Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hands In My Pocket

Jim Guthrie wrote a very catchy ditty for Capital One's marketing campaign for Canadian TV. You can listen to an extended version on YouTube that has nothing whatsoever to do with the marketing campaign. TrendHunter online magazine also has a decent article about the genesis and rationale for the ad campaign. Whatever the merits of the campaign or the music, the jingle embeds itself like a virus in your subconscious.

But what got me thinking about the jingle this week - apart from watching too much TV of course - was receipt in the mail of the prize I won from Podtech for a blog writing contest on why I needed more computer storage. The prize was a Seagate 8 GB pocket drive.

What a slick, well-designed, and useful device! 8 GB in my pocket!

Once I told a few friends at work about the prize, it was a no-brainer that I'd have to make sure there weren't any hands creeping into my pockets to steal this little baby. Perhaps I should have kept it a secret. It looks good and it works even better.

In my part-time custom application development business, I often have to transfer large files back and forth, files too large for email and sometimes too large even for FTP site transfers. Now with the Seagate pocket drive, those files can be safely copied in a matter of moments. True, I have to visit my customer to do this, but that is something I need to do anyway in order to discuss enhancements and upgrades. Where physical copying of files is a likelihood or necessity, the pocket drive is the best solution I've seen yet. No power cords, no clunky external drives requiring special software to install on the client computers, just a USB hide-away connector.

File transfer and backup is really only the start to this device's usefulness. What really sold me was the ability to install applications on the pocket drive while connected to a thin-client notebook (the Neoware m100). I did a minimal install of Microsoft Office 2003 and was very pleased to see that the performance was very good. The Neoware m100 is designed for mobile thin-client computing, which means that unless there is a wired or wireless network readily available, the device cannot be used for always-ready applications. But with the pocket drive, the mobile thin-client can be used in a similar fashion to an everyday notebook computer, without the attendant problems of malware protection, data theft, etc. True, you have to protect the pocket drive, but the device comes with software which does exactly that.

I suppose in another few years I'll look back and think "how quaint" just as I do now nostalgically recalling my very first 5MB removable hard drive I had for the original IBM PC in 1985. Ah, good time...good times! But for now, it's cool, very cool!

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