Wireless USB storage?
January 15, 2012 12:50 PM   Subscribe

Having left my flash drive at work more than once, I'm looking for mobile USB storage that I don't need to physically plug in.

I'm looking for a flash drive -like object -- or a kluge -- with the following functionality:
- file storage
- fits in my pocket or briefcase at all times
- connects wirelessly to my work computer when I'm at work
- connects wirelessly to my home computer when I'm at home
- does not need an existing wifi network in order to connect
- ideally, connects via bluetooth

I've scoped out the following products, but they don't do quite what I have in mind:
- AirStash (kicks you off your existing wifi)
- SeaGate GoFlex Satellite (need physical connection to upload files)
- Iomega Iconnect (needs wifi to connect)
- cloud storage such as Dropbox or PogoPlug (forbidden by my employer's IT security policy)
- Epson Quick Wireless Connection USB key (what is this mysterious object? The name sounds approximately right, but what little explanation I can find has made me conclude that it exists to hook up wireless projectors to wireless networks.)

1. Does a product exist that will do approximately what I have in mind? In principle I don't see why it couldn't, so I'm surprised not to find it -- but it doesn't seem to be out there.

2. Alternatively, have you been able to cobble together the equivalent?

Thanks in advance for all suggestions.
posted by foursentences to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you attach your USB key to your keychain, you will never leave it at work.
posted by musofire at 12:59 PM on January 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

Yeah you want one of these.
posted by bradbane at 1:04 PM on January 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seagate D.A.V.E.

I have no idea whether this actually exists or can be purchased.
posted by katrielalex at 1:13 PM on January 15, 2012

The Kingston Wi-Drive is somewhat similar. I think some phones also provide blutooth storage when paired (depending on how much space is needed). You'd just have to install blutooth adapters where needed.
posted by samsara at 1:20 PM on January 15, 2012

"If you attach your USB key to your keychain, you will never leave it at work."

Or, if you are like me you will find yourself in front of your door without your keys. Perhaps a chain that attaches your thumbdrive to your briefcase would work better as you hand is more likely to remember the missing heft of a briefcase than the small missing weight in your pocket?

If you don't mind looking slightly dorky a longer thinner wallet chain would also work.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:28 PM on January 15, 2012

Many mobile phones allow basic file access via bluetooth. Not, unfortunately, the iPhone.
posted by sbutler at 2:18 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Although on the iPhone there is an App called AirSharing which will connect over WiFi to your computer. You don't need an existing wireless network, but you will have to enable ad-hoc networking on your computer.
posted by sbutler at 2:19 PM on January 15, 2012

Cloud storage is really the most elegant way of doing this - unless you plan on moving huge amounts of data about. You mention that your employer blocks services such as Dropbox - but perhaps they could be persuaded to provide such as service to you and your colleagues? You get the service you are looking for; they get more efficiency from their employees, some control over what is happening and fewer people plugging potentially infected drives into their systems. Services such as Box.net - which are more suitable for operation be a central document owner than (say) Dropbox might work.
posted by rongorongo at 2:22 PM on January 15, 2012

Problem is, any device that does what you want will need to be charged regularly, which means taking it out of your pocket.

I'm going to go with an Android phone and a copy of File Expert, which will share off the phone via HTTP/FTP/Bluetooth and read/write to SMB shares (at the very least you'd need a rooted phone to create on-phone SMB shares). The latest versions also do some weird cloud-based stuff that I'm not totally sure about. And, of course, the phone can connect via Bluetooth/WiFi/USB.

These days I mostly use a hybrid solution - an internet-accessible file server at the end of my ADSL line and a dropbox account take care of file storage, and an Android phone that can pull from either of these sources gives me an endpoint. The phone is basically a big cache for rarely-updated files. I change employer a lot, so it makes sense to make my phone the endpoint rather than my desktop PC but it's easy enough to pull stuff to the desktop via USB, especially as that's how I charge the phone when I'm in the office.
posted by Leon at 2:37 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Apologies for not quite answering your question, but if the reason you leave your flash drive in your computer is that it is not visible when you clear your desk as you leave work, a simple USB extension cable could ensure you see it as you pack up at the end of the day.

Or you could get a proximity alarm. Attach one part to your flash drive, the other part to your bag / bike helmet / jacket and the alarm goes off if one goes too far away from the other.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:49 PM on January 15, 2012

Android phone and bluetooth filesharing is the key here. Part of the reason it works for me is that I've made my phone the single device I want to carry everywhere: it's my alarm clock in the morning, how I read news during breakfast, how I check my day's work schedule when I arrive, how I get the grocery list on my way home, etc. Having to worry about only one object simplified things. (Well, I suppose I also always carry my wallet, too, but arguably my phone gets used more!) Turning it into a one-touch file server was the natural extension.
posted by introp at 3:09 PM on January 15, 2012

There are some wireless hard drives listed here, but I've never used one.
posted by dirm at 3:39 PM on January 15, 2012

If you don't mind looking slightly dorky a longer thinner wallet chain would also work.

Or like one of those janitor-style spring loaded key fobs? Mega-dorky, but it would do the job.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:12 PM on January 15, 2012

I've been looking for something exactly like what you describe and there is nothing on the market currently - however to AirStash doesn't require a network to make it work - it can create it's own adhoc network. (This is nice because now the idevice really does have unlimited storage.)
posted by Brent Parker at 10:12 PM on January 15, 2012

I have my stick connected to my car (but not door) key using one of those quick disconnect couplers. Means I can leave the stick in if I need to (mostly at home, Friday afternoon 'till Monday morning).

And yes, I find myself at my car with no key about once a month.

Higher tech would be nice, but as Leon said, you still need to charge the thing.
posted by wrm at 2:27 AM on January 16, 2012

« Older Search and buy shoes by size AND width - in Canada...   |   How do I record phone conversations on my Windows... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.