Portable Storage

For the most part, my files are accessible when I need them.  If they’re a Google Document, then all that I need is Internet access and away I go.  For larger files or web clippings, I’ll use Dropbox and Evernote which are both terrific ways of having access to things as I need them.

The common denominator in all of this is that network access is required for these excellent services to work.  There are times when it would just be nice to have files in a portable device that I could simply connect to and pull the files across.  It came to bite me recently when I had a file that I wanted to share.  The file was on my iPad but I had no network access.  Much as the iPad is a great device for one, it’s kind of difficult to share with a group of people.  A computer with data projector fits that bill better.

There was a time, many iPod generations ago, that an iPod doubled nicely as a portable storage device.  After all, it was just a hard drive and would connect to your computer via firewire cable and you’re all set to go.  At the time, I learned the valuable lesson that I should carry enough cables to remain connected.  Consequently, I have the cables, but would like the functionality of being able to move files around as I please.

So I went hunting.

And I found this little gem.  It’s called USB Disk for iPad.  It’s a free download from the App Store and is financed by advertising that appears when you load it.  It’s too bad – this is an app that I would pay for.  But, the functionality is nice to have.  Its use is simple.  Just install the application on the iPad and connect it to your computer.

Now, it’s one thing to transfer files but a useful application will help you manage the files once they are transferred.  In this case, USB Disk for iPad has you covered.  On the computer, once the iPad is mounted, select apps from it and you’ll be presented with the contents of the files that you’ve transferred.

Adding a file to the iPad is as simple as clicking the add button and then browsing your hard drive to find them.

What about on the iPad?  USB Disk for iPad provides a browser tool there as well. 

Select the document that you want and USB Disk for iPad actually lets you browse the contents on the screen.  To get more functionality, like being able to edit the document if you have an app for that, click on the icon in the top right corner and choose your application from the list.  Quite frankly, most of the files that I transfer are either word processing or spreadsheet documents and the Office HD application is a terrific app for the purpose.

In the big scheme of things, web based storage and transfer of documents will do me just fine.  But, if you find yourself needing to have a Plan B for transferring files or just another safe backup, you may just find that USB Disk for iPad fits the bill nicely.

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links for 2010-09-18