(WHTM) — April 5 is National Flash Drive Day. It commemorates the day in the year 2000 when the United States issued a patent for the device, opening the door to putting them on the market.
Flash drives, otherwise known as jump drives, keychain drives, pen drives, memory sticks, data sticks, USB drives, and of course thumb drives, resulted from the wedding of two technologies: flash memory, a method of storing data on a chip with no moving parts, and the universal service bus, or USB.
The first flash drives to be sold in the United States in the year 2000 had a whopping eight megabytes of memory. That doesn’t seem like much today, but back then it was almost six times the space of the go-to method of portable storage, the three and a half-inch, one point four megabyte floppy disk. It didn’t take long for the flash drive to surpass the CD, and later the DVD. Most flash drives now are measured by gigabytes; two terabyte drives are now on sale, and three terabytes are on the horizon.
So how cheap is flash memory now? We checked out a certain well-known online shopping site and found thirty-two-gigabyte thumb drives selling in packs of ten for around thirty dollars. That works out to three dollars per drive, or a smidge over nine cents per gigabyte.
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The drives have become so cheap they are sometimes given away in promotions or press packets. Novelty drives fill pages and pages on the internet. You can find thumb drives in all shapes and sizes including, of course, thumbs. No matter your interests in life, you can find a thumb drive to match your personality.
There are those who predict the flash drive will be rendered obsolete by cloud storage. In the future, they say, information will be uploaded, saved, and downloaded entirely on the internet. But internet connections are not always at their best. Cloud providers have been known to change or discontinue services. People worry about how secure their information will be while floating in the cloud. And some just prefer having their data near at hand. And so on this day, let us celebrate our ability to carry libraries of information in our pockets or purses.