of computers and memory…

Sandisk Ultra USB Flash Drive

SanDisk Ultra flash drive

For those of us who have been using computers for a long time, it has always an issue: the cost of memory. I started using computers in late 1983 when I bought an Apple IIe. It had a whopping 64k of memory that was upgradeable, but not cheaply, to a whole 1 MB. Whoa, that, along with the external floppy disk hard drive and an 80 column (of text) card made it pretty useful for writing and a few text-based games.

Later, maybe it was on a 286 PC, I had 40MB of memory and there was talk that was probably all anyone would ever need. That was true for the software available at the time, but these days try to do anything with that. It was a long held belief among many computer buffs that the only really limiting factors in computers were disk speed and available memory. Of course, software development was critical as well.

A few days ago I went over to Costco and picked up a three pack of flash drives. (see picture). Each one has 16 Gigabytes of memory, with 15 MB per second transfer speed. That’s plenty of speed for a flash drive, but it’s the amount of memory that blows me away. The three of them cost me $40 bucks. That’s an amazing 83 cents per GB! Memory has never been so cheap. Plus these are handy little gadgets to have around for sharing and transferring files.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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9 Responses to of computers and memory…

  1. I use them to save game files with the Xbox gets too full. It is crazy how in just a few years the costs for this has gone down so significantly.

  2. I never leave home without my pen-drive. It has a more reliable memory than my own. Here, in India, an 8 GB pen-drive costs around Rs.500 ($10). I liked the one you bought. They come in all kinds of shapes now.

  3. Richard says:

    I haven’t used these much, I’ve had a 200MB one sitting around here for a long time, and used it once. But I have need to transport files between two computers, one of which isn’t on “the cloud” so this is what I choose to do it.

  4. I use mind for work, don’t know how I managed before them. I can carry all kinds of “might need this someday” software executables on a single thumb drive. Not to mention the ease of getting those files onto other machines.

  5. Be careful with those flash drives, though. They are apparently easily corrupted. I was using one to store oodles of art files on. But one day, I went to retrieve those files … and they had disappeared. My tech guru said there was no way to get them back. That was the point when I stopped relying on just one backup for ANYTHING.

  6. Evan Lewis says:

    True, I’ve had corruption trouble. On the Cheap front, it pays to watch the sales at Fred Meyer. Best deal yet was a 32GB flash for $16.

  7. I’ve used flash drives for years. LIke you, I’m impressed that they hold so much data at such a reasonable price. But, J. Kingston Pierce is right. Backups are essential.

  8. cgramlich says:

    I’ve got a little case I put my memory in. I can carry it back and forth with me just about everywhere. Good to have it with me.

  9. Richard says:

    J. Kingston Pierce, that’s good advice. I have a iMac and I back everything up on a partitioned external hard drive, using Apple’s Time Machine. I rotate the external for a second one every three months, then put total contents of both on a third drive (yes, duplicated) every year. I once lost an entire computer hard drive (I had a PC running Windows at the time), every file. The operating system, the utilities and software files, all my Word documents, pictures, everything. I had a backup drive, but astoundingly IT went down the same week. I had to start completely over. THAT will never happen to me again!

    I just use the flash drives for temp saves & transporting files.

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