On the name of USB flash memory drives

December 16, 2005

I've been somewhat confused about what to call USB flash memory 'disk drives' for some time, since I've seen several names. Courtesy of Pete Zaitcev here, who should know since he works on the Linux kernel USB stack among other things, I now have a pretty definite answer; they are properly called 'USB keys'. A 'Memory Stick' (with the capitals) is something entirely different, and 'memory stick' risks being confused with it.

(I suppose I could just have called them 'USB flash memory drives', but 'USB keys' is much shorter.)

(Yes, this is slightly belated. Every so often things moulder in my ideas file until some 2am when I really want to go to bed. And now you know more about the production process for WanderingThoughts entries than you were probably interested in.)

Update: and just after I published this entry, I ran across this Raymond Chen article that calls them 'USB memory drives'. Now I'm somewhat confused again.

Comments on this page:

From at 2006-02-12 22:49:47:

I've also heard "pen drives", "thumb drives", "flash drives", and "jump drives." You pays your money and you takes your choice.

-- Squiddhartha

Written on 16 December 2005.
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Last modified: Fri Dec 16 02:16:56 2005
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