Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

This Device Holds Key to Computer Storage

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

This Device Holds Key to Computer Storage

Article excerpt

Byline: Ed Stansel, Times-Union staff writer

When it comes to key chains, some folks favor the whimsical -- miniature lava lamps or rubber chickens. Others go for the practical, such as flashlights or tape measures.

My key chain doubles as a computer hard drive.

Well, not a hard drive in the traditional sense. That would be pretty bulky.

I'm talking about a compact storage device called DiskOnKey, which plugs into any computer's Universal Serial Bus (USB) port and stores up to 32 megabytes of data. That's more than 22 floppy disks can hold.

DiskOnKey, from M-Systems, is a flash memory gadget that looks sort of like a fat, stubby pen. Pop off the cap to reveal a plug that fits into the USB port on your PC or Mac.

Because the device comes with its own processor, most newer computers don't need any special software drivers to recognize the DiskOnKey.

If your computer's operating system is Windows Me, Windows 2000 or Mac OS 9 or better, the device will show up under "My Computer" on your Windows machine; your Macintosh will mount it to the desktop just like another hard drive. You can download drivers for Windows 98 and Mac OS 8.6.

The DiskOnKey draws its power from the USB port, so no batteries or power cords are required. If your USB ports are awkward to reach, or if you don't have any free ports available, you'll need a USB hub.

Once the DiskOnKey is plugged in, you can drag and drop files to and from the device. So if you're working on a report at the office and you want to finish it up at home, just save the report to your fancy key chain, then pop it in your home PC or Mac. It's perfect for transferring MP3 music files, text documents or family photos between computers -- even between Macs and PCs.

But don't just think storage here. M-Systems spokesman Blaine Phelps said entire software applications can be stored on, and run directly from, the DiskOnKey. So with the higher-capacity models due out in coming months, you could store your Web browser and e-mail program on the key fob. When you're away from your own computer, you could plug the DiskOnKey in any other machine to access your custom bookmarks and e-mail address book. …

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