using USB Flash Drive on mac

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USB Flash Drive

I just bought a 18GB usb flash drive. Its speed seems to be 20 times slower than my 8 years old external 20GB firewire drive (which is 10 times as bulky). USB 2 should be as fast as Firewire. So, my initial guess is that flash drive's format is not native ... Wikipedia comes to the rescue:

Some points of personal interest:

  • Because flash drive are solid state storage devices, it doesn't have disk fragmentation issues as do magneto disk based mechanical drives. (It does has its own issues)
  • Flash drive does have a life span, in number of write operation and in storage permanence too.
  • Flash drives uses file systems just like normal drives. In fact, it's just a storage device with usb interface.
  • Most flash drives are pre-formatted with FAT32. If you use it for Mac exclusively, you might want to reformat it to a Mac native format (e.g. HFS+, use Disk Utilities). I haven't tested in detail, but HFS+ seems to improve speed by as much as 2 times.

.DS Store

I've always wondered what does the Mac OS X's “.DS Store” file stores. Wikipedia comes to the rescue: .DS Store↗. Also, Windows has the annoying thumbs.nb↗ files too.

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