Memories: 128 Megabytes, $125 Dollars, Circa 2002

There is something melancholy about old technology.

A few days ago, while cleaning my office, I came across a small, black, USB-powered, flash drive. It wasn’t just any drive, but the first drive—the first flash drive that I ever purchased. It brought back memories of my first teaching experiences, and its memory size amazed me.

Back in the fall of 2002, I used a bit of one of my first real paychecks to buy the drive at CompUSA. It was a 120MB drive on sale for only $125. Incredibly, I could store multiple files, outrageous amounts of data on a small little stick. I could store presentations for class, photos, and PDFs on it and carry it around. For a few years I did exactly that, carrying my lectures into the classroom on the little stick—plugging it in to my laptop, and feeling like I had arrived in the future.

I even enjoyed the way the end of the stick flashed red when it was accessing data. Like most technologies it seemed so futuristic at the time, now its size and finish reminds me of a prop from an old scifi movie—The Black Hole.

The drive was manufactured in Korea by Universal Smart Drive. Their website is now defunct, like the place where I bought it.

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