Small has always been attractive—the works of mechanical watches, dollhouse furniture, model trains, etching details on a dollar bill. We have been thrilled as computers and smart phones have shrunk. But is there a limit? Yes, unless we shrink.
I am getting more and more requests for information on so-called thumb (flash) drives— The little gizmos that stick into your USB slot and provide external (and portable) memory. On the large size, these devices are approaching one terabyte, but still have significant size. The Kingston HyperX Predator 3.0, when available, will apparently have a capacity of one terabyte, but be approximately 2.8 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 0.8 inches thick. With an attached chain, it should be both easy to hand around, and easy to keep track of.
But how about those of us with smaller data needs. I am increasingly asked for 100 megabytes of information or so on a thumb drive, and often do not receive the drive back. I therefore went off to Fry’s electronics to buy a few cheap ones, and found that four gigabyte drives (a lot of information not too long ago) were selling for under five dollars. So I bought four of them. They came in the usual nearly unopenable package, but once adequate shearing and prying took place, I could see what I had bought.
Without their tiny chain (included, but one of which broke easily), they measured under an inch long, less than ½ inch wide, and less than ¼ inch thick. Impressive amount of data in such a small package. But I got ahead of the point I wanted to make in this post, because I had unwrapped one in my office, and it took me several minutes to find it so I could measure it. The photos show one of them in my hand, one of them taken from waist height (no zoom) which I had intentionally dropped on the ground, and one disappearing under papers on my desk. My life is not consistent with keeping track of these tiny things. Cute and powerful, but not designed to the same scale I am. I predict that in a relatively short time I will have lost all three of them, and be worrying about whether there is anything on them I would not like other people to see.
Controls too small for fingers, letters too small to read, fasteners too small for common tools, and objects too small to keep track of simply do not fit humans. High quality products should be consistent with full-sized people.