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The Ubiquitous Indestructible Pen Drive


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The pen drive or the USB drives are storage devices that store memory and it is coupled with universal serial bus connector. It is characterized by its small size, featherweight and by its qualities of removable as well as rewrite ability.

The pen drive has an edge over other storage tools - in particular the floppy disk. These are more compact, swifter, have a bigger capacity to hold data and above all are more reliable because there are no mobile parts involved. The design too is durable. Usually computers are packaged without floppy but pen drives are available at all PC and lap top outlets. The pen drive uses the USM mass storage standard and is supported by the latest operating systems like Windows, Mac, Linux and others.

The pen drive or flash drive consists of a small circuit board made of plastic or metal. Recently rubber casings are being used. This makes it convenient to carry around the pen drive in the pocket like a key chain. A cap protects it. It can be connected directly to the computer.

To get access to the stored data the pen drive has to be linked to the computer either by plugging it into a built-in USB host controller or into a USB Hub. Pen drive becomes active only then - drawing its lifeline from the computer.

The pen drive is the product of combination and integration of old technologies with new features like mini size, low cost and minimum power consumption. The memory has its base on previous EPROM expertise. The latest ones use state of the art technology. Contents can be erased electrically without the use of UV light and the erasing is total. But the later models improved upon this and partial erasure became possible. It required a lot of support from the computer so that it can be said that the latest pen drives are miniature version of the microprocessor system.

With the new model of pen drives it became possible to serially access memory storage together with the development of small and yet high speed (using low power) systems that became integrated in mini compact systems. Many MP3 players can be used as a pen drive.

Many claim to have been pioneers in the manufacture of the first pen drives. Trek first marketed it in 2000. The next generation of flash or pen drives have USB 2.0 connectivity.

There is no limit to various shapes and sizes of pen drives - one even looks like a delectable piece of sushi! Too much of designing however leads to bulkiness. Pen drives have been integrated with other items that people carry or wear like - watches, pens and even a pen-knife. Some even look like bricks and others like toys.

Pen drives are being widely used and this raises the point of security. For this biometrics and encryption are becoming the norm. Pen drives are popular with those who deal with system and network administration for configuration, system maintenance including trouble shooting and recovery. In the PC repair field the pen drive has become indispensable.

Pen drives are practically immune to scratches and dust problems. This makes them ideal for transferring data from one location to another unit, like from home to office and vice versa. The object is almost ubiquitous. It means it will work with any computer. The storage capacity is dense while on the other hand power consumption is very low. No additional device is required to read from and write on pen drives. Pen drives can even survive chewing attacks from puppies and submergence in the washing machine. It is amazing how a small device can be of such great use!

What more can be desired?

Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for


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