Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

January 29th, 2009:

Cruzer Micro Skin

I’ve been using removable storage for a long time, and five years ago I moved from Iomega ZIP 250 MB disk cartridges to Cruzer Mini 256 MB thumb drives. I chose the Cruzer Mini line for a slightly weird reason: They fit comfortably in the pencil groove of my Northgate keyboards. Not all thumb drives do, and I’ve found it very convenient to have all of my active removable storage devices sitting there right where I can grab them.

Five years on, and not a single one of the Cruzer Minis has ever given me a lick of trouble, though I destroyed one once by working too fast. SanDisk no longer makes Cruzer Minis, and the ones I have are fairly small, some only 128 MB. This makes for lots of thumb drives lying around; for example, I had to put each one of the five Carl & Jerry books on its own Cruzer. It was time to scout out something else that would fit in my pencil groove, and with considerable delight I discovered the SanDisk Cruzer Micro Skin. They’re shorter than the Cruzer Minis, and a little narrower. No problems keeping them in the groove.

I bought them for their size, and didn’t understand the line’s gimmick until I had one in my hand: The Cruzer Skins are inside a flexible, tough plastic sleeve with an end cap of the same material. The skin and cap fit the metal body of the device very closely, enough so that if you dropped one in the sink the works wouldn’t even get wet if you pulled it out within a few seconds. (I’m guessing that they float, in fact, though I’ll let somebody else do the experiment.) You can remove the sleeve and apply a Brother-style label to the drive body, and then wiggle the sleeve back over it. This protects the label, especially if you drop it in your pocket with your car keys, as I’ve done a time or two. (Brother labels mar very easily.)

They’re yawning huge compared to my five-year-old Cruzer Minis. I recently bought several 4 GB units for $12 each, and an 8 GB (for $20!) to hold all five Carl & Jerry books, including high-res raw scans of all the 300+ illustrations. I’ve been able to consolidate several ongoing book projects from separate 256 MB cartridges onto a single 4 GB unit. The caps don’t fall off; you have to yank them. They don’t come with lanyards, but you know, I have yet to see anybody keep a thumb drive on a lanyard. (A lanyard loop is there at the end of the unit if you want to make your own, like we did at summer camp in 1965.) We’ll see how they hold up over time, but right now, I say highly recommended.