This guest article was submitted by Andreas Ødegård.
Since UMPCs and MIDs are rarely your primary device, you'll most likely find yourself in the situation of having file sync issues. Sure, there are apps that sync files over the net, but that requires a fast upload speed.
Flash drives are one way of transferring files and can also serve as backup tools. Unfortunately, most drives stick out a lot and leaving them inserted permanently is not an option. There are some small ones, but they are a bit expensive. Luckily, you can now get a small flash drive that won't break your wallet or stick out much from the USB port by combining a microSDHC card and the real world's smallest microSD reader.
The emphasis on "real" is because a lot of products claim to be the world's smallest. In terms of volume, they might be right, but long and flat still means it sticks out from the USB port. There are however some readers that are little more than a USB plug and stick out only a few millimeters.
One of the manufacturers that makes a reader like this is Kawau, who has a microSDHC-compatible one available for just $3.99 shipped worldwide.
The reader sticks out about 4mm from the USB port, which is even smaller than the tiny USB receivers from those Logitech mice. The card goes in from the plug end (not from the back) and sits inside the plug, which is what allows for the small size. MicroSDHC support means it should in theory be able to use 16GB cards, so you can get an extremely small 16GB flash drive for about $60. Not too bad when it means you can leave it in there at all times.
My personal tip is to set up some sort of software to mirror important folders to the external drive. That way you have a backup if something goes wrong and if you need a file on there on another computer, you just pop it out and you're good to go. Microsoft's SyncToy is one such software, but it does require you to initiate the sync manually.
Whatever your use might be, this is an excellent method of getting a flash drive that won't look like a mutated limb when inserted
Andreas Ødegård is currently finishing the second year of a three-year bachelor's degree in Economics and Administration at Lillehammer University College in Norway. He loves gadgets of all sorts and has been writing for Anything But iPod since January 2008, as well as updating his own blog.