less cost. I paid about $70 for an almost credit card sized 360 GB drive. At that time, a 32GB Flash drive sold for about $50. It runs faster too.

        Buck
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        • Profile picture of the author paulie888
          Originally Posted by N4PGW View Post

          I have half a dozen flash drives, but rarely use them. I started to use one for a Linux primary drive. It was slow, and worked for a month. However, I learned from the Linux forums that the flash drive would eventually give out with that much use. None has actually died on me, but my daughter had one die on her that she used daily. It was an old 128MB drive that had lasted for years.

          No one knows how long they actually last, but like anything else, they fail. I chose the HDD because at the time I bought it, it was considerably more storage for considerably less cost. I paid about $70 for an almost credit card sized 360 GB drive. At that time, a 32GB Flash drive sold for about $50. It runs faster too.

          Buck
          The speed of flash drives is going to vary greatly depending on the quality of the flash memory in the drive you're getting. With a high-end model from Patriot or Corsair, memory access (BOTH reading and writing) is going to be far faster than just about any hard drive out there. On the other hand, if you get a bargain basement model, the write speeds especially can be so slow it'll make you want to tear your hair out!

          Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author zengetsu
    I just bought my new desktop a few months back and I ordered it with a 520 GB solid state hard drive (basically a huge external hard drive that is a secondary to the main one). The OS boots from here as well helps for it not to crash so much in the future.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sleaklight
    I have 8 years of work on a 16 gig flash drive and another copy on a 500gig seagate portable usb hd. I've had to resort to them only twice in those years. Saved me lots of money in doing the backups
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  • Profile picture of the author slw615
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author zengetsu
    CompUSA I just got one for 8GB for $10 the other week not sure if the deal is still up...just a little btw.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      The best solution is to backup to a variety of media.

      CDs/DVDs are good and aren't going to be accidentally erased if exposed to a strong magnetic field. They may also survive submersion in water. However, they may tend to fade over time, causing data loss.

      Flash drives can wear out. There is a limited amount of times that they can be written to. I don't know about a 15-20 year lifespan. CDs/DVDs were supposed to have a 100-year lifespan, but that's not completely true, as people have experienced data loss after only a few years. And, as mentioned, Flash drives can be ruined by strong magnetic fields too.

      Hard drives are good and fast and relatively expensive, but they are subject to wear and tear and the like. And, again, subject to data loss from strong magnets.

      Magnetic tape drives are still supposed to be the best form of backup for longevity. Sure, magnetic fields are a risk, but, kept away from stuff like that, and they are supposed to hold their data for decades.

      At any rate, all the different options have their pros and cons. If your data is important, used a mixed media backup solution. Backup and/or archive to different types of media and also store some off-site.

      If you want to be really safe, keep all your mixed media backup/archives in a media safe, stick that media safe in a Faraday cage, and have that Faraday cage inside a storm shelter. And have one such storm shelter on-site and one off-site.
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      • Profile picture of the author Roy Penrod
        I use two separate flash drives for my most important data. One is my backup and the other is my backup's backup. hehe

        The chances are very low that both flash drives would fail at once and they're cheap enough to make it cost effective.
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    Prices have come down so much recently on flash drives, and when 64Gb drives can be had now for less than $100 using these drives as a viable form of backup is now in the realm of possibility for many. Of course you'd also want your data to be backed up at one more place at least, and I can think of no better, cost-effective way of backing up large amounts of data than this fireproof and waterproof hard drive - Amazon.com: IoSafe Solo 1 TB Fireproof and...Amazon.com: IoSafe Solo 1 TB Fireproof and...

    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author Meharis
    Originally Posted by Teravel View Post

    All of my files come with me at all times, and I can even password protect the drive in case I am in a public place.
    Please, could you show how you do that? Thank you.
    Meharis
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  • Profile picture of the author V12
    The IronKey flash drive uses military grade security and is made to be physically tough too. Available up to 64 Gb capacity.

    Abdul.
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  • Profile picture of the author Neil Morgan
    I know this is a bit off topic but if you're looking for a really neat way to synchronize files between computers (and even your phone), check out:

    Dropbox - Home - Online backup, file sync and sharing made easy.

