The floppy disk may finally be dead. Though the advent of the CD-ROM allowed computer users to easily view large amounts of information in a portable package, the inability to rewrite normal CDs meant that computer users who wanted to transfer their files and information were stuck using the unreliable floppy disk, which all too often malfunctioned or attempted to reformat itself. CD-R and CD-RW drives came along to solve part of the problem, but they weren’t the answers most of us were looking for. CD-R disks are only writeable, and though their more expensive cousins the CD-RWs are rewriteable, not enough computers are equipped with the drives to handle them to make them worthwhile.
Fortunately, someone clever came along and realized that since most computers have at least one USB (universal serial bus) port, why not make some sort of storage device which attaches to computers through a USB port? The memory stick was born. Also called flash drives, memory sticks allow computer users to quickly and easily plug in the memory stick to a computer and have it recognized as another drive. Once it’s plugged in, users need only to drag and drop the files they want to transfer onto the memory stick and they can transfer the files to another computer. The flash drives aren’t easily corrupted by magnets or interference, resulting in trouble-free use.
They also don’t need any sort of power supply in order to retain information, so they can be used when needed. Sony patented the term memory stick when they came out with a new storage device for their digital cameras and digital files. The Sony memory stick is a flash drive which fits in all Sony cameras. Sony computers, including laptops, feature a memory stick drive as well, allowing Sony users to slide the memory stick directly from their cameras to their computers, effortlessly transferring their photos. In fact, almost all digital cameras utilize flash technology in one form or another, either in Secure Digital, Memory Stick, or Compact Flash formats. These methods of memory storage allow users to save their photos and files onto safe, secure, reliable, and portable hard drives which can be carried in a shirt pocket. With sizes ranging up to three or even five gigabytes, users can store hundreds of times the information they could store on standard floppy disks. Finally, the dear old floppy disk’s time may have past.