Talking of slow, included on the drive is software LaCie’s fledgling on-line file back-up service called Wuala. It requires registration and the product serial number is requested, so don’t throw away that packaging. The Mac version of Wuala is still in beta but seems stable. It creates a desktop drive with folders that sync to the on-line 4GB of storage you get for free or you can pay for more. Non-LaCie drive owners can use Wuala for free too, but lacking a product serial number, will only get 1GB.
Wuala on-line storage will even show the EXIF data details of the stored image files
Click for a larger image
The default upload speed is 100kb/s – the on-line equivalent of watching paint dry – but a quick nose around the preferences settings revealed you can tweak the speeds to suit your ISP configuration. After changes I saw an improved average of about 320kb/s with peaks of around 400kb/s. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary.
Leaving drive out in the snow, dropping it from a balcony and immersing it in water did little to make an impression on its robust and well sealed casing. The only real issue was unscrewing the darn thing. It’s completely smooth and a knurled edge, like a coin, would be helpful to get the slippery thing open.
It was only after baking it for 15 minutes in the oven – as you would a typical pizza – and then cooling it off in water did a small stream of bubbles appear to suggest some ingress during this expansion and contraction. However, on opening it up, water was only present around the seal and a small part of the thread, the drive itself was still dry.
After baking, the XtremKey proved itself to function perfectly well, but it did have quite a whiff to it. It’s that acrid smell you get when a circuit board has met with an incendiary fate or you’ve held a soldering iron on it for too long. The whiff doesn’t go away in a hurry either, lingering with a hint of toxicity.
Next page: Fatboy slim?
Will it blend?
Will it survive
Wash cycle 40 degrees plus a trip in the tumble drier, typical means of failure at home? Flames, because you don't have a washing machine symbol.
I can't say it's a bad product...
...but do you really need one?
I suppose that there are some people who can make use of a hardened USB key. Of course, then I'd have to say that there are probably better options. The LaCie of today is not what it used to be, and their product support isn't as good as it once was. As for the built in security, I wonder how well it holds up to something like TrueCrypt, which works on any old storage device, is considered a "proven" product and costs nothing?
I'm not sure you need a "hardened" key anyway. To wit:
Someone once came to me with an old (256MB, to give you an idea) PNY Attache USB memory key. You see, word got out long ago that I can fix about anything, predict the weather, or at least do a competent job of swearing at something that isn't working. Little plastic pegs held its circuit board in place, and they'd snapped off, allowing the USB connector to beat a hasty retreat every time an attempt was made to connect it. They gave it to me, in hopes that I could retrieve the data. It didn't take much, the thing was still electrically perfect. I popped its plastic case apart and connected the circuit board directly to a USB port. Bingo!
They were done with it and when I brought it back, they tossed it into the trash. I asked if I could have it, for I am a man who will not be stopped by trivial broken plastic pins.
And I have a glue gun.
So that's what I did. I put half of it together, packed it with molten glue and then put the other half on. It worked just fine. I've used it non-stop ever since...and it's been baked, frozen, dropped, thrown, zapped with static electricity on the USB connector shield, washed and dried several times and it keeps right on trucking. It goes almost everywhere I do. The contents are protected by TrueCrypt.
I make backups because I'm not stupid. It could fail at any time or get lost. But it hasn't, and I suspect that I will use it until it drops.
Freeze it, cook it, dunk it, thump it
Leave it on the train.
As you can imagine I'll bet it happened.
In fact, it happened to me.
I had a sandisk usb stick that went through the exact punishment you described and came out none worse for wear. Well not exactly the same punishment. Worse. It got pasteurised in a _hot_ wash actually, then baked in the tumble drier.
It still worked flawlessly but I duly copied the data out of it and subsequently condemned it as I figured the safest thing to do was not to trust it anymore with any important data since it had probably been in 'out-of-spec environs' for a good 2 hours or more.
(While I understand the actual silicon is fairly tolerant of what we would consider temperature extremes, I did not and still cannot make the same assumptions of the actual pcb, tracks, contacts, solder etc)