Back in the summer of 2000 I received a strange little package on my desk. It contained what looked to be a green cigarette lighter and it wanted me to stuff it into my USB port. Little did I know but I had just been given one of the first memory keys in the UK. The kind company to make the donation was Netac, which actually invented the format the previous year. My word how times change…
Back then my 64MB model was half the size of a Zippo and cost over £140. Six years later the same company has stuffed 2GB into just 53 x 13.5 x 5.5mm, got the weight down to a mere 13g and added inbuilt security. Incredibly this doesn’t make the OnlyDisk U220 the smallest memory key on the market (KingMax has the dimensions prize with the 39 x 12 x 2mm Super Stick and Sony is the weight king with the 1.5g Micro Vault Tiny) but it is the most minuscule model around that will protect your data.
Plug the U220 into your computer and two removable drives show up: one normal, one secure. Users can allocate any amount of capacity to either drive or make the drive all secure without any public zone. This secure zone is password protected and owners can set a ‘retry limit’ therefore locking the data if the wrong password is entered too many times. After this the drive has to be wiped with the unlock utility to free the space. The security is also hardwired, to prevent hacking and works on other computers without any installation of software. A
write-protect switch also prevents accidental file deletion.
Naturally the U220 is USB2.0 compliant and boasts a transfer rate of up to 9.5Mbps. It is compatible with all Windows OSes back to 98, Mac OS9 onwards and Linux 2.4x. 512MB, 1GB and 2GB models are available for just £23.99, £29.99 and £49.99 (incl. VAT) respectively and they are cautiously making their way onto shop shelves now.
Any paranoid Lycra wearers could do a lot worse than pick one up…