The SanDisk Cruzer Titanium U3 USB Flash Drive (also referred to as a Smart Drive) is a great bit of kit for any writer who wants to make a backup copy of their work or take it from one computer to another – perhaps from a desktop to a laptop, or vice-versa.
Manufactured by the reliable SanDisk company, the Titanium U3 is no ordinary USB flash drive. First, it has a steel housing which has been designed to withstand extreme crushing forces of up to 2000lbs. If you have ever dropped a cheap plastic USB flash drive and only realised this when hearing the crunch under your shoe then you will appreciate just why this feature is so important.
Next, it comes pre-loaded with several U3 software titles. These are computer applications that run from the SanDisk Cruzer flash drive itself (if you use Windows), rather than the hard drive of your PC, and they effectively allow you to carry a portable version of your desktop in your pocket. You can add additional U3 software titles to your flash drive according to your needs, and many of the most essential titles can be downloaded for free from the SanDisk U3 website.
The SanDisk Cruzer Titanium U3 USB flash drive comes in 2Gb, 4Gb, 8Gb and 16Gb versions. On my own 8Gb model I have the portable version of Open Office for Windows, an automatic backup application (CruzerSync U3 Edition), McAfee Virus Scan USB, Mozilla Firefox for U3 and a very handy SignupShield Passwords application that remembers all my passwords for every website I visit and stores them securely so that they can’t be stolen.
That’s quite a bit of software, but even with all of that and enough text and PDF documents to fill a couple of bookshelves I still have over 6Gb of free space left – enough to keep me going for another year or two at least.
All of this is very impressive stuff, but the main reason that I purchased the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium U3 was because of a very clever built-in security feature. The flash drive is separated into two partitions – one that the computer recognises as a CD (allowing the flash drive to run automatically) and one for your data. When you plug the U3 Smart Drive into your computer you will be asked for your password. Entering the right password will give you access to the data partition, but if you don’t enter the right password the data partition will remain locked.
You don’t have to activate this security feature if you don’t want to, but if you’re a writer who values your text and whatever other content you save to your SanDisk Cruzer Titanium it would make sense to do so.
The only downside to this brilliant gadget is the you can’t run U3 applications from the flash drive if you use a computer running Linux or Mac OS. That said, you still have a great crush-proof device that allows you to take your essential data wherever you want.
The SanDisk Cruzer Titanium U3 USB Flash Drive is probably the cheapest of all my writing gadgets, but it is definitely one of the most important. If you value the security and safety of your work, I suggest you take a look at it.