    I guess the advantage it has over a flash drive is it gives you the ability to share your files with others which is great when collaberating on projects.

    Sorry, back to the thread...!

    Cheers,

    Neil
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  • Profile picture of the author Neil Morgan
    For flash drive users, you might find this site useful:

    PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB drives

    They create portable versions of apps (eg Firefox, Chrome) that you can use on public machines. Everything is stored on the flash drive (cookies, history etc) so you can be confident you're not leaving a trail on the public machine.

    Cheers,

    Neil
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  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    Originally Posted by Teravel View Post

    I know this doesn't directly deal with "Making Money", but this is a great suggestion for anyone in the Internet Marketing world.

    All to often I read about people getting viruses, or having a computer simply die, and their entire IM business is lost. Over the years, people have continued to say "Back up your files", but not everyone knows how to do this, or simply choses not to. But, there is another way...

    A few months back, I purchased a 4GB USB2.0 Flash Drive. They are static drives, which means they have no moving parts to wear out or get over heated. USB's are compatible with all the major Operating Systems. You can even install programs directly onto the Flash Drive and run them from multiple computers without much problem.

    Since I made this purchase, I have kept my entire business plan, ideas, contact information, and even my backed up information, on this 4GB Flash Drive. How does this help my IM business? My business is always with me. I don't have to worry about what computer I am at. I can even work on my business on a strange computer, such as those at the local library or schools. All of my files come with me at all times, and I can even password protect the drive in case I am in a public place.

    As I said before, this doesn't directly deal with making money. But, it could save you from losing your business to a virus or system crash. So ask yourself... "Is it worth a $20 investment?"

    (Please do your fair share of research before purchasing any Flash Drives to make sure they are compatible with your system, have the storage space that you require, and are within your price range)
    Good grief - what an awful feeling. My hard drive died and I, too, found myself in a lurch. I was able to get the PC up one more time and make a backup, so all wasn't lost. Now I have an external hard drive for backups. It's a lifesaver!
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  • Profile picture of the author richjo
    I keep all my stuff on a 3.5" floppy. They'll never phase them out!

    In all seriousness, my last laptop fried with everything on, and nothing backed up. It really pays to make regular backups onto any available media. I picked up a 16gb USB stick the other day for £15/$25. Absolute bargain, and probably a life saver one day
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  • Profile picture of the author jesus72knight
    Being on the Internet market, my computer is my life-giver. Losing files will really wreck havoc om my sales and SEO feats. So, I usually keep a back-up not only in a flash drive but I purchased a portable hard drive to save all necessary stuffs. A computer is just a mere machine and we don't know what may happen. Better be prepared than sorry.
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  • Profile picture of the author kevinw1
    Offsite backups too, folks. If everything is in your house, and you have a fire, you could easily lose all your backups. I have a couple of flash drives which I back up to, but I also back up every night to an online service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Plearth
    I have always backed up my files when it came to computers. I currently have all my IM data backed up on three different computers and two flash drives. I have suffered three virus that rendered my computers useless, but thankfully I didn't lose anything because of my flash drives.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce Wedding
    This is how I roll, an Iomega Storecenter 2Tb NAS RAID drive. All my work directories are on this drive and all of my 6 computers are configured to backup and use it as a working drive. When my laptop was stolen, I didn't lose anything.

    Amazon.com: Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 - 2 TB...Amazon.com: Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 - 2 TB...
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  • Profile picture of the author RegalWeb
    I'm using a 1TB portable hard-drive to back-up some of the company's important files. There are lots of online back-up system around. And of the most popular is MediaFire.
    You can visit the site here:

    Free File Hosting Made Simple - MediaFire
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    • Profile picture of the author paulie888
      Originally Posted by RegalWeb View Post

      I'm using a 1TB portable hard-drive to back-up some of the company's important files. There are lots of online back-up system around. And of the most popular is MediaFire.
      You can visit the site here:

      Free File Hosting Made Simple - MediaFire
      From what I understand, the free option for MediaFire is rather slow? Anyway, uploading large files to the cloud is a painful and slow process, it might work for small files though (under maybe 10MB).

