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A Tale of Loss and Change

Around six years ago, C. and I were living in Toronto. On one of that year's gift-giving events, he very generously gave me a capacious USB stick, all of 2 Gig, a relative extravagance at the time for the price of c. C$80. It was silver, capped in plastic, and I kept it attached to its lanyard to help ensure I didn't lose it. It came with two spare caps.

I used it over the years, for work as a student, as a conference-presenter, as a teacher. I used it on both sides of the ocean, in computer labs, and to share hexadecimal passwords with countless houseguests. I used it weekly in the spring for teaching presentations, to Kent and back again. When I arrived at the DWJ conference in Bristol in July, and labellementeuse asked if she could borrow a USB stick before we'd even gotten as far as introductions (she was about to present and a little panicked!), that was the USB stick she borrowed.

Last week, first week of classes, and I lost it. I don't know precisely where or how, but it's gone. I realized on the train back home last week, and ransacked my bags. I called security, whose collection of memory sticks was mostly one Gig sticks. This week, back on campus, I checked all the classrooms I'd been in. I asked the secretaries.

I'm fairly certain I didn't lose anything critical in terms of confidentiality or security, but what I did lose was an object of sentimentality. It was my first, my only USB stick. I still have the two spare caps for it.

On Wednesday, I went to the local W.H. Smith to buy a new one, the most obvious local place. A main street retail shop, charging full price for the product. I didn't see any on display, but asking produced more results. "What size do you want?", he asked. One or two Gig, I replied. He shook his head. "The smallest we have is Four."

UK£9.99, full High Street price. Four Gig. Times have changed. Purple. My second USB stick.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
Wow -- I feel like I'm a total USB stick whore. I've got two on me right now. Oh... crap... I don't. I lost the 16Gb one. Damn. Seriously, I thought it was in my wallet (just checked to see what was on it because I was going to tell you the terribly interesting contents -- the other one has all my diving lectures and a talk I gave in San Francisco).

I can't even remember how many I've had.

I found one at a tube station once... looked through the contents to try to return it but found nothing identifying.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 11:19 am (UTC)
I hate losing things like this since I'll remember them for years to come. (My mind is filled with the histories of objects lost over the years. Fortunately, it has other things in it too.) So I try hard not to lose them in the first place. It saves being sentimental over the trivial lost.

All the presentations on the stick have my email address on them, so it would be entirely possible to track me down from it.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 11:20 am (UTC)
I think I must be on my tenth or twentieth... ridiculous really.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
I only have one, and it is the one I got free with the laptop I ordered when I first came to the US. It has a glorious 512MB of memory, and has never failed me yet.

I think all this huge Gig numbers are their for scientists, myself.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
I've gone through a tonne but I currently have two conveniently on lanyards that have my Necessaries (Firefox portable and the essays I'm working on) on them.

I feel extra-specially more rude and imposing for having borrowed something of sentimental value! (Also, I can't believe you trusted it to a random nutcase - I am sure I looked wild-eyed and bushy.) Thanks again!
Oct. 2nd, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
No worries! At the time, I certainly wasn't thinking of it as a historical object with sentimental associations. I only realized it was once I'd lost it. Anyways - you really, really, really needed a USB stick.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
I still haven't got one. I keep thinking it would be useful and then not getting around to it.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
I've acquired a fair few over time. Most importantly, though, I have two 16gb ones that plug straight into the DVD drive so I can play stuff directly off it rather than from the computer. "Stuff" includes, but is not limited to, 196 episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
I've never owned a USB stick as such, I use MP3s for the same sort of things. I have lost three MP3 players over the years.

I sympathize nothing frustrates me more than losing things...
Oct. 3rd, 2009 10:03 am (UTC)
My first USB drive was half a gig. It served me well, until I started trying to keep my email on portable Thunderbird on it. Now, every time I go home to visit, my Dad gives me a new one (and Carl gets his very own, as well). I think the largest either of us has is 8GB. Sadly, I don't use them as much as I used that first one. But they are, ironically, easier for transporting files across the network than, say, the actual network is. I have one that I loan out, too - that I keep our important D&D files on. But I always make sure I have back-ups of everything. On three separate occasions, I have had a power surge/outage wipe a drive that was in the pc at the time. That's also why I don't use portable Thunderbird anymore. :)
Nov. 9th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
always a good idea to back up your files, many webservices like hotmail and google allow you to back up your files to the internet so you never need worry about losing files again.

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )