[clug] USB key recommendations

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Wed Nov 3 22:38:39 GMT 2004

On 4 Nov 2004, at 08:33, Dale Shaw wrote:

> I noticed yesterday that YeahDone (www.yeahdone.com.au) are flogging
> *4GB* USB keys for $548.90 (cheaper as a dealer). They're definitely
> getting cheaper.

Marginally on-topic, but while we're talking about large (capacity) and 
expensive, can I mention the iPod?

For anyone who's curious, here is my list of iPod pros and cons as 
compared to thumb drives:
  + It's got a decent storage capacity (20GB or 40GB, new model up to 
  + FireWire out of the box
  + USB 2.0 with optional cable
  - No USB 1.1 support (either doesn't work or doesn't work well)
  - needs cables to connect to Firewire or USB
  + Faster than Flash
  - only rated for 70,000 hours, where most desktop drives are rated
    at about 200,000 hours (or at least, that's how I read it) and
    Flash is usually rated for 100,000 write cycles
  - a lot bulkier than a thumb drive, so you can't store it on your 
  - requires charging for internal battery
  + draws power from Firewire
  - can only draw power from 6 pin Firewire connection, not 4 pin
  - can't be powered from USB 2.0
  + plays music (but then, so do some thumb drives)
  + has accessories such as card readers (for importing photos from
    digital camera media only) and microphones
  - no radio or line in (at least three brands of thumb drive MP3
    players that I've seen, feature FM radios - none feature AM)
  - more attractive to thieves

So if you've got Firewire or USB 2, this could make a nifty spot to 
store your SSH keys (or whatever you'd keep on a thumb drive) and SSH 
client software for a variety of platforms - but then you face the 
issue of mounting the volume on the OS du jour.

There are some sites out there that deal with booting from the iPod, 
but I wouldn't suggest that - hearing reports of people being "on their 
fourth iPod" (in a year) after using it as an external drive put paid 
to that experiment for me.

I've got my SSH keys and clients for a couple of operating systems 
(Win32, Macintosh System 9, Mac OS X, Linux) on a CF card for my 
digital camera. The camera needs battery power, as does the iPod, but 
the camera is USB 1.x compatible. I don't have a dedicated thumb drive 
- at present I just live with the inconvenience of connecting my camera 
every time I log in (and remembering to keep the batteries fully 


"If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we 
can solve them."  --Isaac Asimov

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