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High-tech Father

From The Ground Up

Every once in a while something comes along that compels me to comment on something other than the usual real estate and economic development topics. This is one of those times, and the compelling item is a little technological marvel that is making my life more productive and convenient.

Bear with me though and I’ll work in an economic development comment. This past Father’s Day, which also happened to be my birthday, my 17-year-old son, who like most sons is technologically superior to his father, came forward while I was at my desk computer, handed me a gift bag and then watched sheepishly as I dug inside. At the bottom I found a strange-looking little aluminum vial with a glass slot on the top. It looked like some kind of miniature level, but I knew better because it is my wife who wears the carpenter’s apron in our family. I pulled it and it came apart like a tube of lipstick. Speaking of that, it was about the size of a tube of lipstick, but more rectangular. It did not weigh over two ounces.

On one side was a label that read “64M,” and on the other was “PNY technologies.” Attached to this thing was a cloth lanyard like that worn by attendees to a convention to hold their name tags around their necks. I appeared mildly puzzled and looked up to see my son now grinning.

“It’s a hard drive,” he said.

“Huh?” I replied semi-intelligently.

“You know how you say that you have a problem with all the different kinds of external drives on your computers? Well, that solves that problem.”

“Really?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Stick it in your USB port and see if it works.”

I pulled off the cap and did as instructed. Immediately the computer visually announced that new hardware had been found. I went to “my computer” and found that I now had an “A” drive, a “C” hard disk drive, a “D” removable disk drive and an “E external drive.” It just appeared. There was no reconfiguring, or setting it up whatsoever.

“You just stick that in a USB port and you can copy onto it and then pull that out and stick in another computer’s USB port and all your stuff will be there.”

I paused and imagined the possibilities. My life had the possibility of becoming less complicated.

Like many people, I have more than one computer and I also transfer data from one of my computers to someone else’s computer. For example, sometimes I will make a copy of something onto a floppy disk or a compact disk and give it to someone else for their use or information only to learn that the other person did not have a drive on their computer that matched what I had given them. This solves all that different disk drives issues.

On the next day, I immediately put this new techno gimmick to the test. I copied my PowerPoint presentation onto the little critter, put the thing in my shirt pocket and headed off to a luncheon presentation. There I popped the top on this thing and stuck in the USB port of a laptop computer already set up where I was making the presentation. The external drive kicked in, I opened the file and made my presentation. Afterwards, I pulled it out and headed to an evening presentation where I did the same thing.

That night I went to a hotel, wrote this column, copied it onto the external drive, and then the next morning took this little metal capsule to an office where I stuck it into someone’s computer and e-mailed this column to my editor at the Mississippi Business Journal. This little mobile hard drive is already changing my life for the better.

If I sound like a kid with a new toy, that is how I feel. It also looks like I have run out of space for that economic development comment, but I suspect that you can see the application for economic developers and businesspeople.

Sure, this is just the next evolution, but it is a vast improvement for this writer. Because it will hold so much memory, I can now download much more stuff without being limited to memory storage size of a floppy or a CD. If you give a lot of PowerPoint presentations you will really like this innovation.

I called my son a while ago and told him how much I had been using his gift and what an innovation it was. He thanked me, and said, “Don’t get too used to it, Dad. There will be something even better coming out soon. Wait until you see what is coming out next.”

Phil Hardwick’s column on Mississippi Business appears regularly in the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is phil@philhardwick.com.

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