Erstwhile Muse

Apr 8, 2007

Talismans of Geekery

I partially blame Chris for this…

I don't recall precisely how the topic was broached on Friday night while we were monopolizing the side room of Kafé Kerouac during Molly's show opening—I have a feeling it had to do with my typographic geekery during last quarter in relation to Oral Interpretation—but somehow I got onto the topic of the Open Source desktop publishing software Scribus. Chris seemed to have a particular interest in it, and wanted me to send him the link. I got it into my head that instead of that singular bit of knowledge sharing, I should just write a bit about the sort of stuff that I keep on my person and use on a daily basis via my thumb drive, as Scribus is one of those very programs.

My plan had originally been rather simple; plug my normal thumb drive in to reference the programs I use from there, and look up the appropriate links to share with those scant few readers who pass by here. Remember that bit they say about the best laid plans of men and all that? That all arose before the giant time sink we know and love as the Internet came into existence. As opposed to the Imp of the Perverse, I was instead seized by my old pal the Imp of the Infinite Hyperlink, the one who whispers little noodlings into your ears to check out just one more link, just one more search, one last click. Thus it was that several hours after I had begun my research on Saturday morning I found myself not with a list of handy hyperlinks, but a stack of pernicious questions and half formed ideas.

The problem largely arose from two loosely connected facts:

  1. My primary thumb drive, the one containing all of these terribly useful programs and widgets is a wonderfully economic 1 GB model from Microcenter. Of that capacity, I currently use about 70-75% of it simply for applications, leaving me with around 300 megs or so for document storage. So far it has not been a problem containing my school work in such space, but it does limit me somewhat in other respects (or at least contains within it the possibility for limitation). I could upgrade to Microcenter's 2 GB version, but to be perfectly honest, I lack the desire to spend the cash and then load everything up onto a new drive.
  2. Resting amongst the scattered technological detritus and Lego pieces that comprise the landscape of my desk was another 1 gig thumb drive missing a cap to cover the usb interface plug, and so somewhat unsuitable for the usual environs of lint filled pockets in which they spend most of their traveling time.

The ideal solution to this perceived lack of storage space would be to have both drives available at any given time. Technologically this shouldn't pose much of a problem from an interface standpoint, as most of the computers that I would be using them on(namely school lab and library computers—i.e. not my own) have two available ports as a default. But I'd really rather not have two seperate sticks of plastic hanging off of my keys, especially with one begging to act as a rececptacle for cotton fibers, sloughed skin and other components involved in the daily accretion of modern day mung. If only there were a way to package them into a compact unit that could be combined for transport yet seperated when needed, some sort of readily accesible form of industrial plastic that could be made into a new casing for both drives that would protect the circuitry and enhance functionality. Hmmm, where might I be able to find such a thing on short notice?

From the Department of Sharp Stabbing Foot Pain as Inspiration

The idea is not new, others have done it before me, some larger, some smaller, but as in all things it is the details of the execution that make the difference, and a few of mine are rather snazzy if I do say so myself (which I just did). Behold the Kingboy Deluxe Edition Stackable Brickdrives!

Two USB thumb drives in Lego casings.Two Stacked Lego thumb drives.

The specific details I am rather proud of are the key lanyard attachment formed by using a 3×2 modified plate with hole, the Trans-Clear 1×2 brick at the rear of each drive so that the read/write blinkenlights can be seen (as well as extending the main case for ease of circuit board insertion), and the fact that since the two drives are intended to travel snapped together in that rather handy way that Lego bricks are designed to do, there is no need for additional plates or other methods of securing the end caps that have been used in other such projects. The bonus is that it turned out rather stylish looking with the color coded end caps, matched to each drives LED color, which also rather conveniently snap to the top of the drive while in use to prevent any loss.

Someday soon I may actually get around to finishing the list of software I use on the green-capped apps drive; perhaps by that point I may have completed my search for the perfect portable text editor with a tag list feature similar to UltraEdit (which is what I write most of these entries with while at home). Until then, the search continues, but at least now I can worry less about running out of space….

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 Blogger Ruth said...

*tilts head to side and raises eyebrow*


Perhaps calling all of your potential readers primates with a propensity for keyboard bashing is behind the aforementioned lack of commenting?

…just maybe.


Apr 9, 2007, 10:15:00 PM
 Blogger Kingboy said...


Apr 9, 2007, 11:17:00 PM
 Blogger H.P. Hovercraft said...

Oddly enough, I happened to read this article while on break from my WAN Technology class last night. Everyone gathered round, and general consensus is (a) they're cool as hell, and (b) if I started carrying a couple around the halls of ITT you could probably make a few bucks selling the thing.

Apr 10, 2007, 10:28:00 AM

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