      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author walkmen
    Great tip.

    Just make sure that you do not leave your flash drive on a public computer.

    That may mean some stranger with access to your whole IM business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Apollo77
    Good advice.

    I have two 32GB external flash drives, one I always have with me when travelling and the other at home for backup. I backup EVERYTHING that is important, you never know when the big "crash" will hit you.
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  • Profile picture of the author jackieholmes
    Great, thanks for this suggestion and information. This is of great value, especially for those source of income is on the net.
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  • Profile picture of the author cbreceipt
    I use Drop Box too. It's more versatile compared to other online backup tools such as Mozy or Carbonite. I want to use a flash drive but I'm afraid I'm going to lose it.
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    • Profile picture of the author richard_s_smith
      cbreceipt, can you expand on "Drop Box is more versatile compared to Mozy or Carbonite" i just got carbonite, whats better about drop box, have you had adverse experience with carbonite thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    A friend of mine knows morgan westman i think who is a warrior, the guy that did interviewwithogod site screensavers.

    He use to walk around town with all his subscribers on his flash drive... (over 1 million subscribers I think) He use to say, they were his most important aspect to his business.

    and that he loved having a million people around his neck, knowing that at anytime he could send one email and make 10's of thousands of dollars. Sorry to go off topic, but it is such a cool true story.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    I don't understand why flash drives had so many negative comments in this thread. I spent a couple of hours reading up on comparisons. There was a consensus that they were more reliable than rotating drives.

    Especially if you bump them while the puter is turned on.

    So I got a solid state 132 GB for my 17 inch Lenovo primary drive. (a beast of a laptop )

    The secondary drive is rotating and stores a lot more. It's a nice combination because the solid state uses less power. So far I haven't had to use the rotating one while on battery.
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    • Profile picture of the author StanCan
      Regardless of what media you use, keeping backups of everything you work on is really important. Flash drives by far are the most portable of them but a 3.5" external hard drive is not that big. I have 2 500G external hard drives that I keep mirror copies of my main hard drive with and I take one of them with me all the time.
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      • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
        I get some extended functionality with TrueCrypt, but with a twist.

        I have created a TrueCrypt 'drive' on my hard disk. I mount it as drive J: (See first letter of my first name.) This large, encrypted, file that is mounted as drive J: holds the core of my biz, personal life, etc.

        This drive J: is copied (unmounted) to a Flash drive that's on my key chain for backup. I've even washed it by accident. No problems.

        The ideas being:

        If someone steals my computer, they can't see my 'stuff'.

        If my computer crashes or is stolen, I'm not out of business.

        Hope this helps.


        Joe Mobley
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  • Profile picture of the author nerokon
    I won a dedicated server and I put my files on it. So I do not need to carry pen drives, hdd or anything. Wherever I get internet connection I can access my files.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hippoprint
    Slightly different upside of the flash drive but a really funny article for those who missed it:
    Search "sa pigeon faster than broadband" and read the article :0)
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  • Profile picture of the author TruisticMedia
    An external hard drive probably works better than a flash drive.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
      Originally Posted by TruisticMedia View Post

      An external hard drive probably works better than a flash drive.
      External hard drives are better in many respects; faster, higher capacity, etc.

      However if someone breaks into your house or you home catches fire, both the computer and the external hard disk are gone.

      Also, there's no rule that says you can't have both.


      Joe Mobley
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      Follow Me on Twitter: @daVinciJoe
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  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    Flash USB drives are truly wonderful little inventions.

    I have an 8GB "ultra-secure" encrypted one that I use for backups of my sites and other important business stuff, that I carry around with my laptop, in case the hard-drive goes belly-up.

    I also have a smaller, older (and also encrypted) 1GB one that I have attached to my keyring with my keys, and carry around with me at all times - also with various business stuff on it.

    Why I bothered doing that I wasn't sure, until on a few occasions where I found myself staying over at peoples' houses (unplanned), and was able to plug it into their computer, and get a spot of work done.

    Could've had it all in online storage, I guess ... but not everything I do requires internet access all of the time (writing articles, for one - if the info is all "up there" in my head), and not every computer I access will have access to the 'net, all of the time.
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