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Might as well jump

Lexar Media’s JumpDrive.

It’s official: The floppy disk is finally dead. Steve Jobs tried to kill it by leaving floppy drives off every new Macintosh model since the introduction of the original iMacs but it was left to Lexar Media to finally lay this venerable computer icon to rest.

The big deal with the original 3 1/2-inch floppy disk was it would fit inside a shirt pocket. Lexar’s JumpDrive fits anywhere–in a pocket, purse, or on a lanyard around your neck. JumpDrive is a small, portable flash memory-based storage device. Built from the ground up using Lexar Media’s proprietary high-speed controller technology, it’s the sort of built-in USB connectivity that’s found in all of their fast CompactFlash memory cards.

The JumpDrive is available in 64MB and 128MB capacities that have a manufacturer’s suggested list of $79.99 and $119.99, respectively. Since the 128MB model holds as much data as 90 floppy disks, the possibilities for its use are vast, allowing you to store MP3 music, PowerPoint presentations, documents, digital photographs, and more. JumpDrive has a built-in data write protection light that blinks while files are being written to or transferred from the device. It also features a recessed write-protect switch to guard against accidental data erasure.

Since it’s USB mass storage-compliant, the JumpDrive is a true plug-and-play device for most computers’ operating systems, including Microsoft Windows 2000, Me, XP, or Mac OS 8.6, 9, or X. (A driver for Windows 98 computer users can be downloaded from Lexar’s Web site.) To use it, simply plug the JumpDrive directly into the USB port found on most recent computers and use it to copy files back and forth between your Windows and Power Macintosh computers. It takes no additional steps, and the write/copy operations are much faster than a slow floppy disk, making it the ultimate sneaker-net tool. With many LCD screens, such as Apple Computer’s stylish Studio Display and Cinema Display monitors having built-in USB ports on their backs, data transfer is simple. Even some CRT monitors these days have built-in USB hubs, making data portability more convenient than using a floppy disk or drive.

For ease of use, you’ll find a pocket clip on its removable USB connection cover and a built-in loop at the other end lets you attach the JumpDrive to a key ring so you won’t–or shouldn’t–lose it. Unlike the clunky Sony Data Vault, which looks like something you would purchase at the Clinique counter at Nordstrom’s or the great-idea-bad-execution IBM Memory Key, Lexar’s JumpDrive is tiny, practical, but more important, totally cool.

The JumpDrive is small, lightweight, conveniently allowing computer users to carry essential data in their pocket, briefcase or clipped to their backpack. It’s the easiest way I know of to keep important data with you at all times and let you access files on the road at a moment’s notice with no messy cables or adapters.

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