With all of the hoopla at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show over tablets and smartphones, it’ was hard for a little three inch device to get noticed. But in an era when massive amounts of data go missing on laptops, when your local cleaner has a collection of flash drives that fell out of pockets, the iTwin is worth noting.
This $99 device advertises itself as being “two ends of a cable – with no cable” It looks like a USB flash drive with plugs on both ends. It’s actually two halves of a single device that have a unique way of fitting together. To use the device you start off by plugging the connected iTwin into your PC (a Mac version is promised for later this year). The software starts up automatically, and asks you for an email address so it can send you an emergency code to disable the device if one half is lost. It took almost an hour for their email support to send it off to me. Then you split the device in two. You load whatever files you want to share onto the end that’s plugged into your PC, and carry the other half on your trip. No need to carry your own PC. When you get to where you’re going, you just plug the half you’ve carried with you into any PC or Windows based laptop that’s Internet connected. Through the magic of the Internet, the two halves find each other and you can access whatever files you transferred from your PC onto the PC resident half of the iTwin. This is not ubiquitous file access. You cannot get to any other files on your computer other than the ones you transferred to the PC resident half of the iTwin. If you worry about losing a flash drive that has lots of important data on it, this may be a good solution, since there’s actually no usable data on the half that’s in your pocket
A Secure Notion
The iTwin may be a sound solution for those who want to take their files on the road, but fear losing a USB flash drive,as well as those who don’t always manage to store all the documents needed for a road trip up in that nebulous cloud. When you get where you’re going, just plug the 2nd half into an Internet connected PC and after the two ends find each other, you can transfer whatever files you moved to part of the iTwisn that’s still sitting back on your home PC. Obviously the home machine needs to stay turned on and Internet connected. Right now the iTwin is only available for sale on line at “http://www.itwin.com/buy” It’s simple to use, though the instruction manual leaves out some critical information, including the fact that you need to open two Explorer windows on your PC to do the transfer from your PC to the PC resident half of the iTwin. But once I found that out, it was easy to set up and use. It may not exactly be the breakthrough product of the decade, but does provide a safe way of getting files while you’re on the road without having to carry a flash drive or rely on the cloud.