20 most worthless pieces of junk: #14 -- Giveaway thumb drives

Attend enough conferences, grand openings and midnight releases and you'll come to know one of the most useless pieces of junk I know of; free thumbdrives. When thumb drives first entered the corporate and customer swag world, a free 128MB thumbdrive was the coolest thing in the world. It held 80 times what a floppy disk used to and fit neatly in one's pocket.

The free thumbdrive was at one time the hippest piece of plastic you could attach a corporate logo to, but now the only practical uses I've found for my thumbdrives is to steady a shaky table or prop open an automatically locking door.Now that people are carrying full length movies and albums around on thumbdrives instead of word documents, small-capacity drives don't cut it. Especially since you can buy a 16 GB thumbdrive for close to $30 which has as much memory as most iPhones.

Sadly thumb drive giveaway prizes haven't kept up with the evolving needs of their users. Now instead of me flashing a Hornitos Tequila thumb drive everywhere I go, it sits on my shelf of worthlessness along with several other branded thumbdrives. Not only does the small capacity of the drives hold them back, but thanks to the ongoing miniaturization of such technology it's damn near impossible to plug these monsters into most computers with recessed USB ports.

Further relegating promotion thumbdrives to the junk drawer is the prevalence of free online storage from companies like DropBox and Box.net who offer 2GB and 1GB of free online storage respectively. Companies looking to brand themselves would be better off sponsoring online file storage at one of these companies than investing in the thumbdrives that can barely contain an album purchased from iTunes!

If companies still want to give away thumbdrives, do it right and don't give out anything smaller than a 2 GB drive unless you only want to advertise to the other items on my shelf of worthlessness!

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