January 27th, 2012 16:32 EST
History of USB Flash Drives
History will find that USB flash drives are a more important invention than the Gutenberg printing press.
When I started to design, sell and understand USB flash drives 6 years ago, I, like most people thought it was a great business tool. It was ideal for backing up my files and many other important documents including holding my music and image files.
I also thought if each person had a single 1-4 GB flash drive for their important files that would be more than enough to suffice. But 5 years later and after personally selling well over 1 million flash drives I am still selling more and more drives all of the time. Why?
Why are people hoarding their data?
I think what has happened is that people are using many multiple flash drives each year and not erasing the data but keeping it. In essence they are hoarding their data, all of it, not just the "important bits". What is the reason for this behavior?
I believe that In this day and age where we have inexpensive (i.e. free) digital pictures of our lives and our surroundings all taken with ready-at-hand cell phones, Smartphone`s, inexpensive digital cameras, web cams, I-pads and who knows what else, we are having that most human of all emotions come into play. We are desirous of leaving a legacy of our lives.
Why are we desirous of leaving a legacy of our lives?
Think of history. 150 or so years ago the first workable cameras came into our world. For the first time we were able to take an image and preserve it for people who were not there to witness the event to see it, and to also create a legacy for people of the future to see. For the first time in history the people in the future could see what we wore, how we looked, details that were previously uncapturable. 150 years ago, the problem with pictures is they were expensive, hard to keep (many pictures were kept on glass plates until the first widely available film in the late 19th). The pictures couldn`t be tagged and because there was often only the original image, they were easily lost.
Think of it this way. The American Civil War which lasted nearly 5 years has just slightly more than 10,000 photographic images of various qualities still in existence. Aside from those Civil War pictures on the web most are in museums or private collections.
Kate and Williams Royal Wedding produced nearly 15 million digital images.
Today, a short time event (say 2 weeks in length) like the recent Kate and William Royal Wedding produced an estimated 15 Million digital images! These 15 million images are saved on 100`s of thousands of personally owned flash drives, SD cards and internal memory digital devices.
As images (and all digital files including music, video and all digitized files) will not disappear off of flash drives or other memory devices unless intentionally deleted, it is fair to assume that in another 100, 200 or more years when historians and sociologist look back in time to the early 21st century (now!) to see what we were like, how we lived and more, they will find a humungous almost unimaginable collection of images, music, voice, video and data files. Most of this "raw data" will be found on untold millions of flash drives hidden away in drawers and closets, sold at estate sales and found in old buildings set for demolition etc.
Data has DNA.
The CIA and NSA have both developed software programs designed to quickly search and catalog all forms of digital information into an easily searchable database. Even unmarked and untagged digital files leave a discernible DNA that can be searched.
So, why are people "Data Hoarders"?
I believe that people have in their "DNA" a need to be remembered and to have their experiences understood by their children, grandchildren and others in the future.
I believe this "Data Hoarding" is seemingly as important to our well-being as our need for water, food and sleep. It is only now emerging as it was a desire we could not have afforded in earlier times. We too have a "Data DNA Desire" to have our images, experiences, sounds and more preserved for the future to understand who and why we are who we are.
I believe, that this is why we all will continue to buy (and sell) more and more flash drives and why the lowly USB flash drive is more important than the printing press. Specialists in USB Memory and Custom Flash Drives
By John Graham
Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons