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USB _________ (fill in the blank)


USB devices  

91 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you call them?

    • (USB) Flash drive
    • (USB) Pen drive
    • USB-key
    • (USB) flash key
    • Something else (specify)

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  • 1 month later...
I call it Sarah.

I too used to call mine Sarah, but, besides the fact that it evidently did not understand it's name as it invariably failed to come to me when I called it aloud, my wife began thinking I was:

a. mad

b. having an affair with another woman

So I quitted. :whistle:


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  • 1 month later...

^ They're not entirely wrong. A dongle, although strictly speaking refers to a hardware device used for software protection, can be connected to any I/O port (serial, parallel, USB) depending on the type. USB dongles are gradually replacing the older types. There are also programs that convert regular usb flash drives into dongles.

Edited by [deXter]
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Good grief. Yea... erm... all of the above and more, depending on who I'm talking to.

At the school where I worked when these things started to become available (and we where weaning people off floppies, as drive maintenance is an arse) my device (that I used as exemplar) was on a key chain... but my keys quickly broke it. The teachers typically had Memory fobs on a lanyard around their neck. The pupils often had pens, which act as a pen in lessons and pull out the memory device in CS/IT classes. I also advised them that many MP3 players could be purchased cheaply and could double for transferring homework... which is a good ploy because it is beneficial both to kids and parents. ;)

Myself, personally, I think the kind of storage mechanism is not relevant to the user. I remember people still referring to the Hard Disk Drive as Winchester drives, "the Stack" (which, as a low level programmer I found really annoying) or "the Platter" or "Rigid Disk" (as oppose to the floppy disk) long into the early 90's.

Whether it is a "Hard Disk" or a "Hard Drive" or even (occasionally) "Fixed Disk" is still debatable, and users often get confused between a "Partition" or "Volume" and a "Disk" or "Drive". And understandably so, as very few OS differentiate the two visibly.

I think "USB Memory Stick" is what my mind internally calls them, but I'm very aware that they would be more practical on IEEE 1394 (Firewire), and are available (but less popular) with that connection. Some work on magnetic storage and are still tiny, and connect to USB, some work with battery backed memory. Memory Stick is, I grant confusing, but so is card, as there are "cards" for internal memory upgrade when the motherboard won't support more RAM. So I qualify with "USB", then I know what I'm talking about... which is always a good thing. :D

Perhaps all that is really relevant to the use, is whether it is a "Fixed", "Removable" or "Network" storage device? I like the underutilized term "volume" as this is book knowledge sensible, but since it referrers to a partition of a data device, it can lead to confusion when there may be only one volume to a device, or several... or with RAIDs several devices to a volume. But books are the same, one or many books to a story or collection or many stories collected in a single volume or tome.

"Disk" certainly only applies to devices whose physical storage medium is a spun platter like an LP record / Laser Disc / CD / DVD / BRD / HD-DVD / Hard or Floppy Disk / MO Disk etc. not to static or battery backed memory devices. And a "Drive" requires a motor to move the medium under the read head, or the head over the medium, which still applies to all the

Disks but would also cover Tape drives / Punch Cards / Punch Tape / DATs etc. (DAT Tape, or MD Disk are also annoying as the acronym already contains the post qualifying word "Tape" or "Disk")

It doesn't matter what your OS says it is, most are frequently either inaccurate or just down right WRONG! But we can blame the classic Mac "RAM Disk" for that.

The more we virtualize these things for reasons of backward computability (applying a format and number of heads, cylinders and sectors to a memory chip :blink:) the more confused the OS is going to be, about how to explain what it sees to the user in real-world terms. A classic example was the Windows 95 installer asking the user to insert the install CD in drive A: and click "OK" to continue. :blink: Is it any wonder we get confused?

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

USB stick is what I call it. But sometimes I say USB key or flash drive or just USB. Its just whatever comes to mind quickly. I don't know why calling them just "USB" is so bad. Most people understand what you are saying if you were to say "its on my USB", or "my USB is 2GB", so why say more? It is the most common USB device people seem to talk about anyway.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 months later...

In another forum saying in my own language, everyone there simply calls it USB! Yeah, USB only! And we all know what we are talking about. I'll choose to call it "pen drive" if I have to talk about it here.

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