Under $30 Stocking Stuffer for Linux, Mac, and Windows -- The Lexar USB JumpDrive
Mike Angelo -- 14 December 2004 (C)
The Lexar JumpDrive is a clever device that plugs into a computer's USB port. Please see Figure 1, in the right-hand sidebar.
Once plugged into your PC, the Lexar JumpDrive makes itself look like a standard, (USB) removable hard drive to your computer's operating system. Please see Figure 2, below.
Capacity-wise, the 64-MB JumpDrive holds about as much data as 45 floppy disks -- 90 for the 128-MB JumpDrive. Yet the JumpDrives are only about the size of an egg-shaped silver dollar -- triple thick. Actual dimensions are about 2.5" by 1" x 0.4".
JumpDrive -- a PC in a Pocket
You easily can put a JumpDrive in a shirt pocket or purse. Or, you can put a JumpDrive on your key chain. (Please see Figure 3, in the right-hand sidebar.)
JumpDrives are great for adding some extra hard-drive space to your USB-equipped PC. They also are great for moving data from one computer to another. And they just are so convenient to use.
If you have some favorite MP3s, just copy them to a JumpDrive. Then whether at home, school, work, or wherever if you want to listen to your favorite songs, simply plug your JumpDrive into the closest computer's USB port and play your songs on that computer. When you leave, simply pull your musical JumpDrive out of the PC, put it in your pocket or purse, and away you go -- music and all.
You can use a JumpDrive to carry your data files around with you too. Simply keep all your word-processor, spreadsheet, personal information (PIM), bookmark, and other such files on a JumpDrive rather than a system, fixed, hard drive.
Then again, whether at home, school, work, or wherever simply plug your data JumpDrive into the closest computer's USB port. Voila, you are all set to get to work writing reports, crunching numbers, doing correspondence, and so forth -- wherever you have access to a USB-equipped computer. When you are done, simply slip the JumpDrive back in your pocket, purse, or briefcase and off you go. That makes the JumpDrive an office in a pocket.
The 128-MB JumpDrive capacity is sufficient to put a mix of office-work files, music files, and even some photo files on it. In effect, the JumpDrive amounts to a PC in a pocket. That's because you can carry all your most used, if not all your, files around with you on a pocket-sized JumpDrive.
If you are concerned about securing your files and data, a JumpDrive could be just what you need. Simply keep all your files and data on a JumpDrive rather than a system hard drive.
When you are done working with your files and data, simply pull the JumpDrive out of your computer. If someone hacks your PC while the JumpDrive is in your pocket, purse, locked desk drawer, or safe, there is none of your data on the computer for the hacker to get or destroy.
Lexar JumpDrives -- Compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows
Officially, Lexar lists the 64-MB and 128-MB JumpDrives (models PD064-231 and PD128-231) for use with the Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP, Mac OS X, and Mac OS 8.6 or higher operating systems (OSs). However, in our tests the PD064-231 runs with the GNU-Linux OS too.
However, please keep in mind that we have not tested the Lexar JumpDrive on other versions of Mandrake Linux nor on other Linux distributions. Lexar does not list the JumpDrive as compatible with Linux. Thus there is no guarantee that the JumpDrive will work on any Linux-based systems.
If you want to use the JumpDrive with a Windows 98SE system, you will have to install drivers for the JumpDrive. The Windows 98SE drivers for the JumpDrives are available for downloading from Lexar's Web site at no charge. We did test the 64-MB JumpDrive on a Windows 98SE box too.
We did not test the 128-MB PD128-231. However, the only difference between the 64-MB PD064-231 and the 128-MB PD128-231 of which we are aware is the storage capacities of the devices.
The reason the JumpDrive works on all three major OSs, Linux, Mac, and Windows, is interesting. Lexar has configured its JumpDrives to identify themselves to the operating systems as USB removable hard drives. That makes JumpDrives pretty much OS independent. It also means that you can use a JumpDrive to transfer files across platforms -- Mac to Windows, Windows to Linux, and so forth.
JumpDrives Are Great Gifts
A JumpDrive makes a great gift anytime. At this time of the year, simple, inexpensive, JumpDrives make great stocking stuffers. And the prices are right. Both the Lexar USB JumpDrive 64-MB PD064-231 and the Lexar USB JumpDrive 128-MB PD128-231 sell for under $30. The 128-MB JumpDrive appears to be the better of the two in the bang-for-the-buck department.
Christmas Season Holidays & Computer Suggestions 2002: