Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flash Drive Mania

Flash drives are an important part of my daily life. I carry at least two with me at all times and sometimes more in my backpack. Why carry so many you might ask? Well one is an 8GB drive that serves the main function of quick storage. If I happen to read about a new distro and I'm not at home, I can still download and save the ISO to this flash drive and still have room for all the applications and tools that I use for my job almost everyday. The other one around my neck is the aforementioned Parted Magic, a real lifesaver when disaster strikes. In my pocket is Ubuntu on a 2GB stick. Really cool and it works great. In my backpack you will find a pair of 4GB Kingston flash drives. One loaded with Fedora 10 and the other with the Portable Ubuntu. This is a really cool project for those who would like the options Linux provides but must live and work in a Windows environment. The Fedora 10 flash drive was created in about 9 minutes using their USB creation tool. It is a separate download from the live ISO which is needed for the USB tool. It will also work with version 9. Check it out from their website. This covers the flash drives I carry everyday but I have a few more for various other tasks. I have a Sandisk 256MB stick that only has one job and that is to boot to DOS. Yes DOS. It even has the Windows 98 splash screen right before loading EMM386. Yes you are definitely a geek if you know what EMM386 does. This almost rounds out my flash drives but not quite. Not listed are ones with Damn Small Linux or DSL and finally one with PCLinux. Both are great examples of small compact but complete Linux distros. I really don't use these two anymore but they were jumping off points into my exploration of the Linux world. For those interested in setting up a flash drive with a Linux OS a great starting out site is PendriveLinux. This is a great website to get your feet wet running various flavors of Linux from flash drives. They even provide complete instructions for setting the drive up in Windows and Linux. So check it out and get yourself a new flash drive while the memory is still pretty cheap. You can easily aquire 2GB flash drives for less than $10 and just about any distro will be able to run from this and still allow 1GB for persistent storage. So grab a stick or two and join the fun.

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