Access Your Desktop With Smart USB
Oct. 9 - KGO (KGO) -- When you leave the house in the morning, what do you take? Your wallet, keys, cell phone... what about your laptop? Many Bay Area consumers find their laptops essential for business, especially while traveling. Now there's a way to access your computer's desktop even if you don't have your laptop with you.
Would you believe that entire computer programs can fit on a device that fits in the palm of your hand? Not just documents or files, but actual programs. It's the latest kind of USB flash drive, which basically lets you store programs, so you can run them on other computers.
Saleswoman Nancy Glover is always on the go, and hates to lug her laptop around. "I'm constantly needing to take this laptop with me, and it's a little bit cumbersome," says Glover. The solution: a little gadget known as a Universal Serial Bus.
It's one of several new USB smart drives equipped with a cutting edge technology called U3.
CNET's Tom Merritt says it's for people on the move. "You can store the programs you use most often, and you can store your settings on them, so it's like having your whole PC right there," Merritt explains.
Merritt says older USB drives made it difficult to store anything other than documents or data files. But with U3, users can easily store software -- like your web browser, email program, instant messenger, personal preferences and games.
"If I can have everything that I need on this small device, then I can use literally anyone's computer to access what I need," says Glover.
Once you've installed all the programs you want, just plug in the USB, click on the icon that pops up and you'll see all your programs. "It automatically will synch with whatever computer you've started it on and you can kind of just go from there."
Merritt says the only real concern is if you lose the device -- along with your private information. "If you're storing your settings on here like your email or passwords, if you lose this device, it's possible anyone else could get a hold of that information," he warns.
Nancy says her drive is password protected, and at this point, she can't imagine life without it. "To not have to carry your laptop and to consolidate everything into one really small, lightweight device is really key," she says.
Most U3s do come with password protection or other security, and some also have pre-loaded programs.
Prices range from about $15 to more than $100, depending on storage space.
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