The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Jump Drives are a wonderful invention. Also sometimes called thumb drives, flash drives, USB drives, memory sticks, or any of several other names,, these devices are roughly the size of a tube of lipstick or even smaller and can store a phenomenal amount of data.
Jump drives with as much as four gigabytes of storage are available in many places for less than $10 (see http://www.rootsbooks.com/shop.php?i=B000NWVAFO for one example). That is six or seven times the data storage capacity of a CD-ROM disk. Even better, up to 32 gigabytes of storage are available at increasing prices. Indeed, 64-gigabyte and 128-gigabyte jump drives are beginning to appear in the marketplace, although at prices higher than what most of us care to pay. Of course, that won't last long; prices on all jump drives continue to fall like a rock.
NOTE: See http://www.google.com/cse?cx=003715150024579880844%3Aulyzue1ivzu&ie=UTF-8&q=%22thumb+drive%22&sa=Search for some of my past articles about jump drives.
Jump drives are great for making backups. In case of a hard drive failure or even the failure of an entire computer, it is reassuring to have a backup copy of your data in your pocket or purse. Most all modern genealogy programs can create duplicate copies of a genealogy database and put those duplicate copies on a jump drive.
The disadvantage of simply copying your database to a jump drive is that you probably cannot use it when visiting a cousin's house. That is, most databases require a copy of the same genealogy program that created the database to already be installed on the second computer before the data can be viewed or updated. If you use genealogy program X and your cousin uses genealogy program Y or even no genealogy program at all, you cannot use the cousin's computer to access your data on the jump drive. Luckily, there are exceptions. In fact, there is one full-featured exception and two lesser-featured exceptions as well. It is possible to display your data on your cousin's computer with no special software installed – just Windows.
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