I was in the market for an mp3 player so that I could listen to podcasts, music and lectures while walking back and forth to classes. I chose the Sandisk Sansa e250 and got it from TigerDirect.ca. That’s another story though; if you want you can read about it here. One of the nice features of the Tiger Direct website is that the home page is filled with daily specials. The one that caught my eye was the Corsair Flash Voyager.
I’ve been carrying Compact Flash (CF) cards and Secure Digital(SD) Cards in my pockets for awhile but not really finding them all that convenient. I still have to carry a card reader in case I need to plug them into a computer at school or elsewhere. Built in card readers are still not very common (May 2006) and small, portable, pocket-sized card readers just don’t exist if you want CF support. If you are looking for just SD or SD / MMC (Multi Media Card) / MS (Memory Stick) support there are a few options and as flash memory gets smaller there should be more options developing in the days to come. I have a couple of CF cards because that’s what my camera takes and one small SD card but I don’t want to carry all these pieces. It also doesn’t help that I keep forgetting the cards in my pockets and putting them through the laundry. This is hard on their lifespan I’m sure.
Rob has a funky little jump drive that I’ve always admired and I’ve always debated getting something like that but figured it was just another gadget, not something I really needed, that I should just keep on with the setup I had, as cumbersome as it was. When I saw the Corsair on Tigerdirect with a rebate offer I knew it was time to make the leap and invest.
The one I got is 512 MB but there are also 128 MB, 256 MB, 1 GB, 2 GB and 4 GB models available. The Voyager is compatible with Linux, Windows and Mac and supports USB 2.0 for file transfer which means speedy quick transfers. It’s under 2 inches long and less than an inch wide. To use it, just pop it into an empty USB port and away you go. Windows XP and x64 recognize it without needing to install any of the drivers included on the CD that comes in the package.
The name says a lot: Flash Voyager. Flash refers to the type of memory: no moving parts so you can jostle it around in your pocket, backpack, or running to catch the bus with no fear that the fragile internals are going to come apart like you would with anything hard drive based. The Voyager part is what really spoke to me though. This thing is water resistant and made for serious activity: not only does this bode well for going through the washing machine which it undoubtedly will, but when I’ve got it in my hand I picture myself riding the rapids like the Voyageurs of Canadian history, and portaging through the Canadian forests and wilderness, also known as the Coureurs du Bois (French for Runners of Wood) c.1650-1850, knowing that I will get the data to the Trading Post without any risk to the important files I’m carrying. I’ve done a bit of canoeing with rapids and portage and water resistance is important if you’re going to be roughing it. Good for rainy days too, or a humid climate. This is a rugged flash drive for the stylin’ outdoorsy geek.
The Corsair Flash Voyager has a rubbery texture to it making it easy to grip when plugging it in and unplugging it. It’s mostly black with some blue trim and yellow writing. There’s a black cap that pops off the end to expose the USB connector. There’s a very useful lanyard included in the package (blue with the words “Corsair Flash Voyager” printed on it) for wearing the drive around your neck and it has a metal clip for connecting up the two. The lanyard can help you retrieve the drive from the bottom of your bag if it’s plunged to the greater depths. I also use it to hang on the drawer handle beside my desk when I’m on my desktop. Small things tend to lose themselves in the shuffle of paper and water glasses that seem to live on my desk. When I’m on my laptop it’s usually plugged in. It’s narrow enough that I can still use the adjacent USB port, unlike my portable CF card reader.
Any files that I know I’m going to need to be able to access from more than one location I save on here so I always have them handy. Because I’m limited to 512 MB I tend to keep it tidy and not let it clutter up. When I’m done a project I save it off onto my desktop and an external hard drive I use for backup. A half-Gig o’space is a lot when you’re getting started or it’s brand new, but by keeping it clean I know that if I had to put a bigger project on it – or a pile of photos for example, I could. I’m writing this post on my laptop and the photos for it were actually saved on my desktop. Since I didn’t have time to upload them to the server before I had to go I just copied them on to the drive and brought them with me. Easy peasy. When the transfer is finished all I do in Windows is right click on the Safely Remove Hardware icon on the bottom right of the screen, and click to remove the Voyager.
So far we’ve gotten along really well, my flash voyager and me. I really think they should have considered naming it the Flash VoyagEUR though – I think the image of the rowdy, singing, canoeing Métis traders really adds to the appeal. “Huzza, huzza pour le pays sauvage!”