USB Decoration Case Modding for USB Flash Drives

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Flash Drives don't have to be generic rectangular cases. Just like Case Modding on PCs, USB Flash Drives can have ultra-modified cases too!

Modified Cases on USB Flash Drives

A Flash Drive is a USB memory data storage device that is small, removable and read/writable.

Replacing the floppy disks of old, these devices hold thousands of times more data, are very robust and long lasting owing to the materials used and the lack of moving parts. The ubiquity of its functional design lends itself to modding (modifying) the case, something that floppy disks by constraint of their design could never have endured.

Even though nothing ‘moves’ in a flash drive during use, it is still called a ‘drive.’ It could be called a ‘flash RAM’ but somehow the persistence of using the word ‘drive’ as in the ‘hard disk drive’ storage device persists. Just like magnetic media (floppy disks, etc.) flash drives are subject to a finite number of read/write cycles before failure although the number of uses is far greater than any floppy media of course.

Life Expectancy of a USB Flash Drive

As a consideration of this, one might wish to not use a oft-used graphics program like PhotoShop on a removable Flash drive as the number of read/writes on projects would be extensive and eventually (probably at the worst possible moment) the Flash drive might fail, causing loss of data. Certainly, it would cause an interruption of work and halt your project or demonstration until critical data is recovered. Flash Drives are not permanent. Most have a life expectancy of perhaps 10 years.

To that end to extend the life and usefulness of these thumb drives, some operating systems (Linux, Firefox, etc.) make a smaller operating system intended to be portable via the Flash Drive but also purposefully places temporary and intermediate files directly into the host computer’s TEMP and CACHE folders for the duration of the session. This eases the number of read/write cycles the Flash Drive must endure yet still allows full portability of the operating system.

I have carried entire Operating Systems on Flash/Thumb Drives just like these

a collection of beautiful but ordinary-looking USB flash Drives

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Flash drives are rather ubiquitous in design; a small rectangular square tab that plugs into any available USB port and is accessed just like any local storage drive. Some crafty artisans and entrepreneurs have crafted the cases of USB devices into veritable works of art. Most are at best moderately practical but some are outlandish and unwieldy. Large and heavy, these can block parallel USB ports or interfere with other cables or furniture around the computer’s case.

Some Interesting USB Modding (modified cases) Examples.

Let's examine a few modified USB cases to see what is being done.

Torn USB Cable

USB drive concealed as a broken or torn USB cable device

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This is my all-time favorite and practical USB modified. A USB cable to cut several inches from the plug.

The plug itself if carefully cut-open and the internal mechanism removed, and the USB Flash Drive is inserted. The Plug is then resealed with strong adhesive, giving the impression that this is a torn cable. Just imagine the startled glances and gawking gazes from people when they see this hanging from the side of your laptop or desktop PC.

Just don't forget that this is a data drive and not a piece of garbage. 'Hide in plain sight' for sure, but just don't throw out the baby with the bathwater either. Something like this laying on my desk just might be consigned to the trashcan just because that is what it looks like. -I like the irony.

The USB Key is the Key

A USB Flash drive that resembles a house-key

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This design is clever. While still a Flash Drive it is cleverly designed to resemble a house key making it less likely to be confused with a piece of electronics garbage. One could even hang this on their key-chain too I supposed. Imagine a Realtor giving this as a customer perk for visiting an Open House showing of real estate.

Hot Sauce USB Flash Drive

USB Flash Drive concealed in a hard plastic shell resembling a Taco Bell Hot Sauce packet

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Here is something hot! A USB thumb drive cleverly modded to resemble a packet of Taco Hot Sauce. Sometime food franchises offer these promotional materials with contests or as awards. I would be cautious however to use a gift such as this until I have checked out for hidden programs that may be resident.

Another fast food franchise pleaded guilty (or at least, pleaded 'no contest') to accusations of having a 'customer research tool' program installed in similar USB drives given away in promotional awards. These hidden programs monitored customer surfing pattens and in the parlance of the web, returned web trend data to the host for market research.

Of course this information was cited to be 'non-identifying information,' just aggregate user data. Still, -anonymous or not I would not like being given a freebie such as this and having my internet surfing patterns secretly 'recorded' and shared/forwarded to another company, for any reason. "Market Research" in internet terms suggests ways to connect displayed ads or generic e-mails ("spam") with users, and who wants or needs more junk in their e-mail these days?

Sink Your Teeth into This USB Drive

USB drive that looks like a tooth implant      and      USB Drive that looks like a tooth implant II

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Another clever and rather practical modding case for the USB. It advertises the business and the size and shape is relatively unobtrusive for actual real-time use.

Another Bright Idea in USB Modding

USB Flash Drive in the shape of a compact fluorescent light bulb

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Another rather clever design but probably not very practical for it too would cover-up adjacent USB ports and/or peripheral cables. This is certainly a memorable case design though.

Companies that wish to be seen and have a recognizable presence with consumers should take advantage of USB case modding as customer rewards. Look at this next brilliant design:

Double Your Pleasure: USB Drive as a Pack of Gum!

USB Flash drive in the guise of a pack of chewing gum

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Petrol Pump USB Drive

USB Flash Drive in the shape of a petrol/gasoline pumping station

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There are dozens probably hundreds of varied shapes and designs of USB cases and it would exceed this report on the few presented here to try to present them all. Fruits and foods, brand-name logos and everyday objects such as branches from trees and religious symbols have been incorporated into usable USB drives. The materials of wood, plastic and metal, even semi-precious stone makes for a unique USB modding case for the discriminating user.

There are collectors of these geeky items and fanciers of the same. Each novelty USB Flash drive is an expression of the person whom owns it. A safe place for your data and other files in a beautiful and stylish designer case. A modified USB Flash Drive, -what could be more fun?