Sometimes the simplest high-tech tools are the most useful for writers. I’ve written previously about my nifty little AlphaSmart “Neo,” the keyboard that really can go just about anywhere. I hope you’ve had a chance to get one for yourself, or you’ve perhaps found something similar.
Today I’ve been sitting here realizing I’ve never mentioned another extremely useful high-tech gadget which, probably, most of you have and use — but why take a chance? Why not tell you about it, just in case you’ve missed it? Would I be serving you well if I never mentioned it? Of course I wouldn’t. I’m compelled, then, to suggest you go straight to your local “Big Box” department store or electronics store, or go straight to your favorite online gadget site and get:
A simple usb flash drive, or “pen drive” or “thumb drive” as they’re also called. Okay, if you’ve had a computer long and use it for writing much at all, you probably already have a usb flash drive. They are simple, easy to carry with you, and extremely useful for backing up files and transporting files from one computer to another.
Best of all, most public access computers that I know of, i.e., libraries, allow you to plug your flash drive into their computer. Which means you can carry your latest novel in your pocket or purse and work at it wherever you get access to a computer.
And here’s a little tip for flash drive use that I picked up on an email list I once belonged to: Buy yourself a little flexible extension tip (I got mine at RadioShack) for two or three bucks and put it on the end of your flash drive. From my experience, the most “breakable” part of a thumb drive or flash drive is the tip that fits into your usb port. If you use the extension connector, you will never accidentally damage the tip of the drive itself pushing it in or pulling it out of your usb port.
If you don’t have a usb flash drive yet, you can usually find them in a wide variety of data capacities — on the low end they hold about 256 megs of data, on the high end you can find them with 4-6-8 or even 9 GIGS capacity. In fact, the newest, high-capacity thumb drives almost would work as a portable hard drive.
Look around. You can find some great deals on usb flash drives. The newer ones are quite reliable and make an extremely useful backup and mobile drive for writers.
Are you a flash drive user? What are some tips and useful ideas you might have about them? Tell us, please.
[tags]usb flash drives, useful writing tools, backup your writing, transport your writing files, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]