I don’t really have a need or desire for a portable mp3 player. I’m quite happy with my Sharp Minidisc Recorder which I’ve had for over a year now. I’m not intending to go on a rant about the differences between the two devices other than to say that a Minidisc recorder is a portable digital recording studio, whereas an mp3 player, well, just isn’t.
But an mp3 player can be one thing that a Minidisc recorder can never be, thanks to Sony’s unwillingness to open the MD format: a portable file system that holds way more than a floppy disk.
I guess I’ve been in the dark for a while as far as computer hardware and gadgets go. But over the last year I’ve finally noticed and figured out what my colleagues were wearing around their necks. At first I thought these small devices they plugged into their computer’s USB port were wireless network cards. But it turns out they are what are called USB Key drives—tiny, memory-based “hard drives” the size of a key fob or a lipstick stick. What a cool idea. There’s been a need for portable, convenient digital storage that can replace the floppy (and hold more) for quite some time now. I think the USB key drive might be just that. You can even boot your computer off of the filesystem on IBM’s version of the USB key, I’ve heard.
So, when I was trying to find out what these devices were (once I new the function, I still didn’t know the name), I found out rather quickly on the Internet. But I found something better than just a plain old USB key drive in this article:
Creative Labs MuVo: The Singing Diskette.
In the article, you will learn that the people at Creative Labs have built an mp3 player which doubles as a USB key drive. Now that’s a cool idea! So you can store music and data, up to 64 MB or 128 MB. Not bad.