Gone In a Flash

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USB flash drives are one of the great inventions of our times. Who wants to carry around a floppy disk that while not so floppy had limited capacity. USB are easy to use and highly convenient. However, after loading a bunch of data for my discertation on one at school that took a few hours, I can no longer locate my USB drive. I can only blame myself since this the fourth one I've had over the past few years. I guess I'm just a sucker for them.

On another note about the data I'm working with, check out this description of how political parties are classified. From the Database of Political Institutions:

Right (R); Left (L); Center (C); Not applicable (0)

Our sources had little detail on party platforms and agendas with respect to economic policy. Therefore, to identify party orientation with respect to economic policy, we used the following criteria:

1) In the Handbooks, we first considered the party name, and used the following rules:

Right: for parties that are defined as conservative, Christian democratic, or right-wing.

Left: for parties that are defined as communist, socialist, social democratic, or left-wing.

Center: for parties that are defined as centrist or when party position can best be described as centrist (e.g. party advocates strengthening private enterprise in a social-liberal context). Not described as centrist if competing factions “average out” to a centrist position (e.g. a party of “right-wing Muslims and Beijing-oriented Marxists”).

0: for all those cases which do not fit into the above-mentioned category (i.e. party’s platform does not focus on economic issues, or there are competing wings).

Blank: for those cases where orientation is unknown.

2) If the orientation of a party was not immediately obvious from its name or description in the handbooks, we consulted the website: http://www.agora.stm.it/elections/parties.htm. This site provides one-word descriptions of party orientation which could be fit into the above framework. Cross-checks on parties listed in both sources showed a high degree of agreement. As this source provided no historical information, we assumed that party location on the left - right spectrum remained unchanged over time, and we recorded this party orientation for all years.

Terms on the website such as “liberal”, “progressive”, “authoritarian” or “xenophobic” were dealt with in the following way: For “liberal” we went with the European definition (right), since the website is based in Europe. We classified “progressive”, “authoritarian”, “xenophobic” as “0” (none of the above) unless we had additional information that allowed us to position the party on the left - right - spectrum (see 2).

UPDATE (KB): Bob, I feel your pain, and suggest getting one of these to hang around your neck:


Sure, it would even make a supermodel look like a dork, but most of us working in sensitive environments must wear a cow-bell ID anyway. I guess it all comes down to the marginal amount of dorkiness involved

1 Comment

Actually, I lost a 4 gig drive recently. Kevin may recall a time when he and I were chatting and strolling just after a situation where I was in need of a flash drive. Since that day, I've never seen it again. It was a tiny one, too, which is something I thought would be a boon. Now i think Kevin's point is the only way to go. That, or one of the ones that attaches to my keys.

My product idea, however, is to make a flash drive that operates something like my Saab car key: a traditional metal key is housed in a thick "sleeve" that is the remote door lock unit. Fit a USB drive inside something like that, such as something for the top of your house key (or a generic usb-key combo that can take any key you might like), and I think you've got a winner. People are conditioned to keep keys close by.


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This page contains a single entry by Bob published on January 11, 2007 3:20 PM.

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