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Author Topic: Netbooks, Portable Applications, and USB/SDHC Flash Drives.  (Read 3172 times)

tinjaw

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Netbooks, Portable Applications, and USB/SDHC Flash Drives.
« on: January 10, 2010, 12:56:09 PM »
I am mulling over how I want to handle my new setup.

So far I am thinking that I might try:

1) My internal HDD is for the operating system (currently going with Windows 7 Starter that came with it) and permanent system-level software like backup programs like my SpiderOak.com client, Jungle Disk, etc.

2) External USB thumbdrive for my portable applications. This way I can use them on any computer, even though they will primarily be used on my netbook.

3) (Internal) SDHC Flash for my data files synched real-time to online storage.

Has anybody tried this configuration? Can you think of any pros/cons for this configuration? I am very interested to hear your comments on this.

slowmaker

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Re: Netbooks, Portable Applications, and USB/SDHC Flash Drives.
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2010, 02:24:10 PM »
I can tell you a pro for #1 and #2, with a slight modification; I moved essentially my whole pc 'life' to my flash drive a while ago and I've been extremely pleased with it. The only things on the main hdd are the things I absolutely can't find any other way to install.

The slight modification is the fact that I cheated: I created a logical drive on my hdd that I keep synced with my flash drive, so I get the snappier response of my hdd when working at home (and I don't wear out the poor flash drive so quickly; I normally really hammer those things into the ground). When I work on stuff elsewhere (often) I just make sure the flash drive is synced and I'm good to go.

#3 sounds great, but I can't speak from experience there. Do those sdhc cards have any access speed issues?
WinXP Home SP3 - PSPad 4.5.4

tinjaw

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Re: Netbooks, Portable Applications, and USB/SDHC Flash Drives.
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2010, 04:19:38 PM »
Do those sdhc cards have any access speed issues?

Yes, very slow. Only about 6 MByte/s. The idea is that it would be a local cache faster than downloading from an online location and that it would be sync'ed in the background. But, now that you mention it, I could just as well use a second USB drive instead of the SD card.

And my reason for using a removable drive for the documents was so that I too could easily use them on other computers. But the more I think about it, maybe I should just download copies from online storage as needed. I would then delete them when finished.

The main reason for all of this is that I want to avoid the scenario of having my documents lost/stolen with the netbook as well as the ability to easily ship it off for repair if need be.

4wd

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Re: Netbooks, Portable Applications, and USB/SDHC Flash Drives.
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2010, 05:37:01 PM »
The main reason for all of this is that I want to avoid the scenario of having my documents lost/stolen with the netbook as well as the ability to easily ship it off for repair if need be.

If you concerned about them being on your netbook when it goes missing, the same should apply for a flash drive or SDHC card, (which are even easier to misplace).

Keep the online storage option but change the removable to something like the IronKey Flash drive.   Or possibly Truecrypt the entire flash drive for something a fair bit cheaper.

tinjaw

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Re: Netbooks, Portable Applications, and USB/SDHC Flash Drives.
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2010, 05:40:53 PM »
Or possibly Truecrypt the entire flash drive for something a fair bit cheaper.

Yes, thanks for the reminder. I intend to use Truecrypt on the data flashdrive. (Something I thought of after my original post.)

Ehtyar

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Re: Netbooks, Portable Applications, and USB/SDHC Flash Drives.
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 06:58:43 PM »
I also have virtually everything on a portable, but it's a truecrypted laptop hdd in an external case as opposed to a usb flash drive (just recently upgraded from 500gb to 1tb 'coz I ran out of space) and I love it. I feel the slowness is an acceptable con for having my whole computer-life on a single portable storage device.

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f0dder

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Re: Netbooks, Portable Applications, and USB/SDHC Flash Drives.
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 08:30:34 PM »
I couldn't live with the slowness of flash cards or USB flash devices for neither data nor programs - even the fastest drives I've seen reach nowhere near harddrive speeds. And then there's the issue of the flash memory erase cycle count... I have absolutely no clue how many erase cycles today's "consumer grade" flash memory can handle, nor how fast you reach that with regular use... but I don't want to find out, either (theoretically the cells should just go read-only, rather than losing content, but does anybody have experience with this?).

And then there's the issue of USB not necessarily being 100% stable. It's been quite a while since I've had any major issues with it, but I've had flukes here and there... and a girl_friend of mine got some pretty weird filesystem corruption happening. Yes, turning off disk caching for the drives help, but that makes them unbearably slow :)

Personally, I'd keep programs and data files on the HDD - possibly under TrueCrypt protection, whether container-, partition- or full-system style (for my own laptop, I have a container file with sensitive files, most other stuff on the laptop isn't super critical; I've considered doing full-system encryption anyway, though). You could couple that with some sync to either SDHC or USB-flash so you can use your portable setup and keep it, well, synced. Good idea doing that in addition to the online stuff, it's faster and you never know when their servers go crashing or you lose connectivity.
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