This week my third semester French class is studying vocabulary related to technology, using the old edition of the textbook that we're phasing out. One of the words in the vocab for this lesson is une disquette (a floppy disk) — a word wisely eliminated in the new edition. Until now I've had to supply the word une clé USB (a flash drive). The new textbook has that word and many others, but I wonder how outdated this textbook will be in 4 or 5 years when the next edition comes out.
For my young readers who might not know what a floppy diskette is, it was the wonderful invention that allowed us to store and transport data from one computer to another (picture below), and it was much smaller than the older floppies. It was also one of the main means for installing new software. I saw something interesting recently – a display of how many diskettes it would take for some of today's (bloated) software. Check out the number of floppies it would take to install Photoshop — how would you like to put in 358 diskettes in the right order to install a program?!
CD's and DVD's are a much more sane way to do software installations, and writable and rewritable CD's and DVD's are great for saving and transporting files. But I have grown dependent on my USB flash drive for transporting information between my home and school computers.
For my older readers who might not know what a USB flash drive is, it is the item in the first picture in this post. USB flash drives became available on December 15, 2000, and had a storage capacity of 8 MB, more than five times the capacity of the then-common floppy disks. I hesitate to post statistics since technology changes so quickly, but this past year I heard of a new one that can hold 256 GB of information! A flash drive is also called a jump drive, a USB key, and even a thumb drive.
I loved the following picture of what could really be called a thumb drive.
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