You’re on a business trip, it’s late and you have some important documents you’ve been working on and need to transfer to flash drive, but you don’t have one. You do however have your iPod. And although it might not be the most professional device to take out and load your documents on during a business meeting, it will serve the purpose and maybe even spark a positive conversation about your creativity.
Your iPod isn’t the only gadget that can act as a mobile storage device. Just about any portable consumer electronic device with data storage capability can be hacked or used in an unconventional manner. Some devices are difficult to use for unintended data storage while others are very simple. A real estate agent, for example, could use a digital camera that has a memory card. You could slip the card into a memory card reader and begin storing other data such as Word documents by dragging and dropping.
Other consumer electronics such as smartphones, PDAs, GPS devices, and even entertainment devices such as the PlayStation Portable can be great places to store data in a pinch. And since it’s likely that you already own at least one of these gadgets, you could save yourself some money by not having to purchase another storage device. It is also convenient when you’re trying to pack light for a quick trip.
When choosing which electronics device to use for data storage, there are a few things to consider. All portable storage isn’t the same. iPods, for example, offer two different storage solutions. The iPod Classic model with 100GB of storage uses an internal hard drive. Other iPod models with small data capacity such as the iPod Shuffle and Nano use a USB flash drive.
Hard drives are great because of the large file capacity. But hard drives use a lot of battery power. USB flash-based players use very little power. Flash drives are also very resilient and can take the normal wear and tear of a busy day. But as with hard drives, flash drives do wear out. They can become slow and ultimately fail after so many erase and write cycles. Users will begin to notice the degradation in performance at around 500,000 cycles or so.
In addition to flash-based and hard drive devices, many electronics, such as digital cameras, use memory cards. Memory cards are great because they’re small, durable, offer good capacity, and can be transferred from device to device, such as from your digital camera to your smartphone. If you find you’re running out of memory, you can purchase a new card with greater capacity without having to replace the electronic device.
Whichever gadget you choose to use as a mobile storage device, it’s important to consider what type of data you are storing and where you are storing it. Are the files large or small? Will you need cords or other special equipment to transfer information, or is the storage solution interoperable? It’s also important to think about security. When you use your camera and iPod for their intended purposes, don’t forget that you have important information on them that could fall into the wrong hands if they are lost or stolen. You may decide to use a device that offers some sort of locking feature or password protection.